By Chiemelie Ezeobi
The United States Mission in Nigeria on Tuesday debunked claims that Nigerians were expected to pay between 5,000 to 15,000 dollars before they secure visas.
The new visa bond pilot programme for B-1 visas (for business travellers) and B-2 visas (for tourists) is expected to run for six months — December 24 to June 24, 2021.
The visa bond pilot programme is targeted mostly at African countries with high visa overstay.
Given the fuss it generated, the US Mission in Nigeria in a tweet said that Nigeria was not included in this six months pilot programme.
The statement issued by the mission read: “Nigeria not included in this six months pilot program.
“In response to the April 2019 Presidential Memorandum on Combating High Nonimmigrant Overstay Rates, the Department and our embassies and consulates overseas conducted an in-depth analysis to identify and address root causes of overstays.
“Among other efforts to address this challenge, the State Department is considering additional steps to address overstays, including piloting a limited visa bonds program to test, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the operational feasibility of posting, processing, and discharging visa bonds as means to ensure the timely departure from the United States of certain travelers.
“Accordingly, the State Department will begin a limited six-month visa bond pilot program beginning on December 24, 2020.
“We are committed to combating visa overstays and making sure travelers to the United States respect our laws.
“The implementation of this pilot builds on our engagement with foreign governments in recent years and will ensure continued progress to reduce overstay rates.”