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Presidential Proclamation Outlines Rules for New Travel Ban

September 28, 2017

On September 24, 2017, the Trump administration issued a proclamation that imposes new travel restrictions on foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States from eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. The proclamation, entitled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public Safety Threats,” was issued by President Trump following a worldwide review of information sharing practices between the U.S. and nearly 200 foreign nations to assess whether nationals of each country seeking to enter the United States pose a national security or public safety threat.  As a result, these eight countries were deemed to have inadequate identity management protocols, information sharing practices or risk factors. Additionally, while it was also determined that Iraq did not meet the baseline requirements, nationals of Iraq will not be subject to any outright ban on travel, but will be subject to additional screening measures.

Though exceptions and waivers are allowed in certain circumstances, the following countries and conditions are included in President Trump’s new travel ban:

New countries:

  • Chad: Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
  • North Korea: Suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants.
  • Venezuela: Suspends the entry of certain government officials and their immediate family members on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).

Countries already impacted by the administration's prior travel ban (EO 13780), which are also included in the President's proclamation:

  • Iran: Suspends the entry of immigrants and all nonimmigrants, except F (student), M (vocational student) and J (exchange visitor) visas, though they will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
  • Libya: Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
  • Somalia: Suspends the entry of immigrants, and requires enhanced screening and vetting of all nonimmigrants.
  • Syria: Suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants.
  • Yemen: Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
  • Iraq: Requires enhanced screening of all individuals seeking to enter the United States.

Travel restrictions for nationals of Sudan, who were impacted by earlier versions of the travel ban, have been lifted.

The new travel ban goes into effect on October 18, 2017, however, the ban is effective immediately for anyone whose entry to the U.S. was previously barred by the administration's prior travel ban (EO 13780) (i.e., nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen who do not have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States).

Until October 18, 2017, citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen are exempt from the new travel ban if they have a "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. person or entity.

The new travel ban does not impose new restrictions on refugees: however, there continues to be a 120-day halt on the entire refugee program. Refugees with a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity are exempt from the ban. Per the U.S. Supreme Court’s September 12, 2017 order, a formal assurance from a refugee resettlement agency is insufficient on its own to establish a “bona fide relationship.”

Unlike the administration’s prior travel bans, these new country-specific travel bans are indefinite. While federal agencies must assess the bans every 180 days and recommend whether to continue, terminate or modify the bans, there is no automatic expiration date for the bans.  The DHS Secretary must affirmatively recommend ending them.

See also our related alert addressing new sanctions imposed by the United States against North Korea.

© Shipman & Goodwin LLP, 2017. All Rights Reserved.