It’s no news that U.S President Donald Trump has actively seen to the restriction of immigrants into the United States. A few days into his administration, Trump signed a travel ban that restricted entry into the US for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, “to protect the US against potential acts of terrorism.”
Three years after the travel ban took effect, Nigeria was added to the list of countries restricted from permanent immigration visas, including some family and employer-sponsored visas, as well as the diversity visa lottery. According to data from the DHS, almost 30,000 Nigerians overstayed their B1/B2 visas in 2018, making Nigeria the African country with the most visa overstays.
Now, the current U.S administration under Donald Trump has issued a short-term rule termed “Visa Bond Pilot Program”, that may demand tourist and business travellers from 24 countries, including 15 African countries whose citizens had an “overstay rate” of 10% or more in 2019, to pay a bond ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 to visit the United States.
The 6-months rule, which takes effect from December 24, 2020, and runs through June 24, 2021, covers countries whose citizens are temporary visitors for “Business or pleasure” (B-1/B-2) and citizens from countries with high overstay rate.
The rule aims to serve as a “diplomatic tool to encourage foreign governments to take all appropriate actions to ensure their nationals timely depart the United States after making temporary visits.”
“The purpose of the pilot program is to assess the operational feasibility of posting, processing and discharging visa bonds, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to help assess the burden on government agencies and identify any practical challenges related to visa bonds,” the policy document read.
“The amount of the bond, should a bond be appropriate, will be determined by the consular officer based on the circumstances of the visa applicant.”
Countries covered by the Pilot Program include Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Laos, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Although Nigeria isn’t on the list.
Read the complete Pilot Program here.