Effective worldwide on 29 August, Nigerian citizens will be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, for all approved applications for non-immigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications, says the United States government.
The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the non-immigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the US Embassy in Nigeria said Nigerian citizens whose applications for a non-immigrant visa were denied will not be charged the new reciprocity fee. Both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification.
"U.S. law requires U.S. visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible. Visa issuance fees are implemented under the principle of reciprocity: when a foreign government imposes additional visa fees on U.S. citizens, the United States will impose reciprocal fees on citizens of that country for similar types of visas. Nationals of a number of countries worldwide are currently required to pay this type of fee after their nonimmigrant visa application is approved," it said.
Explaining further, the embassy noted, "The total cost for a U.S. citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria is currently higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States. The new reciprocity fee for Nigerian citizens is meant to eliminate that cost difference."
Meanwhile, since early 2018, the US government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that it change the fees charged to US citizens for certain visa categories.
"After 18 months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for US citizen visa applicants, requiring the US Department of State to enact new reciprocity fees in accordance with our visa laws.
"The reciprocity fee will be required for all Nigerian citizens worldwide, regardless of where they are applying for a nonimmigrant visa to the United States. The reciprocity fee is required for each visa that is issued, which means both adults and minors whose visa applications are approved will be charged the reciprocity fee.
"The fee can only be paid at the US Embassy or the US consulate general. The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location. The complete reciprocity fee schedule, organized by visa classification, can be found below," the US government pointed out.