By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Federal Government yesterday approved a reduction in visa fees for United States citizens from $180 to $150.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, revealed that the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, had been directed to implement the decrease in the visa charges with effect from today (Thursday).
The recent development by the government was sequel to the new visa regime introduced by the US Government on Tuesday, stating that Nigerians applying for US visas will be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, with effect from August 29.
The US Mission in Abuja had earlier said that the reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the Machine Readable Visa fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application.
It explained that the reciprocity fee was applicable to all approved applications for nonimmigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications, noting that Nigerian citizens whose applications for a nonimmigrant visa were denied would, however,not be charged the new reciprocity fee.
The Mission explained that both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification.
But the ministry in a statement by its Director of Press, Mohammed Manga, said a committee set up to conduct due diligence in line with the ministry’s extant policy on reciprocity of visa fees had earlier engaged with the US embassy on the issue.
He added that the implementation of its recommendations was delayed due to “transition processes in the ministry at the policy level.”
The statement said, “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.