March 7, 2017
On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed a new executive order temporarily banning immigration from 6 majority-Muslim countries starting March 16, 2017. This order is very similar to the executive order President Trump signed in late January (which was revoked by the new executive order), but contains numerous revisions that the administration hopes will make it more able to withstand legal scrutiny. In addition, the new executive order is much clearer regarding who is subject to the ban, and it lays out a timeline for implementation (rather than being effective immediately).
What Does The Executive Order Do?
Starting March 16, 2017, the United States will suspend visa processing for foreign nationals from six designated countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – for an initial period of 90 days. In addition, all refugee applicants not already scheduled for transit by the State Department will be unable to enter the United States for an initial period of 120 days. The executive order also includes a number of smaller changes, including an end to the Visa Interview Waiver Program (VIWP) thus mandating in-person interviews for all nonimmigrant visa applicants (unless an interview is not required by statute or otherwise exempted by the executive order).
Who Is Affected By The Travel Ban?
Fortunately, the new executive order spells out quite clearly who is affected by the travel ban. While the first executive order was meant to affect foreign nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries – those being Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – plus all refugee applicants, there was significant confusion as to whether or not the order applied to: Legal Permanent Residents of the United States (“Green Card” holders); people who already had a valid U.S. visa; and, dual-nationals where one nationality was not among the designated countries.
The new executive order is much clearer in its scope. Importantly, the new executive order also removed Iraq from the list of designated countries, leaving the list of designated countries at six: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Foreign nationals from any of these designated countries will be prevented from entering the United States if they:
However, the new executive order does not affect foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen if they fall in one or more of the following six categories, and they should be able to return to the United States after foreign travel even after the ban is implemented:
As mentioned previously, the ban also affects all refugee applicants who have not already been scheduled for transit.
How Are Refugee Applicants Affected?
The executive order bans all refugee admissions to the United States for 120 days, purportedly to allow DHS to beef up the already-extreme vetting procedure for refugee applicants and review identity and security information provided to the U.S. Government and used to support U.S. visa and other immigrant benefit determinations.
How Are Iranian, Libyan, Somalian, Sudanese, Syrian, and Yemeni Citizens With Valid U.S. Visas Affected?
According to the new executive order, any immigrants or non-immigrants from the designated countries holding a valid U.S. visa, with an effective date of the new order or any day thereafter, will be permitted to travel to the United States and enter at a U.S. port of entry. Importantly, visas held by foreign nationals of the above-mentioned countries will NOT be revoked solely as a result of the new Executive Order.
How Are Iranian, Libyan, Somalian, Sudanese, Syrian, and Yemeni Citizens With Valid Multiple Entry U.S. Visas Affected?
Individuals from the designated six countries holding multiple entry U.S. visas with an effective date of the new order or any day thereafter will continue to be allowed to make multiple trips to and from the United States as long as their visa remains valid.
How Are Iranian, Libyan, Somalian, Sudanese, Syrian, and Yemeni Citizens With Valid Single Entry U.S. Visas Affected?
Unfortunately, those from the above-mentioned countries holding a single entry visa will NOT be eligible to reapply for a visa outside of the United States. Therefore, should such foreign nationals travel outside the United States, they will not be able to reenter the United States during the 90 day period.
How Are Legal Permanent Residents Affected?
Lawful Permanent Residents (“Green Card” holders) from the affected countries will not be affected by the Executive Order and such individuals may continue to travel to and from the United States.
How Are Those In The U.S. Affected?
The Executive Order prohibits those who are outside the United States on the effective date of the order and do not have a valid U.S. visa, with an effective date of the new order or any day thereafter, to travel to the United States. The Executive Order does NOT revoke any visas already issued to foreign nationals of the designated countries. Importantly, those already in the United States, who do not have a valid visa, should NOT travel outside of the United States as they will not be permitted to reenter during the 90 day period.
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