The United States Embassy in Abuja on Monday announced the increase of visitor visa validity from 24 months to 60 months for Nigerians planning to enter the country temporarily for business and/or tourism purposes.
The U.S. Mission said the visa validity extension scheduled to take effect from March 1, 2023, would allow Nigerians to use the visa for 60 months to make short trips to the country for tourism or business purposes before having to renew their visa.
The visa application fee, which is currently $160, would remain unchanged as a result of the increased visa validity.
The Embassy said the decision to increase visa validity was one of several initiatives by the United States government to reduce visa appointment wait times in Nigeria.
The Mission said It would continue to offer No-Interview Visa Renewals to those who meet the eligibility criteria, adding that appointments for No-Interview Visa Renewals were readily available.
Applicants for No-Interview Visa Renewal, the statement said, may be eligible for a visa renewal without an interview if their applications are for a B1/B2, F, M, J (academic only), H, L, or C1/D (combined only) visa categories.
In addition, each applicant would be expected to meet each of the following criteria:
Be physically present in Nigeria; has previous visa issued in Nigeria, in the same classification as current application, and previous visa a full-validity, multiple-entry visa; previous visa expired within the last 48 months or would expire in the next 3 months from the date of application.
Again, the applicant must have all his or her passports covering the entire period since receiving the previous visa and the passport with the most recent visa; have never been arrested or convicted of any crime or offense in the United States, even if later granted a waiver or pardon, and have never worked without authorization or remained beyond your permitted time in the United States.
The processing times for the programme, the statement said, are expected to be up to two months and the applicant would not be able to retrieve his or her passport during that time.
While each applicant must individually meet the criteria minors can apply without an interview only if they meet the eligibility criteria on their own.
On Emergency Appointments, the statement said, if the applicants have a life-or-death emergency, he or she may request an expedited, in-person interview, adding however that applications to accommodate No-Interview Visa Renewals, appointments would be very limited.
The Mission clarified that Business travel, conferences, weddings, and graduations were not considered emergencies, adding that if anyone have an emergency and need to travel immediately, such a person would need to follow the guidance in requesting for an emergency appointment.
Third parties unaffiliated with U.S. Embassy Abuja and Consulate General Lagos were advised to take advantage of various visa services to target visa applicants with fraudulent offers or claims.
Applicants were advised to fill out their forms and make their appointments themselves via the official websites, adding that as future opportunities for Interview waiver appointments become available, they would be communicated via the Embassy website.