Student visa: British high commissioner calls for early application, says UKVI under pressure

The British High Commission says student visa applications are currently taking an average of five weeks due to “enormous pressure” in its processing system.

Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria, said this in a video shared on the commission’s Twitter page.

Laing recommended that Nigerian students who intend to study in the United Kingdom in September 2022 should apply for visas as early as possible to avoid delays.

She disclosed that 96 percent of Nigerians who applied for student visas were granted those visas.

My message is directed to those of you who are planning to study this academic year, September 2022,” she said.

“The UK is a fabulous place to study. Our academic qualifications are recognised globally as the best, and we welcome students from around the globe and in particular from Nigeria because we want the brightest and best.

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“We have a transparent point-based system, and 96 percent of Nigeria who applied for student visas are granted those visas.

But my message this morning is please, help us to help you by applying much earlier than you think you need for your visa this year.

“In previous years, it might have been okay to apply in August for a visa to start your studies in September. This year, that’s going to be much, much too late.

“So, I appreciate that some of you may still be getting your paperwork together, your confirmation of acceptance of studies, your requirement for TB clearance, and of course, your exam results.

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“But there is other paperwork that you can be starting to put together so that you have everything together in one package so you can just press ‘go’ as soon as all the paperwork is complete.

“The reason for this is that UKVI, our visa immigration processing system is under enormous pressure. You will all be aware of the horrible humanitarian situation in Ukraine, and we’ve had to prioritise processing visas for the people trying to get out of that horrible war zone.

“That means we’ve had to pause our priority and super-priority visa processing systems. So, it’s really really imperative that you get your paperwork together as soon as possible and you apply as early as you can.

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So, please help us to help you, to make sure you get to the UK in September for your studies which is going to be fabulous. We want you to have a wonderful time studying in the UK.

“There is going to be lots of information over the coming weeks and months on our social media channels, on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and our hashtag is #UKnaijaStudent2022. So, look out for further information.”

Between March 2020 to March 2022, a total of 58,887 study visas were granted, up from 17,366 in March 2021.

According to the commission, Nigeria had the third-highest nationalities granted UK-sponsored study visas after China and India, as of March 2022.

A student visa in Nigeria costs about $486 (N199,260).

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