Radio Free Europe, November 23, 2020
Washington announced on November 23 that it will launch a six-month trial program next month to force visitors from about two dozen countries to post thousands of dollars in bonds before they enter the United States.
The aim, first spelled out in a presidential memorandum 19 months ago, is to discourage travelers from countries with high rates of visa offenders from overstaying their business and tourism visas.
The program, which can require the posting of bonds of up to $15,000, does not apply to immigrant visas.
The State Department said the rule will take effect on December 24, less than a month before the inauguration of a new administration, and continue through most of June.
It should target holders of business (B-1) and tourism (B-2) visas from around two dozen countries whose overstay rates exceeded 10 percent in 2019, most of them in Africa but also including Iran and Afghanistan, for instance.
A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report on that fiscal year shows the worst offenders were typically from Chad (44.94 percent), Djibouti (37.91 percent), and Mauritania (30.49 percent). In fact, 15 of the 24 countries above 10 percent are in Africa.
But the list also includes Iran at 21.64 percent and Afghanistan at 11.99 percent, as well as Bhutan and Laos.
The DHS report counted more than 422,000 instances of overstays in fiscal year 2019 by business and tourism visitors, including those who came through the Visa Waiver Program and those who did not.