Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Travel Advisory - UPDATE

Travel Advisory:
Update - January 31, 2017 

The following is an updated Travel Advisory in response to the Executive Order (EO) issued by the White House on January 27, 2017 barring nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the U.S. for a period of 90 days, suspending admission of all refugees for a period of 120 days, and suspending admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely.  

After a tumultuous weekend, on January 29, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) published a Fact Sheet on its website amending the actions ordered in the EO, particularly as they pertain to lawful permanent residents (LPRs or “green card” holders).  The Fact Sheet is available HERE
On its website, DHS confirmed that LPRs with a valid green card will be allowed to board U.S.-bound aircraft and admitted into the U.S.  However, they will still be subject to national security checks and processing upon entering the United States.   
Until procedures are further clarified or a new Executive Order is issued, based on the EO and issued guidance, we recommend that foreign nationals take the following precautions:
If you are a national of (or born inIran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen and are:
  • In the U.S.
    • As a temporary visitor/worker in a valid nonimmigrant status authorized to live/work in the U.S., we strongly advise that you remain in the United States and not travel abroad until further notice.
    • As a dual citizen of any of the seven countries listed above and another country living/working in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, we strongly advise that you remain in the United States and not travel abroad until further notice.
    • As a green card holder, we strongly advise that you remain in the United States and not travel abroad until further notice.
    • As a U.S. citizen born in any of the seven countries listed above, we advise that you refrain from non-urgent international travel.
  • Outside of the U.S.:  
    • With a valid green card, you will be allowed to board U.S.-bound aircraft, but will still be assessed for exceptions at the arrival port of entry, and admitted, subject to national security checks. Expect additional screening and travel delays at U.S. Customs & Border Patrol. Keep in mind that admission of LPRs is discretionary and not guaranteed.
    • With a valid nonimmigrant temporary work or student visa in your passport, you will temporarily be barred from entering the U.S. for a period of 90 days, starting January 27, 2017.
    • Without a valid U.S. visa in your passport, you will not be able to schedule or attend a visa appointment at the U.S. Consulate for a period of 90 days, starting January 27, 2017.  
Note: Dual nationals born in one of the seven (7) listed countries holding citizenship in another country should exercise extreme care as “nationality” is based on country of birth  - whereas citizenship is a formal legal status. The EO applies to nationals of these designated countries.    
We recommend that foreign nationals from other majority-Muslim countries (e.g. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, etc.) refrain from non-urgent international travel and where permitted, extend their authorized stay from within the United States.

Looking ahead, due to a shift in government resources and personnel devoted to carrying out the President's Executive Order, we anticipate heightened scrutiny of all visa applications and border admissions (background security checks and administrative processing), longer visa wait times, as well as delays in visa processing and issuance at U.S. Consular posts worldwide.  

In short, if you are in the U.S. at present and this EO could pertain to you, do not travel abroad. If you are not sure whether the Executive Order and travel restrictions apply to your situation, please consult with an immigration attorney prior to making any travel plans. 
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide additional guidance as it becomes available. In the meantime, please contact our office with specific inquiries or urgent travel issues.
Please see below for recent updates, and information regarding our firm's newsletter and how to receive future client updates:
Saturday, January 28, 2017:  Four judges issued injunctions against the EO, but the injunctions have been applied by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) with various levels of compliance.  
Sunday, January 29, 2017:  United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will consider admission of LPR's to be "in the national interest" and will allow them to enter the U.S.

Monday, January 30, 2017:  The U.S. Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom added that dual nationals of the U.K. and one of the seven countries (listed above) are exempt from the EO when traveling on a valid U.K. passport and U.S. visa.  

Please note the following:
  • The Executive Order (EO) extends the travel ban to 90 days, not 30, as was originally suggested. 
  • The EO affects "nationals" from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  Note: "Nationals" means anyone born in the listed countries, not just citizens of those countries. 
  • Many travelers, including Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR's) have been detained upon arrival and removed. Many LPR's have been asked and encouraged to file Forms I-407 giving up their permanent residence.  Some people have been allowed to enter the U.S. after being detained.   
The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will continue to enforce all of the president's Executive Orders.  

21700 Oxnard Street, Suite 860, Woodland Hills, CA 91367 T 818.435.3500 F 818.435.3535