White House to Potentially Expand Travel Ban

22 May 2019

When a visitor enters the US as a nonimmigrant, and does not exit the US before the terms of the visa allow, this is referred to as an “overstay“. Overall, the rate of overstays is low. In fact, in 2018, only 0.41% of visitors on ESTA overstayed, and only 2% of B1/B2 visitor visa holders overstayed. According to DHS officials, 99.24% of foreign visitors had either “departed the United States on time and in accordance with the terms of their admission” or had left within the next six months. Many overstays are not intending immigrants, but people who made mistake with their expiration date, or eventually left shortly after the visa expiration. However, despite the low overstay rate, the White House has determined that addressing overstays from certain countries is a top priority.

Which Countries May Be Affected?

In an effort to crack down on nonimmigrant overstays, the White House issued a memorandum on April 22, 2019 entitled “Presidential Memorandum on Combating High Nonimmigrant Overstay Rates“. The memo outlines a plan to impose potential restrictions on travel from nationals of countries with an overstay rate of 10% or higher, which includes the following 21 countries.




Overstay Volume

Overstay Rate

1Djibouti Flag of Djibouti17743.92%
2Chad Flag of Chad16230.22%
3Yemen* Flag of Yemen50727.92%
4Eritrea Flag of Eritrea49124.06%
5Burundi Flag of Burundi24921.52%
6Palau Flag of Palau617.65%
7Syria* Flag of Syria1,18017.22%
8Angola Flag of Angola96315.18%
9South Sudan Flag of South Sudan3615.06%
10Nigeria Flag of Nigeria29,00414.81%
11Liberia Flag of Liberia46013.64%
12Bhutan 5213.07%
13Afghanistan 17312.92%
14Somalia* 1012.82%
15Sudan Flag of Sudan36812.53%
16Cape Verde Flag of Cabo Verde58311.97%
17Congo (Republic of) Flag of Republic of Congo12411.31%
18Mauritania Flag of Mauritania7811.17%
19Georgia Flag of Georgia84910.72%
20Laos Flag of Laos15110.01%
21Micronesia Flag of Micronesia610.00%

*Countries already affected by existing travel ban. | Source: DHS

Visa Overstay Rates

While these countries have high overstay percentages, the actual volume of overstays is much lower from most of these countries. The countries producing the highest volume of overstays are Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela. The only country that is on the target list which also has any overstay volume is Nigeria.

Overstays by volume

The targeting of countries that are suspiciously centered around Africa leads critics to identify the policy as a backdoor attempt to target “Sh****le countries” by the President.

How Will These Countries Be Affected?

The wording of the memo is ambiguous and open-ended enough to allow for a lot of possible outcomes. We will know more when the 120 day period is over. However, some potential outcomes include:

  • Secretary of State is to identify conditions contributing to high overstay rates and provide recommendations to address these to President Trump (Very open ended; Recommendations could be a virtually unlimited number of items)
  • Suspending or limiting entry of nationals of those countries
  • Targeted suspension of visa issuance for certain nationals (This is the most serious concern of nationals of these countries)
  • Limits to duration of admission
  • Additional documentary requirements
Disclaimer: The contents of this post were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Immigration is constantly changing, and old information often becomes outdated, including procedures, timelines, prices, and more. Take note of the publish date. For archival purposes, these posts will remain published, even if new information renders them obsolete. Do not make important life decisions based on this content. No part of this post should be considered legal advice, as RapidVisa is not a law firm. This content is provided free of charge for informational purposes only. If anything herein conflicts with an official government website, the official government website shall prevail.

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