US increases visa requirements for African tourists

The outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump has issued a new temporary rule for African tourists.

US News quoting Reuters reported that the new rule could require tourist and business travelers from two dozen countries, mostly in Africa, to pay a bond of as much as $15,000 to visit the United States.

The U.S. State Department said the temporary final rule, which takes effect December 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.

The Trump administration 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.

Trump, who lost a re-election bid earlier this month, made restricting immigration a central part of his four-year term in office. President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, has pledged to reverse many of the Republican president’s immigration policies, but untangling hundreds of changes could take months or years.

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 the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sudan, Chad, Angola, Burundi, Djibouti, and Eritrea. Other countries include Afghanistan, Bhutan, Iran, Syria, Laos, and Yemen.

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