On March 6, 2017, the President signed a fourth executive order, which clarifies and edits the previous executive order that temporarily banned immigration from seven named countries. Enforcement of the original executive order is currently stayed by the courts pending appeal. This new order will go into effect on March 16, 2017.

Brief Overview of Changes

1. The original executive order named seven countries from which immigrants would be banned for 90 days: Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya. This new executive order again asks for a 90-day temporary ban but removes Iraq from the list. The reason for this is cited as:

Since Executive Order 13769 was issued, the Iraqi government has expressly undertaken steps to enhance travel documentation, information sharing, and the return of Iraqi nationals subject to final orders of removal. Decisions about issuance of visas or granting admission to Iraqi nationals should be subjected to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants have connections with ISIS or other terrorist organizations, or otherwise pose a risk to either national security or public safety.

2. The new executive order also clearly defines who the order applies to. This new executive order applies to foreign nationals of the designated countries who:

  • Are outside the United States on the effective date of this order;
  • Did not have a valid visa at 5:00 p.m., eastern standard time on January 27, 2017; and
  • Do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order.

3.The new executive order also clearly lists the exceptions to the temporary ban. The suspension of entry shall not apply to:

  • Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  • Any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the effective date of this order;
  • Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa, valid on the effective date of this order or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission, such as an advance parole document;
  • Any dual national of a country designated under this order when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
  • Any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations or G-1, G-2, G-3 or G-4 visa; or
  • Any foreign national who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

4. According to the State Department, all visas revoked because of the original travel ban have been fully restored.

5. The number of refugees allowed in for 2017 will still be reduced, but there is no longer an indefinite ban for Syrian refugees. Instead, all refugees from all countries are suspended from entering for 120 days.

Practical Takeaways

This executive order only affects people from the six named countries who are attempting to come to the United States and all refugees who would be resettled in the United States. Those people who are legal permanent residents, or are citizens of other countries with valid visas, should not be denied admission to the United States as clarified by this executive order. However, all foreign nationals considering trips outside the United States to any of the six banned countries should not travel to those banned locations. Further, all foreign nationals should continue to consider postponing upcoming trips outside the United States, as U.S. Visa Officers, as well as Customs and Border Protection, have implemented heightened scrutiny and screening for all those seeking to enter the United States.