According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, 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.
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.