The outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump has passed a new temporary rule requiring tourists and business travelers from two dozen countries – most of them in Africa – to pay a deposit of up to $ 15,000 to visit the United States .

The U.S. Department of State announced on Monday that the temporary final rule, which will go into effect December 24th and last until June 24th, will target countries whose nationals are more likely to have B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas. Business Visa exceed.

The Trump administration said the six-month pilot program aims to test the feasibility of collecting such bonds and will serve as a diplomatic deterrent against exceeding visas.

“The pilot program is intended to target nationals of certain countries with high rates of residence and serve as a diplomatic tool to encourage foreign governments to take all appropriate measures to ensure that their nationals leave the United States on time after temporary visits,” the document said Foreign Ministry.

A protester holds a sign in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as judges from the court examine the legality of President Donald Trump’s recent travel ban on people from Muslim-majority countries in Washington, DC, USA [File: Yuri Gripas/Reuters]Trump, who lost a re-election bid earlier this month, made restricting immigration a focus of his four-year term. President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, has pledged to reverse many of the Republican president’s immigration policies, but untangling hundreds of changes could take months or years.

Biden’s transition team did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comments related to the visa requirement.

However, in previous comments, Biden said that “on the first day” he would lift Trump’s travel restrictions – often known as a “Muslim ban” – that affect nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, as well as citizens of Venezuela, North Korea, Nigeria , Sudan and Myanmar.

Models of banned Muslim passports are brought before the US Supreme Court during a protest in Washington, DC, USA [File: Yuri Gripas/Reuters]Trump signed the travel ban by executive order in 2017, causing widespread outrage among activists and rights groups who accused the Trump administration of discrimination and racism.

This latest rule for Visa bonds allows U.S. consular officers, tourist and business travelers from countries whose nationals had an “overnight rate” of 10 percent or more in 2019, to pay a refundable security deposit of $ 5,000, $ 10,000, or $ 15,000 to commit.

24 countries meet this criterion, including 15 African countries. While these nations had higher overnight rates, they sent relatively few travelers to the United States.

In the past, US consular officers have been discouraged from requiring travelers to the US to deposit bonds. The US State Department guidelines stated that the bonds would be “awkward,” according to the temporary rule.

According to the document, the countries whose tourist and business travelers could be subject to the borrowing requirement include countries from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Mauritania, Eritrea and Sudan. Other countries are Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti as well as Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Laos, Liberia, Myanmar (Burma), Papua New Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe.

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