Over two months after the Federal Ministry of Interior announced a reduction in the cost of Nigerian visas for American citizens, the United States Embassy in Nigeria has continued to charge Nigerians a reciprocity fee, according to a report by PUNCH.
The US Embassy had on August 29, 2019, announced a reciprocity fee for Nigerians based on the premise that Americans seeking Nigerian visa were paying too much to secure it.
The US Government had lamented that despite 18 months of consultation, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government had failed to review its visa structure.
Announcing its retaliatory move, the US embassy stated that persons applying for a tourist visa would upon being granted a visa, pay an extra N40,700 while those seeking the L1 Visa (work permit) will pay an extra N112, 100 if given visas while those applying for H4 Visa (dependency/spousal) will pay an extra N66, 600.
Nigerians granted a journalist visa would pay an extra N77, 700.
The US Embassy in an email said that it had yet to receive any official information from the Nigerian Government as regards the reduction in visa cost.
When contacted on the telephone, the Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ferdinand Nwoye, blamed the Nigeria Immigration Service for the development.
Nwoye said that once the NIS communicates with the ministry, the needful would be done.
He said, “You should know that the foreign ministry is not playing a key role in this thing. It is immigration that is in charge. If immigration conveys information to us, then we will relay it to the embassy but for now, there is nothing from them (immigration).”
The NIS Spokesman, Mr Sunday James, however, said immigration had done the needful by announcing a reduction in the cost of visa for Americans.
He said the service had no further announcement to make since the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had addressed the matter.
Prior to the introduction of the reciprocity fees, persons applying for an American B1/B2 tourist visa paid about $160 at the exchange rate of N370/$1.
However, Americans applying for Nigerian tourist visa paid as high as $270 for a single entry visa, which comprises $160 for consular services, $100 for administration and $10 for processing.
The reduction in the visa fee, which was announced by Aregbesola, was said to have affected only the $160 for consular services and not the $100 for administration and $10 for processing.
Speaking with our correspondent, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof Bola Akinterinwa, said there was a need for better engagement between the parties involved.
Akinterinwa said it was possible that the reduction in the visa fee as announced by the Nigerian Government may not have been comprehensive enough.