The travel restrictions start at 8.00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time today, June 29, 2017. This is according to a cable sent from the Department of State to diplomatic posts worldwide.
HOW WILL THE BAN AFFECT YOU?
The restored ban is very narrow, and many people from the affected countries will still be able to enter the US.
People with Currently Valid Visas
As noted in the March 6, 2017 Executive Order (EO-2), “Individuals [from the six affected countries] who currently hold a valid, unexpired visa may use the visa to travel to the United States.” Thus, an individual with a valid nonimmigrant or immigrant visa should be permitted to board a plane and present themselves for inspection at a U.S. airport or land port of entry.
The DOS cable specifically says that " The suspension of entry in the E.O. does not apply to individuals who are inside the United States on June 29, 2017, who have a valid visa on June 29, 2017, or who had a valid visa at 8:00 p.m. EDT January 29, 2017, even after their visas expire or they leave the United States.... No visas will be revoked based on the E.O...."
Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), Asylees, and Others
EO- 2 does not apply to
Individuals Applying for Visas
People from the six designated countries who do not have a valid visa will be required to demonstrate a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States during the visa interview, or to show that they qualify for a waiver of the ban, as outlined in the E.O. This includes applicants for diversity visas. The cable is not hopeful in this regard: "[b]ased on the Department’s experience with the DV program, we anticipate that very few DV applicants are likely to be exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry or to qualify for a waiver."
Business Visas (H, L, E, I, O, P, Q, R, and Employment-Based Immigrant Visas)
The Court stated that a worker who has accepted an offer of employment from a U.S. company would have a bona fide relationship to a U.S. entity. The cable indicates that this covers most employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant categories, except C, D and I visas.
The cable also excludes people with employment-based visas that do not require a petitioning employer (EB-1, National Interest Waiver).
Family-Related Visas (K, V, and Family-Based Immigrant Visas)
The Court’s order is clear that individuals who “wish to enter the United States to live with or visit a family member” must have close familial relationships. A spouse and a mother-in-law were included by the Court as examples of relationships that would qualify. The DOS cable specifies this definition:
"Close family” is defined as a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law,
daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships. “Close family” does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other “extended” family members.
Unfortunately (and bizarrely), this means that People applying for a K-1 (fiancee visa) do not qualify.
Students and Trainees (F, M, J)
The Court stated that students who have been admitted to a U.S. university would have a bona fide relationship. The cable says: "Students from designated countries who have been admitted to U.S. educational
institutions have a required relationship with an entity in the United States.".
Visitor for Business (B-1)
The Court stated that a lecturer invited to address a U.S. audience would have a bona fide relationship to a U.S. entity, and the DOS confirmed this in the cable. However, DOS also said that "...a hotel reservation, whether or not paid, would not constitute a bona fide relationship with an entity in the United States."
It is unclear how people traveling to the United States for business conferences or other short-term, non-contractual business interactions will be treated. We recommend having the visitor bring “formal, documented” relationship with a U.S. entity “formed in the ordinary course” of business.
Visitor for Pleasure (B-2)
As noted above, the Court recognized that individuals who wish to “visit a family member,” such as a spouse or mother-in-law, have close familial relationships. Close family was defined in the cable, and is listed above.
People from the six designated countries who are not planning to visit family members and who are coming for other reasons (such as sight-seeing and tourism) may be barred from receiving a visa.
If you have any questions about the ban and how it might affect you, please contact us.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.