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Travel Ban Executive Order of January 27, 2017: Summary

Travel Ban Muslim Ban Road ClosedThe Trump Administration issued an Executive Order on January 27, 2017, which, among other things, imposed a 90 day travel ban for nationals from 7 designated majority-Muslim countries.

The Travel Ban has suspended immigrant or nonimmigrant entry of individuals “from” one of 7 Muslim-majority countries. Designated countries now include Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya.

In addition, the Administration indefinitely suspended visa issuance to individuals “from” one of the designated countries. The Order has also suspended admission of refugees to the US for 120 days. The Trump Administration has reserved the right to add to or subtract from the list of designated countries at any time.

Confusion and Lack of Clarity

The details and application of the Executive Order are still uncertain, fluid and controversial. For example, it remains unclear whom the Travel Ban seeks to exclude. “From” one of the designated countries could mean a range of things, from passport holder to someone entitled to nationality based on parentage, despite a complete lack of other ties to a designated country.

Over the past several days, various parts of the Trump Administration have issued conflicting information and guidance regarding the travel ban which may be either incorrect or quickly changing. Also, several federal courts throughout the US have issued stays against certain provisions of the Travel Ban. The Executive Branch, including Customs and Border Protection, may or may not enforce these judicial orders.

Travel Ban Executive Order of January 27, 2017: Basic Provisions

Overall, in addition to the 90 day Travel Ban and suspension of visa issuance to nationals of 7 designated countries, the Executive Order contains the following provisions:

  • Suspension of US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days.
  • Implementation of uniform screening standards for all immigration programs, including the reinstitution of “in person” interviews (no more waivers of visa interviews; no more “mail-in” or dropbox visa applications).
  • Immediate DHS review of certain information necessary to determine the identity of any individual seeking a visa, admission to the US or other immigration benefit, and also necessary to determine whether such individuals are not a threat to security or public safety. DHS must submit a report to the Administration regarding this information within 30 days; the report must include a list countries that do not provide the US with adequate information.

Green Card Holders from Designated Countries: Does the Travel Ban Apply?

The Executive Order itself says it applies to green card holders. But Administration officials, apparently fearing that at least this part of the order may be unlawful, have since said that the Travel Ban will not apply to green card holders “going forward.” However, green card holders who are also nationals of one of the designated countries may be subjected to additional scrutiny, including questioning and detention, upon entry to the US.

UPDATE per John Kelly, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security: “In applying the provisions of the president’s executive order, I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest. Accordingly, 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 our case-by-case determinations.”

See original DHS Statement regarding application of Executive Order to Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders). (See link to update below.)

Dual Nationals of Designated Country and Non-Restricted Country: Does the Travel Ban Apply?

Does the Travel Ban apply to dual nationals? If so, which dual nationals? Does it apply only to current passport holders of one of the designated countries? Past passport holders? Recent past passport holders? Those who were once passport holders, but who have formally renounced or attempted to formally renounce their nationality in one of the designated countries? Does it apply to those who are merely entitled to hold passports in designated countries, such as individuals born in one of the designated countries, or those whose parent(s) were natives (born in) or nationals of one of the designated countries?

UPDATE: As of February 2, 2017, the Department of State issued an Alert regarding the Travel Ban as applied to dual nationals of one of the designated countries.

See State Department Alert on Dual Nationals.

Dual Nationals: Have Some Countries Secured Special Dispensation regarding Dual Nationals

It appears that some countries have secured special dispensation from the Trump Administration regarding dual nationals. For example, Canada appears to have successfully carved out an exception for Canadian nationals who hold dual nationality with a designated country (see Toronto Star article). The UK also appears to have arranged for an exception for its dual nationals, except this may be limited to dual UK/designated country nationals coming to the US directly from the UK, or at least not coming directly from one of the designated countries; or, it may not be a valid exception at all (see Bloomberg article).

In the coming days and weeks, we can also expect that other US-friendly countries may also seek and obtain special arrangements for their own nationals who hold dual nationality with one of the designated countries.

The Executive Order Reserves the Right to Include Additional Countries in Travel Ban

Those who are not from the countries initially included in the Travel Ban, but who may be construed to be “from” any of the list of NSEERS countries (Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen) should also take caution when attempting to travel to and from the United States, as the Trump Administration has reserved the right to add additional countries to the Travel Ban at any time.

This information was accurate as of February 1, 2017. Please see Travel Ban updates on in our news section. See also CBP FAQ.

Seek Legal Counsel Before Entering or Exiting the US if Travel Ban May Apply to You

Any individual who may be affected by this Travel Ban should seek appropriate legal counsel well before attempting to enter or leave the United States to avoid or minimize any negative consequences to the extent possible.

Further Information and Updates on the Travel Ban

Note that the Trump Administration issued an updated Travel Ban Executive Order on March 6, 2017, in response to widespread legal challenge and public opposition to the original Travel Ban. See also updated State Department Travel Ban information, DHS Travel Ban Fact Sheet, DHS Travel Ban Q&A; our updated Travel Ban summary.

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