By Ejiofor Alike
The United States mission has begun contacting all immigrant visa applicants whose applications were affected by the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 signed by former President Donald Trump in 2020.
It is also prioritising the processing of such pending cases in Nigeria.
Trump had suspended entry into the United States for certain nationals, including Nigeria, based on visa type.
However, this latest development followed the Presidential Proclamation signed by President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021, titled, ‘Ending discriminatory bans on entry to the United States.’
The US mission, in a statement yesterday, said its Consulate-General in Lagos had already contacted all immigrant visa applicants whose applications were affected and was prioritising the processing of such pending cases.
The mission described as inaccurate, a media report that “Nigerians denied visas on or after January 20, 2020, can re-apply for free.”
It said the proclamation announcement applied only to certain immigrant visa cases and did not apply to tourist, business, student or other non-immigrant visas.
The statement said: “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 prioritising the processing of these pending cases.”
According to the mission, the consular sections in Abuja and Lagos are gradually restoring routine visa operations in accordance with COVID-19 safety mitigation protocols.
It stated that the validity of non-immigrant visa payments (MRV fee) has been extended till September 30, 2022.
The extension, it said, was 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/or 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.