by Stanley Azuakola
America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, is calling; and Nigerians are responding in their numbers.
Consider this – the US visa offices in Abuja and Lagos have already processed over 40,000 visa applications in 2012. That number is 11 per cent more that those who had applied by this time last year.
The United States, in recognition of this surge in visa applications has decided to tag Nigeria a visa priority country.
The consular officer in the US Embassy Abuja, Patty Neary, disclosed these facts at the embassy’s monthly media briefing.
According to her, “Approximately, 75 per cent of these applications are tourist visas, the remaining 25 per cent are a combination of student, business, and official visas.”
How many of these visa applications were granted? Patty Neary did not say. However, she disclosed that the majority of the visa applications were granted.
The good news for future visa applicants is that as a result of this new priority status given to Nigeria, the visa wait time which is currently six months will be reduced. To effect this, the three consular officers in Abuja have been directed to work longer hours and even on some Saturdays.