Nigerian visa for American visitors: Aregbesola orders fees reduction

Nigerian visa for American visitors: Aregbesola orders fees reduction

Thursday, August 29, 2019 12:06 pm

Rauf Aregbesola: Minister of Interior


Rauf Aregbesola, the new Minister of Interior, has directed that Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, should implement the reduction of visa fees to American applicants from today, Thusday, 29 August.

In other words, from today the Federal Government approved a reduction in visa charges payable by United States citizens from $180 to $150.

It was reported on this platform yesterday that if you, a Nigerian citizen, “want to travel to the United States, be prepared to pay more fees for visa from 29 August. The total fee to be paid by an applicant is now N99,789 as against N59,200 in the past. In other words, N40,700 reciprocity fee has now been added in addition to the non-immigrant visa application fee, also known as the Machine Readable Visa fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application.”

Everything turned out as a tit-for-tat drama! What caused the visa fees hike on the part of the US was the pussyfooting disposition of Nigeria. According to US Department of State: “Since early 2018, the US government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government change the fees charged US citizens for certain visa categories.

“After 18 months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for US citizen visa applicants, requiring the US Department of State to enact new reciprocity fees in accordance with our visa laws.”

The reciprocity fee, as The Punch puts it, is applicable for all approved applications for non-immigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications, the US embassy said in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

It said Nigerians whose applications for a non-immigrant visa were denied would, however, not be charged the new reciprocity fee. The mission explained that both reciprocity and MRV fees were non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification. In addition, if an applicant’s application has been granted before the increase in fees but failed to collect it before the new rate takes effect, he or she will pay the N99,789 at the point and time of collection.

An explanation on the Department of State website, stated that non-immigrant visa applicants from certain countries might be required to pay a visa issuance fee after the approval of their application.

The statement said, “These fees are based on the principle of reciprocity: when a foreign government imposes fees on the US citizens for certain types of visas, the United States will impose a reciprocal fee on citizens of that country or area of authority for similar types of visas.
“Nationals of a number of countries worldwide are currently required to pay this type of fee after their non-immigrant visa application is approved.
The US further stated that reciprocity fee would be required for all Nigerian citizens worldwide, regardless of where they were applying for a non-immigrant visa to the United States.
“The fee can only be paid at the US Embassy or the US Consulate General. The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location,” the mission added.

Applicants are required to pay $110 for B1, B2, B1/B2; F1 and F2 while H1B and H4 visas attract $180. I visa applicants will pay $210 while L1,L2 applicants will pay $303 and R1 and R2 $80

Concerning the accusation the US State Department hurled at Nigeria, the Ministry of Interior, in a statement by its spokesman, Mohammed Manga, said a committee set up to conduct due diligence in line with the ministry’s extant policy on reciprocity of visa fees had earlier engaged with the US embassy on the issue, adding that the implementation of its recommendations was delayed due to “transition processes in the ministry at the policy level.”

It said, “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.

“The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has approved the decrease of visa charges payable by the US citizens in line with reciprocity policy as recommended by the committee.

“Accordingly, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, has been directed to implement the decrease in Nigeria’s visa charges to the US Citizens with effect from August, 29, 2019.”

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