U.S Imposes New Visa Charges On Nigerians, Blames FG For Decision

US Embassy Suspends ‘Dropbox’ Process For Visa Renewals In Nigeria
Photo: [email protected]

 

The United States has increased the cost of visa application for Nigerians.

The US Consulate announced this in a statement issued on Thursday, explaining that it was “reciprocating” the extra visa fee the Nigerian government charges American citizens.

According to the statement, Nigerians will be required to pay a fee called visa ‘issuance fee’, or ‘reciprocity fee’, for all applications for nonimmigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications.

The issuance/reciprocity fee is different from the application fees as this will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee.

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The fees, however, are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification.

“The reciprocity fee will be required for all Nigerian citizens worldwide, regardless of where they are applying for a nonimmigrant visa to the United States.

“The reciprocity fee is required for each visa that is issued, which means both adults and minors whose visa applications are approved will be charged the reciprocity fee.

“The fee can only be paid at the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulate General.  The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location,” the statement read in part.

Under this new policy, Nigerian citizens whose applications for a nonimmigrant visa are denied will not be charged the new reciprocity fee.

Find below, the complete reciprocity fee schedule, organised by visa classification.

ClassReciprocity Fee
B1$110
B2$110
B1/B2$110
F1

F2

$110

$110

H1B

H4

$180

$180

I$210
L1

L2

$303

$303

R1

R2

$80

$80

 

The new fees take effect from August 29, 2019.

Blaming its decision on the Nigerian government, the US Consulate added that the US government had earlier in 2018 engaged the Nigerian government to change the fees charged US citizens for Nigeria visa.

“The total cost for a U.S. citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria is currently higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States.  The new reciprocity fee for Nigerian citizens is meant to eliminate that cost difference.

“Since early 2018, the U.S. government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government change the fees charged to U.S. citizens for certain visa categories.  After eighteen months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for U.S. citizen visa applicants, requiring the U.S. Department of State to enact new reciprocity fees in accordance with our visa laws.

US Willing To Discuss New Visa Policy With Nigeria

Nigeria Passport and US visa policyThe US has expressed its willingness to discuss a new visa policy with Nigeria.

Addressing a conference in Abuja on Thursday, the Country Consular Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Williams Laidlaw, said the US government will discuss with Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs with focus on extending the two year reciprocity agreement, where it provides two year visas with six months entry on arrival, to Nigerians.

He, however, said the new visa policy would be possible only after Nigerian Embassies abroad and the Nigerian immigration officials consistently give Americans two-year visas with six months entry on arrival.

For some Nigerians, getting an American visa can be a nerve-racking experience.

Almost on a daily basis many Nigerians, who apply for US visas in the country, are denied visas.

But getting a US visa, need not be a dreaded activity.

According to officials of the US Embassy, while some Nigerians are denied visas, many are successful in getting visas.

The Consular Chief, US Embassy, Stacie Hankins, took Channels Television on a tour of the embassy, listing the processes visa applicants go through.

After the reporters were taken round the Embassy, Mr Laidlaw spoke about the possibility of extending the time frame for visas.

The US Embassy processes 400 visas per working day in Abuja and 900 visas in Lagos.

This is aside the 100 visa applications by those who apply by drop-box per day.

United States Condemns Suspected Boko Haram Attack In Gumsuri

United StatesThe United States has condemned the attack on the village of Gumsuri, reported to have been perpetrated by Boko Haram, that took place on December 14.

The Nigerian military sources confirmed at least 16 dead, including the Chief Imam of the village.

A statement by the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of the United States of America in Abuja, read: “We are aware of reports from persons who fled the scene of the attack that suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 100 women and children and killed 35 people during a Sunday raid on the remote village in north-east Nigeria, but we are not in a position to confirm the details.

“We abhor such violence, which continues to take a terrible toll on the people of Nigeria, and we extend our condolences to the victims and their families.

“Boko Haram has shown no regard for human life. This year alone, it has murdered thousands of innocent people in vicious attacks on schools, churches, and mosques, and its attacks have resulted in displacement of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians.”

The statement added that the United States Government remained “committed to helping the government of Nigeria address the threat posed by violent extremist organizations and its efforts to find and free the girls abducted in Chibok and all others who have been abducted”.

FG Not Doing Enough To Stop Corruption – U.S. Diplomat

The United States Assistant Secretary of State, African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has berated the level of corruption in Nigeria with the view that the political class is not doing enough to stop it.

Speaking on the Saturday edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise’, Ms Greenfield said “This is something that embarrasses all Nigerians, I know.”

“Given the fact that corruption has been pervasive in Nigeria for so many years; I think additional political will is required to address the issue.”

Probed further by Anchor, Kayode Akintemi, she said whatever effort that is currently being made by the Nigerian government “is not cutting it, and it is not cutting it in many places in Africa, not just in Nigeria, and it is a deterrent to investments coming into this country.”

“I know that there are people who want to invest but they changed their minds because they get pushed in a different direction because of corruption.”

She went on to state examples of corrupt practises ongoing in Nigeria, that the US government is aware of, stating that it was a conversation that the US government has had with Nigeria for many years that Nigeria ought to be “the African tiger in terms of economic growth” but one thing that is holding it back is corruption.

She stressed that she knew Nigeria quite well, having been studying the country since her first visit in 1978, in addition to her experience in foreign service on the African continent, and corruption had always been an issue.

Ms Greenfield added that the issues of corruption are not for the American government to deal with on behalf of Nigeria, but the country would have to make its own efforts.