By Enyichukwu Enemanna
No fewer than 150,000 Nigerians in 2023 applied for visas of the United States, in addition to 30,000 student visa applicants, the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Nigeria, Mr David Greene, disclosed on Sunday.
The period covers January to November of this year.
He said, “When it comes to visas specifically, well of course it is a simple fact, the demand for visa appointments outnumbers the supply.
“So, those appointments are available and we are doing everything we can to address that gap. What folks do not know is that this year we have interviewed more than 150,000 Nigerians”, Greene stated in an interview with government-owned News Agency of Nigeria.
Greene while stating that the applicants have been interviewed, expressed the readiness of the mission to tackling all visa-related bottlenecks.
There has been mass exodus from the country, especially among the youth population, arising from escalating cost-of-living crisis, growing inflation and loss of jobs as industries close shops due to precarious economic environment of the West African country.
Various sectors of the economy, especially health and education are currently witnessing brain drain as most qualified doctors have opted to leave the country due to poor pay and security concerns.
University lecturers are also moving out of the country in droves, a development that has left students frustrated, leaving them with the option of seeking education overseas.
Greene added, “This is in addition to 30,000 students. Hundreds of thousands of students have had the opportunity to seek visas from the U.S.
“We are doing the best we can to get proper ways for all the categories and after having an enormous backlog as a result of COVID-19, and all that.
“We have made great progress though. In March we instituted a five-year term for visas to the U.S.”
He urged persons desiring to travel to the U.S. to apply early and ensure that the visa requests were tied to events.
“Folks that are seeking visas should apply early, make sure that the plan is for an event as they can.
“This is because we do acknowledge that there is a backlog and we will do what we can to make sure people who need a warrant visa to the U.S. can get them,” he said.