Published on January 26, 2017
The President is expected to sign an Executive Order that will suspend the entry of foreign nationals from seven countries into the United States for a period of 30 days, including Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Iran. The Executive Order is expected to be issued on Thursday, but it may be delayed. Although the ban will be issued for a 30-day period at this time, it may be extended, and could be expanded to additional countries. The ban applies to both “immigrants and nonimmigrants,” which means that it covers those with a temporary visa, foreign nationals holding a U.S. immigrant visa, and U.S. lawful permanent residents.
Foreign Nationals Subject to Ban Should Avoid International Travel
If you are a national or dual national of any of the listed seven countries, we recommend that you avoid any international travel at this time and remain in the United States. Foreign nationals who are subject to the ban and are already in the United States should avoid international travel for at least the next 30 days. Those who are currently out of the United States will likely be denied re-entry into the U.S. while this ban is in effect.
Processing Delays for Nonimmigrant & Immigrant Visa Applications
We anticipate that all applications and petitions filed with USCIS for individuals from the above listed seven countries will be subject to additional scrutiny and delays in processing. The order also halts visa issuance to countries of “particular concern” for a period of 60 days. After 60 days, DHS, the State Department and DNI are instructed to draft a list of countries that do not comply with requests for information. Foreign nationals from those countries will be banned from entering the U.S.
In addition to the entry ban, the draft executive order suspends a visa interview waiver program at U.S. Consulates worldwide. The visa interview waiver program had exempted some visa renewal applicants from an in-person consular interview. The suspension of the interview waiver program will likely impact wait times for all visa interviews at U.S. Consulates overseas regardless of country of nationality or citizenship, and increase wait times for visa issuance after interviews. Only foreign diplomats will be exempt from the visa interview requirement.
The draft order also calls for the development of potentially expansive changes to screening processes and background security checks for all U.S. immigration programs. In combination with a federal government hiring freeze, we anticipate that visa applicants, as well as those submitting immigration petitions and applications to USCIS and the State Department, will experience delays in processing. Details regarding this aspect of the draft order are expected soon.
Ryan Swanson is closely monitoring the implementation of the Administration’s immigration actions and will provide updates as additional information is available. If you have any questions regarding how this may impact you or your foreign national workforce, please contact our Immigration Group.
This message has been released by the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.