A US visa reciprocity fee imposed on Nigerians has been removed. The news has been welcomed by the Nigerian government following a wave of US visa sanctions imposed on the African nation. In October, Workpermit.com reported that Nigeria had been hit by a US green card lottery ban.
A statement issued by Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, said that the removal of the US visa reciprocity fee came into effect on December 3. He said: “The ministry of foreign affairs wishes to inform that the United States government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the United States.”
“The positive development is in line with the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian government,” Mr Nwonye added.
In August 2019, the US government ordered that visa application costs should be risen for Nigerians. The US explained that it was increasing fees for Nigerians to match the fees that Americans were charged for visas to Nigeria.
At the time, the US Embassy in Nigeria said: “The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the non-immigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application.”
“Nigerian citizens whose applications for a non-immigrant visa are denied will not be charged the new reciprocity fee. Both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification,” the US Embassy added.
The USA’s decision to impose reciprocity fees stemmed from two years of failed negotiations with the Nigerian government through the African nation’s Foreign Affairs and Interior ministries. The fees were implemented in accordance with Section 281 of America’s Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Back in 2019, the US Embassy stated that until the Nigerian government requested a reduction in the US visa fee, reciprocity fees for approved visas for the US would remain in place.
Just hours after the US raised its visa application fees, Nigeria’s government caved to US demands and reduced its own visa application fee.
In a statement issued by Mohammed Manga, the spokesman for Nigerian interior minister, Rauf Aregbesola, said: “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.”
Nigerian-US relations complicated
Under the Trump administration, Nigeria has faced several US visa sanctions. In July, 2019, the African nation’s hopes of accessing US E1 and E2 visas was dealt a blow as Trump cracked down on Nigeria following its general election in February of the same year.
Meanwhile, back in 2017, many Africans – including Nigerians – were refused US B1 and B2 visit visas for the African Trade Summit hosted in the US.
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