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Why US denied visas to 71% of Nigerian students in 2022

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Why US denied visas to 71% of Nigerian students in 2022

Story from Christine TOBECHUKWU

A report by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration titled ‘Shorelight’ revealed that the United States had denied 71 per cent of students in Nigeria and other West African countries visas in 2022.

According to the report, West Africa had the highest visa refusal rate on the continent in 2022.

Central Africa had a refusal rate of 61 per cent, Northern Africa had a refusal rate of 49 per cent, Eastern Africa had a refusal of 48 per cent, and Southern Africa had a rate of 16 per cent.

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The report also noted that “The visa denial rates for Southern Africa are among the lowest in the world, paralleling those of Europe.

“If Southern Africa is excluded from the mix, the denial rate for the rest of Africa increases to 57 per cent as compared with 54 per cent overall.”

The Alliance of American College and University Leaders, reports that data from MPOWER Financing for international students who obtain financing to study in the U.S. also revealed a similar pattern.

It stated that of the 3,000 students from Sub-Saharan Africa admitted for graduate studies to a top U.S. university in 2022, only about 60 per cent were granted a student visa to the US despite being admitted and having secured the required funding.

It noted that this translated to a denial rate of 40 per cent, compared to 30 per cent for India, and 10 per cent for students from China and Brazil.

Responding to the challenges and difficulty that arises in the course of trying to obtain a US visa from Nigeria, the alliance says,

“MPOWER further reports that first-hand accounts from African students suggest a range of barriers related to the visa interview process, from securing visa interview slots in the first place to having to travel to a second country due to the unavailability of adequate interview slots in Nigerian cities, and to ultimately being held to a higher standard by U.S. immigration authorities than their peers from other emerging markets.”

The alliance argued that while there have been concerns about fraud, many students are actually victims, rather than perpetrators of fraud.

It said the high visa denial rates had reportedly resulted in African students falling victim to con schemes by fraudulent actors who offer false guarantees for securing a visa.

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