On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13769 preventing foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. President Trump made the Executive Order effective immediately, and it is set to expire on April 27, 2017. The U.S. government has since provided some limited guidance on the Executive Order and its interpretation.
Here are five developments of which you should be aware:
1. Who does the Executive Order’s travel ban impact?
The travel ban applies to visitors using a passport issued by any one of seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – and who are holding a valid immigrant or non-immigrant visa for the U.S.
2. Who does the Executive Order’s travel ban not impact?
- U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (those with a Green Card) who also hold a passport issued by one of the seven affected countries;
- Dual nationals hailing from any one of the seven affected countries who are (a) holding and traveling with a valid passport issued by the U.S., or (b) holding and traveling with a valid passport issued by a third country; and
- Passengers with diplomatic visas, NATO visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations and G-1,G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas.
3. Could other countries be added in the future to the travel ban under the Executive Order?
Possibly. There have been rumors that countries such as Venezuela and Colombia could be added to the travel ban, although the Department of State stated yesterday there are no immediate plans to do so. There was also speculation that countries included in the 2002 National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (“NSEERS”) could be added. Prior to its termination in December of 2016, NSEERS included the seven affected countries and the following: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and United Arab Emirates.
4. Will the Executive Order impact USCIS adjudications?
USCIS field offices have been instructed not to take final action on any petition where the applicant is a citizen or national of one of the seven affected countries until further notice. This suspension could affect the processing of other nonimmigrant and immigrant petitions, employment authorization documents and other employment-based applications and petitions.
5. Is the Visa Interview Waiver Program impacted?
The Executive Order immediately suspended the Visa Interview Waiver Program, subject to specific statutory exceptions, requiring personal interviews of visa applicants. Although there are reports that some consulates are still accepting Drop Box appointments for visa renewals, the Drop Box program could be discontinued at any time, without notice. If travel is necessary and your visa needs to be renewed, you should plan ahead to accommodate for an in-person interview and the time needed for the interview.
Members of Maynard Cooper’s Immigration Practice Group welcome your questions about the Executive Order or any other aspect of immigration law. For more information, please contact Stephen Davis, Joey Chbeir or Sujin Kim. For a more detailed description of services offered by Maynard Cooper’s Immigration Practice Group, please click here.