EIG Dispatch | September 26, 2017

Feature Story: FAQs on New Travel Restrictions

DC Insights: U.S. Supreme Court Cancels Oral Arguments for Travel Ban/ DHS to Check on Social Media of Immigrants

Headlines: Brexit Update/ German Elections Not Expected to Impact Migration/ Italy Unveils Online Visitor Visa Form


Story: FAQS on New Travel Restrictions

On Sunday, September 24, 2017, President Trump announced a new set of travel restrictions that impact citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. These new restrictions replace the previous travel ban. A detailed analysis of the travel restrictions is available on the EIG website. Answers to FAQs are below.

EIG attorneys will hold a webinar on Wednesday, September 27 at 1PM PDT (4 PM EDT) to discuss the scope of the new travel ban and its impact on foreign nationals. Click here to register.

FAQS

Q: How do these travel restrictions differ from the previous travel ban?

A: The prior travel ban applied uniformly to individuals from six Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria). The September 24, 2017 proclamation imposes varying levels of travel restrictions for each of the countries named. The new list of countries includes: Chad, Iran, Yemen, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Iraq. Sudan has been removed from the list of affected countries.   In addition, the previous ban temporarily limited travel for a period of 90 days. In contrast, the new travel restrictions are indefinite, and may be lifted if the named countries improve their vetting processes in accordance with U.S. standards.

Q: How were the countries chosen?

A: In the 90 days since the original travel ban came in to force, the administration conducted a review of each countries’ vetting processes to assess whether their nationals seeking to enter the United States pose a security or safety threat. The countries placed on the revised list did not meet the administrations’ requirements.

Q: Under the new travel restrictions issued September 24, 2017, which individuals are barred from entering the U.S.?   A: The new travel restrictions apply only to foreign nationals of the specified countries who (1) are outside the United States on or after October 18, 2017; (2) do not have a valid visa on October 18, 2017; and (3) do not qualify for a visa or other valid travel document.

Q: Are any other countries affected?   A: Aside from the countries mentioned above, no other countries are currently affected by the new travel restrictions.

Q:  I am a U.S. visa holder (no other dual nationality) from 1 of the 8 listed countries and am currently in the U.S. on a visa. Can I continue to travel?

A: The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that existing visas will not be revoked. However, EIG advises nationals of these 8 countries avoiding international travel, if possible, at this time. If it is necessary to travel, please contact EIG prior to your travel to review the specifics of your situation.

Q: I am a U.S. visa holder (no other dual nationality) from 1 of the 8 listed countries and am currently in the U.S. on a work visa. What will happen with my visa extension and green card process going forward?

A: At this time, the Department of Homeland Security has not clarified if the new Travel Restrictions will impact change of status petitions, extension of stay petitions, or adjustment of status applications for those individuals in the U.S. in valid visa status. We will provide updates once the administration provides clarity.

Q: Are Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) affected?

A: No, current Green Card holders will not be affected by the new travel restrictions.

Q: I am a dual national of 1 of the 8 listed countries and another country, am I barred from entering the U.S.?

A: If you were born in 1 of the 8 listed countries and are also a citizen of another country, you will be treated according to the travel document that you present at the point of entry. For example, if you were born in Iran, but are also a Canadian citizen, you will be able to travel internationally and re-enter the U.S. on your Canadian passport.

Q: Are there any other exceptions to the travel restrictions?

A: Yes, the travel restrictions also does not apply if you are a permanent resident in Canada and apply for a U.S. visa from within Canada, if you are paroled into the U.S., or if you have a previous grant of asylum issued by the U.S. government.

Q: Can I apply for a waiver of the travel restrictions?

A: Yes, you may apply for a waiver to the travel restriction if you can prove all of the following:

  • Denying entry would cause undue hardship;
  • Entry would not pose a threat to national security; and
  • Entry would be in the national interest.

DC Headlines

U.S. Supreme Court Cancels Travel Ban Oral Arguments. In response to President Trump’s latest Executive Action announcing new travel restrictions, the Supreme Court cancelled oral arguments on the prior version of the travel ban, which had been scheduled for October 10. Instead, the Court has requested briefs from both parties on whether the prior challenges are now irrelevant in response to the new restrictions. As litigation is expected before the new travel restrictions take effect on October 18, EIG will continue to provide updates on all related judicial rulings.

DHS to Check Social Media of Foreign Nationals. Effective October 18, 2017, the Trump Administration is expanding DHS’s authority to obtain social media information and internet search results for all foreign nationals entering the U.S. The latest announcement is a significant departure from the Department of State’s initial attempt at gathering social media details through a supplemental questionnaire for certain visa applicants who present a “threat profile.”

Travel Tips: Please be aware of the risks involved when travelling with your mobile devices and closely monitor your online presence—including social media profile(s), posted content, internet search results, and browser histories. Even with privacy settings enabled, some content may still be accessible.


Global Headlines: 

British Prime Minister Proposes Two-year Transition Period for Brexit. In a landmark Brexit speech given Friday in Florence, British Prime Minister Theresa May reiterated her goal of completing Brexit negotiations and exiting the EU on March 29, 2019, but in a new development, also proposed a two year post-exit “implementation period”. During this proposed period, the UK would continue to participate in the single market and EU nationals would be able to continue living and working in the UK, albeit with some form of registration (details to be determined at a later date). The current round of Brexit negotiations began on Monday in Brussels.

German Elections Not Expected to Impact Migration. Following German parliamentary elections held over the weekend, current German Chancellor Angela Merkel is widely expected to retain her position (her conservative party came in first, winning 34.7% of seats). However, she must now build a new coalition government which could take until the end of the year. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party performed better than expected, becoming the first far right party to win seats in the German parliament in more than half a century. The election is not expected to impact high skilled migration to Germany.

Italy Unveils Online Schengen Visa Forms. The government of Italy has unveiled a new web portal for individuals to complete a Schengen visitor visa application online. The new online form is only for short-stay visa application lasting up to 90 days (C type visas). Long term visa applications will continue to be filled out using the paper application.