D’Alessio Law Group: Updates and Guidance on the US Entry Ban

On Friday, January 27, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that prohibits nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for the next 90 days, or through April 27, 2017. The order was implemented immediately and generated widespread confusion at U.S. ports of entry and abroad, including at international airports.

Since the executive order’s release, we have heard from numerous clients expressing concern over whether the ban will impact their U.S. travel plans. To advise our clients and provide clarity on this situation, D’Alessio Law Group has assembled the following update.

Note that this situation is highly fluid and subject to rapid change, and this statement may require frequent updates. For this reason, please contact D’Alessio Law Group directly before traveling to, or departing from, the United States, in order to receive the most current information. Further, if you hold a passport or were born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen, we strongly advise you to contact our office to discuss your current travel and immigration options before you attempt any travel.

For purposes of this update, the terms “country of concern”, “listed countries” or “designated countries” refer to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and/or Yemen. Unless otherwise indicated, the term “dual national” refers to an individual who is a national of both a country of concern and another foreign country.

What Does the Ban Do?

The ban prohibits nationals from the designated countries from entering the U.S. until at least April 27, 2017. The ban also instructs all U.S. embassies and consulates to cease issuing nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to nationals of the designated countries, for the same duration of time. Visa interviews for citizens of these countries have also been suspended. 

A, C, NATO, C-2 and C-3 visa holders (diplomatic visas) are exempt from this suspension.

Nationals of the designated countries who plan to leave the U.S. on international travel will not be allowed to reenter the U.S. upon their return.

Here are a list of questions and concerns we are getting from our clients;

**Please note this is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  You must consult with one of our attorneys for an assessment of legal options.

FOR GREEN CARD HOLDERS:

Q: I’m not a citizen of any of the designated countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen), I was not born in any of the designated countries, and I do not hold a passport of any of the designated countries. I do hold a US Green Card. How does this ban affect me?

A: You are not affected by this travel ban.

FOR NON IMMIGRANT VISA HOLDERS:

Q: I’m not a citizen of any of the designated countries, and I was not born in any of the designated countries, and I do not hold a passport of any of the designated countries. I do hold a US non-immigrant Visa (O, P, L, E etc). How does this ban affect me?

A: You are not affected by this travel ban.

FOR TRAVELERS WHO ARE “NOT” CITIZENS OF THE DESIGNATED COUNTRIES:

Q: I’m not a citizen of any of the designated countries, and I was not born in any of the designated countries, and I do not hold a passport of any of the designated countries. How does this ban affect me?

A: You are not affected by this travel ban.

FOR TRAVELERS WHO ARE DUAL CITIZENS OF THE US AND ANOTHER COUNTRY:

Q: I hold a passport from the US and another country. How does this ban affect me?

A: You are not affected by this travel ban, even if you hold a passport from one of the designated countries.

FOR CITIZENS OF THE DESIGNATED COUNTRIES OF CONCERN:

Q: I am a citizen of one of the designated countries. How does this ban affect me?

A: You are prohibited from entering the United States for the next 90 days during this evaluation period.

Q: I was born in one of the designated countries but I do not hold a passport from that country nor do I live in that country. How does this ban affect me?

A: You are prohibited from entering the United States for the next 90 days during this evaluation period.

FOR TRAVELERS WHOSE PARENTS ARE CITIZENS OF THE DESIGNATED COUNTRIES:

Q: My parents were born in one of the designated countries but I was not, and I do not hold a passport from that country, nor do I live in that country. How does this ban affect me?

A: You are not affected by this travel ban.

ADVOCACY

Q: I’m not a citizen of any of the designated countries, and I was not born in any of the designated countries, and I do not hold a passport of any of the designated countries, but I do want to protest this ban on my social media.  Is it ok?

A: Social media is being reviewed by US consulates as part of the visa application process.  If you need to apply for a US visa, you are certainly free to express yourself, but please use your best judgment.

Who IS Affected by the Ban?

The entry ban applies to nationals of the designated countries of concern. Our current legal interpretation is that the ban also applies to individuals who hold a passport from, or were born in, one of the designated designated countries.

The United States typically refers to the laws of each foreign nation to determine whether an individual is a national of that country. Thus, if the laws of a designated country consider an individual to be a national of that country (for instance, because he or she was born abroad to a parent who is a national of that country), the entry ban may apply.

The ban initially applied to “immigrants and nonimmigrants,” meaning it covers those with a temporary visas (e.g. H-1B, O-1, L-1), as well as applicants for adjustment of status with advance parole. However, the U.S. government has since announced that the ban does not apply to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States, including U.S. Green Cards holders, even if they are a national of a country of concern.

Dual Nationals

While the language of the executive order is somewhat vague, travelers with dual nationality in one of the countries of concern and any other foreign country appear to be banned as well. Some countries have reported that their nationals are exempt from the ban; for instance, the government of Canada has announced that the ban does not apply to dual nationals of Canada and a country of concern. 

We are working to verify reports that other certain dual nationals, including UK citizens, may be exempt as well.  However, the UK government does not yet appear to have made a definitive statement. Australia’s government has yet to issue a definitive confirmation as well. Thus, unless and until there is authoritative, reliable government confirmation to the contrary, dual nationals from all countries other than Canada appear to be subject to the entry ban, and are advised to avoid attempting entry to the United States.

Lawful Permanent Residents Who are Nationals of a Country of Concern

The entry ban does not apply to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States (such as Green Card holders) who are nationals of a country of concern. The one exception is if the U.S. government deems these individuals a national security threat. The U.S. government initially banned the entry of all LPRs from a country of concern. However, following a statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), this prohibition will no longer apply unless the U.S. government has significant derogatory security information pertaining to an LPR. 

As such, LPRs may travel to the United States, but should still expect close, lengthy questioning before they are admitted to the U.S. This includes secondary inspection involving searches of laptops, mobile phones and other electronic devices. As a safeguard, LPRs who are nationals of a country of concern should carry a copy of the DHS statement when travelling internationally. 

Nonimmigrants Who Are Nationals of a Country of Concern

Nonimmigrants who are nationals from one of the listed countries will not be issued a U.S. nonimmigrant visa, or be permitted to enter the United States for the duration of the ban. While the executive order allows for a discretionary waiver of the entry ban for reasons of national interest, this waiver is not expected to be made available except under extraordinary circumstances. Further, the U.S. government has not yet provided instructions on how to apply for a waiver.

Individuals Who Have Recently Traveled to Countries of Concern

The executive order does not apply to individuals who merely traveled to a country of concern. However, LPRs and nonimmigrants who are not nationals from a country of concern, but have recently traveled to one of the designated listed countries, should expect to be questioned closely when entering the United States. Given the current environment, all LPRs and nonimmigrants should expect heightened security measures and entry procedures when returning to the United States, regardless of where they are traveling from.

U.S. Citizens

U.S. citizens are not subject to the entry ban, including those with dual nationality in the United States and a country of concern. However, U.S. citizens who have recently traveled to one of the designated listed countries should expect to be questioned closely when returning to the United States (see above).

Duration and Scope of the Ban

Currently, the executive order prohibits the entry of foreign nationals from the designated countries for 90 days, or through April 27, 2017. However, the order could be extended, and could be expanded to include additional foreign countries.

While the ban is in place, the U.S. government will conduct a 60-day review of security policies in countries worldwide. Nationals of countries that do not cooperate in the review could be added to the list of travelers subject to the entry ban.

Advice for Current Travelers

If you are stopped or detained when attempting entry to the U.S., we recommend the following:

  1. No matter what, do not sign an I-407 form, even if you are told this will make things faster. If you sign this form, you will relinquish your green card.
  1. Demand to see an attorney
  1. Be patient. Attempt to contact your loved ones.
  1. It is likely Border Patrol will be checking your social media accounts. Keep this in mind when posting and sharing on social media.

Advice for Future Travelers

If you have imminent plans to enter or leave the U.S., we recommend the following:

  1. If you are not a U.S. citizen and have plans to leave the U.S., we would advise you to not travel internationally. We especially advise those on work or student visas to avoid travel. You may miss school or work and lose your status due to the ban. 
  1. If you absolutely must travel, know that you will be denied re-entry the U.S. for at least three months. Make sure you are prepared for this outcome.
  1. If you travel to one of the designated countries listed in the executive order, expect to be questioned closely when re-entering the U.S.

This update is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions about the entry ban, please contact the immigration professional at D’Alessio Law Group with whom you work. Call us at (310) 909- 3934


Source: DLGTRENDINGNOW

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