With effective from tomorrow, August 29, 2019, Nigerian citizens will be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, for all approved applications for non-immigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications. The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the non-immigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application. Nigerian citizens whose applications for a non-immigrant visa are denied will not be charged the new reciprocity fee. Both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification. Here are details of the reciprocity visa fee.
Why are Nigerian citizens being charged an extra fee to get a visa? What is reciprocity?
The United States requires citizens of countries that charge higher visa fees that those charged to US citizens for commensurate visa to pay non-immigrant visa issuance free or reciprocity fee after their application is approved.
These fees are based on the principle of reciprocity. US law requires that we treat citizens of other countries the same as those other countries treat US citizens, with respect to the fees and validity periods associated with non-immigrant visas. Reciprocity fees are enacted when a foreign government charges higher fees to US citizens for certain types of visas.
The government of Nigeria currently charge additional fees to US citizens apply for visas to Nigeria, resulting in non-reciprocal arrangement between Nigerian citizens and US citizens. After over eighteen months of negotiations, the government of Nigeria did not change its fee structure for US citizens’ visa applicants, requiring the US Department of State to begin charging reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizen visa applicants in accordance with section 281 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This section of the law provides that the Department of State establish visa fees corresponding to total of all visa, entry residence, or other similar fees, takes, or charges assessed or levied against national of the United States.
What is the Difference between the Reciprocity Fee and the Non-immigrant Visa Application Fee?
The non-immigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, is a nonrefundable fee paid by most applicants for U.S. visas, whether the application is approved or refused. It covers the costs associated with processing a U.S. visa application, from registration, to bio-metrics collection, to courier services for passport delivery, among other costs.
While all visa applicants are required to pay the MRV fee each time they apply for a visa, the reciprocity fee is only charged to approved non-immigrant visa applications for citizens of certain countries.
How do I pay the new reciprocity fee? Can I pay in advance?
Payment for the new reciprocity fee can only be made after a consular officer has interviewed an applicant and approved their application.
When the application has been approved, the applicant must pay the fee using cash, in Naira or US dollars equivalent, corresponding to the current exchange rate as dictated by the Embassy or Consulate cashier. Payment must be made at the cashier’s window located inside the waiting room of the Embassy or Consulate where applicants are interviewed.
It is very important that applicants only pay the fee at the cashier window inside of the waiting room at the Embassy or Consulate. There is no option to pay the fee in advance and we do not contract with agents or third parties to accept payments on our or your behalf.
The reciprocity fee can currently be paid at the cashier window within the Embassy or Consulate after a non-immigrant visa application has been approved.
What if an applicant’s visa application is approved, but the applicant cannot pay the reciprocity fee on the day of their interview?
We recommend the applicants come to their interview prepared to pay the reciprocity fee. Applicants whose nonimmigrant applications are approved will be given instruction on how to return to the Embassy or Consulate to pay the reuired fee within five business days. The Visa will not be issued or printed until the reciprocity fee is paid.
Can Nigerian Citizens apply for a visa in a different country top avoid paying the reciprocity fee?
No. The reciprocity fee applies to all Nigerian citizens, regardless of where in the world they are applying for a non-immigrant visa to the United States.
Can Nigerians pay one reciprocity fee for all applicants in their group?
No. The reciprocity fee applies to each individual application. Regardless of how many travellers apply for the same purpose of travel. Applicants of all ages are required to pay the fee, both minors and adults.