Home » Africa: Frustration Grows as 31% of Nigerian Students Encountered F-1 US Education Visa Denials in 2022

Africa: Frustration Grows as 31% of Nigerian Students Encountered F-1 US Education Visa Denials in 2022

by Atqnews
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Several Nigerian students aiming to pursue their education in the United States have encountered setbacks as their applications for F-1 visas were denied, according to BusinessDay’s investigation.

According to businessday.ng, The visa denials have left some students in a funk as they also lamented the financial losses caused by the development.

A 24-year-old writer seeking to improve her skills through a postgraduate programme in creative writing was denied a US visa earlier this year.

The student, who declined to be identified, said she provided the necessary documents, which qualified her for an interview.

READ: News: US Embassy gives conditions for Nigerian students to renew visa without interview, Says physical presence required

“I was shocked when I was handed the rejection slip. The first thing that came to my mind was the disappointment this posed for my parents. After the time and expenses invested, it still was a failure,” Kike said.

She told BusinessDay that she had done everything she needed to do and provided all the necessary information for the interview to go well. She was just waiting for the green light to buy her flight ticket.

“I had looked up past interviews and prepared my answers because this meant a lot to me,” she said. “We were already making plans. To us, it seemed like a sure thing. After all, it’s just a student visa, and I was excited to continue my education there. I even got a great opportunity for a part-time job through a graduate assistantship program. You can imagine how much that would add to my experience once I finished my master’s programme.”

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Kike said she had paid $350 for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System fee and N67,200 for the US Embassy visa fee.

“After I had provided all these, and my responses during the interview, the interviewer simply looked at me and handed me the denial letter. I was shocked to get such a letter from the embassy,” she said. “Beyond the embarrassment of being rejected, I felt a profound sense of hopelessness for my future.

Chinaza Ofodum also experienced a visa rejection in 2022, which she described as “demoralising”.

“It was disheartening. Even though I had all the required documents, I still faced rejection. To be honest, I’m still perplexed by the reasons behind it,” she said.

Student visa applications are increasingly being denied by the US, according to research, with African applicants the least likely to be let in, according to a recent report by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.

“More than 92,000 potentially qualified African students were denied visas between 2015 and 2022,” it said.

The report revealed that the refusal rate in West Africa was 71 per cent compared to just 16 per cent in southern Africa.

It said 31 per cent of applications for F-1 student visas were refused in 2022 – a “significant” increase from 23 per cent in 2015.

Rajika Bhandari, senior adviser at the Presidents’ Alliance, said the low acceptance rates for African students were a “missed opportunity” for the US because excluding potentially qualified and interested students runs counter to the country’s need to attract global talent.

“Turning away such large numbers of African students also limits the ability of US colleges and universities to benefit from a diverse population of international students,” she added.

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