WASHINGTON – As the U.S. bids adieu to the Trump Administration, the outgoing President issued a new temporary rule that will see Liberians and citizens of 14 other African countries post bonds of up to $15,000 to visit the U.S.
The pilot program kicks off on December 24, intending to prevent visitors from 24 nations, including 15 African countries listed in the new travel rule, from overstaying their visas in the U.S. The program runs until June 24, 2021.
According to the State Department, “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.”
Some of the worst offenders leading to this new rule include are nationals of Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, and Sudan.
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported some of the worst offenders from Africa who overstay their visa include: Chad (44.94%), Burundi (32.92%), Djibouti (37.91%), Mauritania (30.49%, Eritrea (24.25%), and Liberia (14.45%).
Officials at the State Department stated the new rule is to encourage foreign governments to take all necessary actions to ensure their nationals timely depart the U.S. after their temporary visits. To enter the U.S., visitors from these countries will need to post a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000 as a visa issuance condition. The U.S. consular officer will determine the amount based on the applicant’s visa and travel circumstances.
Many will recall that President Trump notoriously questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway.
President-elect Joe Biden, who has pledged to reverse many of Trump’s immigration policies, is yet to offer a comment on whether he would change the overstay-prevention policy.