On Sunday, September 24, 2017, President Trump signed a presidential proclamation (the Proclamation) laying out restrictions on the entry of nationals from eight countries into the United States using certain types of immigrant or non-immigrant visas. The Proclamation, "Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats," follows on President Trump's March 6 Executive Order, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States."
As directed by the March 6 Order and as outlined in the Proclamation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) worked with the Department of State (DOS) and the Attorney General to review immigration screening and vetting procedures, and to conduct a review of national security risks from particular countries. This new Proclamation imposes restrictions on travel to the United States by nationals of countries that are still deemed deficient. Although Sudan was removed from the list, three new countries were added (Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela), with a varying degree of travel-related restrictions imposed.
Absent limited waivers that DHS or DOS can issue on a case-by-case basis, the Proclamation imposes the following restrictions (summarized by country or group of countries subject to the same restrictions):
- North Korea and Syria: All nationals from these countries are barred entry into the United States either as immigrants or non-immigrants.
- Chad, Libya, and Yemen: Nationals of these countries may not enter the United States as immigrants or as non-immigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), or business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.
- Venezuela: No broad ban on entry as immigrants or non-immigrants. Instead, Venezuelan government officials and their families may not enter the United States as non-immigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), or business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas. Other nationals of Venezuela who are U.S. visa holders are not barred but will be "subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current."
- Iran: Iranian nationals cannot enter the United States using either immigrant or non-immigrant visas (except those seeking entry with student (F or M) or exchange visitor (J) visas). Such individuals will also be subject to "enhanced screening and vetting requirements."
- Somalia: Somali nationals are barred from entering the United States on immigrant visas. No broad ban on entry as non-immigrants, but visa adjudications for non-immigrants will be subject to enhanced scrutiny.
These restrictions are effective as of September 24, 2017 for nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen who lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. For all others, the restrictions will be effective as of October 18, 2017, and there is no expiration date specified. The restrictions apply to those who are (1) outside the United States on the applicable effective date, (2) do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date; and (3) do not qualify for a visa or other valid travel document. The Proclamation also contains a number of exceptions, specifying that the restrictions described above do not apply to: lawful U.S. permanent residents (so-called "green card" holders); foreign nationals who are admitted to or paroled into the United States by the applicable effective date; dual nationals traveling on a passport from a country other than targeted by the Proclamation; individuals traveling on a diplomatic visa, NATO visa, G visa (G-1, G-2, G-3 or G-4), or C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations; individuals granted asylum in the United States; and refugees who have already been admitted to the United States or any person who was granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture. The White House has released a statement describing the purpose and reach of these new restrictions. Nationals from these eight countries who are not directly impacted due to visa type or nature of restrictions imposed should still expect enhanced scrutiny and accompanying delays in visa processing and/or entry into the United States.