- For nationals of 15 African countries, applying for a US visa is about to become up to 50 times more expensive
- A new rule by the outgoing Trump administration will require applicants for tourist and business visas from some countries to pay a bond
- The bond will be up to $15,000 in addition to visa fees which currently range from $160 to $300
The US government has tightened its rules on tourist and business visas for 15 African countries, excluding Nigeria.
The US Department of State says the requirement will be implemented on a temporary basis for a period of six months between December and June as a pilot scheme to test run the policy.
Quartz Africa reports that in total, 23 countries will be affected by the new policy.
It is envisaged that the move will serve as a deterrent to visitors overstaying visas given the prospective penalty of forfeiting the money.
But the US is also wielding the policy as an instrument of diplomacy to force other governments to become more proactive with driving down overstay rates of their nationals.
It is, however, likely to be seen as yet another anti-immigration policy by the Trump administration which mostly affects African countries.
While Nigeria has typically seemed a prime subject of the Trump administration’s recent anti-African immigration policies, Africa’s most populous country is not affected by the latest visa bond policy.
It’s unclear how much these tighter US immigration rules targeting African visitors will change with the incoming Joe Biden administration from January 2021.
But many US-Africa watchers expect an immediate improvement in diplomatic rhetoric and broad government-to-government relations which may broadly improve US-Africa relations.
Some Nigerians have been reacting to the omission of the country on the list via social media.
Eyendiara Essien wrote on Twitter:
“I thought Nigeria was going to be number 1 on the list. We obviously are the most targeted country in the world. I also understand why. We shouldn't have any reason to beg to visit any country. We have all they have except leaders.”
Segun Goke wrote:
“Biden would overturn his draconic policies in Africa.”
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has agreed that a transition process should take place.
The US president has given the green light for the General Services Administration (GSA) to do the needful in ascertaining that Joe Biden won the election.
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