Trump announces new changes in U.S. immigration regulations

Image of travelers at an U.S. airport New restrictions for U.S. travelers planned
29-09-2017

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". This refers directly to the Executive Order 13780 issued in March 2017 and includes new entry restrictions for certain countries. 

Transition phase: September 24, 2017 until October 17, 2017
Phase 2: starting October 18, 2017 (until further notice)
Exceptions for both phases
Important for applicants to know
Our recommendation

 

The newly 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 eight 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, which will come into effect on October 18, 2017 until further notice.

The new restrictions are implemented in two phases:

Transition phase: September 24, 2017 until October 17, 2017

Nationals of Iran, Libya, SOmalia, Syria and YEMEN

The currently existing travel restrictions for these five countries remain. This means that nationals of the countries mentioned can no longer enter the U.S. and will not receive a visa during this period, unless:

  • These individuals can provide proof of close family ties within the United States. According to the definition of the U.S. Department of State (DOS), the following degrees of kinship are included: parents, parents-in-law, spouse, fiancé, children of any age, sons- or daughters-in-law, siblings as well as stepfamily. Explicitly excluded are grandparents, grandchildren, aunts or uncles, nieces or nephews, cousins, brothers- or sisters-in-law, and other family relations.
  • These persons can prove a legitimate relationship to a U.S. organization ("bona fide relationship to U.S. entities"). These include for example employees of U.S. companies, students, lecturers and under circumstances business travelers. The relationship must be demonstrable and formal, meaning it must be documentable and cannot have been entered for the sole purpose of circumventing the entry ban.

Sudanese nationals are no longer affected by the travel ban.

Phase 2: starting October 18, 2017 (until further notice)

Nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, VenezuelA and YEMEN

These countries are affected by varying regulations:

  • Nationals of Chad do not receive B-1, B-2 and B-1/B-2 visa or immigration visa
  • 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 for both phases

Furthermore, the existing exceptions remain for both phases. Following persons of abovementioned nationalities will continue to be able to enter the U.S.: 

  • 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

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 or try to enforce them.

From October 18, 2017, the exception of the "bona fide relationships to close family members or U.S. entities" is no longer valid. The consular officer will then decide from case to case whether a visa can be issued to the applicant. Hardness cases will also be considered.

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.

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.

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


Join the discussion