UPDATE: On November 25, 2020, the State Department announced the creation of a “Visa Bond Pilot Program” to require B-1/B-2 visa applicants to post a bond of up to $15,000 before being admitted to the country for a limited duration, if they have been approved for a “waiver of ineligibility” and are originally from one of a list of 23 countries (15 of which are African). The State Department identified these countries because of their “high overstay rates” (an unreliable measure, as discussed below); however, the Department claimed the pilot will not determine if the bonds would decrease overstays, only the feasibility of requiring the bonds. The Administration claimed executive privilege to bypass public comment and is imposing the rule directly, effective December 24, 2020 for 6 months. The Biden Administration has not made any official announcements or decisions regarding the pilot.
This post has been archived as it appeared on the date of its last update, 5/2/2019. Please be aware that the information below, including policies and practices described, may now be outdated. The post that follows analyzes the potential impact of the full, original proposal and has not been updated to reflect the temporary final rule, though many points apply to the narrower pilot as well. We have preserved this content in its original form for posterity, to reflect the policies and our perspective at that time.