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TRAVEL ALERT : Warning to Individuals From Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen

On January 27, 2017, the new administration issued an Executive Order which suspends "entry into the United States" of individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days (and possibly longer). The affected individuals include the following:

• Individuals who hold US non-immigrant and immigrant visas, and who hold passports from the listed countries,
• dual citizens who hold passports from a country not listed, but are nationals of one of the listed countries (unless the country of dual citizenship is the US),
• refugees from the listed countries. 

Over the weekend, there were reports that US permanent residents and those with U.S. immigrant visas from these listed countries were also being barred entry to the US.  Government officials have now publicly stated that US permanent residents are NOT barred from travel to the US, although US permanent residents should expect additional screening upon return from international travel.  US citizens who were born in these countries should also be able to travel, but should also expect additional screening.  Additional screening should be expected by anyone in any immigration status who is returning to the US following a visit to one of the 7 listed countries.

The Executive Order specifically does not bar travel for those traveling on diplomatic visas (A visas), NATO visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4 visas; they may, for the time being, continue to travel and to return to the United States without restriction.

There are a number of lawsuits already filed which challenge the legality of the Executive Order, and several federal courts have issued Temporary Restraining Orders ruling that the Executive Order appears to violate constitutional principles as well as the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Following these decisions, the administration released memos reiterating their commitment to the Executive Order.  The Executive Order explicitly allows for additional countries to be added to the current list of affected nationalities during or after the initial 90 day period.  

In short, the situation is fluid, and subject to change at any time.  Any individual who holds a passport from or is a national of one of the listed countries is advised not to travel outside the United States until they have consulted an immigration attorney.  Any individual who holds a passport from or is a national of one of the listed countries who is already outside the US is advised not to attempt to re-enter the US until they have consulted an immigration attorney.