PLEASE NOTE: The responses below are informational and do not constitute legal advice. Every case is different, and advice will vary depending on the individual circumstances of each student, scholar, faculty or staff. Please note that the situation with respect to the travel ban is fluid, and we will update these FAQs as frequently as possible.
(Updated as of April 28, 2017)
On March 15, 2017, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the six-nation travel/visa ban and suspension of refugee processing announced by President Trump’s March 6, 2017, Executive Order. This same judge granted a motion on March 29, 2017, to transform the TRO into a preliminary injunction. Unlike a TRO, a preliminary injunction will stay in place throughout the entirety of the litigation in Hawaii, absent a reversal by a higher court. Furthermore, another judge in Maryland issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the travel/visa ban on March 15, 2017. While these court orders mean that the travel/visa ban March 6, 2017, Executive Order is not currently in effect, further litigation will likely ensue.
Since the Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection FAQs may change over time as additional policy clarifications are made, visit the FAQs and Fact Sheets on the United States Customs and Border Patrol and/or Department of Homeland Security frequently. Remember that these are just FAQs. Individuals with questions should discuss risks and strategies of their particular situation with an experienced immigration lawyer.
Executive Order FAQs
What does the March 6, 2017 Executive Order ("EO") say about travel to the United States for non-citizens and visas for immigrants and refugees?
On Monday, March 6,2017, President Trump signed a revised travel ban Executive Order (EO) entitled, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." This new EO revoked the prior January 27, 2017, EO as of the effective date of March 16, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. EST. The new order includes the following provisions:
- Bans travel/visa applications for foreign nationals from six listed countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for 90 days after March 16, 2017, if they are outside of the U.S. on the effective date of the order without a valid visa;
- Does not revoke valid visas or impact lawful permanent residents (LPRs) or dual nationals so long as they have a travel document that is not from one of the six listed countries;
- Provides for heightened scrutiny of Iraqi nationals, although Iraq was removed from the list of banned countries identified in the previous EO; and
- Creates a new registry documenting crimes committed by foreign nationals.
For a 90-day period starting on March 16, 2017, foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalisa, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are (1) outside of the United States, (2) did not have a valid visa as of 5 p.m. EST on January 27, 2017, and (3) did not have a valid visa as of March 16, 2017, will not be allowed to enter the United States (subject to limited exceptions described below).
According to Customs and Border Protection, this means that “any individual who had a valid visa either on January 27, 2017 (prior to 5 p.m. EST) or holds a valid visa on the effective date of the EO is not barred from seeking entry.”
This EO does not apply to lawful permanent residents (LPRs), also known as green card holders. It also does not revoke valid visas, and it will not impact dual-citizens from one of the six countries so long as they travels with and present a passport from another non-listed country upon entry to the U.S.
- An individual who is inside the United States on March 17, 2017; or
- An individual who is outside the United States on March 16, 2017, but had a valid visa as of 5 p.m., eastern standard time on January 27, 2017 (the date Executive Order 13769 was signed); or
- An individual who is outside the United States on March 17, 2017, but has a valid visa as of March 17, 2017
The March 6, 2017, EO includes a number of categorical and case-by-case exceptions. Section 3(b) states that the “suspension of entry…shall not apply to:
- any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- any foreign national who has a document other than a visa, valid on [March 16, 2017] or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission, such as an advance parole document;
- any dual national of a country designated under section 2 of this order 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; or
- any foreign national who has been granted asylum; 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.”
DHS and the Department of State have the discretionary authority, on a case-by-case basis, to issue visas or allow the entry of nationals of these six countries into the United States when a national from one of the countries demonstrates that the denial of entry would cause undue hardship, that his or her entry would not pose a threat to national security, and that his or her entry would be in the national interest.
Any visa issued before March 16, 2017 will continue to be valid for the duration and number of entries for which it was issued. Section 12(c) of Executive Order 13780 states,
"(c) No immigrant or nonimmigrant visa issued before the effective date of this order shall be revoked pursuant to this order."
Regarding visas that had been revoked or canceled under the prior Executive Order 13769, the new executive order states at section 12(d),
"(d) Any individual whose visa was marked revoked or marked canceled as a result of Executive Order 13769 shall be entitled to a travel document confirming that the individual is permitted to travel to the United States and seek entry. Any prior cancellation or revocation of a visa that was solely pursuant to Executive Order 13769 shall not be the basis of inadmissibility for any future determination about entry or admissibility."
The Department of State (DOS) has not yet issued detailed guidance on implementation of Executive Order 13780. In the meantime, during the period from now until the new executive order becomes effective, DOS states on its website: "At this time, U.S. embassies and consulates will continue to process visa applications while applying all appropriate screening measures, as they have been."
EVEN IF you fall within one of the exceptions to the ban (Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), dual citizens/nationals, and certain visa holders), it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney prior to any departure from the U.S. If you are an affected LPR, we would recommend that you wait a few weeks before planning international travel, to allow agency guidance exempting LPRs from the EO to filter down to officers in the field, and thereby avoid unnecessary hassles at the airport.
IF YOU ARE NOT an LPR of the U.S, a dual citizen/national, or a holder of a diplomatic visa, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, a C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or a G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visa, please see the following guidance:
WITHIN THE UNITED STATES: If you are a non-LPR and citizen of one of the affected countries, you are eligible to travel IF you have valid visa documentation or travel approval (such as advance parole). If you have an expired visa, do not plan any international travel for the next 90 days at least. This includes those in nonimmigrant status (e.g., B, F, J, H, O, TN, etc.).
OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES: If you are a non-LPR and citizen of one of the affected countries, you are eligible to travel to the U.S if you have valid travel or visa documentation.
How does the March 6, 2017 EO affect college students from the six countries such as F1 and J1 visa holders?
Customs and Border Protection has issued this guidance on the matter:
Q24. Are international students, exchange visitors, and their dependents from the six countries (such as F, M, or J visa holders) included in the Executive Order? What kind of guidance is being given to foreign students from these countries legally in the United States?
The Executive Order does not apply to individuals who are within the United States on the effective date of the Order or to those individuals who hold a valid visa. Visas which were provisionally revoked solely as a result of the enforcement of Executive Order 13769 are valid for purposes of administering this Executive Order. Individuals holding valid F, M, or J visas may continue to travel to the United States on those visas if they are otherwise valid. 10 Please contact the State Department for information about how the Executive Order applies to visa applicants.
Q25. What happens to international students, exchange visitors or their dependents from the six countries, such as F, M or J visa holders if their visa expires while the Executive Order is in place and they have to depart the country?
The Executive Order does not affect F, M, or J visa holders if they currently have a valid visa on the effective date or held a valid visa on January 27, 2017 prior to the issuance of the Executive Order. With that said, travelers must have a valid visa to travel to the United States, regardless of the Executive Order. Travelers whose visa expires after the effective date of the Executive Order must obtain a new, valid visa to return to the United States. The State Department has yet to issue guidance on this matter.
The Refugee Admissions Program will be temporarily suspended for the next 120 days while DHS and interagency partners review screening procedures to ensure refugees admitted in the future do not pose a security risk to the United States. Upon resumption of the Refugee Admissions Program, refugee admissions to the United States will not exceed 50,000 for fiscal year 2017. The Executive Order does not apply to those refugees who have already been formally scheduled for transit by the State Department. During this 120-day period, similar to the waiver authority for visas, the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the entry of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest and would not pose a threat to the security or welfare of the United States.
USCIS will continue to adjudicate Applications for Naturalization (Form N-400) and Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) and grant citizenship consistent with existing practices.They will also continue to adjudicate U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) benefits like applications for OPT (optional practical training), H-1B and I-140 petitions, changes of status, etc., or benefits or adjudications done by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) or the Department of State's exchange visitor program offices.
Until heard otherwise from the agencies, schools, students, and scholars should continue to apply for benefits, comply with all filing deadlines and eligibility windows, and respond to any RFE (Request for Evidence) received from an agency as usual. Schools and their responsible officials (DSOs, ROs, individuals with signature authority for employment-based petitions) should continue to grant, certify, or recommend benefits that are within their regulatory authority to grant or recommend, and to report, respond, and update systems such as SEVIS as usual.
How will the EO affect college students from barred countries such as F1/J1 visa holders? Are they included in the ban? What kind of guidance is being given to foreign students from these countries legally in the U.S.?
The DHS executive order FAQ contains questions/answers directed specifically to students and exchange visitors in the F, M, or J nonimmigrant categories or their dependents.
F1 and J1 visas will be temporarily suspended for 90 days due to the executive order. Individuals who were in the U.S. at the time of the signing of the executive order are not affected by the order. However, individuals who were out of the country at the time of the signing, or who travel out of the country and attempt to return will not be allowed to return at this time if they have an expired visa.
How can current college students who are from the affected countries pay their tuition, fees, and living expenses?
Funds and Wire Transfers between the United States and Iran
As a result of the sanctions against Iran, there is no direct banking relationship between Iran and the United States. As such, all authorized, licensed, or exempted financial transfers must be processed through a third country bank located outside of both Iran and the United States. For example, a wire transfer originating from Iran and arising from an authorized transaction must first be wired to a third country (e.g., Turkey, U.A.E., etc.) before being transferred to the United States.
Under no circumstance must a person utilize the services of a hawala, or informal value transfer system, that bypasses traditional banking methods. Nor should a person attempt to evade financial reporting requirement or falsify currency declarations related to funds transfers or the cross-border movement of money. Doing so may not only cause a violation of OFAC sanctions, it may also subject the offending party to federal investigation for money laundering, false statements, or terrorism finance.
OFAC revised the Iran sanctions to include a provision requiring Iran-related funds transfers to be directed into a person’s account. See Section 560.550 (authorizing certain noncommercial, personal remittances to or from Iran). Receiving funds in an informal manner (i.e., not through a third country financial institution) may subject a person to serious civil and criminal consequences. See Section 560.550(a).
Though there are no sanctions against Libya at this time, it is very difficult for our Libyans to get funding from their home country as well due to the political unrest. Again, we suggest using financial transfers through a third country bank located outside of Libya and the U.S. and then wired to the U.S. Funds can also be wired directly to the University.
No, at this time there are no changes or processes for other nationalities. We will keep you updated on any changes as we know them.