New obstacle for Immigrants to Visit

Pay a bond before entering the united states as a tourist – the new obstacle for immigrants to visit?
by Jose Enrique Perez

After President Trump lost the election last month, we have seen an increase in immigration orders and immigration policies. Not a single one is to help or make easier an immigrant path in the United States. It is unclear, of course, at this point if the incoming President Joe Biden will change or suspend any or all of these new rules or policies. What it is clear though, it is that President-Elect Biden has vowed to overturn many of President Trump’s immigration policies. More so when the program is called “Pilot” which in and of itself means that they are testing it.

In a last attempt to prevent people from other countries to come into the United States, the Trump Administration just issued last month a new restriction for people abroad when they are trying to come to the U.S. on a temporary basis.

Prospective tourists and visitors from more than 20 countries could pay as much as a $15,000 bond to obtain a U.S. visa under a new rule from the Trump administration.

The State Department said it selected countries whose citizens have high rates of remaining in the U.S. after their visas have expired. But, as anything else in this administration, we do not know when and if it will be expanded to include other countries. More so when the program is called “Pilot” which in and of itself means that they are testing it. What we do know for the moment is that the Trump Administration said that the requirements are designed to send “a message” to certain nations to encourage their citizens to abide by the conditions of their U.S. visas.

The program is set to start on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2020. Applicants for B-1 and B-2 visas would have to pay a $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 bond. What countries are affected by this new rule now? They are Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Burma, Cabo Verde, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Laos, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Syria, Sudan and Yemen.

The pilot program will not apply to student visa seekers or immigrants. The rule instructs consular officers to typically require a $10,000 bond, unless they determine that it should be $5,000 because the visa applicant would not be able to pay the standard amount. Officers can also raise it to $15,000 if they deem a $10,000 bond would not be sufficient to ensure that the petitioner will depart the U.S. before the visa expires.

The visa seeker could be eligible for a waiver if consular officials conclude that their cases raise “significant” national or humanitarian interest. Visa-holders who post bonds are entitled to a full refund, along with accrued interest, if they fully comply with the terms of their stay in the U.S.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with representation in an immigration case. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at The Law Office of Jose Perez has now moved and is located at 659 West Onondaga Street, Upper Level, Syracuse, New York 13204. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the January edition and stay safe, healthy and away from the Coronavirus. In addition to our current practice of Personal Injuries, Work Accidents, Social Security and Immigration, we now also practice Criminal, Traffic, Family, DWI and Divorce. ¡¡¡Feliz Navidad!!!