On December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court issued a decision allowing the Government to carry out the third iteration of its “travel ban” while the lawsuits challenging the ban make their way through the federal courts.
While the litigation is ongoing, those targeted by “Travel Ban 3.0” will not be able to get visas or enter the U.S. unless they can prove, among other criteria, that a waiver of the bar in any individual case would be in the national interest. As a practical matter, the average person is unlikely to be able to meet that standard. (As of Feb. 15, 2018, only 2 waivers had been granted out of over 6500 visas requested since December 4th).
Following this Supreme Court ruling, Travel Ban 3.0 bars U.S. immigrant (permanent residency) or nonimmigrant (temporary) visa issuance to or entry of nationals of the following countries:
- Chad, Libya and Yemen: All immigrants and, nonimmigrant (temporary) visitors for pleasure or business. (Note: as this Update describes, on April 10, 2018, the Administration removed Chad from the Travel Ban).
- Iran: All immigrants and nonimmigrants, with the exception of student and exchange (F,M and J) nonimmigrant visa holders (who nonetheless will undergo extra scrutiny).
- North Korea and Syria: All immigrants and nonimmigrants.
- Somalia: All immigrants. All nonimmigrants will be subject to extra scrutiny.
- Venezuela: Certain government officials and their family members, traveling on pleasure (B-2) or business (B-1) nonimmigrant visitor visas.
The ban applies to people from the named countries who were outside the U.S. and did not have valid, previously issued, U.S. visas on the ban’s effective dates. (For some individuals, that is September 24, 2017, but for others it is October 18, 2017. Those needing further clarification should speak with a competent immigration attorney.)
It does not apply to:
- Dual nationals using the passport of their non-targeted country.
- Permanent residents (green card holders), or those who already have refugee, asylee, withholding of removal or Convention against Torture status in the U.S., who are from the targeted countries and are returning from travel abroad.
- Those already granted advance parole returning from travel abroad.
- Persons granted admission or parole into the U.S. on or after the effective dates.
- Diplomats or those with similar visas.
- Theoretically, it also does not apply to those fleeing persecution and seeking protection, but that exception may be meaningless in practice.
How does this effect Maine businesses?
- If you have immigrant employees from any of the named countries, be aware of their stress due to the uncertainty of when their relatives, whom they may have been expecting to immigrate soon, will be able to reunite with them here in the U.S.
- Any employees (whether naturalized U.S. Citizens, permanent residents, refugees or asylees, etc.) from the specified countries can expect a heightened level of questioning at U.S. ports of entry following any travel abroad, despite the fact that Travel Ban 3.0 is not supposed to apply to them. They should be advised to consult with a competent immigration attorney before making plans to travel abroad.
- Any employee from one of the named countries who is here on a nonimmigrant work visa issued prior to the ban’s effective dates should consult with a competent immigration attorney before making any plans to travel abroad, especially if the visa would need renewal abroad before the employee could return to the U.S.