Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow the partial implementation of Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” (“EO”), the State Department issued a cable to all diplomatic and consular posts instructing them how to implement the EO, which begins tonight at 8:00 PM EDT. The ban applies to aliens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Consular officers are instructed to first determine if a visa applicant meets the general visa issuance requirements without regard to the EO and, if so, then to make a determination if the applicant is exempt from the EO’s suspension of entry provision. If the applicant is not exempt, the officer must determine whether the applicant qualifies for a waiver in order to obtain a visa.

The EO’s suspension of entry provision does not apply to an applicant with a credible claim of a bona fide a relationship with a person (close family members) or entity in the United States. Personal relationships with “close family members” include:

  • parent (including parent-in-law)
  • spouse
  • child
  • adult son or daughter
  • son-in-law/daughter-in-law
  • sibling, whether whole or half (includes step relationships)

“Close family” does not include:

  • grandparents
  • grandchildren
  • aunts/ uncles
  • nieces/nephews
  • cousins
  • brothers-law/ sisters-in-law
  • fiancé(e)s
  • and any other “extended” family members.

A relationship with a “US entity” must be formal, documented and “formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading” the EO. Students accepted to US institutions and workers sponsored for work-authorized visas should still qualify for visas, provided that they are otherwise admissible. Those entering in relationships to avoid the EO would not qualify.

Those affected by the EO applying for immigrant visas abroad will still be interviewed. Those not exempt from the EO who do not qualify for waivers will be refused, but Visa Office advisory opinions should be requested by the officers, which may provide relief.

The EO also lists other exemptions and waivers, and can be found here.We suggest that you consult with counsel if you, a relative, an employee, or a prospective employee may be affected by the ban.

We will continue to monitor the situation, and update our blog with further developments and any legal challenges that arise.