Nigeria forced to reduce visa fees for Americans after Trump sledgehammer

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It took only 24 hours after the Trump administration announced it was increasing visa fees for Nigerians traveling to the United States from 29 August because the Nigerian government had been overcharging Americans traveling to Nigeria for the same service for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to announce it had reduced visa fees for Americans traveling to Africa’s most populous country.

The Nigerian government claimed it had approved the decrease months ago but the policy could not go into effect because the country was going through a transition, a lame excuse likely to make many people cackle, especially because President Buhari had been in charge since 2015 and only won re-election in February, keeping around him the same old and experienced brains he trusts.

The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that Nigerians who want to travel to the United States would start paying a visa issuance fee from August 29, 2019, saying that “U.S. law requires U.S. visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible”.

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The visa issuance fee, also known as reciprocity fee, applies to all approved applications for nonimmigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications, the United States Mission in Nigeria said in an online statement also sent to TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA.

“The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application.  Nigerian citizens whose applications for a nonimmigrant 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 statement said.

The Trump administration said “since early 2018, the U.S. government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government change the fees charged to U.S. citizens for certain visa categories.  After eighteen months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for U.S. citizen visa applicants, requiring the U.S. 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 nonimmigrant 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 U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulate General.  The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location”.

On Wednesday, Nigeria’s Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, told a local newspaper that a downward review of the visa fees charged to Americans by Nigeria had been approved months ago, but could not be implemented due to the transition process.

Mr Aregbesola said visa fees had been reduced accordingly for prospective Americans travellers to Nigeria, a move he said would take effect immediately.

“Accordingly, 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 with effect from Thursday, 29th August, 2019,” the interior ministry spokesperson, Mohammed Manga, was quoted as saying in a statement received by local PREMIUM TIMES newspaper.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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