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The United States Government said on Friday that the suspension of the non-immigrant visa interview waiver process, popularly referred to as ‘drop box’ is still in force and not yet been lifted in Nigeria.

The clarification by the embassy is coming against the background of recent media reports which suggests the lifting of the ban.

This disclosure is contained in a statement issued by the US mission in Nigeria, titled, ‘Drop Box Visa Processing Is Not Available in Nigeria, According To U.S. Mission To Nigeria’ issued by the US mission in Nigeria, on Friday, March 20, 2021.

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The statement also says that the US State Department continues to evaluate each country’s eligibility based on numerous factors such as overstaying rates and visa-related fraud.

The statement from the US mission in Nigeria reads, “Despite recent media reports, the non-immigrant visa interview waiver process, popularly known as the “drop box,” has been discontinued in Nigeria since 2018. The State Department continually evaluates each country’s eligibility based on numerous factors including overstay rates and visa-related fraud. U.S. Mission Nigeria is committed to promoting legitimate travel to the United States. All applicants who wish to apply for a visa must kindly appear for an interview.’’

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What you should know

It can be recalled that the US mission in Nigeria, on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, announced the indefinite suspension of drop box process for visa renewals in all its consulates in Nigeria, noting that visa applications would no longer be accepted by DHL in the country.

The ban may not be unconnected to reports of Nigerians overstaying in the US when on a visit.

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The mission in its statement said, “All applicants in Nigeria seeking a non-immigrant visa to the United States must apply online, and 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. Mission Nigeria’s processing procedures are regularly reviewed in order to assess our ability to quickly, efficiently, and securely process visa applications. The U.S. Mission is taking this step to provide more efficient customer service and promote legitimate travel, and will continue to facilitate applications of established travellers to the best of its ability.’’

The suspension of “Drop box” visa application in Nigeria was one of the stringent visa policies introduced by the Donald Trump administration which also restricted entry into the US by certain nationals including Nigerians based on visa type.