On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order banning visa issuance and travel to the United States for all refugees and travelers from seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) for a temporary period of time. The ban was stayed by several courts, and on March 6, 2017, the President issued a revised Executive Order, removing Iraq from the list of affected countries and providing for some exceptions to the ban. The revised Executive Order travel ban was also stayed, so nationals of these countries and refugees have been permitted to enter the United States.
On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the combined cases enjoining the Executive Order during the October 2017 court session. In the interim, the Supreme Court will allow a limited version of President Trump’s ban to take effect. This ban prohibits visa issuance or entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and for 120 days for all refugees.
However, the Court stated that the ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The Court provided several examples of credible claims of a bona fide relationship that would permit persons from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as well as refugees, to enter the United States regardless of the travel ban. These examples include a foreign national who wants to visit or live with a family member, a student admitted to a U.S. college or university, and a person who is coming to the United States to continue in his or her position or to assume a new position with a U.S. employer.
On June 26, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security stated that “The implementation of the Executive Order will be done professionally, with clear and sufficient public notice, particularly to potentially affected travelers, and in coordination with partners in the travel industry.” However, last week President Trump indicated that he would like the Supreme Court’s decision to go into effect within 72 hours. Late last night the U.S. Department of State sent a cable to Consulates and Embassies abroad instructing them to reinstate parts of the ban as of 8 p.m. Eastern Time today, June 29, 2017.
There is good news for U.S. employers for now. Employees and prospective employees with a job offer in the United States should be issued visas and admitted to the United States regardless of whether they are from any of the six affected countries. Additionally, employees bringing immediate family members to the United States to reside or study here should be admitted to the United States. Persons from these countries who hold lawful permanent resident status in the United States and dual nationals are exempt from the ban. We recommend that employees, family members and students from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen carry additional documentation with them to demonstrate their “bona fide relationships” with persons or entities in the United States in order to ease their visa issuance and entry into the United States.