Trump Issues A New Temporary Rule; Some African Tourists To Pay Up To $15,000 In Bonds Before Visiting The United States

A new temporary immigration rule could require Nationals of 24 countries to pay up to $15,000 in bonds.

The outgoing President of the United States, Donald Trump, has on Monday, November 23, 20202, issued a new temporary rule that requires tourist and business travellers from selected countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000 before visiting the United States.

The visa bond rule, which takes effect Dec. 24 and runs through June 24, will allow U.S. consular officers to require tourist and business travellers from countries whose nationals had an “overstay rate” of 10% or higher in 2019 to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The affected countries, which includes 15 from Africa are Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cabo 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.

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.

Joe Biden’s transition team is yet to comment on the visa bond requirement.

DV 2022: Registration dates for Diversity Visa Program announced

The U.S Dept. of State has announced that the registration period for this year’s Diversity Visa Program (DV 2022) will be opened for entries from October 7, 2020, to November 10, 2020.

Just as it was done for DV 2021, registration requires the principal applicants to enter details of their unexpired passports.

The U.S Embassy in Accra has on several occasions warned the public against scams and mentioned dvlottery.state.gov as the only website accepting entries.

See the Department of State’s tweet below:

Winners of DV 2020

Winners of DV 2020 were affected by the outbreak of coronavirus and Trump’s Proclamation banning migration to the United States until December 31, 2020. Though a US court ordered that the winners should be scheduled for an interview, it was too late since the fiscal year for the program ended September 30, 2020.

Winners of DV 2021

The fate of the winners of DV 2021 remains uncertain as the United States still try to overcome the coronavirus outbreak which has led to the unemployment of many. Until the US Embassies in various countries resume, and Trump’s ban is not extended after December 31, the fate of the winners would remain unknown.

DV Lottery 2021 results

Applicants who submitted entries from October 2, 2019 to November 5, 2019 can check whether they have been selected by visiting Entrant Status Check at dvlottery.state.gov. DV-2021 Entrants are to keep their confirmation number until September 30, 2021.

The DV Lottery grants 50,000 people green cards to live in the United States after randomly selected in a lottery despite it being very difficult to obtain visitor’s visas. Several people have questioned what the US intends to achieve with the program.

Winners are expected to have their own means of accommodation while in the United States and jobs are not automatically provided as part of the green card.

Can Americans travel to Cuba?

The United States of America and Cuba may now have a better relationship compared to the past, however, there still are some travel restrictions for Americans seeking to visit Cuba.

Maybe a little history on the travel restrictions. In the year 1960, the United States of America imposed a rigid trade ban on Cuba. The trade ban was as a result of Cuba nationalizing American-owned oil refineries without compensation.

In response to the trade embargo by the US, Cuba responded by placing a ban on travel of Americans to Cuba, and this travel restriction has been in place for slightly over half a century. What the Cuba travel ban on American meant was that it’s technically illegal for U.S. citizens to have transactions (spend money or receive gifts) in Cuba under most circumstances. Due to economic sanctions, air travel to Cuba from the United States was almost impossible. American credit & debit cards don’t work in Cuba either.

DV Lottery
Liberty

However, in recent times, the conditions of the travel ban have reduced slightly. Under the erstwhile Barack Obama administration, Americans could travel to Cuba under the People to People Tours.  The People to People Tours are organized tours that involve some sort of educational experience with local Cuban people. It’s never been defined officially, but basically, your trip can’t just involve sitting on a beach.

Meanwhile, in the Trump administration, Trump announced that Americans can no longer visit Cuba under the People to People Tour as they did under Obama but according to the New York Times and Vagabond Expert, Americans can travel to Cuba under these circumstances:

  1. Family visits
  2. Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  3. Journalistic activity
  4. Professional research and professional meetings
  5. Educational activities
  6. Religious activities
  7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  8. Support for the Cuban people
  9. Humanitarian projects
  10. Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  11. Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
  12. Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.

Coronavirus: Donald Trump to suspend immigration into the United States

An official signing an official document
An official signing an official document

United States President Donald Trump says he will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.

In a tweet late Monday night, Trump said the decision is in light of the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, as well as protecting the jobs of Americans.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”, he tweeted.

It is currently not known if all categories of immigrants would be affected by the executive order but Trump’s motive of protecting jobs in the States is an indication that non-immigrant travels won’t be affected by the Executive order since travellers in such category do not take up jobs.

The U.S Diversity Lottery is expected to be affected by the order as winners of the annual green card lottery take up jobs once in the United States.

U.S Embassies across the globe have already closed to the public but are still offering some emergency services.

UPDATE: President Trump announced during a White House briefing on Tuesday that he’ll sign an executive order as early as tomorrow suspending legal immigration of green card recipients for 60 days into the country.

Trump adds Nigeria, Tanzania, 4 other countries to travel ban list

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has on Friday added Nigeria, Tanzania, and four other countries to the list of countries facing stringent travel restrictions to the United States.

Nigeria, Tanzania, Eritrea, Sudan, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan are the latest addition to Trump’s travel ban that blocks their nationals from applying for certain types of U.S visas.

The restrictions which take effect on February 21, 2020, will block nationals of Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan from applying for visas to immigrate to the U.S. According to the Trump administration, the new policy was designed to tighten security for countries that don’t comply with the U.S. minimum security standards or cooperate to prevent illegal immigration.

The new policy takes Sudan and Tanzania out of the list of countries eligible to participate in the diversity visa lottery, which randomly awards green cards to 50,000 immigrants annually.

The affected countries can still travel to the U.S as tourists.

Immigrants who were issued valid immigrant visas before February 21, 2020, will still be able to move to the U.S.

United States lifts visa restrictions on Ghana

USA passport on the flag of the US United Stetes. Getting a USA

The United States has lifted visa restrictions placed on Ghana effective January 17, 2020.

In a Press Release by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S Embassy in Ghana, the restrictions which were placed on B1, B2, B1/B2, A3 and G5 visa categories have been lifted and visa processing will return to the normal procedures.

Visa restrictions were placed on Ghana by the United States last year on some categories due to the failure of bilateral efforts to have Ghanaian Embassy in Washington and Foreign Affairs Ministry in Ghana to issue passports for Ghanaians who were subject to deportation orders within 30 days, in line with the UN Convention on International Civil Aviation.

Not all Ghanaians affected but the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, warned that the scope of the limitations would include additional categories of people or discontinue additional types of visas if there’s no progress in meeting the obligations in the coming months.

The affected people were employees who have been employed by Ghanaian Diplomats in the United States and all Ghanaian Executive and Legislative branch employees, their spouses and children under age 21 were limited to single entry visas valid for only one month (From day of entry with a valid visa). Ghanaians who are not government employees but hold diplomatic and official passports were also included.

According to the Press Release, the validity period and number of entries of all the affected visa categories have been reverted to receive the normal validity, based on reciprocity, which is currently five tears with multiple entries following the establishment of a mutually agreed process for the identification, validating and issuance of travel documentation to Ghanaian citizens under the final orders of removal in a manner consistent with international standards issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization, of which Ghana is a Member State.

U.S adds Poland to its Visa Waiver Program

Holders of Polish passports can travel to the United States without visas starting November 11, 2019.

This comes after the United States added Poland to its Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to enable citizens of the country travel to the United States for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.

“The inclusion of Poland into the Visa Waiver Program is a testament to the special relationship that exists between our two countries, and the ongoing friendship and close cooperation on our joint security priorities,” said Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Polish government as we deepen our security cooperation as well as make travel easier for our citizens.”

Poland becomes the 39th country the U.S has added to the VWP. The countries already enjoying visa-free travels to the United States are Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal and San Marino.

Others are Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and United Kingdom.

“It is cause for celebration in both the U.S. and Poland that the two countries have now formally partnered in the VWP, a program that is the gold standard for simultaneously boosting both U.S. security and the U.S. economy,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.

“Whenever a country has entered the VWP, the U.S. has always seen a significant increase in visitation from that country — and keep in mind those travelers are then thoroughly vetted under the program’s robust security protocols,” said Dow. “Poland’s admission is projected to generate an additional $702 million in travel spending and 4,300 American jobs in the first three years.”

Will Ghana become the 40th country to be added to the VWP?

Registration opened for DV 2021; changes, website for registration and all what you need to know

The Kentucky Consular Center has opened the 2021 United States Diversity Visa Lottery for entries.

Entries for the DV 2021 can be submitted from October 2 to November 5. The entry form for this year’s registration requires that principal applicants enter details of their unexpired international travel passports.

The U.S Embassy in Accra has warned the public against scams and mentioned dvlottery.state.gov as the only website accepting entries.

DV 2021: What to note!

  1. Registration opens on October 2, 2019 at 12noon EDT (1600 GMT)
  2. Registration closes on November 5, 2019 at 12noon EST (1700 GMT)
  3. Entry is free and are is accepted only through dvlottery.state.gov.
  4. Only principal applicants are required to enter details of their unexpired passports
  5. Results will be released on May 5, 2020 and winners will have up to September 30, 2021 to obtain visas.

Who qualifies?

Do not waste time to go through the registration process if you are not eligible to register. No amount of magic conjured can get you the green card if you are not eligible.

Natives of Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam are not eligible to apply because more than 50,000
natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years.

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taiwan and any other country not mentioned above are eligible to apply.

Each Principal DV applicant must either have at least a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education; or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. Check the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience.

Photo requirements

The photographs plays the major role in the selection process. Photos that do not meet the requirements are disqualified. People who keep repeating old photos are disqualified as the program requires that photos must be less than 6 months old.

Photos must be 600×600 pixels and must not be more than 240KB in size. It must be sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50 percent and 69 percent of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.

See full instructions for DV 2021.

DV-2021- Instructions-English

DV Lottery 2020 results

Applicants who submitted entries from October 3 – November 6, 2018 can check whether they have been selected by visiting Entrant Status Check at dvlottery.state.gov. DV-2020 Entrants are to keep their confirmation number until September 30, 2020.

The KCC never use email or phone calls to notify entrants that they are selected for the DV program. Notification of selection is only available by directly accessing Entrant Status Check on the E-DV website dvlottery.state.gov.

The DV Lottery grants 55,000 people green cards to live in the United States after randomly selected in a lottery despite it being very difficult to obtain visitor’s visas.

Winners are expected to have their own means of accommodation while in the United States and jobs are not automatically provided as part of the green card.

U.S Embassy in Accra issued 2,421 non-immigrant visas in July 2019 alone

Ghana is gradually redeeming her image with regards to illegal migration and abuse of visa conditions as visa issuance by the United States Embassy in Accra sees a significant increase.

The United States Embassy in Accra issued 2,421 non-immigrant visas in July 2019 alone, according to Visa Statistics published on the U.S Department of State website.

Out of the 2,421 non-immigrant visas issued, 1,641 were the most-common B1/B2 visa classes followed by F1 (Full-time Students) with 482 visas.

The number of visas issued by the embassy in July 2019 represents a 56.8% increase compared to 1,544 non-immigrant visas issued in July 2017.

Below is a breakdown of the number of visas issued under each visa class

Diplomats and foreign government officials – A2 – 89

Athletes, amateur and professional – B1 – 1

Temporary visitor for business or pleasure – B1/B2 –  1,641

Transit visa – C1 –  3
Crew members  – C1/D – 24
Transit Visa (Diplomats) – C3  – 1
Crew Members – D –  1

Students – academic and language students  -F1 – 482
Student dependents – dependent of an F-1 holder – F2 – 22

Employees of a designated international organization – G1 – 4
Employees of a designated international organization – G2 – 36
Employees of a designated international organization – G4 –  7

Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge – H1B – 8

Information media representative (media, journalists) – I  – 5

Exchange visitors – au pairs – J1  – 49
Exchange visitors – children (under age 21) or spouse of a J-1 holder  – J2 –  4

Fiancé(e)  – K1 –  8
Unmarried Children of K1 holders  – K2  – 1

Intra-company transferees – L1 –  2

Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics  – O1 –  3
Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics – O2 –  8
Family members of O holders – O3  – 3

Athletes, artists, entertainers  – P1  – 1
Athletes, artists, entertainers  – P3  – 13

Religious workers – R1 –  5

Currently, the US has imposed visa restrictions on Ghana for refusing to accept the return of 7,000 Ghanaian nationals that it wants to deport. The US embassy in Accra has limited the awarding of visas to certain applicants, such as the domestic staff of diplomats posted to America. The restriction is expected to affect other visa classes should the two countries fail to resolve the issue and this may see a decline in the number of visas issued in the affected categories or their length of validity.

DV 2021: Registration dates for Diversity Visa Program announced

The United States Embassy in Ghana has hinted that the registration period for this year’s Diversity Visa Program (DV 2021) will be opened for entries from October 2, 2019 to November 5, 2019.

The embassy said in a Twitter chat on Thursday that this year’s registration requires the principal applicants to enter details of their unexpired passports.

The Embassy has warned the public against scams and mentioned dvlottery.state.gov as the only website accepting entries.

DV Lottery 2020 results

Applicants who submitted entries from October 3 – November 6, 2018 can check whether they have been selected by visiting Entrant Status Check at dvlottery.state.gov. DV-2020 Entrants are to keep their confirmation number until September 30, 2019.

The U.S embassy gave heads up that the Kentucky Consular Center never use email to notify entrants that they are selected for the DV program.

The DV Lottery grants 50,000 people green cards to live in the United States after randomly selected in a lottery despite it being very difficult to obtain visitor’s visas. Several people have questioned what the US intends to achieve with the program.

Winners are expected to have their own means of accommodation while in the United States and jobs are not automatically provided as part of the green card.