The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order on Dec. 4, 2017, allowing the Trump administration to implement fully and enforce its newest travel ban while lower courts continue to consider challenges to it.
Travel restrictions, which vary by country, will affect certain nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen, unless exempt or granted a waiver pursuant to a presidential proclamation that was issued on Sept. 24.
The Trump administration had previously been barred from implementing the ban on its intended effective date of Oct. 18, 2017, after two lower federal courts issued injunctions that temporarily enjoined enforcement of most of the ban’s restrictions. Following the Trump administration’s appeal of those rulings and request for temporary permission to implement the proclamation, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the ban to take effect partially, but exempted travelers with a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States. The Dec. 4 order by the Supreme Court removes the relationship exemption and allows the Trump administration to implement the ban fully while challenges continue in the Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and the Ninth Circuits.
Specific travel restrictions
Effective Dec. 8, 2017, the Trump administration will fully implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dec. 4, 2017, order, and nationals of the eight countries will be subject to the following U.S. travel limitations, unless otherwise exempt:
• Chad: No B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas
• Iran: No nonimmigrant visas except F and M student visas and J exchange visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas
• Libya: No B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas
• North Korea: No nonimmigrant, immigrant, or diversity lottery visas
• Somalia: Nonimmigrant visa applicants subject to heightened scrutiny; no immigrant or diversity visas
• Syria: No nonimmigrant, immigrant, or diversity lottery visas
• Venezuela: No B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visas for officials of designated Venezuelan government agencies; other visa holders are subject to verification of traveler information; no restrictions on immigrant or diversity lottery visas
• Yemen: No B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas
Exemptions and waivers
Several classes of foreign nationals are exempt from the restrictions, including U.S. lawful permanent residents, dual nationals traveling on a passport from a non-restricted country, foreign nationals who hold a valid U.S. visa or advance parole, and those who were physically in the United States on the applicable original effective date of the travel restrictions.
Those who are not exempt may request a waiver when applying for a visa. To be eligible for a waiver, a foreign national must demonstrate that he or she would suffer undue hardship if denied entry, and that his or her entry would not pose a threat to U.S. national security or public safety and would be in U.S. national interest. Waivers are discretionary and may be difficult to obtain.
What this means for travelers
Foreign nationals who are currently in the United States, hold a passport from a restricted country (other than exempt dual nationals), and would need to apply for a visa to reenter the United States should carefully consider the risks of international travel and the potential for significant delays.
As a reminder, all foreign nationals—including those exempt from the travel restrictions—are subject to national security screening and the potential for additional vetting when applying for a U.S. visa or admission to the United States.
The travel restrictions will be implemented while the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal continue to hear challenges to the presidential proclamation. The Ninth Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Dec. 6, 2017, while the Fourth Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Dec. 8, 2017.
Northeastern will continue to follow the situation closely and will provide updates as additional information becomes available. Please contact the university’s Office of Global Services at OGS@northeastern.edu if you have any questions.