After weeks of delays, the new Executive Order titled: “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” was signed by the President this morning. Following the Ninth Circuit Court decision to continue to block the previous version of the Executive Order of January 27, 2017, the revised Executive Order is tailored to the Court’s decision and clarifies which nationals of the previously designated countries are subject to the 90-day travel ban. The new version of the Order is set to take effect in 10 days, on March 16, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, and will supersede the January 27, 2017 Executive Order.
We have summarized the most important parts of the new Executive Order below:
Who is Impacted?
Per the Order, for the next 90 days, foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen will not be allowed entry to the U.S. if:
- They are outside the United States on the effective date of the order;
- Do not currently have a valid visa on the effective date of this order; and
- Did not have a valid visa at 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on January 27, 2017.
*Note that Iraq has been excluded from the new version of the Order mainly due to diplomatic reasons and the collaboration of the Iraqi government in combating ISIS. However Iraqi nationals are still subject to additional scrutiny when applying for visas or seeking admission to the U.S.
Who is Excluded?
As promised the order specifies which foreign nationals from the six (6) designated countries will be excluded and will not be impacted by the 90-day travel ban. These include:
- Any Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) (aka Green Card Holders);
- Any foreign national admitted to or paroled into the U.S. on or after the effective date of this order;
- Any foreign national who posses a document other than a visa (i.e. Advance Parole Document) valid on the effective date of this order or issued after March 16, 2017, that allows him or her to seek admission to the U.S.;
- Any dual national of a one of the six (6) designated countries when that individual travels pursuant to a travel document issued by a non-designated country;
- Any diplomatic visa holder; or
- Any foreign national who has been granted asylum; any refugee already admitted to the U.S.; or any foreign national who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).
Visa Waiver Program and Drop-Box Program:
The Secretary of State will immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program (“Drop Box”) on the effective date of this Order. Foreign nationals who have already received their drop-box confirmation are not immediately impacted but may still be called in for an in-person interview subject to the discretion of the reviewing officer. Immigrant or non-immigrant visas issued via drop-box before the date of the order shall not be revoked.
Undue Hardship Exception:
A waiver to this travel ban may be granted in limited circumstances and on a discretionary basis by Consular Officers and/or CBP, based on a showing of “Undue hardship” and no threat to national security. Undue Hardship factors include:
- Previously admitted entry and returning to work in same/similar capacity
- Significant contacts in the U.S.
- Business/professional obligations
- Visiting close family member (denial would cause undue hardship)
- Infants/Young children needing urgent medical care
- Previously employed by US government with clean record
- Travelling under International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA)
- Canadian immigrant applying for visa in Canada
- US Govt exchange visitor
U.S. Refugee Admissions Program Overview:
The U.S. Refugee Admission program will be suspended for 120 days, and it will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year. Two narrow exceptions will be allowed if the applicant can demonstrate one of the following applies:
- There is a pre-existing international agreement; or
- Denial would cause “undue hardship”.
EIG will continue to monitor updates on the executive order and its implementation, and we will keep you updated.
Please find our detailed FAQs here for additional information.