100,000 Nigerians applied for US visas in 2011
Cockburn said at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday that more than 50 per cent of the number were granted visas.
He insisted that the cost of processing visa applications remained $140, saying applicants were not expected to pay for visas.
Cockburn said, “About 100,000 applications were received in both Lagos and Abuja last year. Of the number, more than half were given visas.
“We wish to reiterate here that the cost of processing visa applications remains $140. However, clients are not supposed to pay for visas. All these explanations become necessary because of the mysteries surrounding the visa service that we provide.”
He also advised applicants not to consider visa interview as an obstacle, saying it was meant to establish some facts about claims made by the applicants.
He said, “Applicants should not consider visa interview as adversarial. They (applicants) have to be forthcoming in answering questions for the embassy or Consulate General to ascertain their mission.
“Through such one-on-one interaction, we expect the applicants to convince us on why he or she is travelling and other salient reasons. If, in the course of interaction, we are not convinced of their mission, the visa is rejected.”
He said the demand for American visas increased by more than 20 per cent in 2011.
Cockburn said the embassy had put a lot of resources into fraud detection, warning that fraudulent claims relating to visa issuance by applicants would not be tolerated.
The Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, Suzanne Grantham, warned visa applicants against patronising touts.
Grantham said, “Make your own appointments online. If somebody tells you that you need to pay for a visa, know the person is a fake. We do not pay for visas. It is only the visa application fee that is paid for, and it remains $140.”
On US Diversity Visa, he advised applicants to always check the result of the lottery online as the only real source