Following through on his campaign promise of banning foreign nationals from certain countries from entering the U.S., the Trump Administration is expected to sign an Executive Order which will make significant changes to the immigrant and nonimmigrant visa process and suspend refugee immigration. Citing concerns about terrorism and the admission of foreign nationals who may potentially engage in evil actions as the basis for these changes, the Trump Administration will implement major changes to existing immigration laws.
Please note that non-U.S. citizens (nonimmigrants and permanent residents) from the affected countries should seek legal counsel prior to international travel. Recently, there have been numerous reports of visa revocations and problems seeking readmission to the U.S. after foreign travel by many nonimmigrants who were in possession of valid visas. For those nonimmigrants who are in the U.S. legally, and do not wish to travel, they may be eligible to change or extend their status while remaining in the U.S. For this reason, it is critical to seek legal counsel. Permanent Residents who are nationals of, or travel to the affected countries, may be subject to additional questioning and screening upon readmission to the U.S.
A summary of the major provisions of the Executive Order follows below:
· Immediately suspend the issuance of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for an initial period of 30 days.
· Mandate foreign governments to supply information on foreign nationals within 60 days of notification.
· Expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the U.S.
· Immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program. This means that all nonimmigrant visa applicants must attend in-person interviews.
· The Secretary of State will review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements to ensure that they are, with respect to each visa classification, truly reciprocal.
· Implement Uniform Screening Standards for all Immigration Programs, such as:
U.S. Refugee Admissions Program
· Suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days.
· Establish safe zones to protect vulnerable Syrian populations within Syria or in the surrounding region.