09/27/2017 - Presidential Proclamation and New Travel Restrictions



On Sunday, September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a presidential proclamation (“proclamation”) whereby he sets forth specific travel restrictions for individuals from the following seven countries:  Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.  These restrictions start October 18, 2017.  President Trump indicates that these restrictions arise out of a consideration of whether the government of these countries is cooperating with the U.S. and whether the information sharing and identity-management protocols of each country allow for effective screening and vetting protocols and procedures of the United States.  The U.S. government has just completed a review of the practices of over 200 countries and its conclusion is that the governments of these seven countries do not sufficiently meet the standards necessary for our national security and public safety.  Unlike prior Executive Orders on travel, this proclamation provides country-specific restrictions.  What follows is quick summary of the restrictions; please note also the exceptions.
 
What are the countries impacted?
 
The proclamation recognizes that immigrants, i.e., those seeking visas to enter the United States as legal permanent residents, also known as green card holders, and nonimmigrants, those coming to the U.S. for a specific, temporary purpose require different levels of screening.  For these reasons, the proclamation sets forth not only countries that are impacted but also the type of visa applicants.
 
Chad:
  1. Immigrants.
  2. Nonimmigrants holding business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.
Iran:
  1. Immigrants.
  2. Nonimmigrants, except those under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas, although such individuals should be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
Libya:
  1. Immigrants.
  2. Nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.
North Korea:
  1. Immigrants.
  2. Nonimmigrants.
 Syria:
  1. Immigrants.
  2. Nonimmigrants.
Venezuela:
  1. Officials of government agencies, 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.
  2. All else should be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current. 
Yemen:
  1. Immigrants.
  2. Nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.
Somalia:
  1. Immigrants.
  2. Nonimmigrants will 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.”
When does this proclamation take effect?
  1. There are two “applicable effective dates” and times: 3:30PM (Eastern Daylight Savings Time) on September 24, 2017 and 12:01AM (EDT) on October 18, 2017.
  2. For those individuals who were impacted by the prior Executive Order 13780 (see Clark Lau LLC news alert dated 6/29/2017), this proclamation is now in effect.  The new travel restrictions listed above, do not take place until October 18, 2017.
Who are the individuals impacted?

Individuals from the seven countries meeting the conditions above and those who:
  1. are outside the United States on the applicable effective date; 
  2. do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date; and
  3. do not qualify for a visa or other valid travel document.
Who are the individuals exempt from the travel restrictions?
  1. Any lawful permanent resident, i.e., green card holder, of the United States;
  2. Any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date (see below);
  3. 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;
  4. Any dual national of a country designated when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
  5. 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
  6. 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.
Under what circumstances can one seek a waiver of the travel restrictions?

Waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis and will consider circumstances where denial would cause the foreign national undue hardship; entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and entry would be in the national interest.

Other factors for waivers include the following: the foreign national has previously been admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the United States on the applicable effective date, seeks to reenter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry would impair that activity; the foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the United States but is outside the United States on the applicable effective date for work, study, or other lawful activity; the foreign national seeks to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations; the foreign national seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or alien lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and the denial of entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship; the foreign national is an infant, a young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstances of the case; the foreign national has been employed by, or on behalf of, the United States Government (or is an eligible dependent of such an employee), and the foreign national can document that he or she has provided faithful and valuable service to the United States Government; the foreign national is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (“IOIA”), 22 U.S.C. 288 et seq., traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the United States Government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA; the foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a location within Canada; the foreign national is traveling as a United States Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or the foreign national is traveling to the United States, at the request of a United States Government department or agency, for legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, or national security purposes.

Will these restrictions change?

The proclamation charges the Departments of State and Homeland Security to conduct ongoing assessments and to develop further protocols and procedures.  They are to report back within 180 days, but they are also allowed to lift any restrictions if they are satisfied with the cooperation, information sharing, and protocols of certain countries.

What about those immigrant and nonimmigrant visas that have already been issued?

They will not be revoked.  Additionally, the proclamation indicates that “any individual whose visa was marked revoked or marked canceled as a result of Executive Order 13769 of January 27, 2017 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States), shall be entitled to a travel document confirming that the individual is permitted to travel to the United States and seek entry under the terms and conditions of the visa marked revoked or marked canceled.  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.”

What about an individual who has been granted asylum, who has been admitted as a refugee, or granted withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture?

The proclamation does not apply to an individual who has been granted asylum by the United States, to a refugee who has already been admitted to the United States, or to an individual granted withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture.  

The above information has been provided for educational purposes only.  Please stay tuned as more details and updates become available.  Please also contact your Clark Lau LLC attorney to determine how your particular circumstances may be impacted.

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