By Harrison Arubu
The Federal Government has slashed its visa application charges for citizens of the United States from $180 to $160.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the old amount comprised $160 as visa fee and $20 as “processing and expedient fees”.
According to the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr Muhammad Babandede, the reduction followed a review of the U.S.’ visa reciprocity policy for Nigeria.
Babandede stated this in a Feb. 5 memo marked NIS/HQ/CGI/806/7 and addressed to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In August, 2019, the U.S. government imposed additional visa fees on Nigerians in retaliation for the “treatment afforded to U.S. citizens” by the Nigerian government.
The policy required successful applicants for nonimmigrant U.S. visas in the B, F, H1B, I, L, and R categories to pay between $80 and $303 as reciprocity fees.
This is in addition to the normal visa application fees of between $160 and $190.
“The total cost for a U.S. citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria is currently higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States.
“The new reciprocity fee for Nigerian citizens is meant to eliminate that cost difference,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement on its website then.
In his letter, the NIS urged all Nigerian missions in the U.S. to immediately implement the new visa charges payable by US citizens, and “discontinue charging processing or expedient fees”.
“Our Missions are to issue up to two years multiple entry visa to frequent short visit travelers on request in line with reciprocity,” he said.
A senior official of the Nigerian Consulate in New York, told NAN that the “processing and expedient fees” of $20 was for online application and payment services rendered by a private firm.
NAN reports that Babandede’s letter came a day after President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 which, among others, increased the country’s visa classes from six to 79. (NAN)