This GMS Flash Alert reports on a new Executive Order impacting travel to the U.S. for nationals of Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Iran, and Yemen.
A revised Executive Order, entitled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States," was signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on March 6, 2017, impacting travel to the U.S. for nationals of Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Iran, and Yemen.1 The new Executive Order is effective 12:01am EST on March 16, 2017.
This second Executive Order replaces the previous Executive Order signed January 27, 2017.2
Effective March 16, 2017, foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen who are outside the United States and who did not have a valid visa as of 5:00pm EST on January 27, 2017, and who do not have a valid visa on the effective date of the order, are not eligible to travel to the U.S. for a 90-day period. Moreover, as of March 16, 2017, for 90 days, affected foreign nationals will not be able to obtain a visa or renew a visa and travel to the U.S. unless a waiver is approved.
Unlike the previous Executive Order, citizens and nationals of Iraq are not impacted by the new Executive Order. Therefore, citizens of Iraq may continue to travel to the U.S. and may be eligible to apply for visas at U.S. consulates abroad.
Any individual who had a valid visa either on January 27, 2017 (prior to 5:00 PM) or holds a valid visa on the effective date of the Executive Order, is not barred from seeking entry to the United States. Therefore, even if a foreign national is from one of the six countries and is outside the U.S., if he or she holds a valid visa that meets the above criteria, then that individual is not affected by the Executive Order and will be permitted entry into the United States.
Individuals within the United States with valid multiple entry visas on the effective date of the order are eligible for travel to and from the United States, provided the visa remains valid and the traveler is otherwise admissible. If a foreign national holds a single-entry visa then he or she will only be permitted re-entry to the U.S. upon issuance of a new visa. Similarly, if a foreign national’s visa will expire while he or she is outside the U.S., then that individual will be required to obtain a new visa prior to re-entry.
Dual nationals of one of the six countries travelling with a passport from an unrestricted country are not impacted by the Executive Order. The Department of State will continue to process visa applications of dual nationals “while applying all appropriate screening measures, as they have been.”3
The suspension of entry does not apply to lawful permanent residents of the United States.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to adjudicate Applications for Naturalization (Form N-400) and Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) and grant citizenship consistent with existing practices.
Landed immigrants of Canada who hold passports from one of the six countries are eligible to apply for a visa, and coordinate a waiver, at a location within Canada.
Visas will not be revoked solely as a result of the Executive Order. The Department of State has broad authority under Section 221(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to revoke visas.
The Department of State has confirmed that U.S. embassies and consulates will continue to process visa applications while applying all appropriate screening measures, as they have been.
We are awaiting further guidance from the Department of State with respect to visa processing for individuals from the six affected countries, including dual nationals.
The Visa Interview Waiver Program is immediately suspended requiring all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa to undergo an in-person interview, subject to specific statutory exceptions.
This suspension shall not apply to any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the IOIA; or traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the United States government.
Waivers for overseas travelers without a valid U.S. visa will be adjudicated by the Department of State in conjunction with a visa application.
The Department of State and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to authorize the issuance of a visa to, or to permit the entry of, a foreign national for whom entry is otherwise suspended. This authority can be exercised where the foreign national has demonstrated to the officer's satisfaction that denying entry during the suspension period would cause:
Any waiver issued by a consular officer as part of the visa issuance process will be effective both for the issuance of a visa and any subsequent entry on that visa, but will leave all other requirements for admission or entry unchanged.
Case-by-case waivers could be appropriate in circumstances such as the following:
(i) The foreign national has previously been admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the United States on the effective date of this order, seeks to re-enter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of re-entry during the suspension period would impair that activity;
(ii) The foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the United States, but is outside the United States on the effective date of this order for work, study, or other lawful activity;
(iii) The foreign national seeks to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry during the suspension period would impair those obligations;
(iv) The foreign national seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or alien lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and the denial of entry during the suspension period would cause undue hardship;
(v) The foreign national is an infant, a young child, or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstances of the case;
(vi) The foreign national has been employed by, or on behalf of, the United States government;
(vii) The foreign national is traveling for purposes related to an international organization;
(viii) The foreign national is a landed Canadian immigrant who applies for a visa at a location within Canada; or
(ix) The foreign national is traveling as a United States government-sponsored exchange visitor.
KPMG Law LLP will continue to provide updates regarding the implementation of the new Executive Order as and when they become available.
For assistance with immigration-related matters pertaining to the United States, please contact your local GMS or People Services professional*, or the following immigration professional with the KPMG International member firm in Canada:
Charlene Quincey, U.S. Immigration practice leader, KPMG Law, Canada
Tel.: +1-416-943-0288 x266
* KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services. Please note, however, that KPMG LLP Law in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Canada.
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