Trump Administration Implements New Travel Restrictions

October 9, 2017

By Immigration Group

This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Laura Danielson is an active member.

Airport word cloudOn September 24, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a presidential proclamation on "Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats." The proclamation announces the following measures with respect to the countries of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, subject to "categorical exceptions and case-by-case waivers."

Chad

The proclamation suspends indefinitely the entry into the United States of nationals of Chad as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.

Iran

The proclamation suspends indefinitely the entry into the United States of nationals of Iran as immigrants and nonimmigrants, except that entry by such nationals under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals "should be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements."

Libya

The proclamation suspends indefinitely the entry into the United States of nationals of Libya as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.

North Korea

The proclamation suspends indefinitely the entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants. In a separate notice, the Department of State announced that U.S. passports are invalid for travel into, in or through North Korea/Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Somalia

The proclamation suspends indefinitely the entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants. Additionally, visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as nonimmigrants "should be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants are connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States."

Syria

The proclamation suspends indefinitely the entry into the United States of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants.

Venezuela

The proclamation suspends indefinitely the entry into the United States of officials of government agencies of Venezuela involved in screening and vetting procedures—including the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations—and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas. Nationals of Venezuela who are visa holders "should be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current."

Yemen

The proclamation suspends indefinitely the entry into the United States of nationals of Yemen as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.

The proclamation also notes that entry restrictions and limitations on Iraq are "not warranted." However, nationals of Iraq who seek to enter the United States will be subject to "additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the United States."

Exceptions 

Among other things, the proclamation lists exceptions to these suspensions of entry for:

  • Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  • Any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date (see the proclamation for details);
  • Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa—such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil or an advance parole document—valid on the applicable effective date or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission;
  • Any dual national of a designated country when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
  • Any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa; North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa; C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations; or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; and
  • Any foreign national who has been granted asylum by the United States; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

The proclamation, which includes additional details and effective dates, can be found here. A related alert from the Department of State, which includes a table summarizing the travel restrictions, is located here. The separate announcement about the invalidity of U.S. passports for travel to North Korea can be found here