The United States mission has said that it was prioritising immigrant visa applicants in Nigeria affected by the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 signed by former President Donald Trump last year.
This followed the Presidential Proclamation signed by President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021, titled, ‘Ending discriminatory bans on entry to the United States.’
Trump had suspended entry into the United States of certain nationals, based on visa type, from various countries, including Nigeria.
But the US mission in a statement on Tuesday, 16 March, said its consulate-general in Lagos has already contacted all immigrant visa applicants whose applications were affected and is prioritizing the processing of these pending cases.
It noted that media reports claiming “Nigerians denied visas on or after January 20, 2020, can re-apply for free” were inaccurate, adding that the proclamation announcement applies only to certain immigrant visa cases, and did not apply to tourist, business, student, or other nonimmigrant visas.
The statement titled, ‘United States mission in Nigeria prioritizes immigrant visa applicants refused under presidential proclamation 9983,’ read in part, “On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed a presidential proclamation titled, ‘Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States.’
“This ended the travel restrictions under presidential proclamations 9645 and 9983 that had suspended entry into the United States of certain nationals, based on visa type, from various countries to include Nigeria.
“In Nigeria, this proclamation banned entry for certain immigrant visa categories. The US consulate-general in Lagos has already contacted all immigrant visa applicants whose applications were affected and is prioritizing the processing of these pending cases.”
The mission further disclosed that the consular sections in Abuja and Lagos are gradually restoring routine visa operations in accordance with COVID-19 safety mitigation protocols.
It said the validity of nonimmigrant visa payments (known as the MRV fee) has been extended till September 30, 2022, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee.
“Non-immigrant visa applicants who were previously refused and would like to apply again will need to submit a new visa application (DS-160) and pay a new visa application processing fee,” the mission stated.