Current US Immigration Matters

31st January 2017. On Friday, 27th January 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that severely restricts immigration from seven Muslim countries, suspends all refugee admission for 120 days, and bars all Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Note: The current situation is very fluid and subject to change without notice. The below is therefor given for general guidance only.

Nationalities Affected

Citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

This includes those people who meet the above criteria and are:

  • Refugees
  • Dual passport holders (regardless of second nationality) even if you were born in a different country than the above (i.e. if you inherited citizenship through your parents).
  • Existing US Work Permit holders
  • Existing US Educational Work Permit holders

This is regardless whether or not you have an existing visa.

Who is Not Affected

  • US Citizens: Immigrants from the seven countries can cross as usual with U.S. passports if they have them. Expect additional screening if you are a dual-citizen of the above countries.
  • US Green Card Holders: Border officials detained several green-card holders at airports, but after public outcry over the executive order, the White House and Homeland Security changed tack, saying permanent residents could still cross the border.
  • Dual Citizens of Canada: If you hold a Canadian passport with citizenship from any of the seven countries you can cross as usual provided that you are using your Canadian passport for entry/exit. Canadians who do face problems getting across the U.S. border are urged to call Canada’s emergency travel number, 613-996-8885.
  • Diplomats: Government officials with diplomatic credentials aren’t affected.

Travel Affected

  • All travel to the United States by citizens/passport holders of the aforementioned nationalities
  • All transit via the United States (including those who would typically be able to transit under the US Visa Waiver Program) by citizens/passport holders of the aforementioned nationalities
  • US green card holders travelling abroad (from the USA) to visit family or for work will have to meet with a consular officer before leaving the USA.
  • All travel from the USA for existing USA visa holders.

Who to Contact

Those flying to the USA who permanently reside in the USA: If you currently reside in the USA then we urge you to contact your closest US Embassy prior to travel. If they are unable to assist then we suggest you contact any of the Council’s Accredited Legal Service Providers.

Those flying to the USA who temporarily reside in the USA: With the exception of green card holders, there are reports that most US Embassies are refusing to even accept enquiries from those who temporarily reside in the USA (students, work permit holders etc). In this instance we urge you to delay your travel. If your travel is urgent we suggest you contact any of the Council’s Accredited Legal Service Providers.

Those flying to destinations via the USA (transit visa): If you already have a booking requiring transit through the USA we urge you to contact your airline. In most cases the airline will be able to rebook your travel via a different route (usually at no extra charge). Some airlines will also offer to refund your ticket (without penalty for most of the better airlines).

Existing visa holders already present in the USA:  We suggest you contact the American Civil Liberties Union or the National Immigration Law Center or a Council Accredited Immigration Law Firm.

Special Note for those Stranded in Canada

The Canadian Immigration Minister says he will provide temporary residence to any travellers stranded in Canada because of the U.S. immigration measures. See https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/ for your closest office.

If you are stranded in another country then we urge you to speak to the Department of Immigration in the country you are current situated in.

NOTES FOR COUNCIL MEMBERS AND THEIR EMPLOYEES

If you or any of your existing employees are stuck outside of the USA currently are in urgent need of temporary accommodation or workspace, or would like to speak to an immigration advisor then please contact Lei Aquino urgently via trade@tradecouncil.org.

If any Council members have temporary accommodation and/or office space and are willing to donate it to any Council members employees affected by the current ban then please let us know.