US: Why We Revoked Visas of Nigerians Travelling to America

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•Nigerian travelers welcome in the US but must be law-abiding Bayo Akinloy

 

Among the number of reasons the United States Government had revoked the visas of some Nigerians traveling to the US might have been because of  overstaying the period of admission, applying for asylum in another country, and working without proper authorisation.

This was indicated in an email correspondence THISDAY had with the US Embassy in Nigeria during the week.

According to the American embassy’s spokesman, Russell Brooks, a visa already granted to a Nigerian traveler can be revoked if there were reasons to do so.

“With regard to our general policy, the Department of State does review visa issuances when information comes to light that results in a finding that the individual no longer qualifies for the visa and based on that information, the visa will be revoked. There are a number of reasons for a visa revocation including overstaying the period of admission, applying for asylum in another country, and working without proper authorisation. If a visa is revoked, the US Mission will attempt to notify the individual but there is no obligation to inform the individual as to why the visa was revoked,” Brooks said. 

He, however, stated that individuals whose visas were revoked might re-apply if they desired to do so and their application would be considered again for eligibility to enter into the US.

Though the embassy official refused to disclose the reasons some Nigerians’ US visas were revoked recently, he said Nigerian travelers with legitimate reasons to travel and had not flouted the American laws on previous visits were always welcome to the country.

“Visa decisions are based on individual qualifications and the cases are considered confidential. Nigerian travelers are welcome in the United States. The fact that the consular sections in Lagos and Abuja are the busiest on the continent and rank among the busiest in the world speaks to the closeness of the relationship between our two countries and the fondness that Nigerians have for the United States. 

“Nigerians who wish to travel to the United States for legitimate purposes, such as tourism or education, who have every intention of returning to their home country, and have abided by U.S. law on prior visits have nothing to fear,” Brooks stated.

When THISDAY contacted State Department in Washington, to know how many Nigerian travelers’ visas had been revoked, a spokesperson at its Press Office, Nicole Thompson, said: “Unfortunately, the State Department only issues visa statistics once per year.  The most recent is for fiscal year 2017 (attached). The refusal rates attached are for that time.”

In the document titled, ‘Adjusted refusal rate – B-Visas only by nationality fiscal year 2017,’ 44.95 per cent of Nigerians were denied B-visa (is a category of non-immigrant visa issued by the US government to foreign citizens seeking entry for a temporary period).

Last May, a number of Nigerians had gone online to complain about the ill-treatment they had received in the hands of American immigration officials.

One Nigerian, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had claimed that her visa was revoked by the US Embassy in Lagos without any reasons.

“I have been crying every day with no-one ready to tell me why my visa was revoked, I have never overstayed in the US and was there last year, without any incident,” she said.

An online medium reported about a traveler to the US being stopped at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, who was told to get an authorisation letter from the US Lagos consulate before he could travel.  

When the traveler went to the consulate he was asked to present his passport.

“All she asked to look at was my passport. She asked me about two questions, walked away, and returned saying my visa had been revoked. She never gave me a reason why. I was dumbfounded and angry, to date no reason has been given,” he said.