The United States Government yesterday included Nigeria among six new countries that it slammed with an immigration ban. Expectedly, the reactions from Nigerians of all persuasions have been swift and angrily expressed. Unfortunately, many of the commentaries do not reflect adequate knowledge of what is contained in the ban.

According to administration officials, US embassies in Abuja and Lagos will continue to process student visas, temporary visitor visas, and travel documents for refugee asylum seekers.

Here are the 10 major things you need to know about the Friday 31 January 2020 travel ban:

  1. The six countries affected by the ban include Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
  2. Administration officials say the ban is aimed at tightening security for countries that “don’t comply with the US minimum security standards or cooperate to prevent illegal immigration.”  
  3. The ban will take effect from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, 22 February 2020.
  4. The ban will affect immigrant visa applicants from Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar;
  5. In the case of Sudan and Tanzania, their citizens have been barred from participating in the diversity visa lottery, a programme under which 50,000 immigrants are allowed to emigrate to the United States each year.
  6. US embassies in Abuja and Lagos will continue to process student visas, temporary visitor visas, and travel documents for refugee asylum seekers.
  7. Anyone who already has a valid immigrant visa or is on their way to the United States with an immigrant visa will not be affected – or denied entry as a result of the ban;
  8. In spite of all of the above, it is good for immigrant visa bearers to err on the part of caution; US officials believe that there may be “gaps and vulnerabilities” in the ban that could impact on all travelers from the affected countries, as was the case when the first travel ban was imposed by the Trump Administration.
  9. According to US administration officials, the affected countries have shown lack of capacity in addressing US security concerns in the way they (a) track their own citizens who emigrate, (b) share information with the U.S. and (c) cooperate on immigration matters.”
  10. The ban is a security measure; there is no apparent political coloration to the restriction, and it does not appear as if this will lead to any major negative economic impact on Nigeria.

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