The President’s Executive Order, commonly called the “travel ban”, has raised many questions. We answer the most frequently asked questions below, and will update them as additional information becomes available.
I am from one of the named countries and am outside of the United States. Can I apply for a nonimmigrant (temporary) or immigrant (permanent) visa at a US consulate?
On January 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) provisionally revoked most valid nonimmigrant and immigrant visas issued to nationals from the seven countries subject to the travel ban. Certain diplomatic and other visa categories are exempt from this action. This move was largely symbolic since individuals subject to the travel ban are not permitted to enter the United States. However, if and when the travel ban is lifted, individuals from the listed countries would most likely need to reapply to a U.S. consulate abroad for a new visa before they could travel to the United States.
I have a green card, but was born in one of the named countries. Can I travel abroad and return during the ban?
Green card holders are not subject to the travel restrictions, based on the national interest waiver provision included in the Order. However, these persons should expect to face heightened scrutiny when entering the United States.
I am a dual national and have a passport from one of the named countries. Will I be able to return following overseas travel?
Dual nationals from one of the listed countries are subject to the travel ban, but only if they present a passport from one of the listed countries. For example, someone who holds passports from both Iran and the United Kingdom is barred from admission if he presents his Iranian passport; if he instead presents his U.K. passport, he is not subject to the travel ban. Travelers are being treated according to the passport they present. Note: this policy has reportedly been verified with the Trump administration by several governments including Canada and the United Kingdom.
I am from one of the named countries and plan to travel domestically. Will I be able to do so?
The Executive Order does not affect those already in the United States in lawful status traveling domestically. Domestic travel does not require any interaction with US customs officials.
I am not from one of the named countries, but I have family and/or business ties with one of the named countries. Will I be able to return following overseas travel?
Non-U.S. citizens who have ties to the listed countries should continue to use caution when traveling abroad, and may wish to avoid international travel altogether until there is a consistent pattern of the above policies carried out by US customs officers in the field.
I am in the United States and plan to file with the USCIS applications for immigration benefits. Can I still do so?
USCIS, the agency responsible for processing applications and petitions for immigration benefits by individuals and businesses, has issued instructions to Field Offices to halt final adjudications for all applications or petitions involving persons who are nationals of the countries affected by the travel ban. It is not clear whether all field offices have received or are following this directive. Field offices have been instructed to continue processing cases, but not to complete adjudication until further guidance is provided. The main type of cases this will likely impact are I-485 Applications to Adjust Status to Permanent Residence that are adjudicated at Field Offices. We do not know if or how this will impact adjudications by USCIS Service Centers, i.e., H-1B petitions for extensions or change of employers, or employment-based I-485 applications. However, DHS has confirmed that N-400 naturalization applications will continue to be processed and adjudicated, including administering the oath of citizenship to applicants consistent with prior practice. Applications and petitions should continue to be submitted to USCIS for processing, but some may see delays in final adjudication. This is a very fluid situation and we will update as soon as more details are available.
Can the President extend or add more countries to the ban?
Yes, the President can issue subsequent Executive Orders to extend, expand, and modify the ban. Those from predominantly Muslim countries not yet included in the ban may want to reconsider international travel at this time. If the ban is expanded to include your country while you are abroad, you may not be able to obtain a new visa to return, or return on an unexpired visa you already have in your passport.