El Salvador has implemented a new measure to discourage migration through Central America, introducing a $1,000 fee for travelers originating from Nigeria, Africa, or India. This move is part of the country’s efforts to address immigration challenges and promote legal immigration channels.
According to nairametrics.com, El Salvador’s port authority has said that individuals holding passports from India or any of over 50 African countries will be required to pay this fee, with the funds earmarked for enhancing the country’s primary international airport.
“The Government of President Nayib Bukele is working hard on modernization and expansion projects at the El Salvador International Airport, to provide a first-class service to all users and passengers who circulate through the air terminal.
There is an increase in the number of passengers entering, leaving and connecting at the airport, compared to previous year.
READ: Aviation: List of airlines that didn’t survive COVID-19 pandemic
The airlines will notify the Billing, Collection and Payments Section of the AIES-SORG daily, through a list that must contain the name of the passenger, nationality, arriving flight and departing flight, of the following nationalities
Based on the list, the airlines will be charged a fee of US $1,000.00 + VAT, per passenger,” the port authority said.
El Salvador’s President, Nayib Bukele, recently held discussions with Brian Nichols, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, focusing on various matters, including addressing irregular migration.
Notably, the US Customs and Border Patrol reported encountering a record-breaking 3.2 million migrants across the country during the fiscal year 2023, which concluded in September.
A substantial number of migrants from Africa and other regions reach the US by traversing Central America.
Taking into account VAT, the total fee amounts to $1,130 for travellers from the affected countries. The fee, effective on October 23, was introduced due to the increased utilization of El Salvador’s primary international airport, as stated by the authorities.
Airlines are now mandated to daily inform Salvadoran authorities about passengers originating from a list of 57 countries in Africa, including Nigeria and India.
Colombian airline Avianca, a major user of the hub, has begun notifying travellers from the listed countries of the mandatory fee, which must be paid before boarding flights to El Salvador.