The United States Mission in Nigeria has said that Nigeria is not currently part of the pilot visa bond programme.
On Monday, the US government announced that it had introduced the visa bond pilot programme for B-1 visas, for business travellers; and B-2 visas, for tourists, saying that the pilot programme will run for six months.
Under the new policy, which the Donald Trump administration introduced to discourage nationals of some countries with higher visa overstay rate, visitors to the US from such countries may have to pay up to $15,000 in bonds.
The visa bond pilot programme targets mostly African countries with high visa overstay, with visitors believed to have entered the country legally on student, tourist, work visas and then stay past their visa expiration date.
Data from the Department of Home Security says almost 30,000 Nigerians overstayed their B1/B2 visas in 2018, ranking as the 5th country with the most visa overstays in the US; thus, making Nigeria the African country with the most visa overstays.
Amid concerns that Nigeria may be affected by the policy, the US mission in Nigeria on Tuesday, in a statement said the reverse is the case.
The statement reads, “In response to the April 2019 Presidential Memorandum on Combating High Non-immigrant Overstay Rates, the Department and our embassies and consulates overseas conducted an in-depth analysis to identify and address root causes of overstays.
“Among other efforts to address this challenge, the State Department is considering additional steps to address overstays, including piloting a limited visa bonds program to test, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the operational feasibility of posting, processing, and discharging visa bonds as means to ensure the timely departure from the United States of certain travellers. Accordingly, the State Department will begin a limited six-month visa bond pilot program beginning on December 24, 2020.
“We are committed to combating visa overstays and making sure travellers to the United States respect our laws. The implementation of this pilot builds on our engagement with foreign governments in recent years and will ensure continued progress to reduce overstay rates. Nigeria is not included in this six-month pilot programme.”