Trump issues new and revised travel ban



September 25, 2017

Immigration Law Alert

Author(s): Jason Gerrol

In a proclamation issued by President Trump, new U.S. travel restrictions will apply to nationals of eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Those travel restrictions either became effective 3:30 p.m. EDT on September 24, 2017, or will go into effect 12:01 a.m. EDT on October 18, 2017.

On September 24, 2017, President Trump signed a proclamation describing travel restrictions that would apply to eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. The administration made clear that the proclamation does not apply to lawful permanent residents or dual nationals (if traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country), that no existing visas would be revoked and is expressly limited to individuals who are outside the U.S. on the applicable effective date(s) of the proclamation and do not have a valid visa (or other valid travel document, such as advance parole) as of the applicable effective date(s) of the proclamation. In addition, the proclamation does not restrict the ability to seek asylum or refugee status.

Foreign nationals from the eight countries should take careful note of the travel restrictions and dual effective dates imposed by the proclamation, as described below, and discuss their individual circumstances with experienced immigration counsel. In addition, if currently in the U.S., international travel plans should be reviewed prior to departure to assess any potential issues for return entry to the U.S.

The proclamation was issued as the most recent travel ban, issued on March 6, 2017, was to expire by its own terms on September 24, 2017. Like the initial travel ban issued on January 27, 2017, the March 6, 2017 order was mired in litigation from the start and was scheduled for oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court on October 10, 2017. That litigation, in part, has influenced the implementation schedule (i.e., effective dates) below. In addition, as the travel restrictions were “tailored” to each country, the travel restrictions will vary from country to country.

What are the new travel restrictions and when will they be implemented?

  • Chad: Entry for nationals of Chad as immigrants is suspended. For non-immigrants, nationals of Chad will not be permitted to enter the U.S. on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (B-1/2) visas. The travel restrictions will go into effect 12:01 a.m. EDT on October 18, 2017.
  • Iran: The entry of Iranian nationals, as both immigrants and nonimmigrants, is suspended. However, entry for Iranian nationals with valid student (F and M) or exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals “should be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.”
  • Libya: Entry for nationals of Libya as immigrants is suspended. For non-immigrants, nationals of Libya will not be permitted to enter the U.S. on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (B-1/2) visas. For those nationals who were subject to the March 6, 2017, travel ban, and who lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S., the travel restrictions became effective 3:30 p.m. EDT on September 24, 2017. For those who do have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship, the travel restrictions will go into effect 12:01 a.m. EDT on October 18, 2017.
  • North Korea: The entry of North Korean nationals, as both immigrants and nonimmigrants, is suspended. The travel restrictions will go into effect 12:01 a.m. EDT on October 18, 2017.
  • Somalia: Entry for nationals of Somalia as immigrants is suspended. While there is not an express suspension on non-immigrant entry, “visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as nonimmigrants should be subject to additional scrutiny…” For those nationals who were subject to the March 6, 2017, travel ban, and who lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S., the travel restrictions became effective 3:30 p.m. EDT on September 24, 2017. For those who do have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship, the travel restrictions will go into effect 12:01 a.m. EDT on October 18, 2017.
  • Syria: The entry of Syrian nationals, as both immigrants and nonimmigrants, is suspended. For those nationals who were subject to the March 6, 2017, travel ban, and who lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S., the travel restrictions became effective 3:30 p.m. EDT on September 24, 2017. For those who do have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship, the travel restrictions will go into effect 12:01 a.m. EDT on October 18, 2017.
  • Venezuela: Government officials involved in “screening and vetting procedures,” as well as their immediate family members, will not be permitted to enter the U.S. on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (B-1/2) visas. Furthermore, “nationals of Venezuela who are visa holders should be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current.” The travel restrictions will go into effect 12:01 a.m. EDT on October 18, 2017.
  • Yemen: Entry for nationals of Yemen as immigrants is suspended. For non-immigrants, nationals of Yemen will not be permitted to enter the U.S. on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (B-1/2) visas. For those nationals who were subject to the March 6, 2017, travel ban, and who lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S., the travel restrictions became effective 3:30 p.m. EDT on September 24, 2017. For those who do have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship, the travel restrictions will go into effect 12:01 a.m. EDT on October 18, 2017.

How long will the new travel restrictions last?

Unlike the previous travel bans, which established expiration dates, the new travel restrictions do not state an expiration date. Rather, the proclamation suggests that when/if the administration determines the restrictions are no longer necessary, they may be removed or modified.

Are there any exceptions to the travel restrictions described earlier?

Yes, waivers of the travel restrictions will be available on a case-by-case basis if the foreign national can demonstrate (1) denying entry would cause him/her “undue hardship,” (2) entry will not pose a threat to national security or public safety and (3) entry would be in the “national interest.” The proclamation directs the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue guidance addressing the standards and procedures for determining waiver eligibility.

The proclamation states that a waiver of the travel restrictions may be appropriate in a variety of circumstances, including where the foreign national has previously been admitted to the U.S. for a continuous period of work, study or other long-term activity, and is seeking to re-enter the U.S. to resume that activity; where the foreign national seeks to enter for “significant business or professional obligations”; or the foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., spouse, child or parent). In addition, the proclamation states that a waiver may be appropriate where the foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident and applies for a U.S. visa at a U.S. Consulate in Canada.

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of the firm. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel. If you have any questions or require any further information regarding these or other related matters, please contact your regular Nixon Peabody LLP representative. This material may be considered advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.

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