Travel Ban Expands to Additional Countries
On January 31, 2020, President Trump issued a new Presidential Proclamation that expands the previous travel ban (Travel Ban 3.0) to include Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania, as related to nationals of those countries who are seeking immigrant visas (as opposed to non-immigrant visas). The new travel ban (Travel Ban 3.0) is expected to take effect on February 21, 2020.
Are all nationals from these new countries prohibited from traveling to the U.S.?
No. The prohibitions of Travel Ban 3.0 suspends entry to the U.S. as follows:
- Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Burma (Myanmar), and Nigeria – no entry for immigrants except Special Immigrants who have provided assistance to the U.S. government;
- Sudan and Tanzania – no entry for Diversity Visa immigrants (green card lottery).
Are any other countries subject to any travel ban?
Yes. Several provisions of the earlier version of Travel Ban 3.0 remain in effect, as follows:
- Iran – no entry in any classification, immigrant or non-immigrant, except for F (student), M (vocational student), and J (exchange visitor) visas, which are subject to enhanced vetting and screening;
- Libya – no entry for immigrants, as well as non-immigrants in B1/B2 visitor status;
- North Korea – no entry on either immigrant or non-immigrant visas;
- Somalia – no entry on immigrant visas; entry on non-immigrant visas subject to enhanced vetting and screening;
- Syria – no entry on either immigrant or non-immigrant visas;
- Venezuela – no entry for certain government officials and their family members on B1/B2 visitors visas;
- Yemen – no entry for immigrants, as well as non-immigrants in B1/B2 visitor status.
What is the difference between immigrant and non-immigrant visas?
An immigrant visa is obtained by a foreign national at a Consulate abroad, for purposes of permanently immigrating to the U.S. When presenting the immigrant visa to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, the foreign national would be eligible to be admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.
A non-immigrant visa is also obtained at a Consulate abroad, but it is temporary in nature and only allows the holder to come to the U.S. for a specific purpose and for a limited period of time. Non-immigrant visas vary in length and scope. For instance, a B1/B2 visa would be issued for individuals who wish to travel to visit the U.S. for pleasure or brief business trips, and admission on this visa would be for up to six months at a time (with some exceptions). F-1 visas are usually issued to students enrolled in degree programs at U.S. colleges and universities, and admission as a student is generally valid for the duration of the program in which the student is enrolled. There are over 20 non-immigrant visa categories, with several subsets each.
Are there any exceptions to the travel ban?
Yes. The travel ban applies only to individuals from the above-listed countries who are outside the U.S. on the effective date of the ban, and who do not have valid visas already. The travel ban does not apply to:
- lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
- foreign nationals who are admitted to, or paroled into, the U.S. on or after the applicable effective date;
- foreign nationals who have a document other than a visa that allows them to travel to the U.S.;
- dual nationals of a designated country who are traveling on a passport from a country not subject to the travel ban;
- foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas;
- foreign nationals who have been granted asylum, withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture, or refugees already admitted to the U.S.
In addition to these exceptions, U.S. consulates or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers may also grant a waiver on a case-by-case basis if the foreign national demonstrates that:
- denying the visa or the entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
- the entry would not pose a threat to national security or public safety of the U.S.; and
- entry would be in the national interest.
Waivers may be appropriate in the following circumstances:
- was previously admitted to the U.S. for lawful work or study and seeks to return to the U.S. to resume those activities;
- has previously established significant contacts with the U.S. but is outside of the U.S. on the effective date of the order for work, study or other lawful activity;
- seeks to enter the U.S. for work or business obligations;
- seeks to enter the U.S. to visit or reside with a close family relative who is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or in a valid non-immigrant status;
- is an infant, young child or adoptee needing urgent medical care;
- has been employed by, or on behalf of the U.S. Government;
- is traveling for purposes related to certain international organizations, for purposes of conducting business with the United States;
- is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a U.S. consulate in Canada;
- is traveling as a U.S. Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
- is traveling to the U.S. at the request of a U.S. Government agency for legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, or national security purposes.
We will continue to monitor this issue and we will provide updates as they become available. If you have any questions regarding travel to the United State or any other immigration-related matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Raluca (Luca) Vais-Ottosen at email@example.com or 608-252-9291.