I hold a Nigerian passport but I have never had the chance to apply for a US visit visa (B1/B2) in my home country. It can be nerve-racking for first-time applicants especially for people holding similar passports like myself. I applied for my first US visa in the United Kingdom and another in Canada. I did not qualify for a drop box renewal in Canada because I wasn’t applying from the same country as my previous application. Both times, I have applied by myself and my visa was approved. Read all about other travel tips for applying for a Canadian student visa.
The US visa application is a two-part process which costs $160. There are other charges may include issuance fee which solely based on your nationality. The first step is filling the DS-160 form which requires your bio-data information. The second step is booking an appointment with the US embassy.
Visa requirements and situations vary from country to country, as location privilege plays a part in my success rate. There is extra scrutiny for Nigerians applying in Nigeria. Dropbox application has been suspended indefinitely in Nigeria which means everyone has to go through the US application process as a first timer.
APPLYING AS A STUDENT OUTSIDE YOUR HOME COUNTRY
Applying as a student in your temporary country residence gives you a location privilege. The requirements for students in both countries are somewhat the same – letter of invitation, financial statement, proof of enrollment, a previous passport with a US visa (if any).
On applying in Canada, 3 days to my US appointment I received about 3 emails from the embassy requesting additional requirements to include with my application. The additional requirements were a passport photograph, proof of legal status in Canada (Study Permit/ Permanent Residence), letter of employment, transcript and my resume. It felt like someone had look through my application ahead and tailored the requirements needed for my status which was really helpful.
On approaching the consulate in both countries, I was asked the following questions:
UK Consulate Canadian Consulate: “What School are you in?” “Do you have your study permit?” “What year are you in?” “Can I have a look?” “Do you have any proof of enrollment?” “What are you studying?” “Who is paying your tuition?” “What state are you going to?” “Who are you going to visit?” “Who are you going to see in the US? ” “What state are you going?” "Who is paying your school fees?” “Who is paying for this trip?” “Do you have a part-time job?” “Do you have any financial proof?” “Where do you work?”
- It is important to highlight people do get denied if they do not have strong ties to the country of temporary residence you are applying from. For instance, if you are a student less than 18 with no part-time job in Canada, it will be hard to convince the consulate you will return.
- As a student, ensure your legal documentation in your temporary country of residence is not expiring in less than 6 months from your application date.
General Tips For Applying For US Tourist Visa
- Do not lie on your application
- Prepare for your interview – research on the state you are visiting and know your purpose of travel
- Only include you have a family member in your application if there is a direct relationship you can explain. It is typical for Africans to call people who are older than them Uncle and Aunty, if they are not related to your parents do not include such relationships in your application. Acceptable relationships – Uncle, Aunty, Cousin, Sibling. The consulate officer may ask you to explain the relationship and if you can’t it may lead to a refusal.
- If you are less than 18 making an application by yourself, you will be asked a lot of questions
- Do not disclose you have purchased a ticket during your interview.
- Travel History – take along your old passport that shows your travel history.
- Gather your documents – Financial Proof, Letter of Invitation, Evidence of employment, letter that states the purpose of your travel.
- Proof you will return to your country – a job, family, letter of enrollment, property and investment
- Be ready for the most ridiculous question that possibly may not relate to your application, they are just waiting for you to say something you are not supposed to say.
With all that being said, there is a new regulation that applicants will submit their social media information and I cannot say how this will impact your US interview.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS SOLELY BASED ON MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. THESE TIPS DO NOT GUARANTEE YOUR VISA SUCCESS AS SITUATIONS DIFFER COMPLETELY.