U.S.A. introduces visa bonds
The current US administration has issued a temporary rule that could require tourist and business travellers from mostly African countries to pay a bond of as much as $15,000 to travel to the United States.
The announcement of the US visa bonds comes despite a lack of any period for public comment and review, which is usually general practice ahead of potential US immigration rule changes.
The U.S. State Department defended the decision not to subject the changes to public comment, saying that the issue was ‘a matter of conducting foreign relations, hence it’s not subject to the usual process.’ The department further stated that the rule targets countries whose nationals have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourist and B-1 visas for business travellers.
Both B-1 and B-2 visas are designed for short term trips. This new rule will take effect from December 24, 2020 until June 24, 2021.
Discourage Visa Overstayers
The notice posted stated: “The Pilot Program is being studied as a potential diplomatic tool to encourage foreign governments to take all appropriate actions to ensure that their nationals depart the United States in a timely manner after making temporary visits.”
The new rule requires tourist and business travellers from countries whose nationals had an “overstay rate” of 10 percent or higher in 2019 to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000.
However, the justification for introducing the bonds is seemingly at odds with a summary in the same filing, which stated that the program was ‘meant to reduce the burden to the US government and does not aim to assess whether issuing visa bonds will be effective in reducing the number of aliens who overstay.’
List of Affected Countries
Countries affected by the new rule:
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)
- The Gambia
- Papua New Guinea
- Sao Tome and Principe
What are your thoughts on this new restriction set by the U.S government? Comment below.
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