President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation (“Proclamation” or “PP”) on September 24, 2017,  with new travel restrictions on visa issuance and entry to the United States of nationals from designated countries. They’ve also issued a somewhat more understandable version and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

The restrictions went into effect immediately for certain countries (Phase 1), and on Oct. 18, 2017 for others (Phase 2). The government says the restrictions are because the designated countries failed to provide adequate information to assist the U.S. government in assessing visa applicants and security threats. The Proclamation explains the rationale and restrictions for each country to attempt to comply with previous court criticisms that the bans were too broad.

To understand the following restrictions, note:
“Immigrants” are those applying for green cards, and are sponsored/petitioned by employers or family members. Green card holders are Lawful Permanent Residents or LPRs.
“Nonimmigrants” are those applying for temporary visas, including visitor visas – B-1/B-2; and student or related visas: F, M, and J.
Exceptions and waivers are included in certain circumstances (see below).

The new restrictions affect the following countries:
Sudan has been removed from the list.
Three new countries have been added:

  • Chad: Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
  • North Korea: Suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants.
  • Venezuela: Suspends the entry of certain government officials and their family members on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2). There is no restriction on immigrant visas.
  • Countries impacted by earlier bans which are included in this most recent proclamation:
  • Iran: Suspends the entry of immigrants and all nonimmigrants, except F (student), M (vocational student) and J (exchange visitor) visas, though they are subject to enhanced screening.
  • Libya: Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
  • Somalia: Suspends the entry of immigrants, and requires enhanced screening of all nonimmigrants.
  • Syria: Suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants.
  • Yemen: Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
  • Iraq: Requires enhanced screening of all individuals seeking to enter the United States.
  • Exceptions, notes, and waivers:
  1. Current, valid visas will not be revoked. For example, if you have an unexpired student or employment visa and are out of the country, you can use the visa to re-enter the US.
  2. Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) aka green card holder sare not affected;
  3. Anyone admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date are not restricted;
  4. Anyone who has a document other than a visa – e.g., a transportation letter, an appropriate  boarding foil, or an advance parole document – that is valid on the applicable effective date, are excepted;
  5. Dual nationals traveling on the passport of a non-restricted country are excepted;
  6. Those traveling on diplomatic or diplomatic-type visas are excepted;
  7. Those who have been granted asylum, refugee status or withholding of removal, advance parole or protection under the Convention Against Torture are excepted.
  8. Applicants can request a waiver of the restrictions if they can show that visa issuance is in the national interest, the applicant poses no national security or public safety threat to the United States, and denial of the visa would cause undue hardship.
  9. Phase 1, until Oct. 18 allows exceptions for those with bona fide relationships with a US family member or entity for applicants who are nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.  “Close family” is defined as a parent, including parent-in-law, spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and first-cousin.  For all relationships, half or step status is included (e.g., “half-brother” or “step-sister”).  “Close family” does not include any other “extended” family members.  An example of this exception is a student who has been accepted by a US university applying for an F-1 student visa before Oct. 18.

I expect we’ll be seeing more litigation on this latest ban for overreaching the powers of the President.

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