American Embassy To Suspend Drop box Services

Implications For Africans Voyaging To The US

by Doris Ukaonu

American Embassy To Suspend Drop box Services

Due to the suspension of the drop box service also known as interview waivers by the United States embassy, Nigerians will have to engage in a physical interview to renew their Visas. This was revealed yesterday in a statement on the website of the embassy.

The statement read; “Effective at the close of business today , Tuesday, May 14, 2019, the U.S. Mission to Nigeria is indefinitely suspending interview waivers for renewals otherwise known as the ‘Dropbox’ process.”

This applies to all applicants including frequent travellers. Before now, frequent travellers to the United States used the drop box feature which entailed renewal of visa without appearing at the U.S Embassy/ consulate for an interview.The only ones excluded from the new rule are diplomats and government officials.

US Embassy Abuja, Getty Images

Also, concerning travels to the United States, President Donald Trump is setting the groundwork for another travel ban which is targeted at individuals from countries the president once described as shithole countries. The necessity of the ban was due to the increasing rate of Visa overstays. The first travel ban proposed by Trump was against visitors and immigrants from predominantly Muslim-majority countries but it was declared void by the court for the blatancy of its discrimination.

Now on this one, speculations according to the ‘latest DHS estimate of overstay rates’ revealed that the countries likely to be affected by this ban are Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Georgia, Micronesia, Palau, African countries, including Nigeria, Liberia, Angola, and Sudan. Before the end of four months, the secretary of state has been issued a directive to provide recommendations to the President, which will entail a new decree suspending all visitor visas from mostly African countries.

Also, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security was given an order from the white house to track down countries notable for a “disproportionate” share of “visa overstays.” This will be geared at people who come to the United States legally but overstay their Visa expiration date. President Trump stated that apart from the fact that it an illegal move from these lots, the ban is necessary because the overpopulation places a significant strain on government resources, which are currently needed to address the national emergency on the states southern border.

Doug Rand, a journalist reporting for Slate has described the ban as unclear and also said that despite two years of restricting legal immigration systematically, the trump administration is giving no tangible idea why there should be a ban. If the reason was truly due to the significant strain on government resources, then the best option is to look out for countries that send the highest number of visitors not the percentage of visitors who overstay. The time to effect the ban has not been announced.

The implications of development are yet to be seen, but it is the clearest indication yet of what President Donald Trump has been hammering for a while now. The United States is slowly and surely closing its borders to immigrants. Nigerians in diaspora worse still, have not exactly been the shining example we all hoped they would be (one too many cases of fraud and theft). Those seeking Visas to the US might as well intensify their pursuits before things take a turn for the worse.