The surge in visa applications to the United States by Nigerians in 2012 has led the US to tag Nigeria a visa priority country.
This was disclosed yesterday in Abuja by the Consular Officer in the US Embassy Abuja, Mrs Patty Neary, at the embassy's monthly media briefing.
Neary said that the US visa offices in Abuja and Lagos have processed over 40,000 visa applications already in the 2012 fiscal year, which is an 11 per cent increase over 2011.
She said, "Approximately, 75 per cent of these applications are tourist visas, the remaining 25 per cent are a combination of student, business and official visas."
The majority of these visa applications were granted, Neary added, but couldn't provide the number.
Since visa demand is increasing in Nigeria, Neary said that the consular office had made it its top priority to reduce the visa wait time which is currently six months.
This, she said, had led to the three consular officers in Abuja working long hours and on some Saturdays.
On how visa applicants can optimise the consular's services, Neary said, "We need people to prepare and plan ahead."