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US imposes $15,000 visa bond on 15 African countries, others

The US has issued a visa rule requiring tourist and business travelers in some countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the visa fees.

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US imposes $15,000 visa bond on 15 African countries, others, Berger Paints' improved margins ride on the back of cost efficiency

The outgoing administration of US President, Donald Trump, on Monday, November 23, 2020, issued a new temporary visa rule that requires tourist and business travelers from 15 African countries and others to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the visa fees, which ranges from $16 to $300, in order to visit the United States.

According to TheCable, the US State Department said the visa bond pilot programme, expected to take effect from December 24 and end on June 24, 2021, is targeted at countries whose citizens have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas for business travelers.

READ: Update: No one will take our democracy away, not now, not ever- Biden

The Trump administration said the six-month pilot program aims to test the feasibility of collecting such bonds and will serve as a diplomatic deterrence to overstaying the visas. Hence, overstay places significant pressure on Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.

The visa bond rule will permit U.S. consular officers to request tourist and business travelers from countries whose nationals had an overstay rate of 10% and above in 2019 to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000.

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READ: COVID-19: IMF Chief predicts $345 billion financing gap in African countries 

The countries whose tourist and business travelers fall into this category and subjected to the bond requirements are 24 countries, including 15 African countries. While these nations had higher rates of overstays, they sent relatively fewer travelers to the United States.

The countries include Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, the 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

READ: Falling Oil prices: Nigeria’s Halloween reality

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Nigerian travelers escaped paying the temporary visa rule, as their overall score was below the threshold of 10% and above overstaying rate.

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Samuel Talent

    November 24, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    We escape this one, thank God

    • Monday

      November 25, 2020 at 6:12 am

      Make sense

  2. Stanley

    November 25, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Of course, they must have also considered the likely revenue loss from countries with high visitation rates, before coming to the decision that the listed countries have the fewest visitation rates to their country, hence any backlash would be insignificant. Meanwhile, Nigeria and other poorly governed African countries would continue to be the guinea pigs for these kinds of policies by Western countries, until we start making genuine efforts towards sustainable industrialization.

  3. Harrison Taylor

    November 30, 2020 at 11:45 am

    I don’t trust this news network

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Around the World

President Biden directs international air travelers must quarantine upon arrival

President Joe Biden has directed international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the United States.

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Joe Biden gains additional 4.6 million Twitter followers in less than 12 hours

The United States President Joe Biden has issued an executive order on Thursday that makes it mandatory for international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the US.

Similarly, the executive order also includes a directive that all interstate travellers in the US will be expected to wear a face mask. This travel order applies to airports and planes, trains, ferries, intercity buses and public transportation, but grants them the ability to issue exemptions.

READ: Here is reason Turkish Airlines was allowed to land in Abuja 

What the US President is saying in the executive order

According to a report from Reuters, President Biden’s order says, ‘‘To the extent, feasible air travellers must comply with applicable U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines concerning international travel ‘including recommended periods of self-quarantine.

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However, the executive order does not explain how it will be enforced as the implementation still remains quite hazy.

READ: A Joe Biden presidency and its impact on Nigeria’s oil

The order also directs US agencies to engage with Canada and Mexico on public health protocols for land ports of entry including implementing CDC guidelines. Almost all non-essential travel at US land borders with Canada and Mexico has been suspended till February 21.

The CDC recommends a 7-day quarantine for people arriving in the United States from nearly all countries.

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READ: Biden reverses US immigration ban on Nigeria, others

Biden is directing agencies to reconsider international contact tracing requirements for U.S.-bound passengers, which was abandoned by the Trump White House, as well as the possibility of follow-up Covid-19 testing for travellers after they arrive in the United States.

In addition, the US President has also directed that all travellers including US citizens, will be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before entering the country from abroad in an order that underscores the CDC policy announced last week.

READ: Air travellers across Nigerian Airports hit 8.5 million in 6-month

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Trump administration had resisted calls for the enforcement of a mask-wearing requirement.
  • The Biden administration has also announced that it would reimpose coronavirus-related ban on most non-U.S. citizens arriving from European Union, Brazil, the United Kingdom.
  • This follows the lifting of the restrictions by former US President, Donald Trump through an executive order on Monday.

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Hospitality & Travel

Biden reverses US immigration ban on Nigeria, others

US President, Joe Biden has signed an executive order to repeal the immigrant visa ban on Nigeria and others.

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What would a Joe Biden Presidency mean for Nigeria?

Newly-elected President, Joe Biden has signed his first executive orders as US President including reversing a Donald Trump-administration travel ban on 13 countries which were mainly Muslim and African nations.

Biden’s executive orders, amongst other acts, also returns the US back to the Paris Climate agreement and stopping the construction of the border wall with Mexico.

This was disclosed in a report by Reuters after Biden signed 15 executive actions immediately after his inauguration.

“In the coming days and weeks, we will be announcing additional executive actions that confront these challenges and deliver on the president-elect’s promises to the American people,” Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary said.

Other actions by Biden include reversing the Presidential permit for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

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What you should know

  • Donald’s Trump administration introduced a ban on citizens from countries which was upheld at the US Supreme Court, barring citizens of seven countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and North Korea — from obtaining any kind of visas, and largely preventing them from entering the US.
  • Nairametrics reported that the US subsequently added six more countries to its travel ban list. They were Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar. The extra ban meant citizens were allowed to visit but were banned from settling permanently in the United States.
  • US government gave conditions to get it to review Nigeria’s status on the ban list, including getting Nigeria to improve on its data intelligence such that it would be easy to investigate any immigrant wishing to visit the United States and meet information-sharing systems.
  • In August 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed that it will take enormous resources to reverse the ban on immigrant visas for Nigerians by the United States Government. He also noted that the country was making some progress in that regard.

Biden’s reversal of Trump’s policies is part of an aggressive push to roll back some of his predecessor’s strict and controversial immigration policies which have been condemned by world leaders and civil groups in the past.

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Hospitality & Travel

Transport Fare Watch: Commuters by bus journey intercity paid more in December 2020

NBS report indicates that commuters paid more for bus journey intercity in December 2020 than they did in November 2020.

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The average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity increased by 4.98% from N2,240.66 in November 2020 to N2,532.19 in December 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report for the month of December 2020.

According to the report, commuters in Abuja FCT (N4,415.73), Sokoto (N3,255.20), and Lagos (N3,250.60) paid the highest bus journey fare intercity while commuters in Bayelsa (N1,550.73), Bauchi (N1,600.70), and Akwa Ibom (N1,700.54) paid the lowest bus journey fare intercity.

Other key highlights of the report…

  • The average airfare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey increased by 0.42% from N36,301.74 in November to N36,454.59 in December 2020.
  • Passengers from Anambra (N38,700.00), Lagos (N38,550.00), Cross River (N38,500.00) paid the highest airfare were while passengers from Akwa Ibom (N32,600.00), Sokoto (N33,500.00), and Gombe (N34,750.00) paid the lowest airfare.
  • The average fare paid by commuters for bus journeys within the city increased by 6.18% from N333.86 in November 2020 to N354.49 in December 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) report for the month of December 2020.
  • Commuters in Zamfara (N600.50), Bauchi (N526.30), and Cross River (N458.07) paid the highest bus journey within the states whiles commuters in Abia (N200.50), Anambra (N242.23), and Borno (N243.12) paid the lowest bus journey fare within the city.
  • The average fare paid by commuters for journey by motorcycle per drop increased by 6.14% from N276.38 in November 2020 to N293.36 in December 2020.
  • Commuters in Niger (N1,575.70), Yobe (N397.45) and Imo (N397.42) paid the highest journey fare by motorcycle per drop while commuters in Adamawa (N80.40), Katsina (N130.25) and Kebbi (N146.25) paid the lowest journey fare by motorcycle per drop.
  • The average fare paid by passengers for waterway transport increased by 0.19% from N756.84 in November 2020 to N758.27 in December 2020.
  • Passengers in Delta (N2,300.35), Bayelsa (N2,240.00) and Rivers (N2,200.00) paid the highest fare by waterway passenger transport while passengers in Borno (N240.73), Gombe (N293.24) and Kebbi (N349.64) paid the lowest fare by water way passenger transport.

 Why this matters

Cost of transportation has been noted to account for the huge chunk of the budget for most lower/middle-class Nigerians and as well takes not less than 20% of their take-home pay packages.

The increase in transport cost for the month of December 2020 may not be unconnected with the yuletide seasons that come with an unusually high cost of goods and services.

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