White House Executive Orders On U.S. Travel Bans
President Trump signed an Executive Order on 27 January, 2017 which aims to protect Americans from terrorist attacks by foreign nations. The EO became effective immediately. Some of the key points covered by the EO include the following:
- The EO specifically issued a ban on issuance of US visas to nationals of 7 Muslim countries, namely Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Syria. Currently, it is a 90 day ban which may be extended if the countries do not cooperate with the United States by providing certain requested information.
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been advised to immediately review information needed from any country to adequately determine the identity of any person seeking visa or other immigration benefit. The in-person interview will help determine that the person is not a security threat. DNS has been advised to submit this report within 30 days. The list will include all the countries that do not provide enough information.
- Another condition of the Executive Order is the suspension of the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days.
- The EO also orders to implement uniform screening standards for all immigration programs. It also orders to reinstitute “in person” interviews.
- Individuals seeking visas need to apply for them in-person at the US consulates in their respective countries. It does not allow them to “mail-in” or drop their applications.
The 90-day travel ban prohibits the issuance of visa to individuals as well as their entry to the United States from countries listed above. US Consulates across the world have been ordered not to issue visas to individuals who are nationals of these countries. Any individuals who fall in the scope of the EO will have their pending visa applications denied, whether they have applied for nonimmigrant visa or immigrant visa.
Similarly, Border Protection officers and US Customs at border crossings, including airports, have been ordered to deny admission to individuals who are nationals of those listed countries. The EO bans admission to individuals who are nationals of these countries from entering the United States, even if they hold a valid visa or green card. Those affected by the Executive Order are advised to be patient until further details are issued.