There are indications that the row between Nigeria and the U.S. over visa fee charges might escalate despite the Federal Government’s directive to the Nigerian embassy in the U.S. to reduce the visa fee to $160.
Findings showed that the directive was yet to be implemented as of yesterday, as U.S. tourists still paid as much $270 as visa fee.
A Nigerian whose family just returned to Port Harcourt from the United States told The Guardian that contrary to the Nigerian embassy’s claim on its website that visa processing fee is $180, citizens of United States, including Nigerian citizens who naturalised but could not renew their passports due to scarcity of booklets were usually asked to pay as much as $270.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, explained that himself, his wife and children who were born in the U.S. but live in Port Harcourt, had travelled to the U.S. in June this year after waiting several months to no avail for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to issue them their renewed Nigerian passports.
He narrated that the NIS had promised to courier the booklets to him once they were ready. He stated that having waited till early this month to no avail, he decided to apply for a Nigerian visa for the children to enable them re-enter Nigeria where they currently school.
“On the website, the visa fee is $180. This is in addition to $31 for self-addressed envelop, which is normal because they must post your visa to you at your own cost. But after we went through the whole process, they saw our documents and then demanded for $90 extra. Beside us, another Nigerian who had naturalised carrying an American passport was also asked to pay the said $90. He too asked them why the $90 was not stated on the website. They claimed it was handling charges, whereas on website, $20 out of the official $180, was stated as transaction charge,” he said.
He noted that the reason given for the additional $90 hidden charge was not plausible, not cogent and something that was shockingly indefensible.
“When you are paying for an American visa in Nigeria, you pay to GTB. Afterwards, you don’t have another financial transaction with the embassy in Nigeria. I expected that the Nigerian embassy after charging the $180 they would not charge you another amount,” he added.
The source lamented that the officials at the consulate do not give Nigerians preference, as it is the norm in other countries’ embassies around the world.
He claimed that officials demanded that he and wife pay $4 for using the computer at the embassy to write two letters requesting that his children be issued a Nigerian visa.