US Embassy visa hike sparks reactions among Nigerians

US Embassy visa hike sparks reactions among Nigerians

The United States Embassy in Nigeria on Tuesday defended it visa hike for Nigerian citizens applying for its visas. It adjustment which requires applicants to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, with effect from August 29, has however sparked reactions among Nigerians. The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the non-immigrant

The United States Embassy in Nigeria on Tuesday defended it visa hike for Nigerian citizens applying for its visas.

It adjustment which requires applicants to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, with effect from August 29, has however sparked reactions among Nigerians.

The reciprocity fee will be charged 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.

The reciprocity fee 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.

But, it clarified that 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.

An explanation on the Department of State website, travel.state.govstated 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.

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“Nationals of a number of countries worldwide are currently required to pay this type of fee after their non-immigrant visa application is approved.

 “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 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.

Meanwhile, some Nigerians have expressed mixed feelings following President Donald Trump’s announcement of “seriously” considering ending birthright citizenship for children born in America.

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Birthright citizenship in the U.S. is acquired by virtue of the circumstances of birth, contrasting with citizenship acquired in other ways, for example by naturalisation.

Mrs. Oyin John, a fashion designer, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja, said though she does not like the announcement, Trump has the right to take whatever decision he “feels is best for his Country.”

John, who had her first baby in the U.S. said the “top notch” health services of hospitals in the U.S. informed her preference to be delivered of her children there.

She said if Trump eventually succeeds, it could be a good omen for the Nigerian government to sit up and improve its healthcare system.

But Mrs. Biola Odebode, an Abuja-based businesswoman said it might not be easy for Trump to end birthright citizenship because the U.S. has been able to take advantage of birth tourism to generate huge revenue.

She also blamed Nigerians for misusing the opportunities offered by medical tourism.

Mr. Chimeruo Obioha, a mariner, said Trump’s announcement did not come to him as a surprise because the U.S. president needs to protect his country.

“Regardless of the general poor health services across the Country, I still believe that there are top-notch hospitals within Nigeria that can provide services rendered in hospitals abroad. Anyone who can spend as much as $8,000 to $,12,000 to go abroad to be delivered of a child can afford such hospitals in Nigeria,” Obioha said.

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