The U.S. Mission in Nigeria will prioritize student visa applications for Nigerians to ensure they are interviewed for their visa applications in time for their programs start date this fall, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria said.
The embassy in Abuja and consulate general in Lagos will assist student visa applications in a timely fashion while observing safety procedures because of COVID-19, the embassy stated in a press release April 30.
"Time for me to bag that gender studies degree," student Justin Irabor tweeted about getting to study in the U.S.
"As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and customers, processing student visas remains a high priority for the U.S. Mission in Nigeria," said Susan Tuller, U.S. mission country consular coordinator in Nigeria.
Student visa appointments in May and June will be increased to accommodate as many students as possible.
"If your U.S. studies are scheduled to begin this fall, we encourage you to schedule your appointment as quickly as possible," Tuller said.
Tuller warned about using third-party services to book visa appointments - they may not provide accurate information or may ask for a processing fee. Students from Nigeria are required to pay a $160 fee for the F-1 application. Tuller directed students to U.S. Travel Docs for current information.
She also encouraged students to check out EducationUSA, a branch of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs (BCE), which promotes U.S. higher education at more than 400 student advising centers, typically at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.
Students who used EducationUSA services received scholarships worth $28 million in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of State (DOS).
"Both Nigeria and the United States benefit when Nigerian students study at one of our world-class educational institutions. To prepare for your U.S. educational opportunity, we encourage you to check out EducationUSA Advising Centers at our American Spaces in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan and Calabar, or at educationUSA.state.gov," Tuller said.
Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa, and Nigerian students earn more Ph.D.'s in the U.S. than any other nationality. It ranks 11th worldwide on the list among countries that send their students to the U.S., according to the DOS.
In the 2019-2020 academic year, Nigeria set a record for itself by sending 14,000 Nigerians to pursue graduate and undergraduate degrees in the U.S., bringing an estimated $501 million to communities across America, the DOS noted.
(Laura Scudder contributed to this story.)