© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Visa Restriction: US set to restrict visitor’s visa to Nigerians, citizens of six other nations in new policy
THE United States Government has planned to include Nigeria among six other countries in its new Visa restriction policy set to be made public by Monday, The ICIR has gathered.
The decision, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal is connected to the number of Nigerian visitors in the US, who had refused to return to the country despite their visa status.
Aside from Nigeria, other nations in the list include Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan, Eretria and Tanzania.
Though, Nigerians would not entirely be denied access from travelling to the US, there would be a limit on the issuance of business and visitors visas also known as B1/B2 visa.
“The Trump administration plans to add seven countries to a group of nations subject to travel restrictions, including Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, along with others in Africa and Asia, according to administration officials who have seen the list,” the report stated.
“The new restrictions would apply to travellers and immigrants from Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.
“The countries wouldn’t necessarily face blanket bans on travel to the US, but could have restrictions placed on specific types of visas, such as business or visitor visas, administration officials said.”
Meanwhile, this is not the first time the United States would be issuing such policy on its visa issuance.
Almost 10 years ago, the US suspended Nigeria from participating in its Diversity Green Card Lottery programme developed to help citizens of other nations migrate to its country.
This also followed other policies including the new visa fee purportedly designed as part of measures to restrict visa issuance.
“Notice: Nigerians are no longer eligible for the Diversity Visa Lottery. … The lottery aims to diversify the immigrant population in the United States, by selecting applicants mostly from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States in the previous five years,” the US Embassy in Nigeria stated on its website.
More importantly, is the statistics of Nigerians who had travelled to the United States compared with other African countries.
For instance, based on records from the US Embassy in Nigeria, visa issuance to Nigerian citizens from 2009 to 2018 have risen significantly from 55, 581 (2009) to 143,783 (2018).
In 2016, visas issuance to Nigerians was 179,145, the highest compared with 16,107 for Algerians, 68,639 for the Egyptians, 12,446 for the Ghanaians while 27, 079 visas were issued to Kenyans, 19,897 citizens to the citizens of Morocco and 61,273 to the South Africans.
In totality, 493, 989 visas were issued to citizens of the seven African countries – Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa in 2018 with Nigeria having the largest share of 143, 783 issuances.
This number may come down in the years ahead as the new policy is implemented.