Traveling Nigerians are waiting with bated breath to find out, within the next few hours, if they will pay the new and higher visa fees imposed on them by the United States Government, now that the federal government has backed down from the high fees it imposed on US cìtizens.
Less than 24 hours after the US government slammed higher fees on Nigerians seeking some categories of visa to enter that country, the Nigerian government has reversed itself and decreased the visa charges payable by US citizens.
The US Embassy had said the increase was a reciprocal gesture for higher fees slammed on American citizens by the federal government
A statement by the Ministry of Interior blamed the delay in decreasing the fees for Americans on “transition processes in the Ministry at the policy level.”
Many have interpreted this to mean the delay in appointing and swearing in of new ministers.
The United States Embassy in Nigeria had Tuesday announced the retaliatory increase in the cost of visa for Nigerians with effect from Thursday.
With the announcement, Nigerians applying for tourism, student and business visas will not only pay the N59, 200 visa fee but will have to pay an extra $110 (N40, 700) after it has been issued to them bringing the total cost to N99, 900.
However, applicants who are denied visas would not need to pay the extra N40, 700.
Applicants seeking the L1 Visa (work permit) will pay an extra N112, 100 if given visas while those applying for the H4 category (dependency/spousal) will pay an extra N66, 600.
But Nigeria’s Interior Ministry statement, which said Nigeria’s decrease for Americans takes effect Thursday, the effective date for the new fees payable by Nigerians going to the US, reads in full: “The attention of the Ministry of Interior has been drawn to the introduction of reciprocity of Visa Fees by the United States of America.
“The Ministry acknowledges that there were engagements with the United States Embassy on the issue and in the aftermath, a Committee was set up to conduct due diligence in line with the Ministry’s extant policy on reciprocity of Visa fees.
“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 Honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has approved the decrease of Visa charges payable by US citizens in line with reciprocity policy as recommended by the Committee.
“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.”