Trump Administration Expands Muslim Travel Ban

Today, the Trump administration added six more countries to the list of nations facing stringent travel restrictions. Nigeria, Myanmar (Burma), Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan are the new countries to face travel restrictions of varying degrees.

The visa ban takes effect on February 21, 2020. There is no expiry date on the visa ban.

All six countries have substantially large Muslim populations. These six countries join nationals from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen on the ban list.

Source: State Department

Below, we are laying out more specific details about the new travel ban. Please note that the visa ban only applies to those individuals from countries who are outside the United States on the applicable effective date. The ban does not apply to applicants for adjustment of status, lawful permanent residents or dual citizens/nationals of the countries on the list.

Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea and Kyrgyzstan face bans on immigrant visas. Nationals of these countries with non-immigrant visas such as students, visitors, and temporary workers, will supposedly not face a travel ban to the United States.

(However, going by the recent experiences of students from Iran who are supposedly still admissible to the United States under the previous Presidential proclamation, the restrictions are likely to make it difficult for non-immigrants to also gain entry to the United States in the future). Current non-immigrants should proceed with caution, and if they can, remain in the United States and apply for adjustment of status (if eligible).

In Sudan and Tanzania, the visa ban applies only to people seeking to move to the United States through the diversity visa lottery.

The new ban does not apply to Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government.

If an applicant from one of the countries mentioned above is subject to the ban, the applicant would need to apply for a waiver. In order to obtain a waiver, an applicant must demonstrate: 1) undue hardship if entry were denied, 2) that their entry would not pose a threat to national security, and 3) that their entry is in the national interest. The decision of a consular officer to grant or deny a waiver is discretionary, meaning that it cannot be appealed. Going by the data available from the previous ban, an overwhelming majority of applicants subjected to the ban have been denied waivers.

The Trump administration has stated that the ban only impacts those individuals who have not yet been issued a visa as of February 21, 2020. We await word from different consulates on whether immigrant visas will continue to be processed for the next three weeks in these countries.

Photo Credit: Roscoe Myrick

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[…] executive order is real, and has been in the works for several weeks. Much like the Muslim Ban (and various iterations of it) which suspended the physical entry of nationals from certain countries, this proposed order most […]

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