Nigeria, 5 Other Countries Affected by US Travel Ban


Posted by JUSTOURS

The United States will stop issuing “diversity visas to nationals of Nigeria and five other countries. In other words, the United States will suspend the issuance of visas that can lead to permanent residency for nationals of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria, a presidential proclamation said. Temporary visas for tourists, businesspeople, students and workers from those nations will not be affected, it said. The new travel ban will take effect on Feb. 21. The the  US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) , however, stated that travellers already issued visas by the US government will not be affected by the new restrictions.

Not a few heaved a sigh of relief when Nigeria didn’t make the previous travel ban list by the US government  which affected some countries including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. North Korea and Venezuela also face visa bars, but those measures affect relatively few travellers. The existing version of the ban and restrictions will remain in place. The USA continued to issue visas to Nigeria and others.

The original travel ban  was said to have barred “nearly all immigrants and travellers from seven countries with majority Muslim populations.” The policy was revised amid court challenges, but the US Supreme Court ultimately upheld it in June 2018.  Despite Trump administration’s controversial visa and travel bans some countries were not affected. In 2019, reports said Nigerians were issued 6,706, Myanmmar 1, 427, Eritrea 873 and Kyrgyztan 559 visas. It is changing.   The United States said it imposed an immigrant visa on Nigeria as a result of the country’s failure to comply with its established identity-management and information-sharing criteria. 

The US officials confirmed that the new restrictions will see the United States no longer issue immigrant visas that offer a path to permanent residency, and possibly citizenship, to nationals of Nigeria and Eritrea. Between them, Nigeria and Eritrea account for 14 per cent of all green cards issued annually to African nationals, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Nationals of Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar will also face similar restrictions.

The US government also will stop issuing “diversity visas” to nationals of Sudan and Tanzania, the proclamation said. The visas are available by lottery for applicants from countries with low rates of immigration.
The US has defended its decision with claims that the affected countries fell short of its security standards, including passport technology, and failed to share information on criminals and terrorist suspects.

“The administration’s expanded travel ban now affects close to a quarter of the population of the African continent,” said Gyude Moore, a former Liberian government minister and current fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington DC. “Less than a year after the US government unveiled its new US-Africa trade policy Prosper Africa, nationals of Nigeria, the continent’s largest country and economy, are being banned from visas that may lead to permanent residency in the US.”

It is believed that the restrictions on Nigeria and Eritrea will not affect visitor visa applications, it will likely result in increased scrutiny on applicants from affected countries.

There have been reactions, with many saying the ban will hurt Nigeria. In a statement, the  DHS said unlike the previous travel ban on some countries, the latest is “less restrictive”, and tailored to “country-specific deficiencies” identified during an assessment of travel-related risk.

“Like the seven countries that continue to face travel restrictions pursuant to Proclamation 9645, the six additional countries added for restrictions are among the worst performing in the world; however, there are prospects for near-term improvement for these six countries,” it said in the statement.

“The restrictions imposed by this proclamation reflect the U.S. government’s greater confidence that these countries can make meaningful improvements in a reasonable period of time. If that expectation is met, the President may remove travel restrictions at any time. Conversely, the President has also determined that if improvements are not made, additional restrictions may be added.”

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