The United States government has come out to debunk claims it has plans to stop the issuance of 2-year multiple entry visas for Nigerians.
According to the State Department in Washington, based on current agreement between the U.S. and Nigerian governments, the U.S. government generally issues
multiple entry nonimmigrant visas with a validity of two years to individuals traveling on a Nigerian passport.
“The goal of visa reciprocity is to obtain progressive visa regimes, consistent with U.S. national interests, laws, and regulations, and to encourage international
travel that benefits U.S. travelers and business.”
The State Department official said that “U.S. law requires the validity of visas and fees to be based insofar as practicable on the treatment accorded to U.S. citizens.”
The State Department said no changes have been made to the Country Reciprocity Tables as regards to Nigeria and the reciprocity agreement.
The U.S. and Nigeria, last year, mutually agreed to increase business and tourist visa validity to 5-10 years and student and exchange visa validity to 5 years.
The reciprocity agreement, which will become effective in 2017, governs the period of validity for different kinds of visas which permit Nigerian citizens to travel to the United States for different purposes.
In the new proposed schedule, Student and exchange visitor visas will be valid for the duration of the educational program that supports the visa application up to a maximum of five years. Visitor visas, for both tourists and business visitors, will be valid for 5- 10 years.
The impact of these changes is limited. It will not expand the number of individuals who can apply for visas, nor will have any impact on the eligibility of any individual for a visa. It does not extend the ability of Nigerians to stay longer in the United States.
However, it will permit some individuals to avoid the need to apply frequently for a visa.
Both countries are currently discussing the modalities kickstarted by a former Nigerian ambassador to Washington. Countries like Ivory Coast currently get 5-10 years U.S visas.
The official said currently the reciprocity tables remain the same for now and the two year agreement is not in jeopardy.