Immigration Updates

The President of the United States first signed executive order 13769 on January 27, 2017 that affected travelers from seven countries. That order was temporarily suspended by a federal court and has been waiting a decision on its legality.

On March 6, 2017, the President signed a new executive order that affects travelers from six countries.

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court partially granted the government's request to stay the preliminary injunctions. The decision, however, contains an important exception that upholds the injunction for individuals "who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." Most students and scholars, therefore, should continue to be exempt from the 90-day bar.

However, some family members may not qualify to come visit you. For the moment, the Department of State has indicated that relatives deemed sufficiently close family to exempt people from the travel ban, whether as visitors or refugees, are listed as a parent, spouse, child, an adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling, as well as their stepfamily counterparts. The exemption explicitly does not cover a number of other family relationships: grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiances and other “extended” family members. Please be aware of this when inviting people to come visit you.

On September 24, 2017, a Presidential Proclamation -  “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats” - was issued. This new proclamation affects nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Venezuela, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Sudan was removed and Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela were added. The new Proclamation represents a complete ban for all nationals, immigrant and nonimmigrant, from North Korean and Syria. Obtaining visas for nationals from the other six countries face varying degrees of additional security checks on specific visas.

Part of Executive Order 13780 that was issued on March 6, 2017 included a review of what additional information was needed from foreign countries to assess if those seeking to enter the U.S. pose a security threat. After review, the government has determined that nationals of these countries will have restrictions and/or heightend security processes to complete before travel is possible. How each country is affected is detailed below:

  • North Korea and Syria:  Entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended. Student (F-1), exchange (J-1) and employment (H-1B) visa holders are ineligible to travel if they are outside the U.S., do not have a valid visa, or do not qualify for a visa or travel document on the applicable effective date of the Proclamation.
  • Chad, Libya and Yemen: Entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants on B-1/B-2 tourist visas is suspended. The ban has no effect on student (F-1), exchange (J-1) or employment (H-1B) visa holders.
  • Somalia: Entry as immigrants is suspended. All nonimmigrants, including those applying student (F-1), exchange (J-1) or employment (H-1B) visas, face enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
  • Iran: Entry as immigrants and on most nonimmigrant visas is suspended if they are outside the U.S., do not have a valid visa, or do not qualify for a visa or travel document on the applicable effective date of the Proclamation. However, student (F-1) and J-1 exchange visitor visas are still eligible to travel. Students and exchange visitors will have enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
  • Venezuela: Entry of Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on B-1/B-2 visas is suspended. Student (F-1), exchange (J-1) or employment (H-1B) visas, face enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
  • Sudan: No longer have travel restrictions.
  • Iraq: Iraq is not listed as one of the affected countries, but the Proclamation states that DHS recommended "that nationals of Iraq who seek to enter the United States be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the United States." Iraqi nationals should expect advanced screening and vetting.

These restrictions do not apply to anyone inside the U.S. as of the applicable effective date or those with a currently valid green card, visa or travel document. However, unlike the earlier ban, which temporarily limited travel for 90 days, the new restrictions are indefinite and conditioned based, not timed based.

Section 7 of the Proclamation contains two effective date phases:

  • September 24, 2017 at 3:30pm EDT
  • October 18, 2017 at 12:01am EDT

The September 24, 2017 effective date applies to nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who are subject to the 90-day entry ban of Executive Order 13780 who "lack credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

The October 17, 2017 effective date applies to all nationals of Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela, and to nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who "have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

On October 8, 2017, the U.S. Department of State announced that it had suspended non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey. The suspension only impacts Turkish nationals and applies to all non-immigrant visas, including F-1 student, J-1 exchange visitor, and H-1B specialty worker. Normal travel to the U.S. can continue for Turkish nationals with existing U.S. visas and for other nationalities traveling via Turkey. More details will be provided when known.

We'll keep this page updated with the most recent information and helpful resources. If you have any questions, you can contact the international office for assistance.