Travel Warning for Nationals of Certain Countries Designated by Executive Order


On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO), entitled Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, which went into immediate effect upon signing. This Executive Order suspends the entry into the United States of most immigrants and nonimmigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, and indefinitely suspends the entry of Syrian refugees.

The American Immigration Council has issued the following information regarding the implementation and impact of the EO.

What countries’ nationals are affected by the EO?
Currently, there are seven countries designated under the provisions of INA § 217(a)(12) (8 U.S.C. countries are: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Therefore, the order on its face applies only to nationals of those seven countries. The EO refers to individuals “from” the affected countries, which appears to include both individuals born in the affected countries and individuals who hold dual nationality with one of those countries.

It has been reported that Canadian dual citizens traveling on Canadian passports would not be affected. In addition, the International Air Transport Association reportedly told their airlines that dual nationals traveling on a passport issued by a country other than those designated under INA § 217(a)(12) would be allowed to enter the United States. With that being said, there has been reports of denial of visas to dual citizens traveling on a passport issued by a country other than those designated.

Some nationals of the affected countries who are outside the United States and possess valid, unexpired visas, both immigrant and non-immigrant, are reportedly being prevented from boarding international flights to the United States.

How is this order being applied to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) from the affected countries?
On January 29, DHS issued a summary of the Executive Order, which states: Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States traveling on a valid I-551 will be allowed to board U.S. bound aircraft and will be assessed for exceptions at arrival ports of entry, as appropriate. The entry of these individuals, subject to national security checks, is in the national interest.

Has the EO impacted nationals of the affected countries who are currently residing within the United States?
On Monday night, January 30, 2017, The Intercept reported that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has taken the position that all pending immigration benefits applications on behalf of nationals of the affected countries within the United States, including petitions for asylum, adjustment of status, and naturalization, would be suspended indefinitely as a result of the EO.

How long will the above-referenced provisions of the EO remain in effect?

The EO provides that nationals of the affected countries (possibly excluding LPRs) will be banned from entering the United States for the next 90 days, until Thursday, April 27, 2017. All refugee admissions from the affected countries (with the exception of Syria) are stopped for an additional 30 days, until Saturday, May 27, 2017. Refugee admissions from Syria will remain indefinitely suspended until such time as the President reauthorizes them under the terms of the EO. All of these timelines may be extended under the provisions of the order.

Lawful Permanent Resident from affected countries who are physically present in the United States are strongly discouraged from traveling outside the country.

Individuals from affected countries who are currently in the United States and have valid nonimmigrant visa status should not travel outside the country during their authorized periods of stay. The EO dictates that individuals in this category will not be permitted to reenter, even if their visas have not expired. These individuals should also be advised of the risks of overstaying their validity period.

Individuals from affected countries with pending applications for adjustment of status who are currently in the United States and not maintaining nonimmigrant status are strongly discouraged from traveling outside the country. While the EO does not explicitly address such individuals, the bar on entry would appear to apply to a pending adjustment applicant seeking to return to the United States based on an advance parole document.

Individuals who are applicants for immigrant visas (i.e. those who are consular processing abroad) are hereby advised of the State Department’s recently issued guidance, which states:

If you are a citizen of one of these countries, please do not schedule a visa appointment or pay any visa fees at this time. If you already have an appointment scheduled, please DO NOT ATTEND. You will not be permitted entry to the Embassy/Consulate.

If you have any questions regarding the above guidance, please contact us at 512-705-1780 to speak with a reputable and knowledgeable Williamson County immigration lawyer.

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