The “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” Executive Order (E.O.), issued by President Donald Trump on March 6, 2017, suspends processing of visa issuance for individuals from six designated countries until June 14, 2017, 90 days from the E.O.’s effective date, March 16, 2017.
The E.O. will supersede the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017, that banned travelers to the U.S. from seven countries, including Iraq. That much-criticized Executive Order was blocked by the courts.
The March 6 E.O. applies to citizens and nationals from six countries:
Iraq, which was included in the January 27 Executive Order, has been removed from the list.
The E.O. expressly exempts Green Card holders and dual nationals and is to be applied prospectively only. Individuals currently in the United States or who possess valid visas or entry documents (including those who had valid visa on January 27) will not be subject to the provisions of the E.O. However, individuals from the six countries whose visas may expire on or after March 16 will need to apply for visas abroad. A waiver may be required and will be issued if an individual can demonstrate that denial of entry would cause undue hardship, that his or her entry would not pose a threat to national security, and that the entry would be in the national interest. The E.O. also temporarily suspends for 120 days the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
In conjunction with the E.O., President Trump also signed a presidential memorandum on short-term enhanced screening and vetting procedures.
Because of enhanced visa screening and vetting being put in place, employers, particularly those with a globally mobile workforce, should be asking the following questions:
- Do we have employees from one of the six countries who need to travel abroad and who will need to apply for a visa to return to the United States?
- Do we have employees of any nationality working on U.S. visas who work with technologies, particularly those that are subject to export licenses or could be used for military or security purposes?
- Do we have employees working abroad who wish to enter the U.S. as business visitors and who have traveled to the six countries listed in the E.O., plus Iraq or other countries of potential concern to the U.S. government?
- Are our employees traveling internationally with company-issued laptops or handheld computers (PDAs) that may be subject to search by border authorities?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these, then anticipate possible delays in visa processing or during inspection upon return the U.S. that could affect your business. An increasing number of individuals applying for visas are experiencing administrative processing delays of weeks or even months, especially employees working in fields on the State Department’s Technology Alert List. In addition, remember that individuals who have traveled to any of the six countries identified in the E.O., plus Iraq, since 2011 are precluded from travel under the Visa Waiver Program and are subject to visa requirements and possible administrative processing.