The United States Foreign Service says it has reintroduced ” Drop Box” to reduce backlogs of Visa applications in Nigeria.
Consul General in Lagos, Will Stevens, in a chat with journalists said currently, interview appointments for fresh visa applications have been extended to 2024 while we are still in 2022.
“We have a big backlog and we are working hard to dig into it. It has dropped quite a bit in the last two months. We have increased the eligibility for people to use what we used to call Dropbox, which is an interview waiver.
If you have had a visa that expired in the last four years, you don’t have to come in for an interview. That window used to be two years, but now it’s four years.”
Will Stevens stressed that it means many more people don’t have to come in for an interview.
The Consul General also unfolds measures to address the issues which include increased staffing “by adding more people so we can deal with the surge.
Covid-19 hit us in terms of staffing; some people left and we had to conduct interviews and go through the process. But now we are back to full staffing.
I am optimistic that though it may take some time we will get there. I think there is incredible demand and interest”
He said the priority is given to applicants that want to study in the United States “One of the things we have done is to prioritize key sectors, like student visas for people who want to travel on time for the September resumption and now for January. We had a 12 percent increase this year in the number of Nigerians studying in the US at almost 15,000, which puts Nigeria in the top 10 countries that send students to the USA. It’s a wonderful thing; they go and study and they come back with deep connections to the USA.”
For the business and tourists Visa, Stevens said the wait time for B1/B2 has dropped from 740 days to 443 days.
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