By Chioma Obinagwam
Nigerians are demanding for a refund of the Visa fees charged by the United States (US) Embassy in Abuja and its Consulate office in Lagos to anyone that it refuses to grant visa.
This demand is coming on the heels of reactions which trailed the recent posts on Facebook and Twitter of the U.S Embassy, refuting allegations by Nigerians of deliberate refusal to grant them visa.
Their argument is hinged on the rising spate of Visa denial in recent times despite making them pay a non-refundable visa fee which ranges from $160 and above depending on the visa category.
Nigerians are, however, insisting that the embassy should only charge visa fees to only those they are sure of granting visa.
Adebiyi Oduyoye, who commented on the subject on the Embassy’s Facebook page said, “You should return the visa fee when you deny an applicant.”
Corroborating, Godfrey Oba highlighted, “Its very painful when you pay for a visa,you get a date,You prepare yourself,you wake up very early, leave everything you need to do for that day and sometimes travel a long distance to meet up, and within a twinkle of an eye, your money and all equations goes into nothing.”
“I think the best way to solve this is simply when a visa is refused, you charge an administrative fee of around 10 percent and refund the balance. With this, it will go a long in reducing the psychological effect on applicants. It will also show the genuineness that you are concerned about applicants doing the right thing and getting visa and not the financial prospects,” he continued.
Although most Nigerians feel the refusal of the US Embassy and Consulate office to grant them Visa is intentional, the US Embassy has announced that today, April 17, 2019 at 2:00pm Nigerian time, it will be available to respond to all questions regarding DS 160, a way of debunking such claims.
According to the Embassy’s website, “The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, is for temporary travel to the United States, and for K (fiancé(e)) visas. Form DS-160 is submitted electronically to the Department of State website via the Internet. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa.”
The website further disclosed that all Visa applicants must submit a completed DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application for all nonimmigrant visa categories, including applicants applying for K visas.
“Contrary to popular opinion, Visa Officers do not enjoy handing anyone the 214b refusal letter.
Proof: Visa Officers will be live on Facebook to talk about some of the commonly misunderstood questions on the DS 160 and help you improve your next application. Join us on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 2:00pm and #AskTheConsul your questions,” the Embassy disclosed on its Facebook and Twitter feeds.
It is hoped that at the end of of the questions and answers session, Nigerians will have better Visa experience.
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