U.S. immigration regulations - Entry requirements to the USA

Image of travelers at an U.S. airport Restrictions for U.S. travelers

The so-called Travel Ban applies to citizens of seven countries worldwide. Still, the legal challenges against the travel restrictions issued by president Trump continue and the controversy persists.

Approved Travel Ban
Exceptions
Important for applicants to know
Our recommendation

 

U.S. Supreme Court approves Travel Ban

On December 5, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the third version of the Travel Ban to take effect – at least on a preliminary basis.

The current resolution states that the travel regulations once announced for October 18, 2017, as well as the associated restrictions for entry to the U.S., apply to certain countries with immediate effect and until further notice.

The current decision of the Supreme Court also overrules the "Bona Fide" exemption of November 13, 2017 of the 9th Federal Appeals Tribunal. This exemption would have allowed nationals of Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Chad to continue to enter the United States, if they could prove close family or business relations with the United States.

In the meantime, the new regulations have been implemented or announced on all official government websites, in particular the suspension of the "Bona Fide" regulations.

A final decision from the U.S. Supreme Court is pending. The consultation of the two contentious parties took place on April 25, 2018 where both, the representatives of the U.S. government and the lawyers of the states that filed the appeal, put forward their final arguments. While most experts currently expect the conservative forces supporting the Travel Ban to have an advantage, the final judgement on the part of the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to be delivered in June 2018.

Current third version of the Travel Ban

On September 24, 2017, U.S. President Trump has announced a new order called "Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public Safety Threats". It refers directly to the Executive Order 13780 issued in March 2017 and includes new entry restrictions for certain countries.

The announced travel regulations incurred after a survey of approximately 200 countries worldwide by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The focus of the review was to see whether the respective countries were able to meet the information exchange required by the U.S. authorities to combat terrorism and similar threats. In addition, an assessment was made as to whether these countries posed a threat and whether these countries themselves adequately counter terrorists or other threats.

This review concluded that seven countries currently do not meet the requirements of the U.S. government. As a result, President Trump is now imposing further restrictions on the nationals of the countries concerned.

Nationals of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, VenezuelA and YEMEN are affected by entry regulations.

  • Iranian nationals do not receive non-immigrant visa (except for F, M and J visa) or immigration visa
  • Libyan nationals do not receive B-1, B-2 and B-1/B-2 visa or immigration visa
  • North Korean nationals do not receive non-immigrant visa or immigration visa
  • Somali nationals do not receive immigration visa (non-immigrant visa applications and the entry to the U.S. is under strict review)
  • Syrian nationals do not receive non-immigrant visa or immigration visa
  • Government representatives of various institutions and their families from Venezuela do not receive B-1, B-2 and B-1/B-2 visa
  • Yemeni nationals do not receive B-1, B-2 and B-1/B-2 visa or immigration visa

The U.S. Department of State provides a chart of all affected countries on their official website.

Exceptions

Following persons of abovementioned nationalities will continue to be able to enter the United States: 

  • Lawful permanent residents (Green Card owners)
  • Persons legally arriving in the U.S. who remain in the country at the time the travel ban comes into effect
  • Persons who own a valid U.S. visa at the time the travel ban comes into effect
  • Persons who do not have a valid U.S. visa, but who have Advance Parole, for instance
  • Nationals of the affected countries who have dual citizenship may travel with or apply for a U.S. visa with their other passport from the country not banned
  • Diplomats, NATO representatives, C-2 or G-1, G-2, G-3 or G-4 visa owners or applicants
  • Persons who already have refugee status
  • Citizens of the countries with a currently pending lawsuit against the Executive Order in the U.S. 

For other nationals, who have only visited the countries mentioned above, an entry to the United States is still possible as well.

Important for applicants to know

Due to the very broad definition of immigration regulations, many of the visa applicants and travelers concerned can continue to apply for a U.S. visa or travel to the United States. The U.S. consulates explicitly point out that already set interview appointments will not be canceled. Affected persons can therefore go to their appointment and rely on the exemptions.

Trump's new regulation furthermore allows for other countries to be added to the list of countries banned from travel to the U.S. after regular reviews, as well as some might also be removed. Accordingly, Sudanese or Iraqi nationals are no longer affected by the travel ban.

However, until the U.S. Supreme Court comes to a final decision on the subject of the entry ban, movement in this area must continue to be expected. A final verdict from the Supreme Court is expected before the end of June 2018.

Our recommendation

We advise travelers of the countries concerned, who currently hold a valid visa and a valid status for the U.S. and who currently are in the U.S., ideally not to leave the country or respectively to check whether the exemptions permit a re-entry!

For those who hold a valid visa, we recommend inquiring with the issuing U.S. Consulate before the next entry, to see if your entry is actually permitted.

As always, we will keep you up to date on all new changes and regulations on U.S. immigration law.

05-11-2018



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