As we reported last Friday, President Trump has signed an Executive Order to temporarily restrict the admission of all refugees and persons from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The administration’s failure to provide clear guidance to its own agencies on how to implement the order is resulting in inconsistent applications, which are unacceptable to the hundreds of thousands of individuals and U.S. businesses potentially affected by this travel ban.
Legal challenges have resulted in a temporary halt of various provisions of the Order. However, these court decisions are temporary and cannot be relied upon by individuals planning international travel.
Because of the significant harm that can result from being barred indefinitely from returning to the United States, it is important for individuals and employers to remain extremely cautious. Persons who fall into one of the following categories should closely monitor credible news sources, and consult with immigration counsel before making international travel plans:
- Individuals with nonimmigrant visas (NIVs, i.e., H-1B, L-1, F-1, etc.) or other temporary statuses (such as TPS) born in or eligible to obtain a passport from one of the named countries
- Individuals with Lawful Permanent Resident status born in or eligible to obtain a passport from one of the named countries
- US citizens (at birth or by naturalization) born in or eligible to obtain a passport from one of the named countries
- Individuals born in or eligible to obtain a passport from a predominantly Muslim country not listed in the Executive Order, as other countries may be added without advance warning
Special note about dual nationals and Lawful Permanent Residents: One area of significant confusion is how dual nationals are being treated under the travel ban. Does the travel ban apply to an individual born in or otherwise eligible to obtain a passport from Iran or Iraq, who also happens to hold British or Canadian citizenship? A January 29th DHS Press Release states that the ban applies to persons “traveling on passports” from the listed countries. This suggests that someone with a passport from a country not on the list can simply present that passport when entering the United States to avoid the travel ban. Similarly, the DHS Press Release affirms prior statements that Lawful Permanent Residents who are nationals of a listed country are generally not subject to the travel ban. While these statements are encouraging, they may be inconsistently applied at various airports, could be reversed at any time, and therefore should not be relied upon.
In addition to the travel ban, we anticipate that individuals from the listed countries may experience significant delays in processing applications for immigration benefits such as extensions of status, green card renewal, naturalization, etc.
Please check back regularly – this post will be updated as new information becomes available.