New Executive Order Bans Entry to the U.S. by citizens of Libya, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen

Today the Trump Administration issued an Executive Order (the “Order”) implementing a new travel ban scheduled to go into effect on March 16, 2017. The ban primarily imposes the following restrictions:

Citizens of Libya, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen are banned from entering the U.S. for 90 days unless an exception or waiver is granted (see further discussion below); and
The U.S. Refugee Program has been suspended for 120 days with respect to all nationals of all foreign nations.

The previous travel ban issued on January 27, which was suspended pending further judicial review, has been rescinded by the new Order and has no further legal effect.

Impact on Nationals of the Six Countries

Starting on March 16, a citizen of the six listed nations will not be allowed to enter the U.S. unless he or she falls under one the following exceptions:

  • Is a U.S. lawful permanent resident (“Green Card” holder);
  • Currently holds a valid travel document such as a visa stamp or advance parole document; or
  • Is a dual national who presents a passport from a country not on the list of six targeted nations.

Unlike the prior travel ban, the new ban does not affect nationals who already possess authorization to enter the U.S. in the form of a Green Card or U.S. entry visa. However, we advise extreme caution for citizens of these nations, or for those born in these nations, when making international travel plans even if you already possess a valid travel document. Inspection Officers at airports and other ports of entry possess wide discretionary authority in granting entry to any individual to the U.S.

New Waivers Created

Additionally, the new executive order allows for waivers of the ban for nationals of the targeted countries if they can show compelling business or family-related circumstances. The following examples of sufficiently compelling circumstances were provided in the Order:

  • The foreign national was previously admitted to the U.S. for work, study or other long-term activity and seeks to reenter the U.S. to resume that activity;
  • The foreign national previously established significant contacts with the U.S. but has departed the U.S. on the effective date of the Order for work, study or other lawful activity;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. to visit or reside with a close family member who is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or valid visa holder and denial of entry would cause undue hardship;
  • The foreign national is an infant, a young child or individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by special circumstances of the case;
  • The foreign national is a landed Canadian immigrant who applies for a visa at a location within Canada; or
  • The foreign national is travelling as a U.S. government-sponsored exchange visitor.

Although the exceptions to the travel ban have been expanded, and new waivers are available, in the Order, FordMurray strongly encourages nationals of the six nations who are currently within the U.S. to avoid international travel during the 90-day suspension. Granting of a waiver is subject to the discretion of Customs and Border Protection Inspection Officers.

Primary Changes in the New Travel Ban

The new Order features the following material changes as compared to the original order:

  • Provides a 10-day delay on implementation of the Order;
  • Current visa holders and Lawful Permanent Residents are exempted from the Order;
  • Removes Iraq from the list of targeted nations; and
  • Provides a waiver for some groups seeking to enter the U.S.

We invite clients of FordMurray to contact our office with any questions you may have on the new travel ban.

If you represent a business, we can help you with your immigration needs. Immigration law is complicated, to say the least, and we specialize in helping businesses make sense of existing laws and comply with fast changing requirements.

Whether it’s hiring a foreign national and helping that individual immigrate into the United States, assisting an employee already living in the US with an immigration status, helping your business stay in compliance with immigration programs like I9 or EVerify, or assisting with other immigration matters… we want to help! Contact us today for more information!