US govt retaliates FG’s policy, imposes new visa charges on Nigerians

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ABUJA— In what appears to be a retaliatory move, the United States government has announced a hike in price for all classes of visa for Nigerians, effective August 29, 2019.

In a statement, yesterday, the US Embassy in Nigeria decried the cost of visa imposed on US citizens visiting Nigeria, saying it was currently higher than the total cost of visa for Nigerians visiting the US.

But spokesperson to the Ministry of Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, said in a reaction to the US government’s action that the decision to increase visa fee didn’t emanate from the ministry but the Immigration Service.

“I am aware that single entry for three months visa for US citizens is $100, while 12 months is $270,” he said. However, the US government said the new reciprocity fee for Nigerian citizens was meant to eliminate the cost difference between that charged by Nigeria and US. The embassy statement read:

“Since early 2018, the US government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government changed the fees charged to 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 will be required for all Nigerian citizens worldwide, regardless of where they are applying for a non-immigrant 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 US Embassy or the US Consulate General.

The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location. “Effective worldwide on August 29, 2019, 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.

“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.

‘’US law requires US visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to US citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible.’’

It explained further that visa issuance fees were implemented under the principle of reciprocity when a foreign government imposes additional visa fees on US citizens, the United States will impose reciprocal fees on citizens of that country for similar types of visas.

“For class B1, the reciprocity fee is $110; B2 ($110); B1/B2 ($110); F1 ($110); F2 ($110); H1B ($180); H4 ($180); I ($210), L1 and L2 ($303); R1 and R2 ($80),” it read further.

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