United States: New Presidential Proclamation Restricts Travel From Eight Countries

Last Updated: September 28 2017
Article by Jorge R. Lopez and Shireen A. Judeh

On September 24, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a "Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats" (hereinafter "the Proclamation"). A follow-up to Executive Order 13780: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States (popularly known as the "travel ban") issued on March 6, 2017, the Proclamation was issued on the same day Executive Order 13780 was set to expire. That order barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States" from entering the United States.

In accordance with Executive Order 13780, President Trump ordered the review of what additional information is needed from each foreign country to assess adequately whether their nationals seeking to enter the United States pose a security or safety threat. The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and Director of National Intelligence, developed a list of criteria required from each foreign government to assist the United States in confirming the identity of individuals seeking entry into the United States, and to assess whether they are a security or public-safety threat, including:

  1. Identity-management information. "The criteria assessed in this category include whether the country issues electronic passports embedded with data to enable confirmation of identity, reports lost and stolen passports to appropriate entities, and makes available upon request identity-related information not included in its passports."1
  2. National security and public-safety information. "The criteria assessed in this category include whether the country makes available, directly or indirectly, known or suspected terrorist and criminal-history information upon request, whether the country provides passport and national-identity document exemplars, and whether the country impedes the United States Government's receipt of information about passengers and crew traveling to the United States."2
  3. National security and public-safety risk assessment. "The national security and public-safety risk assessment category focuses on national security risk indicators. The criteria assessed in this category include whether the country is a known or potential terrorist safe haven, whether it is a participant in the Visa Waiver Program established under section 217 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187, that meets all of its requirements, and whether it regularly fails to receive its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States."3

Based on these criteria, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State collected information on every foreign country and determined that Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia4 were deficient in one or all categories, and issued the following restrictions on immigrant5 and/or nonimmigrant6 visas:

Country Effect on Nonimmigrant Visas Effect on Immigrant Visas Stated Reasons
Chad Suspension of all entry on B-1,7 B-2,8 and B-1/B-29 visas. Suspension of grants of all immigrant visas "Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion. Additionally, several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb."10
Iran Suspension of all entry on nonimmigrant visas, except F,11 M,12 and J13 visas. Suspension of grants of all immigrant visas. "Iran regularly fails to cooperate with the United States Government in identifying security risks, fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion, is the source of significant terrorist threats, and fails to receive its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. The Department of State has also designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism."14
Libya Suspension of all entry on B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas. Suspension of grants of all immigrant visas. "Libya . . . faces significant challenges in sharing several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States. Libya also has significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols. Further, Libya fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. The substantial terrorist presence within Libya's territory amplifies the risks posed by the entry into the United States of its nationals."15
North Korea Suspension of entry on all nonimmigrant visas. Suspension of grants of all immigrant visas. "North Korea does not cooperate with the United States Government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements."16
Syria Suspension of entry on all nonimmigrant visas. Suspension of grants of all immigrant visas. "Syria regularly fails to cooperate with the United States Government in identifying security risks, is the source of significant terrorist threats, and has been designated by the Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism. Syria has significant inadequacies in identity-management protocols, fails to share public-safety and terrorism information, and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion."17
Venezuela Suspension of entry of the officials of the following government agencies on B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visas and their immediate family members:
  • Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice, and Peace
  • Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Immigration
  • Bolivarian National Intelligence Service
  • Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations
No restrictions. "Venezuela's government fails to share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately, fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion, and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. As a result, the restrictions imposed by this proclamation focus on government officials of Venezuela who are responsible for the identified inadequacies."18
Yemen Suspension of all entry on B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas. Suspension of grants of all immigrant visas. "The government of Yemen fails to satisfy critical identity-management requirements, does not share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately, and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion."19
Somalia All nonimmigrant visas subject to "additional scrutiny" to determine if applicants connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety of the United States. The Department of State has taken the position that no nonimmigrant visas will be issued. Suspension of grants of all immigrant visas. "Somalia has significant identity-management deficiencies. . . . A persistent terrorist threat also emanates from Somalia's territory. The United States Government has identified Somalia as a terrorist safe haven. Somalia stands apart from other countries in the degree to which its government lacks command and control of its territory, which greatly limits the effectiveness of its national capabilities in a variety of respects. . . . Somalia continues to struggle to provide the governance needed to limit terrorists' freedom of movement, access to resources, and capacity to operate. The government of Somalia's lack of territorial control also compromises Somalia's ability, already limited because of poor recordkeeping, to share information about its nationals who pose criminal or terrorist risks."20

Phased Implementation

The implementation of the Proclamation is to be phased-in as follows:

Phase 1: From 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, September 24, 2017 until 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:

Nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia will remain under suspension of travel, except for those individuals who qualify for the bona fide "close family"21 exemption.

As of 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, September 24, 2017, nationals of Sudan are no longer subject to any travel restrictions.

Phase 2: Beginning 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:

Nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia are subject to the restrictions listed in the chart, above. The bona fide relationship exemption will no longer apply to nationals of these eight (8) countries.

Exceptions

The following exceptions will apply to those nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia who meet one or more of the following criteria:22

  1. Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  2. Any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date under section 7 of this Proclamation;
  3. Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa—such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document—valid on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this Proclamation or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission;
  4. Any dual national of a country designated under section 2 of this Proclamation when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
  5. Any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; or
  6. Any foreign national who has been granted asylum by the United States; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Waivers

The Proclamation provides that waivers may be granted on a case-by-case basis if a foreign national demonstrates to the consular officer's or Customs and Border Protection official's satisfaction that:23

  1. Denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
  2. Entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and
  3. Entry would be in the national interest.

Case-by-case waivers may be granted in individual circumstances such as the following:

  1. The foreign national has previously been admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the United States on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this Proclamation, seeks to reenter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry would impair that activity;
  2. The foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the United States but is outside the United States on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this Proclamation for work, study, or other lawful activity;
  3. The foreign national seeks to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
  4. The foreign national seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or alien lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and the denial of entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
  5. The foreign national is an infant, a young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstances of the case;
  6. The foreign national has been employed by, or on behalf of, the United States government (or is an eligible dependent of such an employee), and the foreign national can document that he or she has provided faithful and valuable service to the United States government;
  7. The foreign national is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), 22 U.S.C. 288 et seq., traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the United States government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA;
  8. The foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a location within Canada;
  9. The foreign national is traveling as a United States Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
  10. The foreign national is traveling to the United States, at the request of a United States government department or agency, for legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, or national security purposes.

Practical Significance

It is important to note that not all of the eight countries are subject to an outright ban at this time. The restrictions on Venezuelans, for example, only affect certain government officials and their immediate relatives. Other countries are only subject to certain nonimmigrant visa restrictions. Notably, at least four of the countries (Chad, Libya, Venezuela, and Yemen) do not have restrictions on nonimmigrant employment visas such the H-1B and L-1. Likewise, Iranian nationals on F, M, and J status are not restricted to enter the United States by the Proclamation.

In addition, the Proclamation is expressly limited to individuals who do not have a valid visa on the effective date mentioned above. However, we opine that the text of the Proclamation is ambiguous as to how the suspension of entry would apply to those currently holding valid visas. Our position is that the Proclamation should not apply to them and further clarification will be necessary to resolve this ambiguity.

Notwithstanding, employers should be aware that although any previously scheduled visa application appointments will not be cancelled for foreign nationals from these eight countries, it will be at the discretion of the consular officer whether an applicant otherwise eligible for a visa is subject to or exempt from the restrictions set forth by the Proclamation. Employers should prepare for the possibility that employees with pending and/or not-yet-filed petitions for immigrant and/or certain nonimmigrant visas in accordance with the restrictions set out in the chart above may not receive visas once the Proclamation has been fully implemented.

Footnotes

1. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 1(c)(i).

2. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 1(c)(ii).

3. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 1(c)(iii).

4. Sudan has been removed from the list of restricted countries.

5. Immigrant visas allow foreign nationals to enter the U.S. in order to live and work permanently in the U.S. This is also known as "green card" status.

6. Nonimmigrant visas are temporary visas issued to foreign nationals for business or tourism purposes.

7. Business visa.

8. Tourist visa.

9. Business/Tourist visa.

10. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 2(a)(i).

11. Academic Student visa.

12. Vocational Student visa.

13. Exchange Visitor visa.

14. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 2(b)(i).

15. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 2(c)(i).

16. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 2(d)(i).

17. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 2(e)(i).

18. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 2(f)(i).

19. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 2(g)(i).

20. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 2(g)(j).

21. "Close family" is defined as a parent, including parent-in-law, spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and first-cousin.

22. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 3(b)(i)-(vi).

23. Presidential Proclamation Sec. 3(b)(i)-(vi).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Jorge R. Lopez
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.