Travel Ban Update: Administration Adds Six New Countries to List
Approaching the three-year anniversary of the issuance of President Donald Trump’s “Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” on January 31, 2020, Trump added six new countries to the list of affected countries: Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
Pursuant to the Executive Order, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, can determine that entry into the U.S. by foreign nationals from certain countries would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.
Beginning February 22, 2020, the additional six countries will be subject to restrictions that include:
Eritrea: Suspends entry on immigrant visas
Kyrgyzstan: Suspends entry on immigrant visas
Myanmar: Suspends entry on immigrant visas
Nigeria: Suspends entry on immigrant visas
Sudan: Suspends entry on visas based on the Diversity Lottery
Tanzania: Suspends entry on visas based on the Diversity Lottery
This expansion reportedly will affect more than 12,000 individuals. None of the new restrictions apply to non-immigrant temporary visas. The suspensions exclude individuals on Special Immigrant visas issued to people who have assisted the U.S. government, as well as individuals who have visas approved before February 22, 2020.
The new restrictions join those that were allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court and are still in effect:
Iran: Suspends entry of immigrants and non-immigrants, except those in valid student (F or M) or exchange visitor (J) status
Libya: Suspends entry of immigrants and non-immigrants in business and tourist status
North Korea: Suspends entry of immigrants and non-immigrants
Somalia: Suspends entry of immigrants
Syria: Suspends entry of immigrants and non-immigrants
Venezuela: Suspends entry of certain government officials and their family members as non-immigrants in business or tourist status
Yemen: Suspends entry of immigrants and non-immigrants in business and tourist status
Exemptions still apply, including those for lawful permanent residents (“Green Card” holders), dual nationals who are traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country, individuals on diplomatic visas, asylees, and refugees. Waivers also may be granted, but they remain somewhat elusive.
The Administration stated that one reason for focusing on immigrant visas in the new ban is that it is “more challenging to deport someone who has emigrated to the US rather than a tourist or visitor.”