January 31, 2017
This advisory provides information about how the Executive Order (EO) is being implemented and offers recommendations to clients affected by this EO. This is a follow up to our 1/29/17 press release.
In the midst of the hysteria brought on by this EO, it is important to first underscore the fact that this EO affects only the nationals of seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (“designated countries”); and refugees. There has been no report that visa processing or U.S. entry is delayed or more difficult for those who are not nationals of one of the designated countries. Therefore, the vast majority of nonimmigrants employed in the U.S. (e.g., nationals of India, China, other Asian and European countries) should not be impacted. However, we recommend avoiding unnecessary international travel until this situation settles further. Additionally, due the fact visa interviews will no longer be waived across all U.S. Embassies/Consulates, visa processing time is likely to increase for all applicants. ILG will be paying close attention to new developments and trends and immediately advise all clients, if necessary.
Additionally, everyone, including U.S. citizens, should avoid traveling to or through a designated country to avoid high scrutiny when seeking reentry into the U.S.
Impact for nationals of a designated country
- For those currently in the U.S.: there is an unconfirmed report that USCIS has suspended processing (not deny) petitions/applications filed on behalf of nationals of a designated country. It is unclear what, if any, authority USCIS is relying on to justify this hold.
- For those currently outside the U.S.: nationals of a designated country who are outside the U.S. with valid nonimmigrant visa are currently not permitted to board a U.S.-bound flight. The ban is set to expire on April 27, 2017. However, the EO is facing numerous legal challenges which may change this.
- Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders): LPRs returning to the U.S. with a valid I-551 will be readmitted (subject to national security checks).
- Dual citizens: the order affects individuals who hold dual nationality with one of the designated countries (e.g., Australia and Iran). However, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reported that he has been assured that Canadian dual citizens traveling on Canadian passports would not be affected.
ILG recommendations for citizens of a designated country
- Valid nonimmigrant visa status in the U.S.: should not travel outside the country during their authorized periods of stay. Individuals in this category will not be permitted to reenter while the ban is in effect, even if their nonimmigrant visas have not expired.
- Pending adjustment of status applicants: should not be traveling outside the U.S. The bar on entry applies to a pending AOS applicant with a valid advance parole document.
- Applicants for immigrant visas (i.e. consular processing abroad): the State Department recently issued guidance, which states: “If you are a citizen of one of these countries, please do not schedule a visa appointment or pay any visa fees at this time. If you already have an appointment scheduled, please DO NOT ATTEND. You will not be permitted entry to the Embassy/Consulate.”
- LPRs in the U.S.: should avoid traveling outside the country until CBP provides explicit guidance on their ability to reenter. Clients who must travel should be aware that they will likely be referred to secondary inspection upon returning to the U.S. and subject to enhanced screening (e.g., questions about religious beliefs, political views, and requests for access to social media accounts). Before departing the U.S., we suggest obtaining a copy of a signed Form G-28 (Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative), along with a legal opinion letter specifying the basis for reentry.