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Travel Restrictions FAQ

The Trump administration issued the Proclamation, Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats on Sept. 24, 2017. The proclamation introduced a new set of visa and travel restrictions for individuals from eight identified countries. To read the Proclamation, click here. The guidance below relates to this proclamation, the executive order issued on March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court decisions, and general advice.


The Office of International Affairs (OIA) at South Dakota State University is responsible for welcoming and supporting international students and scholars from around the globe. OIA continues to monitor the implementation of the Sept 24, 2017 proclamation and will continue to update this website

Questions from students:

Q. I am from Turkey and I just learned about the Non-immigrant Visa Ban. How does this affect me?

The U.S. Department of State announced a suspension of all non-immigrant visas at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey on Oct. 9, 2017. As of this date, citizens of Turkey are not able to apply for non-immigrant visas within their country. (This includes F1 and J1 visa holders.) Currently, Turkish citizens can apply for a visa outside their home country.

Q. I am a current South Dakota State University student from Turkey. How does this affect me?

The U.S. Department of State announced a suspension of all non-immigrant visas at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey on Oct. 9, 2017. As of this date, citizens of Turkey are not able to apply for non-immigrant visas within their country. (This includes F1 and J1 visa holders.) Currently, Turkish citizens can apply for a visa outside their home country.


December 4th Update:

On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued Proclamation 9645 pursuant to Section 2(e) of Executive Order 13780, designating eight countries for partial or full restrictions on entry to the United States. The restrictions are country-specific, and tailored to the situation of each individual country.

The eight countries subject to the Proclamation are: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. On December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States stayed preliminary injunctions that had partially blocked the ban, which allows the government to enforce Travel Ban 3.0 on all 8 countries, pending resolution of the government's appeal to the Ninth and Fourth Circuits, and during any further SCOTUS proceedings.

This is a new exercise of authority under Executive Order 13780. The prior 90-day Travel Ban 2.0 under Section 2(c) expired on Sunday, September 24, 2017, except for the portion relating to refugees, which expires on October, 24, 2017. The current "list of 8" comprises five of the six countries that had been included in the prior 90-day entry ban (Sudan was removed), and three new countries: Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela.

The situation remains fluid. SDSU Office of International Affairs is closely monitoring the current statutes as well as challenges to the Proclamation. Please read below for explanations of the September 24th Proclamation.


Sept. 2017 proclamation FAQs

Q. Who is subject to the travel restrictions of the Sept. 24, 2017 proclamation?

Nationals of the following countries who are outside the United States and do not have a valid U.S. visa on the applicable effective date.

Chad

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is not suspended

Iran

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry of Iranian nationals "under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals should be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements."
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is suspended

Libya

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is not suspended

North Korea

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for all nonimmigrant visa categories

Syria

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for all nonimmigrant visa categories

Venezuela

  • Entry is suspended for Venezuelan nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, but only for officials of government agencies of Venezuela involved in screening and vetting procedures - including the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations - and their immediate family members.
  • Nationals of Venezuela not subject to the above suspension should nevertheless "be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current."

Yemen

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is not suspended

Somalia

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • "Visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as nonimmigrants should be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants are connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States."

 

Q. Who is not subject to the travel restrictions of the Sept. 2017 proclamation?

Nationals of the following countries who are outside the United States and do not have a valid U.S. visa on the applicable effective date.

Under Proclamation Section 3(b), the entry ban also does not apply to:

  1. Any current lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  2. Any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date of the proclamation;
  3. Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa, valid on the applicable effective date of the proclamation, or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission, such as advance parole;
  4. Any dual national of a country designated under the order when traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
  5. Any applicant traveling on an A-1, A-2, NATO-1 through NATO-6 visa, C-2 for travel to the United Nations, G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa, or a diplomatic-type visa of any classification;
  6. Any foreign national who has been granted asylum;
  7. Any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States;
  8. Any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture

Q. Is it possible to get a waiver if I or a family member are subject to these restrictions and don’t meet any of the exceptions?

DHS has the discretion to grant waivers on a case by case basis. Individuals must demonstrate they would suffer undue hardship if denied entry, and that entry would not pose a threat to national security. The proclamation suggests that a waiver may be appropriate for certain classes of foreign nationals including (but not limited to) "nonimmigrants previously admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or another long-term activity who are seeking to resume that activity" "U.S. government-sponsored J-1 exchange visitors" "persons with significant business or professional obligations in the United States or with previously established significant contacts."

Q. When does the entry ban take effect?

Sept. 24, 2017 at 3:30 p.m.: applies to nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who were subject to the 90-day entry ban of Executive Order 13780 who "lack credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

Oct. 18, 2017 at 12:01 a.m.: applies to all nationals of Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela, and to nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia "who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

Q. When Does the New Entry Ban Expire?

There new EO is in effect indefinitely but may be reviewed periodically.

Previous March 6, 2017 executive order FAQs

Q. What are the main components of the March 6, 2017 executive order?

Citizens and nationals from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen will not be able to secure a visa to enter the United States for 90 days beginning on March 16, 2017, unless they first obtain a waiver, discussed below. In addition, the Visa Interview Waiver Program is suspended so virtually all individuals seeking a non-immigrant visa will have to undergo an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate abroad. Furthermore, refugees will not be admitted to the United States from any country for 120 days.

More specific information regarding who is covered and exempt under the executive order, information regarding the issuance of waivers, and guidance for the SDSU community can be found below.

Q. When does the revised executive order go into effect?

The Executive Order was intended to go into effect on March 16, 2017 at 12:01am. However, U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland issued a nationwide temporary restraining order as well as an injunction, preventing the government from enforcing the new executive order’s entry ban. The case has gone to the Supreme Court and you may find the Supreme Court ruling FAQs in the expandable section above.

Q. Who is subject to the revised travel restrictions outlined in the March 6, 2017 executive order?

The executive order prohibits nationals of the six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from securing a visa to enter the United States for 90 days unless they qualify for an exemption or are granted a waiver. Iraqi nationals are not subject to these restrictions, though they were covered by the original Jan. 27, 2017 executive order.

Q. Who is exempt from the March 6, 2017 executive order’s travel restrictions?

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders).
  • Holders of a valid U.S. visa, even if they have not yet used it. Visas that were provisionally revoked under the Jan. 27, 2017 executive order should be valid for travel. Foreign nationals with a visa that was physically canceled under the Jan. 27, 2017 executive order may be entitled to a new travel document for entry to the United States.
  • Dual nationals traveling on a valid passport from a non-restricted country. Dual nationals must hold a valid U.S. visa or be visa-exempt. Canadian landed immigrants are subject to the restrictions but may be eligible for a discretionary waiver (see below).
  • Foreign nationals holding a valid advance parole document.
  • Most foreign nationals holding a valid A, C-2, G or NATO visa.
  • Foreign nationals granted asylum.
  • Refugees already admitted to the United States and those with travel formally scheduled by the State Department.

Please note that the answers to the visa and admissions questions in this section were in relation to the March 6, 2017 executive order before parts of the executive order were suspended. To see updated information, read the expandable Supreme Court Rulings FAQ section above.

Q. I was just admitted to South Dakota State University. I am a citizen of one of the six countries identified in the executive order. Can I still apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa to study at SDSU this spring or next fall?

Until the March 6, 2017 executive order takes effect, the State Department indicates that it will continue to process visa applications from nationals of the six restricted countries. However, applicants should be prepared for lengthy security screening and the possibility that they may not be issued a visa before the new restrictions take effect. After Supreme Court decision if the executive order takes effect, there will be a 90-day waiting period before the restrictions are lifted, during which time the executive order prohibits the issuance of visas (both first-time visas and visa renewals) to citizens and nationals of the six identified countries unless a waiver is granted at the time of the visa interview. During the interview, the Department of State has the right to collect and review social media accounts, phone numbers, and email addresses used in the last 5 years.

The executive order permits Departments of Homeland Security and State to grant discretionary waivers on a case-by-case basis, when they determine: that issuance is in the national interest, the applicant poses no national security threat to the United States, and denial of the visa would cause undue hardship. Admitted students who wish to apply for a waiver should make and support the waiver request when they appear for their visa interview. There will not be a separate waiver process. This means that visa applicants seeking a waiver must be fully prepared to provide evidence, including relevant documentation, of their eligibility for a waiver at the time of their interview.

Students who intend to study in F-1 or J-1 status at SDSU should request an immigration document from SDSU as soon as possible. There should be adequate time to apply for a visa to start study in Fall 2017 unless the restrictions are extended. If you plan to arrive for a Summer 2017 program, you should request the waiver at your visa interview.

Q. I am a current student or scholar and a citizen of one of the six countries identified in the March 6, 2017 executive order. My current visa is expiring. I hear I can request a waiver to the travel restrictions. How do I request the waiver?

The executive order permits the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State to grant discretionary waivers of the entry restrictions. Waiver applicants must show that a denial of entry would cause undue hardship and that their entry is in the national interest and would not pose a threat to national security.

The executive order suggests that a waiver may be appropriate for several classes of foreign nationals, including Canadian landed immigrants applying for a visa in Canada, persons with significant business or professional obligations in the United States, and nonimmigrants previously admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study or another long-term activity who are seeking to resume that activity. Individuals who wish to apply for a waiver should make and support the waiver request when they appear for their visa interview. There will not be a separate waiver process. This means that visa applicants seeking a waiver must be fully prepared to provide evidence, including relevant documentation, of their eligibility for a waiver at the time of their interview.

At this time, OIA recommends that students and scholars who are citizens of these countries exercise caution and careful planning before finalizing international travel if their visa will no longer be valid on the desired return date.

Q: If I request the waiver, but the consular officer determines that I do not qualify for a waiver, will my case be terminated? Can I apply for the visa again after 90 days have passed?

If a consular officer determines that you do not qualify for a waiver, you may reapply for your F-1 or J-1 visa using the same approved petition after the 90-day period in the executive order has passed. At that time, you should contact the embassy or consulate directly to schedule a new interview. If your medical exam results have expired by the date of your new interview, you must retake your medical exams.

Q. I am not a citizen or national of one of the six countries identified by the revised Executive Order and need to travel abroad this summer. My student visa is expiring. Should I make plans to renew the visa over the summer break?

In addition to the entry restrictions, the President has issued a memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Department and the Justice Department to implement more stringent vetting of applications and petitions for immigration benefits. Enhanced security screening (including review of social media accounts, phone numbers, and email addressed used in the last 5 years) could take effect quickly, and may delay processing at USCIS and at U.S. consulates. Please allow additional time for visa processing. Apply for the renewal as soon as you return home after the end of the current term. The visa interview waiver option is no longer available to many students. To verify whether you qualify for an exemption from an in-person visa interview, visa applicants should check the website of the relevant U.S. consulate for specific information, which is subject to frequent change.

Supreme Court rulings FAQS

Q. Based on the Supreme Court’s decision, who is banned from applying for a U.S. visa or entering the United States as of June 29, 2017?

Citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (the "six countries") who 1) do not fall into one of the exceptions listed in the travel ban, 2) are not eligible for a waiver, and 3) cannot otherwise show that they have a "bona fide" relationship with a person or entity in the United States, are banned from entering the US for 90 days.

Q. Who is exempt from the travel ban?

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the travel ban does not apply to foreign nationals who were inside the United States as of June 26, 2017, who had a valid U.S. visa as of 8 p.m. EDT on June 29, 2017 or who had a valid U.S. visa as of 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 27, 2017. No visas will be revoked solely on the basis of the travel ban. After their visa expires or they leave the United States, these foreign nationals will not be subject to the ban when they apply for a new visa or reentry, though they must still meet all admissibility requirements as usual.

The following groups of foreign nationals are also exempt:

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
  • Dual nationals traveling on a valid passport from a non-restricted country and a valid U.S. visa (unless visa-exempt);
  • Applicants for adjustment of status with a valid advance parole document;
  • Foreign nationals with a valid A, C-2, G or NATO visa;
  • Foreign nationals granted asylum;
  • Refugees already admitted to the United States and those with travel formally scheduled by the State Department;
  • Persons who have been granted withholding of removal, parole or protection under the Convention Against Torture; and
  • Foreign nationals with a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States.

Q. I’m a newly admitted student or a new employee at South Dakota State University. Do I have a "bona fide relationship?"

Yes, you qualify for the exception in the previous question. According to the court, "bona fide relationships" may include:

  • a foreign national that seeks to enter the U.S. to live or visit with a family member,
  • a student who has been admitted to a U.S. university,
  • a worker who has a job offer from a U.S. company, or
  • a lecturer invited to address an American audience.

Your spouse and children under the age of 21 should be able to obtain dependent visas to accompany or join you. Please note that you should still expect close questioning by U.S. consular officials, enhanced security screening is likely, and the wait time for your immigrant visa could be lengthy

Q. If someone is a citizen of one of the six countries and doesn’t qualify for one of the exceptions, can he or she apply for a waiver of the ban, and if so, what are the requirements?

The travel ban allows foreign nationals who are subject to the ban to submit a visa application to a U.S. consulate and explain and document during the visa interview why they should be granted a waiver from the travel ban. The waiver must be requested in your consular visa interview. In order to qualify for a waiver, a visa applicant would need to show that denying them a visa would cause undue hardship, that their entry to the US would not pose a threat to national security, and that it would be in the national interest to grant the waiver. At this time, we don’t know yet how difficult it will be to get a waiver, or what kinds of evidence a consulate would want to see before considering or granting a waiver.

The executive order suggests that a waiver may be appropriate for several classes of foreign nationals, including:

  • Canadian landed immigrants applying for a visa in Canada;
  • Persons with significant business or professional obligations in the United States or with significant contacts;
  • Nonimmigrants previously admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study or another long-term activity who are seeking to resume that activity;
  • U.S. government-sponsored J-1 exchange visitors;
  • Infants, young children (including adoptees), individuals needing urgent medical care and others with special circumstances justifying a waiver;
  • Persons traveling for purposes related to a qualifying international organization or for meetings or business with the U.S. government; and
  • Persons who are or have been employed by the U.S. government and can document "faithful and valuable service."

Waivers are highly discretionary and subject to strict eligibility criteria. As such, they may be difficult to obtain.

Q. How easy or difficult will it be to show that the ban doesn’t apply because of a bona fide relationship with a US person or entity?

This is unclear at this time. The Supreme Court did not describe what procedures the government must follow to make this determination. It simply provided the examples of bona fide relationships referred to above. We assume individuals who believe they have a sufficient relationship with a U.S. person or entity and the ban does not apply under the Supreme Court’s ruling would provide evidence of such relationship(s) at their visa interviews, just as they would if applying for a waiver. We will be monitoring this carefully and report back as required.

Q. Given the Supreme Court decision, how should individuals who may be impacted by the ban plan international travel?

While the ban is in place, foreign nationals from one of the six countries who are outside the U.S. and do not meet one of the exceptions and thus would need to apply for a waiver or show a bona fide relationship with a U.S. person or entity should plan carefully and consider obtaining legal advice before proceeding with a visa application. For those already in the U.S., carrying a passport from one of the six countries, and not falling into one of the exceptions, it would be wise to avoid international travel until the law and procedures are more settled, and in any case to seek counsel before departing the U.S.

Q, Does the Supreme Court decision impact the part of the ban pertaining to refugees?

Yes. Beginning June 29, 2017, refugees will be unable to enter the U.S. for 120 days unless they have already been scheduled for transit to the U.S., qualify for a waiver, or are able to demonstrate the type of bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S. as described above.

General questions about immigration statuses and travel

Q. Who at South Dakota State University can I contact to talk to about my immigration status?

The Office International Affairs is available to meet with faculty, staff, and students on a one-on-one basis to provide guidance. Information for international students and scholars and how to get in touch with OIA is available here: https://www.sdstate.edu/international-affairs/about-us OIA may refer individuals seeking additional legal guidance to an immigration attorney.

Q: I am not directly affected by the March 6, 2017 executive order, but I have heard about restrictions for electronics. Which airports or flights have restricted the use of electronics on board?

The aviation security enhancements require that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage at the following 10 airports where flights are departing for the United States:

  • Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
  • airo International Airport (CAI)
  • Ataturk International Airport (IST)
  • King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED)
  • King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
  • Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
  • Mohammed V Airport (CMN)
  • Hamad International Airport (DOH)
  • Dubai International Airport (DXB)
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)

Please click here to view the DHS Fact Sheet and to see a list of the prohibited large electronic devices.

Q. My visa is expired. Is my immigration status in jeopardy?

A visa is only used to gain entry to the United States. Once inside the U.S., the visa does not influence your immigration status. Consult with a member of the Office of Global Services if you would like to discuss your immigration status.

If you are outside the U.S. and must renew your visa, please note the following:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Department and the Justice Department to have implemented more stringent vetting of applications and petitions for immigration benefits. Enhanced security screening (including review of social media accounts, phone numbers, and email addresses used in the last five years) could take effect and may delay processing at USCIS and at U.S. consulates. Please allow additional time for visa processing. Apply for the renewal as soon as you return home as the visa interview waiver option is no longer available to many students. To verify whether you qualify for an exemption from an in-person visa interview, visa applicants should check the website of the relevant U.S. consulate for specific information, which is subject to frequent change.

Q. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued two memos related to increased immigration enforcement. How can I best protect myself if my legal status is challenged?

While DHS has prioritized certain individuals who have been involved in criminal or unlawful activity, DHS has extended "expedited removal" proceedings nationwide, rather than just within 100 miles of a border. People who are unable to show evidence of lawful immigration status in the U.S. can potentially face expedited removal from the U.S. without a hearing. This makes it imperative that individuals carry proof of legal status with them at all times.

  • F-1 students should carry photocopies of passports, I-20, printed copies of I-94, and EAD if applicable)
  • J-1 students should carry photocopies of passports, DS-2019, and printed copies of I-94
  • Faculty/Staff using temporary visas should carry photocopies of passports, I-797 approval notices, and printed copies of I-94
  • Permanent residents should carry their green cards

Also, we recommend you review the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website to know your rights: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights

Q. How can I obtain legal counsel?

Individuals who would like immigration-related legal advice can find attorneys through the following resources:

Immigration Advocates Network: https://www.immigrationlawhelp.org
1AILA Lawyer Search: http://www.ailalawyer.org/
Immigration Legal Directory: https://www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/legaldirectory/

Adapted from information provided by Georgetown University.