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Immigration Law

DOS Rolls Out Visa Bond Pilot Program

Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 24, 2020

"This temporary final rule provides for a U.S. Department of State (Department) visa bond pilot program (Pilot Program) with specified parameters. The purpose of the Pilot Program is to assess the operational feasibility of posting, processing, and discharging visa bonds, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to help assess the burden on government agencies and identify any practical challenges related to visa bonds. The Pilot Program does not aim to assess whether issuing visa bonds will be effective in reducing the number of aliens who overstay their temporary business visitor/tourist (B-1/B-2) visa. Visa applicants potentially subject to the Pilot Program include aliens who: are applying for visas as temporary visitors for business or pleasure (B-1/B-2); are from countries with high visa overstay rates; and already have been approved by DHS for an inadmissibility waiver. Because this is a visa bond program, aliens traveling under the Visa Waiver Program fall outside the scope of the Pilot Program, as those travelers do not apply for visas. The Pilot Program is designed to apply to nationals of specified countries with high overstay rates to serve as a diplomatic tool to encourage foreign governments to take all appropriate actions to ensure their nationals timely depart the United States after making temporary visits. The Pilot Program will run for six months. During that period, consular officers may require nonimmigrant visa applicants falling within the scope of the Pilot Program to post a bond in the amount of $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000 as a condition of visa issuance. The amount of the bond, should a bond be appropriate, will be determined by the consular officer based on the circumstances of the visa applicant. DATES: Effective Date: This temporary final rule is effective from [INSERT DATE 30 DAYS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER] through June 24, 2021. Pilot Program Dates: The Pilot Program will run for six months, from [INSERT 30 DAYS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER] through June 24, 2021."