By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
The U.S. Mission says it is expanding its visa services to assist nonimmigrant visa applicants in Nigeria who qualify to renew their visa.
The new application procedure which started this February at the U.S. Consulate in Lagos, will be extended shortly thereafter to the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.
It however said the number of qualified applicants who can apply using the new procedures will be limited initially explaining that the no-Interview Visa Renewal means one may be eligible for a visa renewal without an interview if the application is for a B1/B2, F, M, J (academic only), H, L or C1/D (combined only) visa, and must meet each of the criteria which include previous visa was issued in Nigeria; previous visa is in the same classification as the current application; previous visa was a full validity, multiple entry visa; or that previous visa expired within the last 24 months or will expire in the next 3 months from the date of application;
Other criteria also include that one must have all passports covering the entire period since receiving the previous visa and the passport with the most recent visa; the person has never been arrested or convicted of any crime or offense in the United States, even if he later received a waiver or pardon; and have never worked without authorization or remained in the United States beyond permitted time.
A statement signed by the Information Specialist in the Public Affairs Section (PAS) U.S. Consulate General, Temitayo Famutimi, encouraged applicants to visit their website at https://ng.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/ for further information and if qualified based on the criteria, should visit https://www.ustraveldocs.com/ng to start the application.
The statement noted that processing times for the program are expected to be up to two months and the applicant will not be able to retrieve their passport during that time.
It stated that each applicant must individually meet the criteria; adding that minors can apply without an interview only if they meet the eligibility criteria on their own.
The statement also indicated that there will be opportunity for emergency appointments especially if the applicant is in a life-or-death situation, so may request an expedited, in-person interview, but to accommodate No-Interview Visa Renewals, such appointments will be very limited. For emergency or there is a need to travel immediately, visit and follow the guidance provided at https://www.ustraveldocs.com/ng or call +234-1-227-8955 to request an emergency appointment.
It however stated that business travel, conferences, weddings, and graduations are not considered emergencies and cautioned applicants to be wary as third parties unaffiliated with U.S. Embassy Abuja and Consulate General Lagos may seek to take advantage of the various visa services to target visa applicants with fraudulent offers or claims.
The statement further encouraged applicants to fill out their own forms and make their appointments by themselves via the official websites promising to notify them about future opportunities for Interview Waiver appointments whenever they become available.