BVIS FAQ for American Business Council Newsletter
- I had a visa previously and applied through Dropbox, but was told I would need to return to re-interview. I need to travel urgently for work-related training in the U.S., but I can’t get a 221g appointment in time. What are my options?
A: If your company is currently a BVIS participant and the purpose of your travel is work-related, the U.S. Consulate will do its best to arrange for a BVIS appointment. However, you must allow adequate time for the scheduling of the appointment, the interview, and (if issued) the printing of the visa. Due to current wait times, staffing, and the number of companies who utilize the BVIS scheduling platform, the Consulate will not be able to accommodate requests made within 72 hours of proposed travel. Please allow at least ten (10) working days between making the request for a BVIS appointment and your proposed date of travel.
- I want to go on vacation with my family. I work for a company that participates in the BVIS program. Can they schedule my appointment?
A: BVIS is reserved strictly for the scheduling of work-related travel. If your company schedules your appointment under the BVIS platform for other purposes of travel, your visa will be refused and the Consulate will consider this infraction grounds for suspension and possible permanent termination of your company from the program.
- I scheduled an employee to go to training in the U.S. and they were refused. What happened?
A: The BVIS program is a courtesy that the Consulate extends to companies with business interests in the United States. The use of a BVIS appointment slot does not guarantee a visa issuance. All applicants must fulfill the requirements of the B1/B2 visa class in compliance with U.S. immigration law. Furthermore, the Consulate is legally prohibited from sharing information regarding specific cases.
- What do the “blue letter” and Section 214b mean?
A: Applicants who do not qualify under Section 214b of the Immigration and Nationality Act have not sufficiently demonstrated to the consular officer that they qualify for the visa class or have not overcome the presumption of immigrant intent. Overcoming this presumption requires that you demonstrate strong enough economic, social, and familial ties to your country that would compel you to leave the United States at the end of your temporary stay. It also requires that you have demonstrated that you have used your visa appropriately in the past (if you’ve had one previously) and that you will use it appropriately for your current purpose of travel. Please be aware that applicants must fulfill both requirements in order to be issued a visa in compliance with U.S. immigration law.
- I emailed the BVIS portfolio officer about scheduling a BVIS appointment, but they never got back to me. What happened?
A: You should always email the general inbox (LagosBusinessVisas@state.gov) if you have a BVIS-related question. Individual U.S. and Locally Employed Staff may be on leave without regular access to their work email, or in the case of U.S. officers, may have departed post permanently. The BVIS inbox is monitored by numerousstaff members to ensure timely response to inquiries – please use it!
- I keep getting an error message when I try to schedule an appointment. Who should I contact?
A: Our scheduling is handled by a third-party contractor. If you are receiving an error message, you should contact the helpline listed on the U.S. Travel Docs website.
- What are the basic requirements for a company to join BVIS?
A: In order to be eligible for the BVIS program, your company must be a multinational entity with a substantial presence in the United States or a Nigerian company partnering with a U.S. company on an ongoing and regular basis. For more information on the application process, please email LagosBusinessVisas@state.gov.
- Can a company be suspended or banned from BVIS?
A: Yes, the Consulate reserves the right to suspend any company from BVIS for misuse or abuse of the appointment system. A company may be permanently removed from BVIS if corroborated evidence of abuse of the system subsequently emerges. Furthermore, responsible parties may be found permanently ineligible for future visas to the United States.
- How do we go about changing over our company designated representative/registering a new company representative?
A: If you would like to change your company designated representative and/or register a new representative, please email LagosBusinessVisas@state.gov with a reason for the request, the individual’s replacement, and a certified letter on company letterhead attesting to the replacement and/or addition of a new representative. This individual will have to create an account on the U.S. Travel Docs site and then inform the Consulate. At this point, we can create a BVIS
scheduling profile for the individual.
- Does our BVIS registration expire/need to be renewed? How often and will we receive a reminder before it expires?
A: BVIS accounts expire after two years, so please keep track of your account’s expiration date and inform us if you will continue to require scheduling access so we can renew the account as needed. You should be able to see the account’s expiration date in the system, but you may also contact our third party contractor if you have questions on technical difficulties with your account.
- I represent a reputable Nigerian Chamber of Commerce. Can the Chamber participate in the BVIS program?
A: The Nigerian Chamber of Commerce does not fall under the current definition for allowable BVIS participants as it is not considered a corporate entity.
- I tried going in to schedule a BVIS appointment online and received a screen telling me there are no available appointments at this time. What do I do now, as we urgently need our employee to travel?
A: The first step if there’s a scheduling problem is always to double check that you’re scheduling under Lagos and “All Others – BVIS.” If there are still no options, Step 2 is to contact LagosBusinessVisas@state.gov If there are no appointments available, we will do our best to accommodate the request. However, do bear in mind that due to staffing and the popularity of the BVIS program, we
may not be able to open additional appointments without at least ten (10) working days’ notice.