The United States welcomes foreign citizens including Nigerians who wish to study in the country. However, the process of applying and getting a visa can be tedious especially if you are not properly informed. The purpose of this article is to give you the needed information and guidelines.
What Kind Of Visa Do I Need?
Depending on the kind of study you wish to pursue in the USA, you will need either the F-1 visa or the M-1 Visa. If you intend pursuing a full time study in a university college, seminary, conservatory and high schools, you need the F-1 visa. Intending students for non- academic or vocational studies like mechanics or fashion design should get the M-1 visa.
For you to qualify for the F-1 student visa as a Nigerian,you must;
- Have applied as a full-time student in an approved institution in the USA
- Have been issued an I-20 by a US University (This indicates that you have been offered an admission)
- Be proficient in English;
- Have sufficient funds for the entire time of studies;
- Must maintain residency in the home country and intends to return after his/her studies
Before applying for the F-1 Student Visa, you must have applied for admission in your institution of choice and received an offer of admission.
Once you have been accepted to study in your choice USA University, your information is entered in the US government database known as student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The information is used to generate an “I-20” form which will be sent to you by the University that offered you admission via e-mail. This will indicate your eligibility for an F-1 student visa. A number referred to as a SEVIS ID number will be on the form. You will use this to complete the DS-160 and SEVIS I-901 online forms.
Once the above process is completed, you are required to complete the DS-160 Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application form online https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/.
Tips on Completing the DS-160 Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application form
To begin completing the DS-160 Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application form, you will be required to select the location where you will be applying for the visa and attend interview (there are two locations for Nigerians; ABUJA and LAGOS)
Candidates are advised to get relevant documents ready before completing the form as your session will expire after 20 minutes. Once you click on the “Start application link”, your application ID will appear on the top right. You are advised to write this down and keep for reference purposes.
If your session expires before you are able to complete the form, you will need this application ID to continue with your application as many times as possible until you have successfully completed the form.
You will be required to click the “sign application button” once you are done providing the necessary information. It is advisable to cross-check the correctness of the information you have provided before clicking on this button. Once you click on it, you can no longer alter any information.
The confirmation page will appear once you’ve signed your application. You are required to print out the confirmation page. This must be presented during the visa interview. It is advisable to click the “back button” after you have printed the confirmation page and send a copy of the confirmation page to your email address.
Applicants will be required to pay two types of fees; the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Form I-901 fee and the visa application fee.
You must have completed the payment of these fees and have the evidence of payment before appearing for interview.
Applicants are to pay the SEVIS fee online via this link: https://fmjfee.com/ Payment should be made not later than 1 week before the date of their interview as it usually takes about 1 week for the payment to be processed and reflect on the visa system.
You will not be granted an interview if your payment has not yet been processed.
The visa application fee is different from the SEVIS I-901 fee. In Nigeria, this payment is made using local currency in any branch of GT Bank. A receipt is issued at the point of payment which will be valid for one year. The cost is $160 which is equivalent to approximately N32, 000 (This may change depending on the dollar to naira exchange rate).
Having completed your DS-160 Non-immigrant Visa application form, and made the necessary payments, the next thing would be to book an appointment date for your interview.
Applicants from Nigeria are to book an appointment for a visa interview at the US Embassy in Nigeria via this link: https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/?country=Nigeria
It may not be possible for candidates to schedule appointments before the commencement date in their choice institutions due to the high demand for appointments. If this is the case, candidates are advised to contact their school and get an official permission to commence at a date after their interview appointment. This permission should be officially written and the document brought along to the interview.
If for any reason you were not granted a visa after your interview you are not allowed to schedule another appointment until after 7 days.
Relevant Documents you need to come with to the interview
- SEVIS fee receipt
- The GT Bank receipt (for the $160 visa application fee)
- One color passport (5cm x 5cm) photograph not more than 6 months
- International passport valid for at least six months
- Confirmation page of the DS-160 online nonimmigrant visa application form
- Endorsed, valid I-20
Applicants are to report on the day of their appointment for a visa interview at the following addresses;
US Embassy in Abuja :
Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, Abuja
Consular Section, Lagos (Visas)
2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos
Telephone: (234)-1-460-3400, 460-3600