Questions and answers on travel ban for Africans – By Simon Ateba in Washington DC Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 3, 2021

Over the past few days, I have been overwhelmed by questions from people who needed more information about the travel ban President Donald Trump extended to Nigeria and five other countries last Friday. Here I am attempting to provide some answers using some of the questions I received from readers.

1- Good evening sir, I have a valid US visa and planning to enter the US in March for a short vacation.What will be my fate for the looming ban on Nigeria? Kindly advise

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The travel ban or visa restriction is affecting only people who do not have a valid US visa. Nigerians who do not have a valid US visa and are not in the United States will not be able to immigrate to the United States under the current policy. To immigrate to the United States means to move to the United States permanently. Only immigrant visas or permanent visas are affected. Those who want to travel to the United States for a short period of time or for school and healthcare and the rest can still apply for a US visa and if they are granted, will be allowed to travel to the United States. Just to emphasize that only immigrant visas are affected, non-immigrant visas will not be affected when the new policy goes into effect on February 22, 2020.

2- Hello good day Mr. Simon, I have a question about the travel ban. Is it going to affect marriages between Nigerians and American citizens?

Yes it will. When American officials met with Nigerian ministers this week here in Washington DC, sources told us that they told them Nigerians were abusing marriages. They said someone would be married for just two years, divorce and marry someone else. When you get married to an American citizen and you want to immigrate to the United States, you will need an immigrant visa, which is the type of visa President Trump has suspended. It will be possible to apply for a waiver, but that takes time. So marriages will certainly be affected or hit the hardest.

3– Will this travel ban affect Nigerian students?

No, students are not considered permanent residents. They are here to study and often go back when their studies are over. Visas for students are considered to be non-immigrant visas. So yes, nothing is changing for students.

4- Can I still come to the United States for medical care? Will I still be able to apply for a visa?

Yes, short-term visas are not affected under the new policy. Non-immigrant visas are not affected. Only immigrant visas are affected, that’s the type of visas given to people who are relocating to the United States.

5- I am an Asylum seeker still in Kenya but in the process, will this travel ban affect me?

No. Asylum seekers are not included in the expanded travel ban. Their processes will continue normally.

6- I am already in the United States, does this travel ban affect Nigerians already in the United States?

No. If you are already in the United States, you do not need to apply for a visa to come to the United States, so this ban does not affect anyone already in the United States.

7- I just got a job in the United States and I would be applying for an HB1 visa, does this affect me?

No. Under the new policy, HB1 visas are not affected. But bear in mind that in 2018, which the last year for which data is available, almost 60 percent of all HB1 visas were denied. So things may get a bit tougher but the new policy does not affect HB1 visas.

To be continued tomorrow. Send me questions or comment below atebap@gmail.com

Simon Ateba is a journalist based in Washington DC

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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