In a strategic move aimed at addressing irregular migration and funding infrastructure development, El Salvador has implemented a new $1,000 fee for travellers holding passports from India or more than 50 African nations.
This groundbreaking decision was announced by El Salvador’s port authority on October 20, 2023, and is intended to curb irregular migration to the US through the Central American country.
Travel Fee Specifics and Implementation
The newly imposed fee, inclusive of VAT, totals $1,130 for travellers from the affected countries. This regulation took effect on October 23, and it was enacted in response to the increased usage of the country’s primary international airport, as explained in the official statement.
Infrastructure Enhancement Using Travel Fees
El Salvador’s port authority has disclosed that the funds generated from this fee will be allocated to improve the nation’s primary international airport, making it more efficient and advanced.
High-Level Diplomatic Talks to Tackle Migration Issues
El Salvador’s President, Nayib Bukele, recently held discussions with Brian Nichols, the US assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. Their agenda included collaborative efforts to address irregular migration and bolster foreign direct investment in El Salvador.
This development comes in response to a record-breaking 3.2 million migrants encountered by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol during the fiscal year 2023, which concluded in September.
Central America’s Role in Irregular Migration to the US
It’s no secret that migrants from various parts of the world, including Africa, have been traversing Central American routes to reach the United States.
Enhanced Monitoring of Passengers
Airlines operating in and out of El Salvador are now required to report passengers originating from a list of 57 countries in Africa and India. This proactive measure aims to ensure that travellers subject to the mandatory fee are identified before boarding their flights to El Salvador.
Impact on Major Airlines
Colombian airline Avianca, one of the largest users of El Salvador’s international airport hub, has begun notifying travellers that passengers hailing from the designated list of countries must pay the obligatory fee prior to boarding their flights to El Salvador.
Impact on Travellers
Travelers from Africa and India who are planning to visit El Salvador should be aware of the new $1,000 fee. They should also be prepared to show proof of their ability to pay the fee before boarding their flight.
Travellers who are unsure whether they are affected by the new fee should contact the Salvadoran embassy or consulate in their home country for more information.