On Jan. 27, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order (“EO”) barring non-U.S. citizens who are citizens of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen (the “Restricted Countries”) from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days. On Feb. 3, a federal district court judge in Seattle ordered a stay of the EO which was upheld by the federal 9th Circuit. At this time, the ban on issuing visas to or admitting citizens of the Restricted Countries to the United States has been lifted. The U.S. government is enjoined from enforcing any of the provisions of the EO, until such time as the court can hear the case on its merits. Nevertheless, the U.S. government is expected to impose additional restrictions on immigration to the U.S. The situation is very fluid, and anyone concerned about the effect of the EO upon their travel plans should read further. If you still have questions, please contact one of the immigration lawyers at DWT.
Subsequent to the issuance of the EO, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granted a blanket waiver allowing most Lawful Permanent Residents (“LPRs” or “green card holders”) from the Restricted Countries to travel to the U.S. Further guidance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicated that, for individuals with dual citizenship, the agency would make entry determinations in line with the passport presented by the traveler.
As a result of this EO, the U.S. Department of State provisionally revoked all valid immigrant and nonimmigrant visas held by nationals of the Restricted Countries, and holders of such were instructed to apply for waivers of the effects of the EO on a case-by-case basis. Now that the travel ban has been enjoined, the revoked visas have been reinstated, and new visas are being issued once again.
At this time:
- LPRs from a Restricted Country should expect to be admitted to the U.S. after extensive questioning at the port of entry, provided that no adverse information is found in their records and they have not abandoned their LPR status due to lengthy stays abroad (generally more than 6 months).
- Landed Immigrants of Canada, excluding refugees, who hold passports of a Restricted Country will still be permitted to apply for a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa to the U.S.
- Dual nationals of a Restricted Country and the U.S. will likely be admitted as U.S. citizens as long as they are traveling on a U.S. passport.
- Dual nationals of a Restricted Country and an unrelated country, traveling on passports from the unrelated country should be permitted to apply for admission to the U.S. as a citizen of the unrelated country.
- Visa holders in certain nonimmigrant diplomatic classifications, such as A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO, and C-2, are exempted from the impact of the EO.
- All other non-U.S. citizen nationals from a Restricted Country are currently being issued visas again, after a brief hiatus, and are generally being admitted to the U.S. in immigrant, non-immigrant and refugee classes.
However, the situation is fluid, and further restrictions may be announced. Consequently, anyone falling into this last category and anyone else who believes he or she may be impacted by the EO, or any future executive order or government action on immigration, should consult with immigration counsel before planning any travel outside the U.S., or if currently outside the U.S., before attempting to return. Further, any LPRs who have had significant prior absences from the U.S. should also seek immigration advice before traveling abroad.
Immigration lawyers at DWT are available to answer your questions.
For additional information, see guidance from: