A DOS temporary final rule creating a six-month pilot program under which certain applicants may be required to post a bond as a condition of visa issuance. The Visa Bond Pilot Program went into effect on December 9. Under the program, consular officers will require visa bonds be posted by visa applicants who meet the following three criteria: (1) apply for a B-1 and/or B-2 nonimmigrant visa; (2) are nationals of one of the countries* that had an overstay rate of 10 percent or higher in FY2019, for B-1/B-2 visa applicants; and (3) are granted a DHS waiver of inadmissibility under INA §212(d)(3)(A) prior to visa issuance. Consular officers are directed to set the visa bond amount at $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000, based on a consular officer’s assessment of the amount sufficient to ensure the foreign national will not overstay his or her authorized period of stay, while not exceeding what the person can pay. Visas issued under the program will be valid for a single entry to the U.S. within three months of the date of visa issuance. While the pilot program only affects a small number of potential B-2 visa applicants, the idea of a bond as a condition of visa issuance is troubling.
*Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Laos, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen