Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, says the Federal Government has engaged her US counterparts to make the issue of visa issuance less difficult for genuine Nigerian visitors to the North American country.
Onyeama said this, on Tuesday, in Abuja, while fielding questions from journalists on the negative impact the issue of visa overstay had on Nigerians travelling to US.
The minister expressed concern that one of the consequences of the visa overstay was the recent suspension of Drop Box for visa renewal for Nigerians.
The minister said most of the unfavourable migrant decisions taken by some countries were triggered by the negative perceptions about few Nigerians who do not obey the rules of those countries.
The issue of migration is a challenge and such a sensitive topic because the US has just suspended the Drop Box for visas renewals.
“And a lot of it is that they released statistics to show that 10 per cent of people who overstayed their visas globally are Nigerians.
“Those who do not obey the rule of other countries’ have more negative impact on those who obeyed,” the minister said.
He said there had been those who were denied visas not because they were not qualified but because of perception created by those who disobeyed the rules.
The issue of those who overstayed their visas is a real issue. We have engaged with the US Government over it.
“We are just trying to work through them and they are looking at various alternative and solutions and to make less difficult for the genuine visitors and the like.
Things like you have to have guarantor or surety and the like, all those things are what they are trying to apply to really address this issue,” he said.
He said the ministry was doing what it could to ensure that the issue of the recent suspension of Drop Box for visa renewal do not affect genuine visitors to the US.
“We are doing what we can. They (US Embassy) told me that notwithstanding the suspension of Drop Box mechanism, that there would be expedited interview for certain people.
“And that there would be that flexibility to request for interview that might make it easier for those seeking visas,” he said.