Africa: Nigerian succumbs to US pressure, reduces Visa fee for Citizens

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The Nigerian government has approved the decrease of Visa charges payable by US citizens coming to Nigeria.

This followed the moved by the United States embassy in the country to increase its visa cost for Nigerians all over the world seeking to travel to the United States.

According to a press release from the ministry of interior, signed by Director Press & Public Relations, Mohammed Manga on behalf of the Minister, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, he said the ministry acknowledges that there were engagements with the United States Embassy on the issue adding that a Committee was set up to conduct due diligence in line with the Ministry’s extant policy on reciprocity of Visa fees.

The minister stated that the Committee had concluded its assignment and submitted a report but the issuance of authorisation for its recommendations was delayed due to transition processes in the Ministry at the policy level.

He said: “The Honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has approved the decrease of Visa charges payable by US citizens in line with reciprocity policy as recommended by the Committee.

Accordingly, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, has been directed to implement the decrease in Nigeria’s Visa charges to US Citizens to USD 150 with effect from Thursday, 29th August, 2019.”

The United embassy on its website had earlier said, effective August 29, Nigerian citizens will be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, for all approved applications for non-immigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications.

Nigerians applying for tourism, student and business visas will not only pay the N59, 200 fee but will have to pay an extra $110 (N40, 700) after the visa has been issued to them bringing the total cost to N99, 900.
However, applicants who are denied visas would not need to pay the extra N40, 700.

According to the punchng.com, applicants seeking the L1 Visa (work permit) will pay an extra N112, 100 if given visas while those applying for H4 Visa (dependency/spousal) will pay an extra N66, 600.

The US Embassy adopts the rate of N370/$1 for Nigerians which is higher than both the official rate and the black market rate.

The increment also comes amid complaints from hundreds of Nigerian visa applicants that they had not been able to secure US visa appointment dates despite making payments for visas.

The embassy said in a statement that the increment was done based on reciprocity.

It lamented that Americans were paying too much to secure Nigerian visas and thus the US government decided to retaliate.

The US embassy said it had been holding talks with the Nigerian government to reduce the fee but the Federal Government refused to accede to its requests.

The directive comes less than four months after the US cancelled the drop box system for Nigerian visa applicants which used to allow Nigerians who have a travel history to the US to apply for visas without going for interviews at the embassy.

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