President Trump’s administration has issued a new travel rule targeting countries whose citizens have higher rates of overstaying visitors and business visas.
The new temporary ruled issued on Monday may require nationals from 24 countries, most in Africa, to deposit a bond of up to $15,000 to visit the US.
The pilot program whose aim is to test the feasibility of collecting such bonds will run for six months from December 24th, 2020 to June 24th, 2021, and will serve as a diplomatic deterrence to overstaying the visas.
“Visa applicants potentially subject to the Pilot Program include aliens who: are applying for visas as temporary visitors for business or pleasure (B-1/B-2); are from countries with high visa overstay rates,” read a statement from the US Department of State.
Under the rule, tourist and business travelers from countries whose nationals had an overstay rate of 10 percent and above in 2019 will be asked to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000.
15 out of the 24 countries that meet that criteria are in Africa including Angola, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Sudan, Mauritania, Sao Tome, and Principe. Those outside Africa include Afghanistan, Bhutan, Iran, Syria, Laos, and Yemen.
Restricting immigration was one of Trump’s main agendas during his term in office but he lost a reelection bid this month.
President-elect Joe Biden pledged to quash most of the immigration policies enacted during Trump’s four-year tenure.