The United States Embassy in Nigeria on Tuesday denied claims that Nigerians with valid visas were been denied entry into the US, explaining that the country is not included among those expected to be affected by a new immigration policy unveiled on Monday by President Donald Trump.
Speaking during a telephone interview with Uhuru Times from Abuja, spokesman of the US Embassy, Mr. Russell Brooks, insisted that Nigerians are free to visit the United States as before, adding that only those with questionable credentials were being turned back.
In standard immigration procedures, the possession of a valid visa does not guarantee automatic entry for visitors to a foreign country. Once a visitor raises doubt in the mind of an immigration officer at the point of entry, the person could be denied entry.
In the words of Brooks, “Nigeria is not among the six countries listed by the new immigration policy, so we have no reason to specifically target them as nationals of their countries. Therefore, Nigerians are still eligible to travel to the United States as before. However, a decision to deny entry, which may affect anyone is based on individual basis, not your nationality.
“The immigration inspector at the point of entry will ask questions. It is incumbent on the traveller to be honest and truthful in his/her responses to these questions. If the immigration inspector believes the person is not honest in regard to the questions asked, he/she could be denied entry. That is on individual basis, not nationality. So, Nigerians are not being targetted in any way.”
Nigeria had on Monday advised its citizens against any non-urgent travel to the United States after several of them with valid visas had been denied entry. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who disclosed this in a statement advised Nigerians without any urgent need to “consider rescheduling their trip until there is clarity on the new immigration policy.”