These are crazy times in the world of immigration. President Trump’s executive order banning admission of people from seven specific countries has caused fear and consternation among foreign nationals and great confusion throughout the agencies vested with immigration authority. This notice provides you with a summary of the impact of the executive order and what you can do to help prevent any unnecessary delays or denials of admission to the United States.
NONIMMIGRANTS FROM A LISTED COUNTRY. Are you from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, or Sudan? Are you a nonimmigrant, perhaps here for business or pleasure (B-1 or B-2), or attending school or doing a medical residency (F-1 or J-1) or in a work-authorized status (H-1B) or in any other temporary nonimmigrant status? If so, you are subject to the executive order banning your re-admission to the United States. This means if you travel, you will not be allowed to re-enter pending a complete investigation and a lifting of the ban.
NONIMMIGRANTS FROM NON-LISTED COUNTRIES. If you are a nonimmigrant and NOT from one of these countries, you are not subject to the ban. However, given the severity of the executive order, you should expect delays when you travel. Be sure to have in your possession your passport, valid for at least six months out, your endorsed SEVIS forms if a student, or your approval notice if you are in work-authorized status. An updated letter from your employer confirming your employment, if applicable, would not hamper your travel plans, either. Unfortunately, we have received reports of nonimmigrants from “suspect” countries being significantly delayed. For example, the Indonesian spouse of a Canadian TN worker was denied a visa for a completely erroneous reason. We can only attribute this to the fear and confusion of the visa officer. It is worth noting that the individual applied for her visa in Jakarta and without attorney representation.
IMMIGRANTS (GREEN CARD HOLDERS). If you are an immigrant – a Lawful Permanent Resident — from any country, even the seven listed countries, you are not (repeat, not) subject to the executive order ban. The White House recently clarified its order stating that the ban applied ONLY to nonimmigrants. This is not to say you will not be delayed, especially if you are from a listed country. So be prepared with your passport valid at least six months out and evidence of your residence, employment, and other connections to the United States.
OVERALL ADVICE. Whether you are an immigrant or nonimmigrant, and whether you are from a listed country or a non-listed country, use common sense. Communicate with us; let us know if you will travel; let us know if there is anything in your background that could hamper your re-admission. And do not travel right now unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must travel, make sure your passport is valid for at least six months out. Bring evidence of your status. If a nonimmigrant, travel with your approval notice or other immigration documents and bring evidence of your maintenance of status. If you are an immigrant, make sure your LPR card is valid for at least six months out and bring evidence of your residence in the United States. This directive may also affect immigration benefits sought in the United States with USCIS. If you are from one of the seven countries and have a case pending with USCIS, your case may be put on hold. If you are not from one of the seven countries and have a case pending with USCIS, your case should not have any delays based on the executive order.