As many as two out of every three Nigerian candidates for US F1 visas had their applications rejected in 2022, marking a record high.
Many have received denials more than once, some even up to four times, according to Salmaan Faraaz, the Associate Director of International Enrollment at Northeastern University.
The denial rates for students in the Sub-Saharan Africa region are generally trending low, according to other study-abroad advisors.
Causes of visa denials:
According to data from Open Doors, there were 14,438 Nigerian and 4,916 Ghanaian students in the US in 2022, an increase from 12,860 and 4,229 students in 2021. However, Faraaz claims that consulate officials
“have often highlighted concerns over student finances, forged documents, missing strong ties to home country, and students not being well prepared for US education”.
Additionally, it is more difficult for others to obtain visas due to the large number of Nigerian students in the US who refuse to return home after their visas for the US expire.
Several regional educational agents were interviewed about the causes they believed were given for visa denials.
The main problems, according to a consultant at Seed Educational Consulting, are that many students from Sub-Saharan Africa either have an uncle as their sponsor, are older than is necessary for undergrad studies, cannot explain their gap years, or cannot explain why they are enrolling in the program they did.
In fact, topics that resounded with counselors included presenting proof of solid family ties, receiving enough support from parents or other primary caregivers, and being able to elaborate on reasons for selecting particular colleges and fields of study.
The sure way to a successful visa application:
Princewill Attai, a Senior Consultant at AECC, counseled students to seek scholarships or tuition discounts which may help to increase their chances of a straightforward visa process that will end in approval. He said:
“Some consultants may have a subconscious impression that students from the Sub-Saharan region aren’t financially capable which is a valid reason but with a scholarship, their worries will lighten.”
He advises applicants to be very educated about their program of study, including the modules, the program’s top five courses, the program director, lecturers, etc.
Finally, he emphasized that rather of repeating themselves, applicants should be able to connect their reasons for pursuing a degree in the US to their educational history and experiences. Instead, it is preferable to connect each response made during the interview to a relatable, compelling tale.
Students are advised by a senior managing consultant at Come Study International to do a thorough study and to attempt to provide justification for all of their answers because no one will give those answers.