Trump's Muslim Ban

On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed President Trump’s September 24, 2017 Presidential Proclamation imposing country-specific travel restrictions on eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. In addition, pursuant to the Proclamation, nationals of Iraq will be subject to extra screening measures.

The Department of State (DOS) has issued guidance on the implementation of these restrictions, which took effect on December 8, 2017.

Some of the key highlights from the DOS guidance include:

    • Previously Scheduled Visa Appointments The guidance confirms that the DOS will not cancel previously scheduled visa application appointments. For nationals of the eight designated countries, a consular officer will make a determination whether an applicant who is otherwise eligible for a visa is exempt from the proclamation, or, if not, may be eligible for a waiver under the Proclamation and therefore issued a visa.
    • Previously Issued Visas The guidance also indicates that no visas will be revoked pursuant to the Proclamation. The guidance further states that individuals subject to the Proclamation who possess a valid visa or valid travel document generally will be permitted to travel to the U.S., irrespective of when the visa was issued.
    • Waivers For individuals affected by the Proclamation who are seeking a waiver, the DOS guidance indicates that there is no separate application for a waiver. Per the guidance, an individual who seeks to travel to the U.S. should apply for a visa and disclose during the visa interview any information that might demonstrate that he or she is eligible for a waiver. For purposes of determining if someone is eligible for the waiver based on a “close family member,” the guidance indicates that, in the context of the Proclamation, the term “close family member” only includes spouses, children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizens, of lawful permanent residents, and of aliens lawfully admitted to the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant visa.
    • Immigrant Visa Petitions Processing at the National Visa Center Individuals working on a case with the National Visa Center (NVC) should continue to pay fees, complete the DS-260 immigrant visa application, and submit financial and civil supporting documents to the NVC. The NVC will continue to review cases and schedule visa interview appointments overseas. During the interview, a consular officer will review the case to determine whether the applicant is affected by the proclamation and, if so, whether the case qualifies for an exception or may qualify for a waiver.

This article is based on AILA Practice Alert: DHS and DOS Implementation of Presidential Proclamation and Executive Orders Imposing Restrictions on Travel and Refugees (updated December 8, 2017) (AILA Doc. No. 17012670)