Executive Order on Immigration: Travel Ban

Executive Order Effective March 16, 2017


Visit the NAFSA: Association of International Educators website for up-to-date information regarding the status of this executive order.


President Trump signed a new executive order, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” on March 6, 2017. The new Order takes effect on March 16, 2017 and expressly revokes the January 27, 2017 order. There are several key components to understand:

Travel Ban Overview

  • The new order includes a travel ban. It prohibits entry into the U.S. by visitors and immigrants from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for at least 90 days.  The prohibition does not require any individualized determination that the individuals are a security risk. 
  • The new order explicitly exempts permanent residents and dual nationals traveling on a passport from a country that is not one of the six designated countries. 
  • Before individuals of the six countries can resume entering the U.S., an assessment of each country must be conducted - by the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and National Intelligence - to determine if additional vetting is needed to improve the security screening for visa applicants. 

Recommendations from UO:  The UO currently is recommending that employees from the affected countries, who are in the US as nonimmigrants (e.g. H-1B, J-1, F-1), NOT travel outside of the US until the travel ban is lifted for the employee’s country of citizenship.

If you are a UO employee from an affected country and you are considering travelling outside of the US, please contact Jennifer Doreen, International Employment Specialist, at jdoreen@uoregon.edu (link sends e-mail).

In-Person Interviews Required for Nonimmigrant Visa Applications 

The new order immediately suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program and effectively mandates in-person interviews for all nonimmigrant visa applicants.  The Visa Interview Waiver Program previously allowed consular officers to waive the interview requirement for applicants seeking to renew nonimmigrant visas within 12 months of expiration of the initial visa in the same classification.  The Visa Interview Waiver Program has been used to waive the interview requirement only for travelers who have already been vetted and determined to be a low security risk and who have demonstrated track record of stable employment and travel.  Suspending the Visa Interview Waiver Program will place enormous burdens on U.S. consulates– by increasing already extended interview wait times and processing times.

Recommendations from UO:  UO employees who are not US citizens should check the validity of their visas before leaving the US.  If the visa will expire before the employee re-enters the US, the employee should allow additional time for delayed visa processing.

Refugee Resettlement

The new Order suspends refugee resettlement to the United States for 120 days and reduces the number of refugees that the US will resettle in fiscal year 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000.  Syrian refugees are no longer indefinitely banned under the new order, though they are subject to the 120-day suspension of the refugee program.  The new Order no longer gives preference to individuals facing religious persecution who practice minority religions in their country of nationality.

Travel Ban Details

The following details are important to understanding the travel ban imposed by the executive order effective March 16, 2017:

Iraq 

Iraq, which was included in the first order, is not included in the new Order.  However, Iraqi nationals will be subjected to “additional scrutiny”.  Additional countries may be added to the list or taken off of the list at any time.

No Visa Revocation 

The new Order confirms that of the no visa issued before March 16, 2017 will be revoked as a result of the Order, and that any individual with a revoked or cancelled visa issued prior to the January 27, 2017 Order is entitled to a travel document for travel and entry to the U.S.

To Whom the Travel Ban Applies 

Foreign nationals of the designated countries who:  are outside the U.S. on March 16, 2017; did not have a valid visa at 5 pm EST on January 27, 2017; and do not have a valid visa on March 16, 2017.

The travel ban does NOT apply to the following:

  • Dual nationals of one of the designated countries, who travel on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
  • Permanent Residents (“green card” holders);
  • Foreign nationals who were granted asylum;
  • Any refugee who was already admitted to the U.S.;
  • Foreign nationals admitted or paroled into the US on or after March 16, 2017;
  • Foreign nationals who have travel or admission documents to the US, other than a visa, which are valid on or after March 16, 2017;
  • Foreign nationals traveling on 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; or
  • Any individual granted withholding of removal, advanced parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Case-by-Case Exceptions

A consular officer may decide on a case-by-case basis to issue a visa to, or permit the entry of, a national of one of the prohibited countries in circumstances such as the following: 

Previously in the US for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, but is outside the US on March 16, 2017; and would enter to resume the activity;

  • Has significant contacts with the US but is outside of the US on March 16, 2017;
  • Has significant business or professional obligations that would be affected;
  • Has a spouse, child, or parent who is a US citizen, permanent resident, or in nonimmigrant status;
  • An infant, young child, or adoptee;
  • Needs urgent medical care;
  • Has “special circumstances”;
  • Landed Canadian immigrant applying for a visa at a location within Canada; or
  • Traveling as a US-government-sponsored exchange visitor.

In such cases the national must demonstrated to the officer’s satisfaction that denying entry would cause undue hardship; that the foreign national’s entry would not pose a threat to national security; and it would be in the national interest.

The Department of State will likely issue additional guidance operationalizing the process for such exceptions.