On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s ban on travel to the United States for citizens from seven mostly-Muslim countries, including: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the President has the statutory authority to issue the Proclamation imposing indefinite travel restrictions on nationals of those countries. The Court held that the travel restrictions are within the President’s broad powers to suspend the entry of foreign nationals where such entry would be detrimental to the national interest. Please see below for a country-by-country summary of the impact of this decision and the upheld travel ban on nationals of those countries:
Who is barred from entry into the U.S. under the upheld travel ban?
- Iran: Suspends the entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants, except F (student), M (vocational student) and J (exchange visitor) visas, though they are subject to enhanced screening.
- Libya: Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2). Citizens of Libya are barred from entering into the United States as immigrants with no exception. Nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas are also barred from entry.
- North Korea: Suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants with no exception.
- Somalia: Suspends the entry of immigrants, and requires enhanced screening of all nonimmigrants.
- Yemen: Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
- Venezuela: Suspends the entry of certain government officials and their family members on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
- Syria: Suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants with no exception.
Who is exempt from the travel ban?
The travel ban does not apply to:
- U. S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
- Individuals who hold a valid U.S. visa or advance parole;
- Individuals who were physically in the U.S. on the applicable original effective date of the travel restrictions;
- Dual nationals of a restricted country who are traveling on a passport issued by a non-restricted country;
- Individuals traveling on diplomatic visas, including NATO visas, C-2 (UN) visas, or G visas;
- Individuals who have already been approved for a short-term visa; or
- Individuals who have been granted asylum in the U.S., refugees who have already been admitted to the U.S., or individuals who have been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture
Can anyone from the seven countries still enter the U.S.?
Those who are not exempt may request a waiver when applying for a visa. Waivers may not be granted categorically, but may be appropriate in certain situations, such as when a foreign national seeks to reside with a close family member, obtain urgent medical care, or pursue significant business obligations. To be eligible for a waiver, a foreign national must demonstrate that he or she would suffer undue hardship if denied entry, and that his or her entry would not pose a threat to the U.S. national security or public safety, and would be in the U.S. national interest. Waivers are highly discretionary and may be difficult to obtain. Individual, case-by-case waivers can be obtained when a foreign national from one of the affected countries can demonstrate three things:
- Denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
- Entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the U.S.; and
- Entry would be in the national interest.
The current travel restrictions will remain in place until the Administration lifts them or removes particular countries from the list. The Administration could add new countries or broaden restrictions on foreign nationals already subject to the proclamation. With the lifting of the preliminary injunction against the travel restrictions, the State of Hawaii’s challenge to the proclamation will now return to federal district court for further proceedings, consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Regardless of status, citizens from the aforementioned seven countries with plans to travel to the United States should be on high alert. Please contact the immigration attorneys at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland if you have any questions or concerns regarding your ability to travel to the U.S. or enter the U.S. from travel abroad.
Amy Royalty can be reached at 206-654-2260 or [email protected].
Marsha Mavunkel can be reached at 206.654.2253 or [email protected].
Joel Paget can be reached at 206.654.2215 or [email protected]
Janet Cheetham can be reached at 206.654.2235 or [email protected].
Jen Chen can be reached at 206.654.2250 or [email protected]
Jaron Goddard also contributed to this article
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.