Who Does the September, 2017 Travel Ban Executive Order Impact?

President Trump's new executive order adds and removes countries from the restricted list, and establishes the particular groups within each country that are and are not eligible for U.S. entry.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article refers to a Trump-issued travel ban that is currently on hold, owing to judicial action. See Courts Place Temporary Block on Third Version of Trump Travel Ban.

On September 24, 2017, the Trump administration announced an extension and expansion of the temporary travel restrictions previously imposed by executive order in March of 2017. Many of the people impacted by the March executive order will continue to face restrictions. The administration removed one country from the list, added three countries, and revised the restrictions to apply only to certain groups of travelers coming from those countries.

Who Is Still Subject to Travel Restrictions?

If you have been ineligible to travel to the United States over the past six months due to the March executive order, that restriction may still apply to you. Unlike the previous executive order, the new travel restrictions do not have an end date; they extend indefinitely. However, government agencies will review travel and security conditions every six months and may decide to change the travel restrictions based on new information.

In order to understand who the travel restrictions apply to, some definitions will be helpful. Immigrants and nonimmigrants are groups of people applying for entry into the United States for different purposes. Immigrants are those who have already completed all of the paperwork to enter the United States permanently, and they expect to receive permanent resident (green card) status at the time they enter the United States.

Nonimmigrants are those who have applied for a visa in order to enter the United States temporarily. For example, they might intend to temporarily stay in the country as a tourist, an employee of a U.S. company, or a student.

The following countries were included in the previous executive order, and travel will continue to be restricted for certain groups from these countries:

  • Iran: Both immigrants and nonimmigrants are ineligible to enter the United States, except students on M and F visas and exchange visitors on J visas. Iranians who are eligible to enter the United States may be subject to enhanced screening.
  • Libya: Libyans who would enter as immigrants are ineligible. Libyans who would enter as nonimmigrant visitors or business visitors on a B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visa are ineligible for entry.
  • Syria: Both immigrants and nonimmigrants are ineligible to enter the United States.
  • Yemen: Yemenis who would enter as immigrants are ineligible. Yemenis who would enter as nonimmigrant visitors or business visitors on a B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visa are ineligible for entry.
  • Somalia: Somalis who would enter as immigrants are ineligible. Somalis who wish to enter the United States as nonimmigrants are eligible to enter; however, they may be subject to enhanced screening.

If you were subject to a travel restriction based on the March, 2017 executive order, and are subject to a continuing travel restriction based on the September order, the new restriction is effective immediately, and the travel restriction continues without any gap between the two orders.

What New Groups Have Been Added to the Travel Restriction List?

In addition to the countries listed above that were already subject to travel restrictions, the following have been added to the list:

  • Chad: Chadians who would enter as immigrants are ineligible. Chadians who would enter as nonimmigrant visitors or business visitors on a B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visa are ineligible for U.S. entry.
  • North Korea: Both immigrants and nonimmigrants are ineligible to enter the United States.
  • Venezuela: Most of the people of Venezuela are not subject to restricted travel. However, officials of several agencies of the Venezuelan government and their families are ineligible to enter the United States on B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visa. Also, all Venezuelan travelers may be subject to enhanced screening.

After the March, 2017 executive order, the Supreme Court established an exception to the travel restrictions for people who have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Bona fide relationships include close family members, employers, and educational institutions. That exception has not been extended in the September executive order.

If you were not subject to any travel restriction previously (including if you were able to travel under the bona fide relationship exception), but are now subject to a travel restriction under the September executive order, the restriction will take effect on October 18, 2017.

For What Groups Has the Travel Restriction Been Lifted?

All of the countries listed in the initial executive order are also included in the September travel restriction except for Sudan. The travel restriction on citizens of Sudan expired on Sunday, September 24, and has not been renewed.

Some of the listed countries on the list are subject to a restriction on all immigrants, but only a partial restriction on nonimmigrants. As described above, Iranian students and exchange visitors are now eligible for entry.

Libyans and Yemenis who have any nonimmigrant visa other than B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 are eligible for entry. This includes, for example, those with employment-based nonimmigrant visas like H-1B, L-1A/B, and E-1/E-2, and student visas like F, M, and J. All Somali nonimmigrants are eligible to enter as long as they go through enhanced screening.

If you are among the groups of people for whom the travel restrictions have been lifted, you are now eligible to apply for entry because the 90-day travel restrictions ended on September 24, 2017.

The new travel restriction order may not apply to refugees. The March executive order addressed refugees separately and made clear its intention to ban refugee entry. The September executive order does not separately address refugees in the list of countries and their respective travel restrictions. This issue may require further clarification. If there is no new restriction on refugees, they will be able to resume the entry process on October 24, 2017, when the 120 day-ban is set to expire.

Are There Any Other Exceptions?

The September executive order provides significantly more guidance than the March executive order regarding people who have previously entered the United States and exceptions for particular categories of travelers. The following are a selection of some of the exceptions and clarifications that may apply:

  • The September order does not apply to lawful permanent residents (green card holders) of the United States.
  • Dual citizens of a country on the travel restriction list and a country not on the list are eligible to enter the United States if they use the passport of the non-affected country.
  • The September order does not apply to people who have been granted asylum, refugees who have already been admitted to the United States, or those granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
  • Anyone whose entry is restricted based on this order can apply for a waiver, which will be decided on an individual, case-by-case basis.

As mentioned, the September executive order is much more detailed than the March executive order, and will affect large swaths of travelers from the affected countries. If you think that you may be affected by some of the narrower restrictions and exceptions included in the September executive order, consult an immigration attorney for a more tailored evaluation.

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