Travel Ban Partially Reinstated - Implications for Foreign Nationals

The Supreme Court of the United States lifted the injunctions that were granted by the Fourth and Ninth Circuits after President Trump issued his second Executive Order mandating a temporary travel ban. This means that the second Executive Order (EO) is now in effect as of June 29.

The injunctions for the travel ban were issued for three sections: 1) 90 day suspension of travel for nationals from the following six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (Section 2(c)); 2) 120 day suspension of refugee admission into the United States (Section 6(a)), and 3) the reduction of the refugee cap (Section 6(b)).  Other parts of the EO were not addressed in the injunctions, but many were nevertheless effectively moot if those two sections were not in effect.

The Supreme Court, in lifting the injunctions on the EO, narrowed the scope of application for Sections 2(c), 6(a), and 6(b).  Specifically, those sections will only apply to nationals from the six designated countries “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” This means that the travel ban and refugee admission sections will not apply to those who have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Specifically, the Supreme Court gave examples of what bona fide relationship means, which are the following:

  1. For individuals:  a close familial relationship.
  2. For entities:  a relationship that is formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course, and could include students and nonimmigrant workers.

The Supreme Court did not clarify how the bona fide relationship will be determined, by what entity it will be determined, and whether there will be any changes related to entry into the United States or the visa application process. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State have not yet issued any guidelines, but it is worth noting that the Supreme Court, in its analysis, references a waiver that a foreign national may apply for, on a case-by-case basis, if he or she can meet the criteria that denial of entry would: 1) cause undue hardship; 2) the entry would not pose a threat to national security, and 3) it would be in the  national interest for the person to enter the United States.

Global Human Resources will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. If you have any questions, please email immigration@ohr.gatech.edu

FAQs

Questions on International Travel/ Entry into the United States:
Q. Who is affected?

A. Nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who do not hold green cards or other valid visas, and do not have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States as of June 26, 2017.

Q. What can you expect when traveling?
A. It is likely that there will be heightened security.  If you are traveling with a passport from one of the six countries, it is important to carry additional documents to prove your bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States.  Expected guidance from government agencies should be published shortly.

Q. What if I am traveling with a passport from one of the six countries, but I have a valid visa stamp?
A. You may be permitted to travel into the United States, but CBP may want to see documents to prove your bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States.

Q. What if you are a dual national?
A. The EO specifically states that dual nationals using a passport that is not from one of the six countries will not be affected, though you may be subject to additional scrutiny.

Q. Should I apply for Global Entry?
A. You may use global entry or sign up if you are eligible.

Q. Are Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) affected?
A. They will not be affected by the travel ban.

Q. Is this Permanent?
The EO has been reinstated as of June 29, for a period of 90 days for the ban relating to nationals of the six listed countries and 120 days for refugees.  It can either then expire, or be extended per the president. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the Ninth and Fourth Circuit cases in October if the cases are not then deemed to be moot.

Q. What if you are traveling to the United States from one of the six countries but not a national?
A. Be prepared for additional screening.

Q. Will the list expand?

A. Possibly. The EO gives authority to add and remove countries.

Questions on Visa Issuance:
Q. May I apply for a visa stamp?

A. Yes, if you are not using the passport of one of the six countries.

Q. What if I do not have a second nationality? Will I qualify for a waiver?
A. The Department of State has not yet issued guidance, but we expect that guidance will be issued to allow an applicant who is a national of one of the six countries to prove a bona-fide relationship as of June 26 to an individual or entity in the US.

Q. What can I expect from my visa interview appointment if I have traveled to one of the six countries or have a second passport from one of the six countries?
A. Additional screening procedures are forthcoming.

Q. Will I still qualify for a visa interview waiver if I am extending my visa?
A. Various consulates are still utilizing the drop-box option for those who qualify.

Q. How do I know what each U.S. Consulate requires or if procedures are different?
A. You may check with each individual consulate website.

 

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