On Monday the Supreme Court issued orders (here and here) permitting the government to enforce the September 24, 2017 travel ban (the text can be found here). Until yesterday, the government was not permitted to fully enforce the travel ban due to preliminary injunctions issued in cases challenging the executive order implementing the travel ban. The information set out below is a general description of the current state of the travel ban. Please contact my office if you have additional questions regarding whether it applies to your specific situation. Additionally, the travel ban is the subject of ongoing litigation, so who it applies to and what effect it has on people entering the United States from certain countries may change in the future.
Who is affected by the travel ban?
The travel ban restricts citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen from coming to the United States. However, that is not the whole story. The travel ban is the common name for the Executive Order, which is why I refer to it as a travel ban. However, it is not simply a ban on citizens from the listed countries from entering the United States. Rather, it bans citizens of the listed countries from coming to the United States using specific visas if they meet three criteria (1) they are outside of the United States on the effective date of the ban, (2) they do not have a valid visa on the effective date of the travel and (3) they do not qualify for a visa or a valid travel document based on the fact that their prior visa was revoked or cancelled under the previous travel ban.
Who is not affected by the travel ban?
Lawful permanent residents of the United States, even if they are a citizen of one of the listed countries, may still enter the United States.
People who are citizens of multiple countries, so long as one of the countries is not on the list and that person enters the United States using a passport issued by one of the non-listed countries.
People who have a valid document such as a transportation letter, a person travelling on certain visas such as a diplomatic visa, a NAFTA visas, C-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visas, or people who have been granted asylum, already come to the United States as a refugee, or people that have been granted withholding of removal, advance parole or protection under the Convention against Torture.
Is there a waiver available?
There is a waiver available. United States Customs and Border Protection and United States Department of State consular officers are permitted to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis. Essentially, the person applying for a waiver must show that (1) denying entry would cause the person undue hardship, (2) entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States, and (3) entry would be in the national interest.
County Specific Restrictions
The United States has suspended entry of Chadian nationals using immigrant visas and business/tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
The United States has suspended entry of Iranian nationals using all immigrant and non-immigrant visas, with the exception of certain student and exchange visas. Iranian nationals may still be permitted to enter the United States using F, M or J visas. However, entering using these visas will subject the individual to “enhanced screening and vetting requirements.”
The United States has suspended entry of Libyan nationals using immigrant visas and business/tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
The United States has suspended entry of all North Korean nationals, whether they use immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas.
The United States has suspended entry of all Somali nationals using immigrant visas. Decisions about whether to issue visas and permit entry of Somali nationals as non-immigrants will be subject to additional scrutiny. This additional scrutiny will be used to determine if those applicants are connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States.
The United States has suspended entry of all Syrian nationals, whether they use immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas.
The United States has suspended entry of certain Venezuelan government officials, and their families, using business/tourist visas (B-1/B-2). There is no restriction on the entry of Venezuelan nationals that are not officials or family members of officials of certain Venezuelan governmental agencies. However, Venezuelan nationals entering the United States will be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current.
The United States has suspended entry of Yemeni nationals using immigrant visas and business/tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
There is ongoing litigation regarding the implementation of the travel ban, so its future may be in question. However, the government is permitted to enforce the ban for the time being. If you have any questions about the travel ban, or whether a waiver may be available for your particular situation, please contact my office for further information.