- The US' suspension of interview waivers for visa renewals or “Dropbox” for Nigerians has been greeted by heated reaction
- A Nigerian diplomat, Gani Lawal, who is the president of the Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria, has urged the federal government to return the favour
- Lawal said that the US' stance places a lot of burden on Nigerians seeking visas in America and that Nigerian embassy should adopt same
The president of the Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria (AFRPN), Gani Lawal, has urged Nigeria to reciprocate to US' indefinite suspension of interview waivers for visa renewals or “Dropbox” for Nigerians.
Lawal, a former ambassador, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, May 17, in Abuja.
The US embassy had on Tuesday, May 14, announced indefinite suspension of “Dropbox” policy for renewal of visa for Nigerian applicants.
”Visa applications will no longer be accepted by DHL in Nigeria. All applicants in Nigeria seeking a non-immigrant visa to the United States must apply online.
“Applicants will be required to appear in person at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or US Consulate General in Lagos to submit their application for review.
“Applicants must appear at the location they specified when applying for the visa renewal,” the mission had stated.
Lawal, who was reacting to the development, said each country had the right to change its visa policy.
He, however, noted that the decision to suspend “Dropbox`policy was an extra burden on Nigerian applicants.
He said the decision of the US to ask applicants to appear in person for visa renewal might be as a result of security concerns.
Lawal however expressed worry that the U.S. suddenly changed its policy on renewal of visa to Nigerians without giving any explanation.
“The implication for Nigeria is that it pushes up additional burden for Nigerians to renew their visas when ordinarily they should have been dropped through courier, processed and returned.
“Nigeria also has the right to require the US citizens to appear in person for renewal because diplomatic relations is based on reciprocity that is, if you do this, we also can do that.
“If Nigeria applies reciprocity for what the US has done, America will be the one that will be hurt most because we don’t have embassies in different parts of US.
“What that means is that if you are in California, you have to go to Washington or New York to renew your visa, except if Nigeria does not want to reciprocate.
“What I can say is that Nigeria should reciprocate by asking US citizens to appear in person when they want renewals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the US embassy had said that effective from the close of business on Tuesday, May 14, the US Mission to Nigeria would indefinitely suspend interview waivers for visa renewals, otherwise known as the “Dropbox” process.
According to it, visa applications would no longer be accepted by DHL in Nigeria.
However, those who had already submitted their passports via “Dropbox” to DHL for processing either at the US embassy in Abuja or the Consulate General office in Lagos, would not be impacted by this change.
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