By now, most of you have heard that the United States Supreme Court ruled to reinstate President Trump’s revised travel ban in part. But what does this really mean?
On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal over President Trump’s revised travel ban against foreign nationals from six Muslim countries during the Court’s October 2017 term. The Supreme Court also partially granted the current administration’s request to reinstate the travel by limiting its scope through a “bona fide relationship” test. Specifically, foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen would be barred from entering the U.S. under the President’s revised travel ban if they lacked any “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” In its opinion, the Court provided examples of possible scenarios of where such a bona fide relationship would exist (i.e. a close familial relationship with an individual in the U.S.; a worker who accepted an offer of employment from a U.S. company; and a foreign student admitted to a U.S. university).
Prior to the implementation of the travel ban at 8:00p.m. (ET) on June 29, 2017, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) both released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on their respective websites regarding the implementation of Executive Order 13780. Arguably, the most significant point in the FAQs was the DOS’s definition of “close familial relationship.” As of today, the guidance provides that:
A close familial relationship is defined as a parent (including a parent-in-law), spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half, and including step relationships. “Close family” does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, and any other “extended” family members.
Additionally, important to note is that the following individuals are exempt from the application of the revised travel ban:
- Foreign nationals with a credible claim of a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the U.S. Such relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the executive order;
- Any visa applicant in the U.S. on June 26, 2017;
- Any visa applicant who had a valid visa at 5:00 p.m. EST on January 27, 2017;
- Any visa applicant who had a valid visa on June 29, 2017;
- Any lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States;
- Any applicant who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after June 26, 2017;
- Any applicant who has a document other than a visa, valid on June 29, 2017, or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission, such as advance parole;
- Any dual national of a country designated under the order when traveling on a passport of a non-designated country and, if needed, holds a valid U.S. visa;
- Any applicant travelling on a diplomatic-type visa;
- Any applicant who has been granted asylum; has already been admitted as a refugee; granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the CAT; and
- Any asylee and refugee following-to-join spouse or child applicant.
Continue to check back with us for updates on this executive order, how it is being enforced, and the potential repercussions for our clients. All foreign nationals from the affected countries should exercise caution when travelling to the United States. As part of the current administration’s ongoing “extreme vetting” measures, affected nationals can expect to face lengthy delays and questioning at the border.