The United States (US) decision to suspend the drop box system of visa renewal for Nigerian regular travelers may not be unconnected to the number of Nigerians who overstay their visit in the U.S, it was learnt.
The United States (U.S.) Embassy in Nigeria on Wednesday announced the indefinite suspension of the Dropbox visa application process for Nigerians.
Diplomatic and government officials were however exempted from the new visa regime, a statement from the embassy clarified.
The dropbox system has been open to frequent travellers, who are excluded from the interview session. Also excluded are those who had applied for renewal before the announcement of the suspension.
Announcing the indefinite suspension of the Dropbox through a press statement, the embassy stated the new regime became effective from May 14, 2019.
Over 300,000 Nigerians apply for visa to travel to the United States of America (USA) as non-immigrants annually. This figure translate to over than N17.68 billion annually as the US consulate charges $160 visa fee.
It is also gathered that Nigeria account for about one-third of visa issued in the continent.
The rejection rate is said to be in the region of about forty per cent.
Though the embassy stated that the decision to suspend the Dropbox regime was meant to make services more efficient and quicker, it was however gathered that the measure was meant to curb the number of Nigerians coming into US.
Besides, Nigeria is listed along with Chad, Eritrea, Liberia, Sierra Leone as countries with highest overstay rates.
According to an official, “for now, countries with the highest overstay rates-which include Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -are being put “on notice” ultimately, nationals from countries with high overstay rates could be barred entirely.
However, there are fears that the latest decision may bring back the era of touts who will be fleecing applicants.
Besides, the latest move may make procurement of US visa more cumbersome as queues at the embassy will now increase, while the waiting time will also increase.
A concerned traveler who does not want to be mentioned feared that Nigerians may made to face tough times while waiting to procure US visa.
The traveler noted that the return to the old order may also bring back era of sleeping at the US embassy just to meet up time scheduled for interview.
Culled from The Nation