On 6 March 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which includes the suspension of immigration benefits to nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In this context, “immigration benefits” includes admission to the US and the adjudication of US visa applications at consular posts abroad.
This order revokes the previous Executive Order signed by the president on 27 January 2017, replacing it with a similar “travel ban” with slightly narrower terms, as detailed below.
Unlike the previous order, the new order, if implemented, would not apply to nationals of Iraq, although Iraqi nationals should expect to be subjected to additional scrutiny when traveling to the US. Additional exemptions have been made for US lawful permanent residents (green card holders) as well as for dual nationals traveling to the US with a passport not issued by one of the six designated countries. Further, the new order provides that nationals from one of the six countries who had a valid US visa before 27 January 2017, and whose visas remain valid, would be permitted to travel to the US. Finally, the new order also authorizes a case-by-case waiver process for those impacted by the travel ban.
While the new order was set to take effect on 16 March 2017, its application has been temporarily suspended by at least two federal courts. Accordingly, the order is not currently being implemented.
As the order is litigated in the courts, its fate remains uncertain, creating a fluid situation for those who could be impacted by it. Further court rulings could result in the immediate implementation of the new order.
As all situations are unique, we recommend that you contact one of our expert attorneys in New York or London should you have questions as to how this new order, court rulings or other immigration laws or policies may affect you.