President Trump signed an executive order on Friday, January 27, 2017, which has caused great concern worldwide on new travel restrictions to the U.S. The order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the U.S. by Foreign Nationals,” has stirred public protests, federal litigation and a confusion over who this order impacts. As we may see some changes in the coming period on this, a more detailed analysis will be posted on Fredrikson & Byron’s website as new information becomes available.

Travel Restrictions to the U.S. for Nationals/Citizens of Seven Countries

Citizens or nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen are restricted under this executive order from all travel, nonimmigrant and immigrant (those requesting immigrant visas), to the U.S. for a period of 90 days, subject to extension.

Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. who are citizens or nationals of one of the seven countries listed above should be able to board a flight to the U.S., but will likely be placed into secondary inspection, subjected to questioning and faced with the need to establish that they are not a security risk in order to be admitted.

Dual citizens of one of the seven countries listed and a non-listed country risk being denied entry to the U.S. during this 90-day period. More clarity is needed from the Department of Homeland Security on this issue. Please contact an attorney prior to any international travel.

Refugee Processing

The order further restricts all refugee processing for 120 days and permanently curtails refugee processing for Syrians.

Nonimmigrant Interviews

All foreign nationals applying for visas to the U.S. will need to have an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate. This includes visa renewals. The prior mail-in/drop-box application process has been terminated. We anticipate longer processing times for nonimmigrant visas and further background checks at U.S. consulates around the world.

We strongly urge any foreign national with a criminal record to avoid traveling abroad at this time without prior counsel with an immigration attorney.

It is uncertain how this order will impact immigration benefit processing within the U.S. for citizens/nationals of these seven countries. The executive order does include the ability to increase the security vetting process and add countries to the list. We will continue to monitor further changes to the order and its impact on international travel and other U.S. immigration benefits.