Getting your visa approved by foreign embassies is an important first step when planning to travel abroad. The application process is usually a mountain to surmount and many Nigerians struggle to secure foreign visas every day. A large number of Nigerians want to travel abroad for different reasons such as:
- To search for better employment opportunities;
- To pursue their studies;
- For vacation
And most commonly to search for ‘greener pastures’! The visa application process is quite tedious, and every application is assessed rigorously and decisions are based on various merits. According to The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs,
“Supporting documents are only one of many factors a consular officer will consider in your interview. Consular officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors during adjudication. Consular officers may look at your specific intentions, family situation, and your long-range plans and prospects within your country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.”
During an interview by Vanguard Nigeria in May 2015, The U.S. Mission in Nigeria says that no fewer than 220,000 Nigerians applied for non-immigrant visas in 2014.
The Chief Consular Officer of the U.S. Embassy, Ms Stacie Hankins said its Consular Section approved 66 percent of tourist visa applications.
She also said the U.S. Mission received more than 138,578 applications for non-immigrant travel to the U.S. for the 2015 fiscal year, which started in October 2014.
In this line, an Information obtained from Herald Nigeria indicates that there was a total of 202,267 visa applications, from which the US embassy made about $32.4million. Of these, 65, 858 applications were denied, yielding a denial rate of 32.56%.
Below Is a Photo That Shows US Visa Application Information of Various African Countries:
In many instances, the visa application is denied for reasons ranging from the mistake made by an agent, inability to explain the source of funds, no travel history, lack of home ties and false information etc. Most times, it discourages Nigerians from making their desired trip since a visit to many foreign countries will require a visa, especially outside Africa.
Fortunately, Travelstart Nigeria will be revealing 7 secrets on how to get your visa approved by foreign embassies in Nigeria:
1. Sufficient Funds
The pattern and consistency of inflow and outflow of funds recorded in your account are one of the most credible evidence that embassies rely on to justify giving you a visa. Apart from having sufficient funds, it is essential that it can be traced to a reliable source. If there is a sudden surge of funds in your account, that is not consistent with the average pattern over the previous 12 months, then you need to explain it. One of the criteria according to The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs state that your bank statement must reflect you can cater for your expenses while in the United States.
2. Avoid Mistakes in the Visa Application
Ensure you write your answer clearly or type them in with a clear font. Avoid run-on sentences, jargons and slang or big grammar and ambiguous phrases. Adequate and precise filling of DS 160 Online form (Nonimmigrant Visa Application form) on http://www.ustraveldocs.com/. Try to keep your responses short, simple and straight to the point. In case, there is an interview make sure your answers correspond to what is written on the forms submitted. This can increase your chance of getting your visa approved immediately
3. Do Not Give False Information
When you apply for a visa, make sure it contains no misrepresentation of fact in either the application itself or the supporting documents. Document fraud is typically discovered at the consulate when the foreign national goes in for the visa interview. If you submit fraudulent documents, such as a fake passport, educational degree, or something else, it can result in permanent visa ineligibility.
4. Be Confident When Answering Your Questions
Have an interesting interaction ability with the Consular Officer, no panicking, no fidgeting, no desperate appearance or tone, avoid lengthy responses. Try to be concise and precise. Try to be confident when responding to questions from the Consular officer, even if you are not entirely sure. The reason is because once you communicate your uneasy feeling to the interviewer, they may become suspicious of your answers. Most times, interviews that have gone smoothly can be ruined by one last weak and feeble answer by the applicant.
5. Good Appearance
Appearance is extremely important as it plays a supporting role. It supports your image and reflects that you intend on taking the interview seriously. Whether you look professional or sloppy could play a huge role to decide if you are suitable for the Visa. Appearance isn’t everything, but it’s important enough to consider as a priority. You don’t want to walk into the interview looking sloppy, try to look neat and professional. Decent attire reflects a positive outlook. Avoid too much makeup, and jewellery should be kept to a minimum. Avoid applying too much perfume and don’t chew gum. These are just a few apparent reasons that can lead to an unsuccessful outcome.
6. Clear Purpose of the Trip
Be precise on where you are going, especially the reason why you want to visit the country. If it’s for tourism or studies; also be sure of your length of stay, which is when you intend on travelling and your return date (back to your home country)
7. Strong Socio- Economic Ties
Using your last savings to embark on a vacation is questionable, instead prove that you have a strong economic reason ( i.e a good job, investments and sufficient funds) which are good reasons for you to return to your home country. According to the US Embassy, the 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which states:
“Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the officer, at the time of the application for a visa . . . that he is entitled to nonimmigrant status . . .”
Visa officers want to make sure that after your trip is over you will return to your home country. Hence officers want to see if there are compelling reasons in terms of strong ties you have with your home country. Show proof of “strong ties” that bind you to your country of residence. The Consular Officers conducting visa interviews look for proof that you will return to your country. Evidence of “strong ties” includes proof of economic ties, business ownership or employment, social and family relationships
Bonus #8: Ask Questions
If your agent or consultant does not ask you questions, you should ask them in order to familiarise yourself with what is inputted in the document, so in case there is an interview you can answer what is written on the form.
In conclusion, it is important to pay attention to your visa application, ask intelligent questions and in addition be confident!
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