A study of data released by the US Department of State has revealed a high reduction in the number of Nigerians that received the US non-immigrant visas in the last three years.
Every year, nonimmigrant visas are granted to foreign nationals to enter the United States on a temporary basis for purposes like tourism, medical, business, temporary work and study. Nigerians have benefitted from this gesture over the years but a gale of visa denials in the past year has changed the story.
For the last fiscal year 2018, a total of 143,783 non-immigrant US visas were issued to Nigerians. In the 2017 fiscal year, the figure was 168,980.
In 2016, a total of 179, 145 Nigerians were granted different categories of non-immigrant visas to the US.
When compared to the figures released for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years, the data reveal visa denials for Nigerians surged in 2018.
Data for 2019 has not been published but there have been lamentations from many Nigerians about high rejection rate since the beginning of the year.
With a 57.47% adjusted refusal rate, Nigeria was also listed among top countries like Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Burundi, Burkina Faso etc., with high refusal rate for B-visas. B visas are issued for short-term business or pleasure travel to the United States.
Despite the surge in visa denials for Nigerians, the country still accounts for the highest percentage of visas issued to African nationals in the past three years.
For the 2018 fiscal year, nationals of African countries got a total of 493,989 non-immigrant visas out of which 143, 783 were Nigerians.
Last year, a total of 9,028,026 persons were granted the non-immigrant visas by the US. Contrary to the claim that Nigeria is the biggest beneficiary of the US non-immigrant visa, Nigerians only account for just 1.6 per cent of the total figure of those granted the non-immigrant visas in the last fiscal year.
With 16.2%, China takes the largest chunk of the total figure with 1,464,810 citizens granted different categories of non-immigrant visas in 2018. The Asian giant was followed by Mexico (1,372,420), India (1,006,802), Brazil (641,820) and Argentina (341,282).
Others are Philippines (238,684), Colombia (235,410), Israel (186,461), Ecuador (164,651) and followed by Nigeria (143,783).