Amid discussions to expand US visa validity for Nigerian nationals from two to 10 years, the US-Nigeria Trade Council has urged Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and US government officials to agree a bilateral treaty that would enable Nigerians to take advantage of the US E1 (nonimmigrant treaty trader) and E2 (nonimmigrant treaty investor) visa programs.
Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:
With the level of hostility shown by Trump towards immigration it seems unlikely that any new visa that will enable easier entry for Nigerians to the US will be allowed any time soon. Even under a more sympathetic US administration it could take years before anything happens. In the meantime in many cases the only options for long term work visas for the US for Nigerians will be the L1 visa or the H1B visa which is unavailable much of the time.
Following a recent visit to the US by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, the Council advised the United States and Nigeria to focus less on the ‘politics’ of the visit and instead, explore policies that would lower the barriers to trade and promote economic inclusion between both nations.
Commenting on existing visa policies between the two countries, the Council said: “The two years visa policy has led to long waiting times for US visas, and sometimes business opportunities are lost.”
US B1 and B2 visas
Similar to other US nonimmigrant visas, B1 and B2 visas are valid for a period of two years, but allows multiple entries into the United States form Nigeria. However, in a joint statement issued by Council president/CEO, Titus Olowokere, and Director of Marketing & Communications, Sennami Goziem, they said: “This should be extended to 10 years.”
“We call upon the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Ministry, as well as US Secretaries of State to expand this to 10 years. Currently, US visas issued from Australia are valid for 5 years, France 10 years, Kenya 5 years and little-known Kyrgyzstan, 5 years,” the pair added.
Agree a bilateral deal to access E1 and E2 visas
Meanwhile, the Council has called for Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to pursue trade and investor treaty deals with the United States, in a bid to access the highly coveted E1 treaty trader visa and E2 treaty investor program.
The Council said: “With the E1 and E2 treaty visa categories, the US welcomes those who perform a great deal of trade or investment in the United States and create value for the American economy through job creation and business growth. This is less complicated than the more known EB5 immigrant investor (green card) program.”
Under current US immigration laws, an E1 treaty trader visa enables foreign nationals of treaty countries to remain in the US indefinitely, provided the holder meets the conditions required by the E1 visa.
The US-Nigeria Trade Council argues that many Nigerians qualify for E1 and E2 visas because of their investment and trade in the United States. However, nationals must be from a country that has a treaty deal in place with the US. “Unfortunately, there is no such deal between Nigeria and the US,” the Council said.
According to the Council, Nigeria’s inclusion on the United States’ treaty deal list - which includes countries such as Argentina, Cameroon, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Liberia, Morocco, Senegal and Togo - is vital for Nigeria’s growth.
Nigeria one of America’s largest trading partners
The Council is calling for US president, Donald Trump and Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari to give priority to infrastructure development, especially in Nigeria where an infrastructure deficit exists.
“Nigeria is one of America’s biggest trading partners,” the Council said. Much of the existing trade between the two countries is for crude oil. However, for Nigeria to be considered a more worthwhile trading partner for the US, the Council argues that the country needs to export more non-oil products to the US.
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