In a belated reaction to the visa increase by the United States of America, Nigeria’s Federal Government has finally approved a reduction in visa charges payable by United States citizens coming to Nigeria. The new charge decreased from $180 to $160.
On Wednesday, which is the day the American embassy in Nigeria slated to kick start its new visa charges on Nigerian visa seekers, Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, explained that the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, had been directed to implement the decrease in the visa charges with immediate effect.
The United States embassy had said Nigerians applying for U.S visas would be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, with effect from August 29. The U.S Mission in Abuja had said the reciprocity fee would be charged, besides the non-immigrant visa application fee, also called the Machine Readable Visa fee, which all applicants pay. By the new policy, applicants are required to pay $110 for B1, B2, B1/B2; F1 and F2 while H1B and H4 visas attract $180. I visa applicants are to pay $210, while L1, L2 applicants will pay $303 and R1 and R2 $80.
The embassy further explained that both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification. In a statement by its Director Press, Mohammed Manga, the ministry said a committee set up to conduct due diligence in line with the ministry’s extant policy on reciprocity of visa fees had engaged the U.S Embassy on the issue. It added that the implementation of its recommendations was delayed due to “transition processes in the ministry at the policy level”.
According to the statement, “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, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, has approved the decrease of visa charges payable by U.S 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 U.S citizens with effect from August, 29.”