A Presidential Memorandum was released on April 22 directing the Departments of State and Homeland Security to recommend ways to reduce the number of visitor visa and visa waiver program overstays. With every entry into the United States, the visitor is given an “admitted until” date on their I-94. To find out more about the I-94 and where to find it, please click here. This admitted until date is the last day the visitor can legally stay in the country, and any time after that will be considered unlawful presence. To learn more about unlawful presence and waivers for them, please click here. The White House is citing studies that have found most undocumented individuals in the country arrived on valid visas and stayed. As a result of this, the White House has directed the two Departments to do the following:
- Visa Waiver Program: DHS has 180 days to report to the President on its efforts to reduce VWP overstays and provide recommendations to enforce this
- Targeted Enforcements for specific countries with more than 10% B visa. A list of countries with the high overstays can be found starting on page 14 here. Proposed actions against nationals of these countries could include suspension or limitation of travel or current B visa holders, suspension of B visa issuances, limits to duration of stay in the U.S., and/or additional documentary requirements.
- Take immediate account to reduce rates for overstays of all nonimmigrant visa types. The memorandum specifically mentioned admission bonds as a means of enforcing visa compliance. Meaning, when a visitor enters the country, they will pay a security deposit like fee, which will only be returned when they leave the country on time. Whether this will ever be enforced, how this will be enforced, who will be enforcing it, how much will the bond be are all unclear at this time.
This memorandum has no actual impact on nonimmigrant visa travelers at this time. But it is a part of the Trump Administration’s ongoing focus on illegal immigration and the control of foreign nationals coming into the country. All foreign nationals should check their I-94 at every entry into the country to ensure they know what their legal duration of stay is and either extend the validity period, change status before it expires, or leave the country to prevent any unauthorized stay.
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