By Onome Amuge
The United State of America has imposed a new visa rule demanding foreign tourists and business travellers from 15 African countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the regular visa fees before they can be granted access into the North American country.
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The visa bond pilot programme is a six-month plan scheduled to take effect from December 24-June 24,2021 and is aimed at countries whose citizens have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas for business travellers.
According to the US Department of State, the targeted countries are those whose citizens had an overstay rate of 10 percent or higher in 2019 and the restriction is meant to serve as a deterrent to travellers who overstay their visas. Citizens of the affected countries will therefore be required to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000 and a maximum of $15,000.
Nigerian tourists and business travellers are, however, exempted from paying the temporary visa bond, as their overall score was below the threshold of 10 per cent and well above the overstaying rate.
The affected African countries include; Angola, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan and Sao Tome & Principe.
The affected non-African countries include; Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Iran, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Syria and Yemen, all located in Middles East and Asia.
Trump is renowned for his restrictive immigration policies which has been an integral part of his administration.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden, the incoming American leader has promised to reverse some of Trump’s immigration policies but the implementation is expected to take months or even years to be fully effected.