United States: Trump Administration to Implement Travel Ban Beginning December 8
• The restrictions will affect certain nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, unless they are exempt or granted a waiver. Restrictions against nationals of North Korea and Venezuela are already in effect. • Implementation comes days after the Supreme Court gave the Administration permission to implement the ban while lower courts consider challenges to it.
The State Department has announced that the Trump Administration will begin to fully implement the third travel ban on December 8, 2017 at the start of business local time. The announcement comes days after the Supreme Court issued orders that allow the Administration to enforce the travel ban while the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals consider lower court rulings that blocked implementation of the ban. Beginning Friday, nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen will be subject to country-specific travel restrictions unless they are exempt or obtain a waiver. Restrictions against nationals of North Korea and Venezuela were unaffected by the ongoing litigation and have been in place since October 18, 2017.
The travel restrictions
Beginning December 8, nationals of the following countries will be subject to the following U.S. travel limitations, unless exempt or granted a waiver:
- Chad: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
- Iran: No nonimmigrant visas except F and M student visas and J exchange visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
- Libya: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
- North Korea: No nonimmigrant visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
- Somalia: Nonimmigrant visa applicants subject to heightened scrutiny; no immigrant or diversity visas.
- Syria: No nonimmigrant, immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
- Venezuela: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas for officials of designated Venezuelan government agencies. Other visa holders are subject to verification of traveler information. No restrictions on immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
- Yemen: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
Previously scheduled visa appointments will not be canceled for restricted foreign nationals. During interviews, consular officers will determine whether restricted applicants qualify for an exemption or waiver.
Visas already issued will not be revoked pursuant to the proclamation, regardless of the date of issuance. Foreign nationals from restricted countries should still be able to travel to the United States using a previously-issued valid visa, but may face increased scrutiny on entry.
Exemptions and waivers
Several classes of foreign nationals are exempt from the restrictions, including U.S. lawful permanent residents, dual nationals traveling on a passport from a non-restricted country, foreign nationals who hold a valid U.S. visa or advance parole, and those who were physically in the United States or held a valid visa or other travel document on the applicable original effective date of the travel restrictions.
Those who are not exempt may request a waiver when applying for a visa. To be eligible for a waiver, a foreign national must demonstrate that they would suffer undue hardship if denied entry, and that their entry would not pose a threat to U.S. national security or public safety and would be in U.S. national interest. Waivers are discretionary and may be difficult to obtain.
What this means for travelers
Foreign nationals who are currently in the United States, hold a passport from a restricted country (other than exempt dual nationals) and would need to apply for a visa to reenter the United States should carefully consider the risks of international travel and the potential for significant delays or a denial from reentering the United States.
As a reminder, all foreign nationals - including those exempt from the travel restrictions - are subject to national security screening and the potential for additional vetting when applying for a U.S. visa or admission to the United States.
The travel restrictions will be implemented while the Fourth and Ninth Circuits consider appeals of two lower court rulings that blocked most of the travel ban. Decisions from the appeals courts are expected soon and could potentially impact the travel ban implementation. Fragomen is closely following the ongoing litigation and will issue further client alerts as developments occur.
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.