UNITED STATES – New Executive Order on Immigration Effective 16 March
On 6 March 2017, President Donald Trump released a revised executive order entitled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States (the “Order”) following legal challenges to the preceding order issued earlier this year.
The new Order becomes effective as of 16 March 2017, and differs from the previous Order in several important respects.
Suspension of Entry
The Order suspends entry into the United States for nationals of six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Nationals of Iraq, who were suspended from entry under the previous order, are no longer subject to the heightened restrictions due to the cooperative security relationship between the United States and the Iraqi government.
This suspension is in effect for 90 days and is subject to several limitations, waivers, and exceptions. It will apply to individuals of the designated countries who are outside the United States on the effective date of the Order without a valid visa issued before 27 January 2017.
Notably, the new Order does not apply to the following individuals:
- Any lawful permanent resident (commonly referred to as “green card holders”) of the United States;
- Any foreign national who is admitted to the United States on or after the effective date of the Order;
- Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa, valid on the effective date of the Order or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States, such as an advance parole document;
- Any dual national of a designated country when travelling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
- Any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic, NATO, or C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa;
- Any foreign national who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture before the effective date of the Order.
In addition, the Order seeks to realign the US Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2017 by suspending travel of refugees into the United States, and decisions on applications for refugee status, for 120 days and reducing the number of refugees granted entry in fiscal year 2017 to 50,000.
During the suspension period, Individuals may be admitted to the US as refugees on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security.
- The Secretary of Homeland Security is required to expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit system for all travellers entering and departing the United States.
- The Secretary of State is to review all non-immigrant visa reciprocity agreements to ensure they are, with respect to each visa classification, reciprocal.
- As mentioned in the last executive order on this issue, the Department of State will restrict the Visa Interview Waiver Program (not the visa waiver program, commonly referred to as ESTA processing) and require additional non-immigrant visa applicants to undergo an in-person interview.
- Finally, in the first 20 days, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct a country-by-country review of the identity and security information that each country provides to the US government to support US visa and other immigration benefit determinations. If the government determines that changes to a country's immigration protocols are warranted, the country will have 50 days to meet the US standards.