White House Issues Memo on Visa Overstays

At the end of April, the White House issued a memo on combating high nonimmigrant visa overstay rates. The memo directs the secretaries of state and homeland security to find effective ways to combat what the administration says is a rampant number of overstays. They are supposed to make recommendations within 120 days of the executive memo. Such actions may include:

  • suspending or limiting entry of nationals of those countries who hold B-1 or B-2 visas with overstay rates higher than 10 percent;

  • targeted suspension of visa issuance for certain nationals;

  • limits to duration of admission;

  • develop measures required for imposing admission bonds.

However, other nations not targeted also have large numbers of overstays, but their rate is lower than 10 percent because these countries send a much higher number of travelers to the United States. Moreover, US immigration law already imposes penalties on those who stay in the United States beyond the period authorized by the Secretary of Homeland Security. These penalties include bars for reentering the United States that range from 3to 10 years. Additionally, U.S. consular officers have discretion to deny visas to applicants deemed likely to stay longer than permitted.