Nothing Has Changed in US Visa Policy for Nigerians, Says Ambassador
Donald Trump, President-elect, United States of America
The United States (U.S) government has allayed the fears of many Nigerians over the Executive Immigration Order.
According to the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, no Nigerian will be discriminated against on the basis of the order.
Trump had signed an executive order barring citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan from entering the country for 90 days and also suspended the admission of all refugees for 120 days.
Symington stressed that the Nigeria-U.S relationship is a strategic one that must be sustained; adding that the connection between our two countries has been strong today and will continue to be strong tomorrow.
He however stressed that in granting of visas, the full process must be followed and not religion.
The envoy therefore emphasized that should there be any rejection, it should not be construed to mean discrimination, as every single conversation will be part of the process.
Symington who briefed newsmen on the Executive Order on ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorists Entry into the United States’ said relating to Nigeria, nothing has changed.
He also said that contrary to the report making the rounds, U.S has not reduced the visa time frame for Nigeria, saying that the two years multiple entry visa policy is still in place.
Besides, he said those with valid visas have nothing to fear, as the validity of the visa will remain until the expiry date.
Also, for a Nigerian with dual nationality affiliation with the seven affected Muslim countries, the ambassador said he or she would not be banned from entering U.S.
“Security is not the job of only one country. Let me reassure Nigerians that every single action the US takes would be on the basis of legality and due process no one will be discriminated against. No Nigerian would be denied visas because he or she is from a particular region of the country.
“The new order now is for the US government to cross check as many that are coming into the US before issuing visas; we will not discriminate on the basis of religion in issuing visas to Nigerians. The two years visa is still valid contrary to reports we have heard in the media.
“Nigeria’s leadership role is crucial in the world and Nigeria cannot be blacklisted. The importance of Nigeria in the world is legal.”
Meghan Moore, Head of Consular U.S Embassy, Abuja explained that, “the idea of how the US government decide the duration of Visa issuance is based on Nigeria government treatment to US travelers to Nigeria. The US government generally issues multiple entry non-immigrant visas with a validity of two years to eligible individuals who are travelling with the Nigeria passport. We issue as a general rule a two year visa and that has not changed. There can be some exception based on some specific individuals.”