What You Need to Know about the Travel Ban

What is the new travel ban? What is its present status?
On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a new travel ban. The ban applied different travel restrictions on certain people from eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. The travel ban also calls for extra review of some of these countries’ immigrants and visitors who are not banned.

Please note that ongoing litigation is changing how this travel ban may be implemented. It had previously been almost entirely suspended by federal courts. However, on November 13, 2017, a federal appeals court allowed the U.S. government to temporarily enact part of the new travel ban. 

For the time being,  the U.S. government may bar visa issuance to people from the following countries, unless they have a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity: Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. See below for what constitutes a “bona fide” relationship.
In addition, the U.S. government may also restrict visas to people from North Korea and Venezuela. See below for additional details.

What is a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”?
According to the courts, “bona fide” relationships include:

  • Certain family relationships with a person in the United States: parents, parents-in-law, spouses, fiancés/fiancées, siblings (whole or half), children, adult sons and daughters, sons/daughters-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins, and brothers/sisters-in-law. These include step relationships.
  • Relationships with an entity in the United States such as admission to a school, acceptance of a job offer, or an invitation to lecture at a university. According to the courts, these relationships must be formal, documented, and not created to evade the travel ban.
Who is affected by the travel ban?
As of November 13, 2017, immigrants and visitors from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen are affected by the travel ban if they lack a “bona fide relationship” to a U.S. person or entity. See above for what constitutes a “bona fide” relationship.

Immigrants and visitors from North Korea, and certain governmental officials and their family members from Venezuela remain subject to the new travel ban.

All of the above people will generally be affected if:
  • They were outside of the United States on the effective date of the order;
  • They do not have a valid visa on the effective date of the order; and
  • They do not have a waiver from the federal government, available on a case-by-case basis.
Please note that this partial suspension of the new travel ban may change as it moves through the court system. Please visit this page regularly for updates.

What exceptions apply for immigrants and visitors from banned countries?
If you are an immigrant or visitor from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, or Yemen, after November 13, 2017 and until further notice, the travel ban will apply to you if you lack a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity. See above for what constitutes a “bona fide relationship.”

Additionally, if you are from North Korea or Venezuela and were covered by the travel ban, you remain covered by the travel ban. 

However, even if you fall into one of the categories above, you may nonetheless be exempt from the travel ban if:
  • You are a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder);
  • You are a dual-national traveling on a passport from a country not affected by the partially implemented travel ban; or
  • You have a waiver. (The federal government may grant waivers on a case-by-case basis. You should talk to an attorney to find out if you or a family member may be eligible for a waiver.).

Additional City Resources

  • Volunteer: Join the Mayor's  Office  during  upcoming  town  halls  and  workshops.
  • Inform & Engage: Invite the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs to your community for a "Know Your Rights Forum."
  • Protection from Discrimination:  New  Yorkers  also  have  the  right  to  be  free  from  unlawful  discrimination, retaliation,  and harassment  in  the  workplace,  housing,  and  public  places.  To  file  a  complaint  or  learn  more,  call 311  and say “human rights” or  call  the NYC Commission on Human Rights at (718) 722-3131.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen next?
We do not know for sure. The federal government has said that it will partially implement the current travel ban in accordance with the November 13 court ruling, but that it believes that the travel ban should take effect in its entirety. Therefore, the U.S. government will likely continue to fight in the courts for the ability to fully implement the travel ban. Please visit this page regularly for updates.

How can I connect to free, safe immigration legal help?
If you are concerned about how the travel ban may affect you or your family members’ ability to travel, call 311 and say “ActionNYC” for an appointment for free, safe immigration legal help. For the latest information on the travel ban, please visit this page. The ongoing litigation over the travel ban may affect the information on this page.

How can I avoid fraud while I am seeking immigration legal help?
Beware of unlicensed immigration service providers who take advantage of their customers. Get help only from a trusted, licensed attorney or an accredited representative. Only lawyers or those who have gotten permission from the Department of Justice can give legal advice. For questions about this, or to report fraud, call the New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 between 9am-8pm, on Monday through Friday, or call 311.

What are the travel ban restrictions for each of the designated countries?

Chad

Immigrants and visitors from Chad are banned from entry unless they have a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity.
Effective Date:  November 13, 2017


Iran

Immigrants and visitors from Iran are banned from entry unless they have a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity.
Effective Date:  November 13, 2017


Libya

Immigrants and visitors from Libya are banned from entry unless they have a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity.
Effective Date:  November 13, 2017

North Korea

Immigrant Visas:  All suspended
Non-immigrant Visas:  All suspended
Effective Date:  October 18, 2017
Exceptions for “bona fide” relationships with a U.S. person or entity?  None

Syria

Immigrants and visitors from Syria are banned from entry unless they have a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity.
Effective Date:  November 13, 2017


Venezuela

Immigrant Visas:  May be subject to “additional scrutiny”
Non-immigrant Visas: 
B1, B2, and B1/B2 visas for certain government officials and their immediate family members are suspended
Effective Date: 
October 18, 2017
Exceptions for “bona fide” relationships with a U.S. person or entity? 
None

Somalia

Immigrants and visitors from Somalia are banned from entry unless they have a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity.
Effective Date:  November 13, 2017


Yemen

Immigrants and visitors from Yemen are banned from entry unless they have a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity.
Effective Date:  November 13, 2017

 

What is the current status of refugee admissions?
On October 24, 2017, the Trump Administration issued an executive order that resumed the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, after it has been suspended by the first two travel bans. However several new limitations apply:

  • Refugees from eleven unspecified countries are subject to an additional 90-day security review, so refugee admissions from these countries are likely to decrease.
  • The admission of family members who are overseas and are “following-to-join” refugees who have been resettled in the United States has been indefinitely suspended.
  • In addition, the President has capped the maximum number of refugees who may be admitted to the United States this fiscal year at 45,000 people, a historically low number.