US prioritises Nigerian visa applicants affected by Trump’s travel restrictions

THE United States mission in Nigeria is prioritising immigrant visa applicants in Nigeria who were affected by travel restrictions imposed by former US President Donald Trump.

This development follows the Presidential Proclamation titled ‘Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States,’ which was signed by current US President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021.

The US consulate-general in Lagos revealed, in a statement, that it was prioritising visa applicants in Nigeria who were affected by the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983.

This included establishing contacts with all immigrant visa applicants whose applications were affected and with processing pending cases.

Trump had suspended entry into the United States of certain nationals, based on visa type, from various countries, including Nigerians, with exceptions for students and those with ‘significant contacts’ in the US.

It also noted that media reports claiming “Nigerians denied visas on or after January 20, 2020, can re-apply for free” were inaccurate, adding that the proclamation announcement applied only to certain immigrant visa cases and did not apply to tourist, business, student, or other non-immigrant visas.

“This ended the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 that had suspended entry into the United States of certain nationals, based on visa type, from various countries to include Nigeria.

“In Nigeria, this proclamation banned entry for certain immigrant visa categories. The US Consulate -General in Lagos has already contacted all immigrant visa applicants whose applications were affected and is prioritizing the processing of these pending cases,” a section of the statement read.

The mission further disclosed that the consular sections in Abuja and Lagos were gradually restoring routine visa operations in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocol.






     

     

    It also announced that the validity of non-immigrant visa payments (known as the MRV fee) had been extended till September 30, 2022, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule visa appointments as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations to have opportunity to schedule and/or attend appointments with the already paid fees.

    “Non-immigrant visa applicants who were previously refused and would like to apply again will need to submit a new visa application (DS-160) and pay a new visa application processing fee,” the mission stated.

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    In 2019, the US Mission to Nigeria indefinitely suspended interview waivers for renewals, which was known as the ‘Dropbox’ process where visa applications were no longer accepted by DHL in Nigeria.

    This ensured that applicants in Nigeria seeking non-immigrant visas to the United States applied online, appearing in-person at the US Embassy in Abuja or US consulate in Lagos to submit their applications for review.

    Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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