By Isaac Aregbesola
Ambassador Gani Lawal, the President, Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria (AFRPN), has urged Nigeria to reciprocate to U.S.’s indefinite suspension of interview waivers for visa renewals or “Dropbox” for Nigerians.
Lawal made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
The U.S. Embassy had on Tuesday announced indefinite suspension of “Dropbox” policy for renewal of visa for Nigerian applicants.
”Visa applications will no longer be accepted by DHL in Nigeria. All applicants in Nigeria seeking a non-immigrant visa to the United States must apply online.
“Applicants will be required to appear in person at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or U.S. Consulate General in Lagos to submit their application for review.
“Applicants must appear at the location they specified when applying for the visa renewal,” the mission had stated.
Lawal, who was reacting to the development, said that each country had the right to change its visa policy.
He, however, noted that the decision to suspend “Dropbox` policy was an extra burden on Nigerian applicants.
He said that the decision of the U.S. to ask applicants to appear in person for visa renewal might be as a result of security concerns.
Lawal however expressed worry that the U.S. suddenly changed its policy on renewal of visa to Nigerians without giving any explanation.
“The implication for Nigeria is that it pushes up additional burden for Nigerians to renew their visas when ordinarily they should have been dropped through courier, processed and returned.
“Nigeria also has the right to require the U.S. citizens to appear in person for renewal because diplomatic relations is based on reciprocity that is, if you do this, we also can do that.
“If Nigeria applies reciprocity for what the U.S. has done, America will be the one that will be hurt most because we don’t have embassies in different parts of U.S.
“What that means is that if you are in California, you have to go to Washington or New York to renew your visa, except if Nigeria do not want to reciprocate.
“What I can say is that Nigeria should reciprocate by asking U.S. citizens to appear in person when they want renewals,” he said.