US Imposes New Visa Rule On Tourists, Business Travelers From 15 African Countries, Others

SAN FRANCISCO, November 24, (THEWILL) – The Trump administration on Monday issued a new temporary rule that could require tourist and business travelers to pay a bond to visit the United States.

The visa bond rule will allow U.S. consular officers to require tourist and business travelers from countries whose nationals had an “overstay rate” of 10% or higher in 2019 to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000.

Twenty-four countries meet these criteria, including 15 African countries. While those nations had higher rates of overstays, they sent relatively few travelers to the United States.

The U.S. State Department said the temporary final rule, which takes effect Dec. 24 and runs through June 24, targets countries whose nationals have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas for business travelers.

It said the six-month pilot program aims to test the feasibility of collecting such bonds and will serve as a diplomatic deterrence to overstaying the visas.

Historically, U.S. consular officers have been discouraged from requiring travelers to the United States to post a bond, with State Department guidance saying processing of the bonds would be “cumbersome”, the temporary rule said.

Countries whose tourist and business travelers could be subject to the bond requirement include those from Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sudan, Chad, Angola, Burundi, Djibouti and Eritrea. Other countries include Afghanistan, Bhutan, Iran, Syria, Laos and Yemen.