As you may have heard, the United States President issued a new executive order on March 6, banning travel to the United States from certain countries starting on March 16, 2017, for at least 90 days. The countries on the list are the same as the ones from the prior travel ban except that Iraq was removed from the list. Therefore, people from the following countries, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen will not be able to obtain a visa to enter the United States after March 16, 2017. The prior travel ban will be revoked as of March 16, 2017.
The new travel ban affects people who do not already have a visa. It does not apply to United States citizens, lawful permanent residents of the US or to people who have dual citizenship in county not on the list.
Various organizations and states are filing lawsuits to challenge the constitutionality of this travel ban.
The new order also suspends refugee resettlement to the US for 120 days and reduces the total number of refugees that that the US will allow to resettle in the US once the ban is lifted. This ban should not impact asylum cases. The suspension and reduction of refugee resettlement will also be challenged in court.
According to the order the following people from the listed countries will not be allowed to enter the US as of March 16, 2017, unless a court order stays implementation of the ban:
· Those who are outside the US as of March 16, 2017
· who did not have a valid visa as of January 27, 2017 and
· Do not have a valid visa on March 16, 2017.
The order does not apply to the following people from the listed countries:
· United States citizens
· Lawful permanent residents
· Those who have advance parole
· Those with a valid visa as of January 27, 2017 that is still valid on March 16, 2017
· Any refugee already granted admission
· Diplomatic visas
· Asylum applicants
Those people who would be applying for a visa to the US will not be issued a visa starting on March 16, 2017 unless they meet the requirements for an exception which include showing that
· Denying the visa would cause undue hardship
· The individual is not a threat to national security and
· The issuance of the visa would be in the national interest.
Anyone whose visa was revoked under the prior travel ban is eligible for a travel document to enter the United States. The order states that non immigrant visas issued prior to March 16, 2017 will not be revoked or cancelled as a result of this order.
The order also requires in person interviews for all non-immigrant visas applications from all countries. This requirement may increase interview wait times so plan ahead.
If you were born in one of the listed countries you should not travel outside the US if you are in non-immigrant status or even if you are a lawful permanent resident, before speaking with an attorney and checking the Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”) website. In addition, during the implementation of the last travel ban there was a lot of confusion at the ports of entry and inconsistency in the application of the ban. If you do not need to travel, you should consider forgoing traveling until the travel ban is lifted.
If you are from one of these countries and are also a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, a non-immigrant, an asylee, or an applicant for asylum or adjustment of status, this Executive Order does not apply to you. The Executive Order does not affect United States citizens, lawful permanent residents in the United States, asylees, non-immigrant visa holders in the United States and applicants for benefits in the United States. However please be advised that if you are an asylee or have an application pending with the USCIS, even if you are not from one of the listed countries, you may have other travel restrictions. Please consult with an attorney if you have any doubt about traveling outside the U.S.
The long term impact of the travel ban if it is not found to be unconstitutional could result in significant restriction of travel from certain “designated” countries. The order requires the Secretary of State and DHS Secretary to provide the President with a list of countries that will be banned if the country does not adequately share information with the United States. Allows the DHS Secretary to recommend additional countries, at any time, to be added to the list.