Immigration Alert: Executive Order & Travel
On Friday, January 27, President Trump signed an Executive Order which bars individuals who are citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia from entering the United States for at least 90 days. Please note that after 90 days, travel is not automatically reinstated. Instead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is required to report by the end of 90 days whether the named countries have provided information "needed … for the adjudication of any … benefit under the INA … to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat." If not, the country would have 60 days to comply, or the travel ban would become indefinite.
The uncertainly surrounding the reach of the order, as well as the rush to implement its provisions without clear guidance, resulted in a flurry of legal actions over the weekend. These lawsuits clarified some immediate questions, but many more remain. This is a fluid situation, and we will keep you updated as the need arises. Below are the latest updates:
Non-immigrant visa holders from the seven countries listed above SHOULD NOT DEPART THE UNITED STATES. If they do so, they will not be permitted to re-enter the U.S. for at least 90 days.
Pursuant to a White House statement issued yesterday, individuals from the designated countries who hold lawful permanent resident (green card) status in the United States *should* be permitted to re-enter the U.S. after foreign travel. We note that the statement indicates that these individuals will be subject to a case-by-case determination of whether the individual has “significant derogatory information” indicating that he/she poses a threat. Given the uncertainty of what this investigation means, we advise that green card holders from the designated countries refrain from non-essential foreign travel.
The U.S. State Department originally indicated that individuals holding dual citizenship with any of the above seven countries and a third country such as Canada would also be denied entry into the United States. Additional communications from the Canadian Government indicate that the United States has given assurances that both Canadian citizens and permanent residents are able to travel to the U.S. At this point, we do not have any official confirmation from the U.S. Department of State or Customs and Border Protection. Therefore, our recommendation is that individuals holding dual Canadian citizenship with one of the listed countries refrain from attempting entry into the United States until formal clarification is issued and clearer instructions are provided to Customs and Border Protection.
The same is true for individuals who are dual citizens of the United States and any of the designated countries. At this point, we do not have any official confirmation from the U.S. Department of State or Customs and Border Protection, but believe that they will be admitted to the United States after foreign travel. Given this uncertainty, our recommendation is that individuals holding dual U.S. citizenship with one of the listed countries refrain from non-essential foreign travel until formal clarification is issued and clearer instructions are provided to Customs and Border Protection.
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In addition to the travel ban outlined above, the Executive Order also ended the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which allowed individuals renewing non-immigrant visas to waive an in-person interview at the Consulate. Therefore, individuals needing visas should schedule Consular appointments well in advance of their planned travel, to ensure availability of appointment times.
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As is clear, many questions remain with regard to the scope and impact of the President’s Executive Order. We hope for additional clarification in the coming days, and will certainly provide updates as needed. Should you have any questions about specific individuals or circumstances, please feel free to contact us.
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