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New Travel Ban - October 5, 2017

No doubt you have heard that the President issued a Proclamation extending and changing the travel ban which resulted in so much controversy earlier this year.

The new ban is based on a survey of how countries in the world handle identity verification and other security procedures. Based on this information, bans upon entry have been imposed on the following countries:

  • Chad - immigrants, and nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas
  • Iran - immigrants and nonimmigrants, except using valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas
  • Libya - immigrants, and nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas
  • North Korea - immigrants and nonimmigrants
  • Syria - immigrants and nonimmigrants
  • Venezuela - ban on employees (and their immediate family members) of the government agencies of Venezuela involved in screening and vetting procedures -- including the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations -- as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas. All other Venezuelans are not impacted. 
  • Yemen - immigrants, and nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas
  • Somalia – immigrants

Additionally, in many cases entrants who are not banned from these countries will be subject to additional scrutiny.

Who is Affected?

The ban applies to persons who:

  • were outside the United States on the applicable effective date (see below); 
  • do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date; and
  • do not qualify for a visa or other valid travel document based on a revocation or cancelation under Executive Order 13769 (the original travel ban).

Effective date

For certain persons who were subject travel restrictions under Executive Order 13780 (the March update to the travel ban) and have no bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S., this ban started on September 24, 2017. For all others, it will go into effect on 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight time on October 18, 2017.

Exceptions

The Proclamation provides several exceptions to the ban:

  • any lawful permanent resident of the United States (“green card” holders); 
  • any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation;
  • any foreign national who has a document other than a visa -- such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document -- valid on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission;
  • any dual national of a country designated under section 2 of this proclamation when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
  • any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa (except for Venezuelans – see above); or
  • any foreign national who has been granted asylum by the United States; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture. 


Waivers

The Proclamation also provides for waivers in the following situation:

  • denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
  • entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and
  • entry would be in the national interest.

More specific guidelines will be developed over time. However, the Proclamation does provide some ideas about who could receive a waiver, although decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis:

  1. the foreign national has previously been admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the United States on the applicable effective date, seeks to reenter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry would impair that activity;
  2. the foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the United States but is outside the United States on the applicable effective date for work, study, or other lawful activity;
  3. the foreign national seeks to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
  4. the foreign national seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., 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 would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
  5. the foreign national 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;
  6. the foreign national has been employed by, or on behalf of, the United States Government (or is an eligible dependent of such an employee), and the foreign national can document that he or she has provided faithful and valuable service to the United States Government;
  7. the foreign national 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;
  8. the foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a location within Canada; 
  9. the foreign national is traveling as a United States Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
  10. the foreign national is traveling to the United States, at the request of a United States Government department or agency, for legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, or national security purposes. 

Always changing

The security measures taken by countries will be reviewed periodically (every 180 days) and the list could change as that review occurs. More countries could be added, others could be removed, or the parameters of the ban could change.

Take-aways

It is important to check before travelling internationally that your country is not on the list or that you are exempt from the travel ban. Although a waiver may be available, waivers are in the discretion of the government. Even if you think you may qualify for a waiver, you will not know until you attempt entry or apply for a visa.

Anyone not subject to the ban now should re-enter or apply for a visa before October 18, 2017. If you have a visa in your possession you do not have to enter before October 18 to be exempt from the ban.


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