November 25, 2020

U.S. Visa Entry Bond Pilot Program Could Impact Tourist and Business Visitors from Multiple Locations

The Trump administration has issued a temporary new rule that could require tourist and business visas from two dozen countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000 to enter the U.S.

What has changed?

The proposed new rule is being billed as a six-month pilot program, to take effect from December 24, 2020 to June 24, 2021. According to the U.S. State Department, it targets countries whose nationals have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas for business travelers. This trial period of the temporary ruling aims to test how realistically these bonds can be collected and their efficacy as a deterrent to visa overstays.

The new visa bond will allow U.S. consular offices to request applicants pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 if they are a citizen of a nation whose “overstay rate” in 2019 was 10% or higher. It is reported that 24 countries meet this 10% threshold, of which 15 are African.

Historically, the posting of bond requirements by U.S. consular officers were regarded as “cumbersome” requests and discouraged. However, tourist and business travelers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sudan, Chad, Angola, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Iran, Syria, Laos and Yemen – among several others – may now be subject to this process. See the Public Notice for details, including the full list of impacted countries.

The new ruling has been issued by the outgoing Trump administration. At publication date, there is no comment from Biden’s incoming transition team on the new visa bond requirement.

For further information on the U.S. new visa bond ruling, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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