On Monday, March 6, 2017, the President signed a new Executive Order on immigration. This new Executive Order repeals the previous Executive Order of January 27, 2017 and replaces it with the following key provisions that will potentially impact our clients.
Today’s Executive Order will prohibit admission to the United States for a period of 90 days beginning March 16, 2017, citizens of the following six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Iraq, which was previously designated, has been removed from this list. This travel ban applies to individuals who are:
- Outside of the U.S. on the effective date of the order (March 16, 2017),
- Did not have a valid visa at 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on January 27, 2017, and
- Do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order.
The order specifically exempts the following categories of people:
- Lawful permanent residents of the United States;
- Any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the effective date of this order;
- Any foreign national holding a document other than a visa that is valid on the effective date of this order or issued at any time thereafter that permits travel to the U.S. (such as an advance parole document);
- Any dual national of a country designated (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) who travels to the U.S. on their passport from a non-designated country;
- Any foreign national who has been granted asylum, any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States, or anyone granted coverage under the Convention Against Torture; or
- Anyone traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa.
This Executive Order provides for waivers to be decided by U.S. consular officers during the visa application process at U.S. consular posts abroad. It provides the same discretion to Customs and Border Protection officers interviewing applicants at a port of entry. The waivers will be decided on a case-by-case basis upon successful demonstration that denying entry would cause undue hardship, and that entry would not pose a threat to national security and would be in the national interest.
The categories under which one may apply for waiver are as follows:
- The applicant has previously been admitted to the United States for work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the United States on the effective date of this order, seeks to re-enter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of re-entry during the suspension period would impair that activity;
- The applicant has previously established significant contacts through entry to the United States but is outside the country on the effective date of this order for work, study, or other lawful activity;
- The applicant seeks to enter the United States for business or professional obligations and the denial of entry during the suspension period would impair those obligations;
- The applicant seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a spouse, child, or parent who is a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or alien lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and the denial of entry during the suspension period would cause undue hardship;
- The applicant is an infant, a young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstances of the case;
- The applicant has held employment with the United States Government (or is an eligible dependent of such an employee);
- The applicant is a landed Canadian immigrant who applies for a visa at a location within Canada;
- The applicant is traveling as a United States Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
- The applicant is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), 22 U.S.C. 288 et seq., traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the United States Government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA.
What this means for our clients: If you are currently traveling on a passport from one of the designated countries and are outside of the U.S., and if you have a valid visa that was issued prior to January 27, 2017, you should be able to continue your travel. If your visa was issued after January 27, 2017 and is currently valid, you should return to the U.S. as soon as possible and before March 16, 2017.
If you have questions about whether you are covered under this travel ban, please reach out to the attorney overseeing your case or Sam Adair (firstname.lastname@example.org) for advice on next steps.
Graham Adair is closely monitoring any new developments and we will release information as it becomes available. Please check back to our website for further updates and follow us on twitter @grahamadairlaw for real-time updates as they become available.