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FG Bows to Pressure, Reduces Visa Fees for Americans

The Federal Government has approved a reduction in visa charges payable by United States citizens from $180 to $150.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, explained on Wednesday that the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, had been directed to implement the reduction with effect from Thursday (today).

The development followed the new visa fees announced by the US Government on Tuesday, which stated that Nigerians applying for the US visas will pay a visa issuance fee or reciprocity fee with effect from August 29.

The US mission in Abuja had said the reciprocity fee would be charged in addition to the non-immigrant 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 non-immigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications, noting that Nigerian citizens whose applications for non-immigrant visas were denied would, however, not be charged the new reciprocity fee.

The mission explained that both reciprocity and MRV fees were non-refundable, and that their amounts vary based on visa classification.

But the ministry in a statement by its spokesman, 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, adding that the implementation of its recommendations was delayed due to “transition processes in the ministry at the policy level.”

It 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.

“The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has approved the decrease of visa charges payable by the US citizens in line with reciprocity policy as recommended by the committee.

“Accordingly, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, has been directed to implement the decrease in Nigeria’s visa charges to the US Citizens with effect from August, 29, 2019.”

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