Immigration and Nationality Law Firm

UPDATED 2/3/17
Client Advisory: Travel Warning

Dear Clients,

We are writing to provide an update about how President Trump’s Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” (AILA Doc. No. 17012560)  is being implemented and to whom it is being applied as of February 3, 2017, as follows:

  • Who is “from” a Designated Country:  DHS has advised the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that anyone who holds a passport from a designated country is considered as being “from” the designated country and that individuals “traveling on passportsfrom Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen will be temporarily suspended from entry to the United States.”
  • Dual Citizens: DHS also advised AILA that the ban included dual citizens who hold passports from a designated country as well as a non-designated country, BUT that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would be processing people based on how they present themselves at primary inspection.  This means that a dual national who presents a passport containing a valid entry visa or other entry document from a non-designated country should be admitted into the United States.
  • Legal Permanent Residents: According to DHS, lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are no longer being included in the ban “absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in [DHS’s] case-by-case determinations.”  As a result, LPRs generally will be allowed to board airplanes and enter the United States.
  • Suspension of Visa Issuance to nationals of the seven countries and Provisional Revocation of Visas already issued:  The Department of States has advised that visa issuance to nationals of the countries of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been suspended until further notification and also announced the provisional revocation of all valid nonimmigrant and immigrant visas of nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, with certain limited exceptions.
  • Suspension of Adjudication by USCIS: There have been reports that USCIS has suspended the adjudication of certain affected immigration benefits for persons who are citizens of one of the seven countries and the language of the Executive Order makes it likely that there has been or will be some directive to USCIS on how to handle benefits applications. AILA has contacted USCIS, but has been unable to confirm these reports definitively.  AILA has also asked what benefits may be affected and how USCIS will treat dual nationals. No further update has been provided.
  • No Anticipated Expansion of the Ban: In response to rumors of plans to expand the travel ban to other countries, DOS informed AILA that there is nothing now being worked on to expand visa revocations or the travel ban to any other countries other than those currently implicated in the Executive Order.

 

Based on these updates, our revised travel advice as of Friday, February 3, 2017, is below:

  • Individuals who were born in or who have passports issued by Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, but not including U.S. permanent residents
    • If legally present in the United States at this time, DO NOT depart the United States until further notice or risk not being allowed back into the United States for an indefinite period of time.  This applies even if you have a valid U.S. visa or other travel authorization that permits reentry into the United States.
  • Individuals who were born in or who have passports issued by Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who are U.S. permanent residents
    • If legally present in the United States at this time, we caution you not to depart the United States until further notice and until we receive further assurances that U.S. permanent residents from the seven countries in fact are being consistently allowed to reenter the United States.
    • If you must depart or are currently outside the United States trying to get back in, you should be allowed to board the plane to return to the United States, and you would be subject to security clearance once you arrive in the United States.  If you pass the security clearance, your admission would be considered in the national interest and you should be allowed to enter the United States.
  • Dual citizens who hold passports from a designated country as well as a non-designated country
    • If legally present in the United States at this time, DO NOT depart the United States until further notice or risk not being allowed back into the United States for an indefinite period of time UNLESS your valid entry visa or other entry document is issued to you in your passport from the non-designated country or based on your non-designated nationality and you present the non-designated passport at the time of readmission in which case we understand you should be allowed back into the country.  Note, however, that the situation is evolving rapidly so we encourage you to reach out to us before departing the United States.
  • Individuals who were NOT born in or who do NOT have a passport issued by Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen
    • If legally present in the United States at this time and you have a valid U.S. visa or other U.S. travel document that permits reentry into the United States, reentry into the United States following foreign travels is not expected to be impacted by the Executive Order but we note that this situation is evolving rapidly so we encourage you to reach out to us before departing the United States; and
    • If you are legally present in the United States at this time and you do not have a valid U.S. visa or travel authorization that permits reentry into the United States, if you depart the United States, it is possible and perhaps increasingly probable that an application for a passport visa will be subject to what is called “administrative processing” which  involves additional security checking before a visa can be issued.  Whether any particular visa application will be subject to administrative processing is not something that anyone can determine ahead of time and if an application is subject to administrative processing, how long it will take to be completed also cannot be determined or id.

     

Please share this information with your foreign national employees and their management teams.

We are updating this situation frequently.

Elizabeth Thompson: et@myersthompson.com
Sam Myers: smyers@myersthompson.com
John Medeiros: jmedeiros@myersthompson.com
Jennifer Mojica: jmojica@myersthompson.com