UPDATE: Department of State Releases Guideline for Travel Ban Implementation

*NOTE* This is a developing story. The below is based on information issued by the Department of State. Other agencies involved in immigration, specifically Customs and Border Protection, have not yet announced how they will be implementing the travel ban. We will provide updates as information becomes available.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday, to allow the administration to block “foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” the Department of State released instructions for how Embassy Officers will determine who from the six designated countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) will be impacted by the 90-day travel ban. The instructions state that the travel ban will be implemented worldwide starting at 8:00 p.m. EDT on June 29, 2017 and officers are expected to comply immediately.

What We Know About the Travel Ban So Far

Rule 1: The new ban ONLY affect travelers who are citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Affected countries.
Source: R.Ruiz/AP

Rule 2: Citizens of these countries are not affected if they:

  • Have a green card,
  • Are dual citizens of one of the named country and a second country, and are traveling as a citizen of the second country,
  • Were physically present in the U.S. on or before June 26, 2017, or
  • Have a valid visa on the day the ban take effect (June 29, 2017).

Rule 3: Citizens of these countries are also not affected if they have evidence of a formal, documented relationship with a U.S. entity.

  • This includes:
    • Employees of U.S. companies,
    • Students at U.S. universities,
    • Invited lecturers, and
    • Other similar individuals with a documented relationship with a U.S. entity.
  • This does not include:
    • Relationships entered into simply to avoid the travel ban, or
    • Tenuous relationship like a hotel reservation.

Rule 4: Citizens of these countries are also not affected if they have a “close family relationship” to a person inside the U.S.

  • This includes relationships to:
    • a parent (including parent-in law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half, fiancés. This definition also encompasses step relationships (e.g. step-parent, step-sibling).
  • This does not include relationships to:
    • grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, and any other “extended” family members.

Further guidelines and FAQs were published on June 29, 2017 by the Department of Homeland Security.

Advice for Travelers: Bring evidence with you and prepare for a wait
If you are a citizen of one of the six affected countries, even if you fall into one of the categories listed above in rules 2-4, we recommend you carry substantial evidence of your ties to the U.S. Also, be prepared for additional screenings and longer waits.

Specifically, in addition to the documents your normally carry, you should travel with hard copies (not electronic) of the following documents in your carry-on (not in checked baggage):

Employees based in the US returning from overseas: 

  • Three months of recent pay stubs
  • Employment verification letter, signed contract, and/or offer letter
  • Most recent approval notice from USCIS
  • Company ID badge
  • Business cards

Business visitors: 

  • Invitation letter from the U.S. company you are visiting
  • Contact information for someone in the U.S. who can verify the purpose of your visit
  • Documents showing you are employed by a foreign branch of a US company

Social Travelers: 

  • Birth certificates, marriage certificates, or other evidence of relationship
  • Copy of the relative’s passport, driver’s license, or other identification showing where they live in the U.S.
  • Copy of the relative’s U.S. status (if applicable), such as their green card, U.S. passport, etc.

For URGENT travel questions while foreign nationals are in transit, they can contact the EIG Travel Hotline: 1-877-EIG-LAW1 (1-877-344-5291). For all other questions not answered above, please email usvisa@eiglaw.com.