On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision allowing the Trump administration’s temporary travel ban to go into effect for some travelers, reversing the actions of lower federal courts that had put the policy completely on hold. In its opinion, the Court held that the Trump administration may suspend entry of certain nationals from six countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – for a 90-day period, commencing on Thursday, June 29. Importantly, however, the Court limited the travel ban only to nationals without legitimate ties to the U.S. This means that the temporary travel restriction cannot be enforced against nonimmigrant foreign nationals from one of these six countries who have “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” (U.S. lawful permanent residents, dual nationals born in one of the six listed countries traveling on the passport of a non-listed country, and persons already holding valid visas will continue to be permitted to enter the U.S. during this time.)
Practically, the order means that a nonimmigrant foreign worker from one of the six listed countries who is employed by a U.S. employer, who is enrolled in a U.S. college or university, or who is coming to join a close family member will be permitted to apply for a visa and seek entry to the U.S. during this 90-day period. We recommend that employers and universities provide persons from the six affected countries with documentation to show that they are current employees or future employees based on a petition approval, or will be attending university in the U.S. as authorized F-1 students or J-1 scholars. Evidence of employment could consist of pay stubs, a confirmatory employment letter and visa petition approvals.
Although it is too early to tell how U.S. consuls and Customs and Border Protection officials will screen nonimmigrant applicants to determine if they have a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity, we expect that the officials will interview applicants and closely review all available supporting documentation in order to determine if the applicant should be admitted. Nonimmigrant travelers from these listed countries should therefore anticipate lengthy delays at ports of entry. Furthermore, it is unknown at this time whether the Trump administration will seek to extend the travel ban beyond late September 2017, when the current ban is set to expire. We will keep you updated as further information becomes available.