United States – Update on Travel Ban on Citizens of Seven Nations

Executive Order Imposes Travel Ban on Citizens of Seven Nations

What has changed

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order suspending admission to the United States of foreign nationals from the following countries for a period of at least ninety (90) days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Until further notice, it is advised that foreign nationals from these countries refrain from any international travel, effective immediately.

Who is affected?

  • Foreign nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas.
  • The order applies to both immigrant and non-immigrant foreign nationals from these countries, including holders of dual citizenship.  These categories include both holders of non-immigrant visas (B-1, H-1B, L-1, O-1, etc.) and lawful permanent residents (i.e. green card holders).

What to expect

While this executive order is in effect, foreign nationals from the affected countries seeking readmission to the United States will likely be denied. This applies to all ports of entry (air, land, and sea).  It is still unclear when this ban may be lifted. Based on information to be gathered by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security over the 90-day period (April 27, 2017), the suspension may be extended, and additional countries could be added. At this time, it appears that individuals already present in the U.S. will not be impacted.

As of the evening of January 28, a federal judge had partially blocked the executive order, ruling that refugees and other travelers detained at airports in the United States should not be returned to their home countries. However, the ruling stopped short of allowing the travelers into the United States, and there are reports that the Department of Homeland Security is refusing to comply with the stay.

In addition to the seven listed banned countries, the Executive Order also permits the U.S. to refuse admission to persons from “any other country that is designated, at the time the alien applies for admission, by the Secretary of Homeland Security […] whether the country or area is a safe haven for terrorists.”  As a result, the list of banned countries could expand.  Currently, the State Department lists the following additional areas as terrorist safe havens, so some of these could potentially be added to the travel ban:

Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, Venezuela, Southern Philippines,  Trans-Sahara (Mali),  The Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen should refrain from any international travel, effective immediately.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

Suspension of Visa Interview Waiver Program

What has changed
The executive order signed by President Trump on January 27, 2017 also directs the State Department to suspend the Visa Interview Waiver program (for instance, the dropbox program at the consulates in India), which had previously been available for renewing visas at certain U.S. consulates.

Who is affected?

  • Individuals seeking to renew their visas under the Visa Interview Waiver Program.

What to expect

Foreign nationals from countries not affected by the travel ban who need to renew their visas if traveling abroad should expect considerably longer wait times for appointments at these consulates, and any travel plans should take into account additional processing times for visa issuance.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Persons who had been planning to renew a US visa under the Visa Interview Waiver program should expect additional processing steps and time and initiate renewals well in advance.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.