Why waste money on visa agents when you can apply for your student visa yourself? To help you actualize this, I have compiled a straight practice list that summarises the basic steps you need in order to apply for a student visa.
- First, you must make an appointment for a visa interview by logging on to the CGI appointment system (see link below) or by calling the CGI call center at 01-440-6218. You have to schedule your visa appointments before they receive their I-20 forms but must bring the I-20 forms with them on the day of their interviews. The United States Mission to Nigeria reserves appointment slots every day for student visa applicants and responds to requests for expedited appointments during peak student visa seasons to ensure they will be able to apply well in advance of the start of their studies.
- Once the applicant has made a visa appointment, he or she should gather all supporting documents and forms (see list below), and bring them to the interview.
Here are the list of supporting documents you need:
- A barcoded confirmation page for the DS-160 online non-immigrant visa application form (for all applicants). The confirmation page can be obtained only after applicants complete and submit the DS-160 over the Internet. Applicants should answer all questions completely and digitally sign the DS-160 before submission. The DS-160 and instructions for completing it can be found on the Consular Electronic Application Center.
- Endorsed, valid I-20 (for students)
- DS-2019 (for exchange visitors)
- International passport valid for at least six months
- One color passport (5cm x 5cm) photograph with full face forward against a white background taken within the last six months. Hair must not cover the ears. No photos with dark glasses or non-religious, tribal, or chieftaincy head coverings will be permitted.
- The GT Bank receipt (for the $160 visa application fee).
- CGI appointment service charge receipt
- SEVIS fee receipt
- Any supporting documents the applicant feels are needed to establish his or her strong economic, social or other ties to Nigeria. However, please note that for student visas, officers are trained to primarily rely on interviews in lieu of documentation. As such, it is not unusual for few or no documents to be requested during the interview.
- You also should be prepared to provide financial evidence demonstrating your ability or your sponsor’s ability to pay for tuition and living expenses.
3. You will need the SEVIS number on your I-20 or DS-2019 form to complete your DS-160 online nonimmigrant visa application form. Please wait until you receive your I-20 or DS-2019 before attempting to submit a DS-160 form over the Internet.
- All student applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee before the visa interview can be conducted (see details below).
- Once the payment is made, it takes approximately one week for the payment to be processed and appear as paid in the visa system. Applicants who appear for an interview prior to the completed processing of their SEVIS payment will not be interviewed and will be asked to return once the payment has been processed.
- Applicants are strongly encouraged to pay the SEVIS fee at least one week prior to their scheduled interview to ensure that the payment is processed in time. The status of the SEVIS payment can be checked online.
- You are strongly encouraged to retain possession of their original I-20. Please bring both your original I-20 and a photocopy of your I-20 to the visa interview. You must only leave a copy of your I-20 with your visa application.
- You must appear at the consular gate on the date and time of their appointment. Before the date of the appointment, applicants who wish to reschedule may do so up to two times for free.