Why US waives reciprocity visa fees for Nigerians
By Ngozi Onyeakusi —- The United States government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerians seeking visas to the US with effect from December 3, 2020.
Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs disclosed this in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Ferdinand Nwonye, yesterday.
Nwonye said all non-immigrant visa applicants are still required to pay the $160 non-refundable MRV fee at the time of application.
However, he said reciprocity fees paid prior to December 3, 2020 are not refundable.
The statement reads: “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. Prospective Nigerian travellers to the United States are hereby advised to visit: www.travel.state.gov for details.
“There are no reciprocity fees remaining on any visa class for Nigerian nationals. All non-immigrant visa applicants are still required to pay the $160 non-refundable MRV fee at the time of application. Reciprocity fees paid prior to December 3, 2020 are not refundable.”
It would be recalled that the Donald Trump administration had in 2019 imposed the reciprocity fee for all approved non-immigrant visa applications by Nigerians.
The fee was charged in addition to visa application fees for only applicants who are issued visas.
The US Embassy had claimed that the reciprocity fee, ranging from $80 to $303 which took effect from August 29, 2019 and only to be paid for approved visas, were introduced to “eliminate that cost difference” between visa application fees for both countries.
The embassy had explained that the 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 in Nigeria said the reciprocity fees were in response to unsuccessful talks with Nigeria to adjust the fees it charges American applicants.
It argued that the total cost for a US citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria was higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States.
The mission maintained that the reciprocity fee was meant to eliminate the cost difference as required by US laws.