-By Ismail Auwal
Nigerians travelling to the United States (US) may soon have to pay up to $15,000 in bonds as part of the new policy introduced temporarily by the US Department of State to curtail risk of overstaying.
Other African and low income countries with high likelihood of overstaying their visa will also be affected by the segregation policy.
The policy is the latest immigration restrictions measure introduced by President Donald Trump to discourage nationals of poor countries with higher visa overstay rate.
The pilot programme will affect mainly applicants for B-1 visas (for business travellers) and B-2 visas (for tourists) and will be test run for only six months, effective from December 24 to June 24, 2021.
Nigerians occupy 5th position in the category of nationals who overstay their visa after expiry in the US.
“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 pilot program is designed to apply to nationals of specified countries with high overstay rates 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 Pilot Program will run for six months. During that period, consular officers may require nonimmigrant visa applicants falling within the scope of the Pilot Program to post a bond in the amount of $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000 as a condition of visa issuance.
“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.”