Thursday, January 26, 2017
Please be advised that a draft Executive Order "Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals" relating to visa issuance, screening procedures, and refugees from certain designated countries has been made available to the public.
Although the order has not yet been signed by the President, in anticipation of potential restrictions on entry into the U.S. for these individuals, we strongly urge all nonimmigrants, immigrants (green card holders), and U.S. citizens from the designated countries listed below to refrain from travel outside of the U.S. at this time. Because other countries may be added to the list, we also recommend that clients who may be affected by the Executive Order refrain from non-urgent travel.
To individuals and dual nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, please be advised: Do Not Travel Abroad At This Time. This travel advisory extends to all nonimmigrants, immigrants and U.S. citizens from the above countries.
Salient points from the draft Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals” are briefly summarized below.
Ban on Entry to the U.S. for Certain Countries:
All immigrant and non-immigrant nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen will be unable to enter the U.S. or be issued a visa for at least a 30-day period, and additional countries may be added to the list.
*Adjudications of other immigration benefits could also be impacted.
Screening for All Immigration Benefits:
The screenings and procedural requirements for all immigration benefits will be modified to identify fraud and detect intent to do harm. Further requirements may include determining whether a candidate will contribute to society or the national interest.
Biometric Entry-Exit System:
Agencies will be directed to expedite the completion of biometric entry-exits systems to enable better tracking of foreign nationals in the U.S. and prevent overstays.
Suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program:
All visa applicants will be required to attend an interview unless exempt by statute.
Refugees from Syria will be blocked from entering the U.S. for an indefinite period. The majority of all refugee admissions will stop for at least 120 days, with exceptions permitted to those fleeing religious persecution if their religion is a minority in their country of nationality. Refugee admission number targets for fiscal year 2017 will be reduced from 110,000 to 50,000.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide additional details and information as it becomes available. In the meantime, please contact our office with specific inquiries or urgent travel issues. See the links below to sign up for our firm’s client updates and newsletters.