In a significant move, El Salvador has implemented a USD 1,000 fee for travellers originating from Africa or India, signaling its intent to discourage migration through the country to the United States. This development was made public by El Salvador’s port authority in a statement posted on its website.
The fee targets individuals travelling on passports issued by India or more than 50 African nations. El Salvador’s government views this measure as an essential step to address migration challenges and regulate the flow of travellers passing through the country en route to the United States. This new policy is aimed to establishing border and immigration control measures.
Crucially, the funds generated from this fee will be directed towards enhancing infrastructure and facilities at El Salvador’s primary international airport, as confirmed by the authority.
This week, President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador held a crucial meeting with Brian Nichols, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Their discussions encompassed a wide array of topics, with a primary focus on their joint efforts to combat irregular migration.
During the fiscal year 2023, which concluded in September, the US Customs and Border Patrol recorded a staggering 3.2 million encounters with migrants across the country. This stark figure underscores the magnitude of their discussions concerning the pressing issue of migration.
For travellers from the impacted nations, an additional cost of USD 1,130, inclusive of value-added tax (VAT), will be incurred. This new fee came into effect on October 23 due to the heightened utilisation of the nation’s primary international airport, according to the official announcement.
In addition to the fee, airlines will now be obligated to provide daily notifications to Salvadoran authorities about passengers arriving from a specified roster of 57 countries in Africa and India.A prominent airline utilising El Salvador’s hub, Avianca from Colombia, has taken the initiative to alert travellers from the aforementioned list of nations about the mandatory fee. Passengers from these countries will be required to pay the fee before boarding flights destined for El Salvador.
This initiative is a reflection of the ongoing efforts by governments and airlines worldwide to address migration challenges and enhance control over international travel. This decision by El Salvador has significant implications for travellers from India and Africa and underscores the need for a comprehensive approach to international migration issues.