On Sunday, September 24, 2017, the White House identified eight countries as inadequately managing identity and security risk information for their citizens who seek admission to the United States or other U.S. immigration benefits and established the following restrictions for those countries:
- North Korea / Syria: All immigrant and nonimmigrant visas are suspended.
- Chad / Libya / Yemen: All immigrant visas and all B-1 business and B-2 tourist visas are suspended.
- Iran: All immigrant visas are suspended, as well as all nonimmigrant visas except F and M student visas and J exchange visitor visas, for which additional screening is required.
- Venezuela: All official and B-1/B-2 visas for employees of certain government agencies and their dependents are suspended. These agencies include the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations. Additional screening is required for all other types of visas.
- Somalia: All immigrant visas are suspended. Additional screening is required for all other types of visas.
- Iraq: No suspensions, but additional screening is required for all visas and entries.
The proclamation exempts the following classes of individuals, among others, from the above restrictions:
- Those who seek, or have already been granted, asylum or withholding of removal
- Those who seek admission, or have already been admitted, as refugees
- Those who already held valid visas on September 24
- Those who hold other travel documents – such as transportation letters, boarding foils, or advance parole documents – that were valid on September 24 or are issued after that date
- Those whose visas were marked canceled or revoked under the initial Travel Ban (January 27, 2017)
- Nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a U.S. person or entity, but only until October 18, 2017
- Dual nationals who are traveling on a passport from a non-designated country
Individual waivers are available if the restrictions cause “undue hardship,” if the waiver is in the national interest, and if the iindividual poses no national security or public safety risk. Subject to those criteria, the proclamation lists examples of potential waiver-worthy cases, including individuals who happened to be outside the United States on September 24, but had previously been admitted on long-term work or study visas and seek reentry to resume those activities; individuals who seek entry to visit or reside with an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or lawful nonimmigrant; infants, young children, adoptees, or individuals who need urgent medical care; dual nationals who hold Canadian permanent residence and apply for admission or visas inside Canada; and others.
Reacting to the proclamation on September 24, the Supreme Court announced that oral arguments on the Travel Ban cases, scheduled for October 10, 2017, were canceled. SCOTUS also set a deadline of October 5 for the parties in those cases (primarily the state of Hawaii and the International Refugee Assistance Project) to file legal briefs addressing the question of whether their challenges are now moot because of (a) the new travel ban; and (b) the upcoming expiration, on October 24, of the total refugee ban. SCOTUS could hear oral arguments at a later date or could decide the case on briefs only.