Claim: A press statement circulating on social media claims that the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, has signed an Executive Order directing the issuance of American work electronic visa (e-visa) and residence permits to interested Nigerians.
According to the document claiming to originate from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), 25,000 Nigerians between the ages of 25 to 55 are to benefit from this presidential order.
It further claims that this directive had been communicated to the Nigerian Mission in the US by the United States Department of Immigration, pegging the deadline for submission of applications at April 30, 2021.
While the press statement did not emanate from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, has not signed any Executive Order directing the issuance of work e-visa and residence permits to Nigerians.
Shortly after he was sworn in as the 46th US President of the United States of America, Joe Biden signed 15 executive orders including one which rescinded an immigration ban by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
Reports say over 41,000 people were denied visas after Trump imposed travel restrictions on thirteen (13) countries, including Nigeria – banned in February 2020. Hopes of moving to the US were dashed for many Nigerians, as the ban denied them access to any type of visa that could grant them permanent immigration or residency.
On Saturday 3rd of April, 2021, Dubawa spotted a viral WhatsApp message sharing a press release purportedly issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, claiming that the US President, Joe Biden, had signed an Executive Order approving the issuance of electronic work visas and residence permits to Nigerians.
The press statement reads in part: “President Joe Biden, the 46th U.S President has signed an Executive Order that interested citizens of Nigeria who measure in some special professions are eligible for American Work E-Visa and Residence Permit. This was communicated to the Nigerian Mission in the United States by the U.S Department of Immigration.
“The terms of the Executive Order allow (sic) 25,000 citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between the age (sic) of 25 to 55 whose expertise are among the following: 1. Health Workers 2. Engineers, 3. Marine Workers, 4 Civil Servants, 5. Business Administrators, 6. Accountants, 7. Lecturers, 8. Special Skills Workers.”
The statement directed applicants to send documents including passport biodata page, curriculum vitae and a passport photograph, to the “Consular Section via e-mail to [email protected]”. It also states that successful applicants are required to make a “deposit of $250 for English Proficiency Test”, in addition to another “deposit of $150 for COVID-19 Screening before departure to the United States of America and upon arrival”.
Declaring 30th of April, 2021 as the deadline for submission of applications, the document instructed that “applicants must go about their applications themselves without involving any third parties such as travel agents, family members living in the United States, or any other delegates.”
In a bid to ascertain the authenticity of the claims, Dubawa accessed the official website of the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services and finding shows that there was no Executive Order by President Biden granting e-work visa or resident permits to Nigerians, as claimed by the document in circulation; neither was there any press release announcing such.
Also, a web search query initiated by Dubawa returned no evidence that the US President issued such an order. Dubawa discovered that the press statement in circulation is filled with errors in English; and could not have emanated from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services or its parent-agency, the US Department of Homeland Security.
An assessment of the email address ([email protected]) listed in the press release as belonging to the USCIS, showed it is fake and not linked to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services nor any other US agency, because US government agencies use the “.gov” domain suffixes for their official websites. Dubawa looked up the identity of the website (www.americaimmigration.us) on WhoIs Domain Search and discovered that it was registered by an individual with the name “John Fixed”, amongst other details.
Similarly, another press release bearing similarity with the one in circulation on WhatsApp was also found on Facebook. An assessment of both documents showed discrepancies, as the press releases purportedly signed by the USCIS Director, presented different signatures and dates.
Moreover, the United States Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria recently dissociated itself from the press statement. In a statement posted on its verified Twitter account (@USinNigeria), the US Mission described the press statement as fake, “an old scam, but in fresh packaging.”
“Fraud Alert! Scammers and fraudsters are circulating a fake “press release” claiming to offer a new type of work visa to Nigerian citizens aged 40-55. It’s the same old scam, but in fresh packaging – don’t become a victim,” the tweet read.
The press statement in circulation with claims declaring the issuance of e-work and resident permits for Nigerians on the directives of US President Joe Biden is FAKE.
Findings by Dubawa indicate that the US President did not sign any executive order granting the issuance of e-work visa and residence permits to 25,000 Nigerians, nor was any press release issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in that regard.
While it is true that President Biden issued some Executive Orders upon assumption of office, it is important to note that none of them contains the claims made by the press release in circulation.