Beginning from Thursday, Nigerian citizens granted U.S visas will be required to pay an additional non refundable fee of nearly N100, 000 depending on the visa category.
The charge, described as the visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, will be paid by those who have their nonimmigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications approved.
According to a statement made available to National Wire on Tuesday, 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.
The only exception to the new payment will be those whose applications for nonimmigrant visas are denied but who must have paid for only the application fee other.
A successful applicant with the B1/B2 or Visitor/Tourist visa as well as F1 or Student visa is expected to pay an issuance fee of N39, 600 ($110), as an applicant granted L1 and L2 or Company Representative visas will also be required to pay N109, 080 ($303).
The policy is in response to the refusal of the Nigerian government to change its fee structure for U.S. citizen visa applicants after 18 months of consultation as it will “eliminate the cost difference in obtaining a visa to Nigeria” comparable to how much Nigerians have been paying to procure U.S visas.
“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,” the statement explained, adding that “The total cost for a U.S. citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria is currently higher.”
Since early 2018, the U.S. government said it had engaged the Nigerian government to request that the latter change the fees charged to U.S. citizens for certain visa categories.
“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,” according to the Consulate General.
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.
It also 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 but not payable at banks or any other location.