Over the past week, President Donald J. Trump signed three Executive Orders involving US immigration issues. The Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017, was somewhat unexpected in terms of its focus and the extent of its reach. Entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” the order has an immediate impact on millions of legal immigrants, nonimmigrants and US businesses.
Since the order was signed, there have been numerous announcements from the US Department of Homeland Security, including US Citizenship & Immigration Services and US Customs & Border Protection, as well as the US Department of State. Many of these announcements have been contradictory or have been superseded immediately by other information. This is an ever-changing situation, but the following information is current as of press time:
- Nonimmigrant and immigrant visa processing has been suspended for nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
- Issuance of visas has been suspended for a period of 90 days. The US embassies and consulates have cancelled immigrant visa appointments for the month of February. Further cancellations are expected.
- Suspension of visa processing does not include those traveling on diplomatic visas; NATO visas; C-2 and C-3 visas for UN and foreign transit; and G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4 visas.
- Nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen in possession of valid nonimmigrant and immigrant visas are barred from entry to the United States for a period of 90 days.
- Immediately after the Order was signed, many nationals of the aforementioned countries boarded flights to the United States. These travelers experienced long waits in the inspections area, only to be denied admission to the United States. At the present time, airlines will not board individuals from the aforementioned countries who hold nonimmigrant or immigrant visas.
- Nonimmigrant and immigrant visas of nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen have been provisionally revoked.
- Revocation goes hand-in-hand with the ban on travel to the United States, but it is still unknown whether those holding such visas will need to have them reissued in the future or if their visa status will be reinstated in some manner.
- Nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen may be issued visas or granted other immigration benefits on a case-by-case basis if the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security determine it is in the national interest to issue visas or benefits to such individuals.
- At the present time no procedure has been announced for requesting review of a visa application under the “national interest” exception.
- It has been determined that nationals from the seven countries who are US permanent residents will be readmitted to the United States as being in the national interest, provided no derogatory information about an individual is uncovered.
- The policy on readmission of permanent residents was a tremendous relief to many who initially [...]