For Nigerians and non-Nigerians considering applying for Visa to travel to the United States of America, there is something very important you need to know- the U.S Embassy has introduced new Visa procedures in Nigeria.
In a press briefing held at the Public Affairs Section (PAS) in Lagos today, Stacie Hankins, Consular Chief of U.S. Embassy Abuja, announced that a new DHL Document Collection Center has opened in Port Harcourt.
"As in the case with our DHL partner locations in Lagos and Abuja, visa applicants with approved applications can now collect their passports with their new visas from DHL collection center in Port Harcourt," Hankins said.
Applicants can select any one of the three sites as their pickup location when they complete their online application. However, while Abuja and Lagos applicants can pick up their passports in two days, passport collection at the center in Port Harcourt will take an additional day.
In addition, effective from December 1, 2014, the U.S Mission to Nigeria will require that the DS-160 non-immigration visa application confirmation number used to schedule visa interviews match the application confirmation page that is brought to the interview. Applicants who fail to comply will not be granted interview and will have to purchase a new fee receipt to book another appointment.
The goal of this change is to make application processing faster and more efficient, Hankins said.
Meanwhile, during her opening statement, the Consular Chief also revealed an increase in visa applications. For example, between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013, the Embassy in Abuja and Lagos received more than 182,000 non-immigrant visa applications of which 65 per cent were approved. Between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, the non-immigration applications received increased to over 220,000. Majority of the applications were approved. For immigration visa applications, 15,400 were received in 2013 out of which 14,900 applications were approved.
Hankins noted that the increase in application is a trend the Embassy has witnessed over the past five years.
She reassured Nigerians that no quota system is used to determine the number of those visa applications approved. The Embassy's goal is to facilitate travel process for all- whether 5 or 5,000 applicants. Those with unsuccessful applications are encouraged to apply after 90 days or when something in their circumstances changes.
"We hope that Nigerians' desire to visit our beautiful country will continue to grow, and we look forward to working with our partners to allow qualified tourists and business travelers do so," Hankins said.
Tourist and Student Visas remain the top most sort after type of visas at the U.S Embassy.