–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –Special Report By Mike SOGBOLO:
United States has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerians seeking visas into the country.
The Donald Trump government in August had announced visa reciprocity fees against some countries seen to be charging high visa fees on Americans, this includes Nigeria
Against the outcry of many Nigerians, the federal government responded few days by reducing visa fees for Americans traveling to Nigeria from $180 to $150 in response to the US embassy’s introduction of a “reciprocity fee” for Nigerians.
The US embassy had earlier claimed that the reciprocity fee, ranging from $80 to $303 and only to be paid for approved visas, were introduced to “eliminate that cost difference” between visa application fees for both countries.
The embassy explained then that move was in line with a Trump executive order in 2017 for the US secretary of State to, among other things, adjust fee schedules “to match the treatment of United States nationals” by other countries. The US embassy claimed it has been in talks with Nigerian authorities for 18 months to align visa fees.
The Nigerian government has also explained after it responded to the reciprocity decision by the US Embassy that the decision to lower visa fees for American applicants was taken months ago but was not implemented given the transition in government.
The US Embassy did not however immediately reverse it’s decision.
A statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has however said the reciprocity fees have been removed.
A statement on Saturday signed by Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye informed that the United States Government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the United States.
The statement said: “The positive development is in line with the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian Government.
“The United States Government has therefore eliminated reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens with effect from December 3, 2020.”
The statement added that: “Prospective Nigerian travellers to the United States are hereby advised to visit: www.travel.state.gov for details.”