President Donald Trump’s administration is considering new measures to crack down on countries whose citizens have a high rate of overstaying their visas in the United States.
Countries whose citizens overstay short-term tourist and business visas are at risk of getting hit with travel restrictions as part of new immigration measures being considered by the administration, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
In its 2017 Entry/Exit Overstay Report, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security described overstays as those who remain in the U.S. beyond their period of admission and for whom there is no identifiable evidence of a departure, an extension of period of admission, or transition to another immigration status.
A high proportion of countries expected to be affected by the new measure are African countries including Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Liberia, Somalia, and Djibouti, according to DHS’ 2017 report.
A total of 19,676 Nigerians overstayed their visas in the U.S. in 2017, representing 10.61%. Just the previous year in 2016, only a total of 12,043 Nigerians (6.34%) that travelled to the U.S. overstayed their visas.
A Trump administration official told WSJ that the high percentage of overstays could compel the U.S. to warn affected countries that future visas could be shorter or harder to get if rates don’t reverse.
He said nationals from countries with high overstay rates could be barred entirely although no ban is currently under consideration.
White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, also said the Trump administration considers it a top priority to reduce overstay rates for visas.
“It’s well known that the administration is working to ensure faithful implementation of immigration welfare rules to protect American taxpayers,” he said.
Although African countries have some of the highest rates of citizens overstaying their visas, the actual number of overstays pales in comparison to other nations who have a lower percentage.
For example, Djibouti had the highest rate of overstays in 2017 with 42.30% of its citizens overstaying their visas in the U.S. However, the 42.30% only translated to just 423 people.
On the other hand, the United Kingdom had a 0.54% overstay rate, but this translated to a total of 25,694 UK visitors who overstayed their visas in 2017.
Others with low rates but higher numbers of people include Germany with 11,040 citizens (0.51%), Italy with 10,337 citizens (0.83%), and France with 16,456 citizens (0.91%).
Despite this, the Trump administration’s new measure will affect Djibouti but not the UK, Germany, Italy or France which have more of their citizens violating their visa conditions.