As the situation regarding the various immigration-related executive orders is changing rapidly, please contact an immigration attorney before you depart from or arrive to the United States.
Note: On 2/3/17, Judge James Robart, a federal judge in Washington, issued a temporary, nationwide restraining order against this executive order. The ruling is effective immediately. We will update this post as the effect of this order becomes clear.
On Friday, January 27, 2017, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that prohibits foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen (“countries of concern”) from entering the United States for 90 days. The order was put in place immediately and resulted in confusion in the US and abroad. The US government has since provided additional guidance on implementation which includes new information for dual nationals with a passport from a country not on the list.
The below is Walther Goss Law’s update (as of 2/3/2017) on the status of this executive order. Because guidance is subject to frequent change, please contact us before traveling to or departing from the United States.
Who is subject to the ban?
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has clarified that the ban will be imposed on those who present a passport from one of the seven countries of concern, with the exception of US lawful permanent residents (green card holders) – more below.
Dual nationals who have a valid visa in the passport of a non-banned country are able to enter the United States. Consulates should continue processing visa applications to otherwise eligible visa applicants who apply with a passport from an unrestricted country, even if they hold dual nationality from one of the countries of concern.
What if I’m a lawful permanent resident from a country of concern?
LPRs who are nationals of a country of concern are not subject to the ban and may travel without restriction (White House, CBP). LPRs should be prepared for the possibility of questioning at a port of entry and should carry copies of the latest guidance when traveling internationally.
What if I’m a nonimmigrant from a country of concern?
Nonimmigrants who are nationals of a country of concern and do not hold dual citizenship with a country not on the list will not be issued a US nonimmigrant visa nor be permitted to enter the United States while the ban is in place. The executive order does allow for a discretionary waiver of the entry ban in the national interest, but this is not expected to be available in most circumstances and there is no set process for anyone to seek this waiver.
What if I have traveled to a country of concern?
LPRs and nonimmigrants who are not from a country of concern but have traveled to one or more of those countries should expect to be subject to close questioning when entering the US.
What if I am a Visa Waiver Program traveler?
VWP travelers who have ties to or have traveled to a country of concern should check their status on the Electronic System for Travel Authorization to confirm it is still valid. If the travel to the country of concern occurred after the most recent ESTA registration, they should reapply for authorization to continue using VWP.
What if I’m waiting on an adjustment of status?
Applications to adjust status will continue to be adjudicated even for nationals of the countries of concern.
What if I’m a US Citizen?
US citizens are not subject to the entry ban but should expect close questioning when reentering the US if they have traveled to a country of concern.
What about the refugee ban?
The ban stops refugee admissions to the US for 120 days except for those fleeing religious persecution if their religion is a minority in their country of nationality. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis under certain limited circumstances. Refugee admissions for the current fiscal year are reduced to 50,000 from the commitment of 110,000 by the Obama administration.
This post is for informational purposes only. If you have questions about this executive order, contact us to speak to an immigration attorney.