By John Ikani
The United States (US) mission in Nigeria has announced that Nigerians currently studying in the United States on F1 or academic J1 visa may be eligible to renew their student visas without an interview when they return to Nigeria over the winter break.
The F-1 student visa refers to a non-immigrant visa that allows international students to enter the US and study at institutions certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The J-1 exchange visitor visa, on the other hand, is for educational and cultural exchange programmes designated by the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The US mission in a statement on Wednesday stated that to qualify for the procedure, eligible students “must be physically in Nigeria, renewing a student visa that is still valid or has expired within the past 24 months and are renewing your visa either to: (a) continue participation in the same major course of study even if at a different institution; or (b) attend the same institution even if in a different major course of study.”
The statement went on to note that by scheduling a no-interview student visa renewal appointment, “you’ll be able to drop off your passport at a DHL location in Lagos, on a date and time you schedule using the Consulate’s online booking system.”
The Consulate reiterated that the U.S. Mission in Nigeria is committed to returning passports within two weeks from the appointment date, adding that it will prioritise any required follow-up interviews.
It added, “To schedule a no-interview student visa renewal appointment go to www.ustraveldocs.com/ng and follow the instructions.
“On the day and time of your scheduled appointment, visit a designated DHL facility to drop off your application with the following documents: A printout of your submission letter (printed from www.ustraveldocs.com/ng).
“A DS-160 completed in the last six months. An approved I-20. A receipt for your I-901 SEVIS fee.
“Your passport containing the expired student visa (if that passport has expired, a current valid passport must be included) and A passport photograph taken in the last six months meeting these requirements.”
“Applicants who do not meet the above criteria should visit and schedule a regular appointment at www.ustraveldocs.com/ng.
“If someone in your family or group does not meet the qualifications above, they must schedule a regular appointment. Each applicant must meet the qualifications individually. For instance, we cannot accept a renewal for a child if the parent is the only one who qualifies under the guidelines. In that case, the child would need to schedule an appointment and come to the Embassy or Consulate for an interview.
“To remove a dependent that does not qualify for a student renewal from your profile, please follow these steps: Log in to the primary applicant’s profile, Click New Scheduling Appointment, Follow the steps until your reach Step 6.
“At Step 6, check for the dependent’s information and click “x” to remove the dependent from the primary applicants’ profile.”
The statement added, “Scheduled applicants who qualify for the no-interview student visa renewal based on the above criteria can cancel their appointments and re-apply at this link. During the rescheduling process, you will be asked questions confirming eligibility for the student renewal program and be provided instructions on how to submit the application through the document delivery center.
“If you do not qualify for a no-interview student visa renewal, please do not cancel your appointment.”