Wednesday, 28 March 2018

REVEALED: How US Consulate Cheated Nigerians Over Visa Application Fee

Although the Nigerian Government pegged the official exchange rate at N305.25 to a dollar, the United States Consulate in Nigeria charged visa application fees at N400 to a dollar and this went on for at least a year.

Using its own rate, the American consulate collected N64,000 from Nigerians applying for a US immigrant visa which is pegged at $160 dollars, instead of N48,840 that it should be, using the Nigerian Government’s official rate.

The Guardian, which uncovered the disparity, reported that the black market rate during the period peak at N370 to a dollar, meaning that the American Consulate still ripped N8,400 off from each Nigeria that applied for a visa, even at the black market rate.

According to the US State Department, over 163,000 Nigerians got immigrant or nonimmigrant visas into the US between March 2017 and January 2018, while over 130,000 , representing 44 percent of the total applicants, were denied visas in 2017.

Using the data provided by the State Department, The Guardian reported that at N400/$1, the consulate raked in almost N19 billion during the 11 month period, N4.5 billion more than it should have made at N305.25/$1.

The other visa types – H, L, O , P, Q , R , K and E – are known to be higher at between $190 and $265, meaning that the consulate made more money using the N400/$1 exchange rate.

The Public Affairs Officer, U. S. Consulate, Lagos, Darcy Fyock Zotter, defended the exchange rate, The Guardian reported.

“We note that there are multiple exchange rates listed for Nigeria. The U. S. Mission Nigeria uses a market-based exchange rate for the payment of U.S. visa fees,” the PRO said, but failed to explain how the consulate arrived at N400/$1.

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