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Immigration Alert: Executive Order on Immigration to Take Effect on June 29

Following the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, the Department of State has issued guidelines for the implementation of a 90-day suspension of entry to the U.S. for certain foreign nationals who are citizens or nationals of: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, who lack a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S.” The 90-day suspension of entry will be implemented at 8:00 pm ET on June 29, 2017.

The Travel Restrictions Do Not Apply To: 
  • Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) or U.S. citizens;
  • Dual nationals traveling on a passport other than a passport issued by one of the six countries noted above;
  • Foreign nationals who were in the U.S. as of June 26, 2017;
  • Foreign nationals already in possession of a valid visa or other valid entry documents as of June 29, 2017; and
  • Foreign nationals with a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the U.S.
The Department of State’s guidelines also indicate that applicants (and their eligible derivatives) who have established eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa in a classification other than a B, C-1, D, I, or K visa, are exempt from the travel ban. Applicants (and their eligible derivatives) who have established eligibility for immigrant visas in the immediate relative, family-based, and certain employment-based classifications are also exempt from the ban.

In the guidelines, the Department of State also further clarified the criteria for determining whether a visa applicant has a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S.”

Bona Fide Relationship with a U.S. Entity:

The guidelines provide that any relationship with a U.S. entity must be “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course,” rather than for the purpose of evading the suspension of entry. Examples of such relationships may include, but are not limited to:
  • Students who have been admitted to U.S. educational institutions;
  • Workers who have accepted an offer of employment from a U.S. company; and
  • Lecturers invited to address an audience in the U.S.
Bona Fide Relationship with a Person in the U.S.:
The guidelines provide that to fall within this exemption, there must be a close familial relationship between the visa applicant and a person in the U.S. Close familial relationships are defined as: parents, parents-in-law, spouses, fiancé/es, children, adult sons and daughters, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and siblings (including half-siblings and step-siblings). Familial relationships with other family members such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins and brothers/sisters-in-law do not meet the definition of a “close familial relationship.” Those that do not meet the criteria above may still be granted a waiver on a case by case basis. Foreign nationals from the six affected countries with plans to travel to the U.S. should consult with immigration counsel immediately. For more information, visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs site.

Gibney is available to work with clients to document the above-described criteria, and prepare for increased scrutiny at U.S. Consulates abroad. Gibney will continue to monitor how the new guidelines are implemented at the border and at consulates.For additional information, please visit Gibney’s Immigration Advisory and FAQs.If you have any questions regarding this alert, please contact your designated Gibney representative, or email immigrationalerts@gibney.com.