Everything you need to know about the US visa ban
As expected, President Trump has signed an executive order to ban visas for citizens of seven MENA (Middle East and Africa) countries. More than 130 million people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen will be banned from entering the United States for the next 90 days. And over the weekend, this caused mass confusion in US airports.
For many, the details of the executive order are vague. Especially for duel-passport holders. Here’s a brief explanation of what the ban means:
- Entry to the US is now banned from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for the next 90 days.
- This ban includes US green card holders, who will require additional screening before they enter the country. If you are a green card holder from one of the seven Muslim-majority countries, you will need to contact a US embassy or consulate in order to undergo a screening.
- Dual-nationals also fall under the visa ban. This means that if you have a passport from one of these seven countries but also, for example, hold a British passport, you may not enter the country for 90 days. However, this is a grey area, as it’s not quite clear what the rules are for determining who is a dual-national.
- Meanwhile, refugee admissions to the US have been stopped for 120 days, while Donald Trump looks to tighten the vetting process.
- The Syrian refugee programme has been suspended, with no clear idea when or if this will be lifted.
As you can imagine, this hasn’t gone down well. As well as mass confusion in airports, there have been protests across America. In Brooklyn, where the American Civil Liberties Union were looking to place an emergency block on the executive order, a crowd stood chanting, “Let them stay, it’s the American way.”
Visa ban block
An Iraqi who worked for the US Army, and one who is a US contactor, filed a lawsuit to dispute the ban, after they were denied entry at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York over the weekend.
On Saturday, the judge ruled that holders of immigrant and non-immigrant visas cannot be deported. This emergency ruling means that those who were travelling or passing through the airport when the ban was signed, were allowed entry to the country.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has advised citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, who are already in the US, not to leave the country at the moment in case they will not be allowed back in.
As you can tell, it’s all quite unclear at the moment. If you hold a passport from one of the seven listed countries, even if you already have a visa granted, and you’re able to change/delay you travel plans, it’s probably best to do so.