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Information on Trump’s Executive Order

2 Feb 2017 The American Dream

President Donald Trump enacted the Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” on Friday January 27th, 2017. The decision was put immediately into force and is causing worldwide confusion. We would like to clarify the implications of this decree for people traveling to the USA.

The recent decision to enact travel restrictions for those entering America has left many U.S. travelers uncertain and confused. On the one hand, it is not clear which of the current restrictions are still in force. On the other hand, there is much speculation about stricter travel and visa regulations for the future. We would like to explain the impact that Donald Trump’s decree has on people traveling to the USA below:

1. Travel Ban

Starting from January 27th, 2017, people with citizenships from the following countries are temporarily barred from entering the United States:

  • Countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen
  • Duration: the next 90 days, i.e. until April 27th, 2017

This affects all people who have a citizenship for one of these countries. Citizens of these countries who have a valid immigrant or a non-immigrant U.S. visa are also barred from entering the country. 

The situation for Green Card holders, i.e. people who have a long-term Legal Resident Permit, is unclear. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that whether a person will be allowed to enter or not will be reviewed on an individual case basis by an officer at the U.S. border. 

2. Visa Suspension

Starting from January 27th, 2017, people with citizenships from the following countries will no longer be issued immigrant or non-immigrant visas.

  • Countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen
  • Duration: the next 90 days, i.e. until April 27th, 2017

This affects all people who have a citizenship for one of these countries. Citizens of the above-mentioned countries who already have an interview appointment at a U.S. consulate will be informed of the cancellation of their visa interview appointment. The interview will not take place and the affected person will not be allowed into the U.S. consulate. If you have already paid the visa fee, do not expect to get a reimbursement from the U.S. authorities. 

Which groups of people are not affected by the travel ban and visa suspension?

1. Other nationalities

Conversely, people who hold another citizenship (e.g. French nationality) and have traveled to one of the seven countries are not affected by the current travel ban and visa suspension. They can travel to the USA in accordance to the current immigration regulations and continue to apply for U.S. visas.

2. Dual-citizenship from one of the seven countries

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has made it clear: the travel ban and visa suspension for people with dual-citizenships from one of the countries banned from traveling to the USA has been retracted. According to the current status, people with dual-citizenship for one of the countries in question are not affected by the Executive Order. This means they have a right to travel to the USA and apply for a visa (immigrant or non-immigrant visa) under the same conditions as before.

There is, however, one important requirement: People with dual-citizenship are required to have a passport from another country that has not been issued by one of the banned countries. For example, people with both Iranian and French citizenships are, as of now, immediately allowed to travel to the United States with their French passport and their non-immigrant or immigrant visa/Green Card. For the issuance of a visa, the case is the same: Dual-citizens from one of the seven countries can apply for a U.S. visa exclusively with the passport from the non-banned country.

3. Indefinite suspension of the Visa Reissuance Program 

On January 27th, 2017, the immediate suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program came into effect. That means, with no exceptions, that all U.S. visa applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must personally appear for an interview at the U.S. consulate.

The Visa Reissuance Program (also Visa Interview Waiver Program) was gradually introduced to U.S. consulates worldwide in 2011. In the scope of this program, certain people applying for a U.S. visa can submit their application without appearing personally in a U.S. consulate for an interview appointment. That means the applicant could send their visa application through the post. BE AWARE: Please do not confuse the Visa Reissuance Program or the Visa Interview Waiver Program with the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The Visa Waiver Program, the visa-free travel authorization with ESTA, is still in effect. 

Our Advice

Travel to the U.S. – yes/no?

We recommend that citizens of the above-named countries who are now in the USA to not leave the county – provided that the immigrant or non-immigrant visa (e.g. E-2, L-1, Green Card) is still valid. According to the current status, there is still the possibility to extend your status within the USA. 

90 days, then what?

Trump’s Executive Order from January 27th, 2017, is limited to 90 days. The possibility that the travel ban and the visa suspension will be extended after April 27th, 2017 cannot be excluded.

Will more countries be affected?

There is the possibility that more countries will be added to the list or that traveling to certain countries will be considered. Currently, it is impossible to predict if or when regulations will be intensified.

Impact on the visa interview?

Due to the suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program, applicants should expect longer waiting times for interview appointments in U.S. consulates in the future.

Based on current informationthe travel ban and the visa suspension will be no longer effective in May when the Green Card winners are announced. Of course, we will continue to keep you informed of any new developments concerning travel and visa regulations.

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