NewsFlash! Partial Travel Ban Goes Into Effect, DOS Explains Implementation

Last night, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued a cable to all U.S. embassies and consulates, providing instructions on how the partial travel ban is to be implemented. This is in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision on June 26, 2017 to allow President Trump’s March 6, 2017 executive order (EO) to go into effect, but only against those who cannot demonstrate “… a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

Per the DOS cable, effective today at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, any citizen of Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen will not be admitted to the United States or issued a visa unless s/he meets any one of the various exceptions listed in the EO or imposed by the Supreme Court. The primary exception in the EO is that it does not apply to anyone who was inside the United States or had a valid visa at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on January 29, 2017. The exception required by the Supreme Court, of those with a “bona fide relationship,” with a U.S. person or entity, is interpreted in this cable by the DOS to mean that “for a nonimmigrant visa in a classification other than a B, C-1, D, I, or K visa, then the applicant is exempt, as their bona fide relationship to a person or entity is inherent in the visa classification.” Similarly, immigrant visa applicants would be exempt.

As for those applying for a B, C-1, D, I, or K visa, while this EO remains in effect, such a visa would only be issued to nationals of the six countries previously mentioned if the applicant can demonstrate a bona fide relationship with a U.S. person or entity. The cable goes on to clarify that bona fide relationship with a person, must be a “close family” relationship, “… defined as a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships. ‘Close family’ does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other ‘extended’ family members.”

A qualifying relationship with a U.S. entity requires that this be a relationship that is “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the EO.” The cable goes on to provide various examples of applicants who would qualify, versus those who would not:

“… a worker who accepted an offer of employment from a company in the United States or a lecturer invited to address an audience in the United States would be exempt. In contrast, the exemption would not apply to an applicant who enters into a relationship simply to avoid the EO: for example, a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their inclusion in the E.O. Also, a hotel reservation, whether or not paid, would not constitute a bona fide relationship with an entity in the United States.”

This modified travel ban is scheduled to remain in place for 90 days. In addition, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is suspended for 120 days, except for those with a bona fide relationship with a U.S. person or entity. If additional details become available, the information will be posted on MurthyDotCom.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.