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Immigration Update - United States | Advisory Concerning President Trump's Executive Order Barring Entry From Seven Countries

Posted: 31/01/2017              Author: Santa Fe Relocation Services

On January, 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (“Executive Order”) that may potentially impact your company and your employees. While this Executive Order has generated controversy and uncertainty, we report on the current status.

What the Executive Order Means

The Executive Order bars the entry of foreign nationals from seven countries which are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, (“ Seven Countries”) to the United States for a period of 90 days, or through April 27, 2017. The 90-day period could be extended. Citizens of the Seven Countries who hold dual citizenship with the U.S. should not be affected. Other people who hold dual citizenship with one of the Seven Countries and another country (not the U.S.) may be subject to restriction. The Executive Order and ban on entry to the U.S. does not include people who have merely travelled to the Seven Countries.

The Executive Order applies to both “immigrants and non-immigrants,” which means that it covers those with a temporary visa (e.g., B-1, H-1B and L-1) and foreign nationals holding a U.S. immigrant visa or U.S. lawful permanent residency. The Executive Order appears to ban people from the Seven Countries who already have green cards. However, the White House Chief of Staff and Department of Home Security officials said on January, 29, 2017, that those with green cards (permanent resident status), would no longer be included in the ban.

We also anticipate that applications within the United States for adjustment of status may be delayed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services until the ban is lifted for nationals of the Seven Countries and their immediate family members.  

In addition, the Executive Order suspended the Visa Waiver Interview program at U.S. Consulates around the world. This program broadly allowed visa applicants who were simply renewing a previously granted visa in the same category to submit their application and passport to the Consulate without an interview. Previously, some applicants under this program were exempted from the in-consulate interview requirement but now all people applying for the Visa Waiver Interview program will be required to appear for a visa interview, regardless of nationality.

It is expected that processing times for this and potentially other visa categories will lengthen as a result of the Executive Order.

Court Issued Stay

On the evening of January, 28, 2017, Justice Donnelly of the Federal Court, granted a stay on deportations for people who have already arrived in the U.S. and those who are in transit and who hold valid visas, ruling they cannot be deported. The stay is a partial block and applies until the outcome of the hearing scheduled February 21, 2017. The Federal Court may take further action limiting the Executive Order.

The effect of the stay means that until the Federal Court has rendered its judgement following the hearing on February, 21, 2017, the Executive Order means that nationals from the affected countries cannot be deported.  

Impact on you

If you have any employees who are nationals from the Seven Countries who are currently in the U.S., it is suggested they remain in the U.S.

Additionally, if you are from one of the Seven Countries and planning on traveling outside of the U.S., you should be prepared for the ban extending beyond April 27, 2017.

Next Steps

Please inform us as soon as possible if any of your employees have a passport from any of the Seven Countries and we will review the individual case.

We will continue to monitor the development of any potential changes to the U.S. immigration system and keep you updated.

Related post: "How U.S Immigration Laws and Policy are Evolving Under the Trump Administration"

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your contact below if you have any questions in the meantime:

Europe   - Bob Day, Global Immigration Operations Director (robert.day@santaferelo.com)

ASIA – Soumeya Messadi, Head of Immigration for Asia (soumeya.messadi@santaferelo.com)

US – Bruna Frota, US Immigration Attorney (bruna.frota@santaferelo.com)