01.30.17

Advice on International Travel

Posted in Changes in Law, Policy at 11:11 pm by Lalita Haran

Last week on January 27th 2017 President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) announcing a travel ban on Nationals from the following seven countries:
Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

The ban is in effect for the next 90 days, and in the case of refugees, 120 days. International travelers, regardless of whether they held a nonimmigrant visa, lawful permanent residence (LPR), or are coming in with immigrant visa approvals, with nationality from these 7 countries (including the ones with dual nationality) were being detained upon arrival at U.S. airports. They had their visas cancelled, were detained and then were deported, incurring a 5-year bar on re-entry. Reportedly, this was happening even before the EO was effective. Consulates are cancelling visa interviews.

Federal Courts in different parts of the country have stayed the President’s Executive Order, the first being the Federal District Court in New York. Attorneys are reporting that detentions are still taking place in LAX airport.

Many LPRs are being allowed to enter upon a showing that they are needed in national public interest and granted waivers. The White House changed its position and now stating that LPRs are of national public interest.

Now, the determination whether the affected people should enter U.S. or not, is being made at the airports in foreign countries. That means these international passengers are being stranded in foreign countries because they are not allowed to board U.S. bound flights, and they are required to buy a return ticket to home country.

This situation would stay until a firm policy is formed, so stay tuned. There is plenty of confusion among the authorities responsible to enforce the EO, and Consulates are cancelling scheduled visa appointments. So far, I have not heard reports of nationals from other countries being stranded.

Therefore:

In-order to avoid unpleasant surpises do not travel for next 90 days although the ban is not automatically lifted at the end of 90 days. (U.S. will form a policy during this time on how they would process travelers from these countries.)

If you are coming to the United States but refused entry, you can ask to speak to a lawyer. It is better to seek advice if you have a pre-planned trip. It is possible for the officer to ask questions on whether you support terrorism, have been part of any such organizations etc. Or, if you traveled upon

If you are arriving at a U.S. Port and are denied entry, remember that you have rights and can ask to speak to a lawyer. Sometimes, the officers ask you uncomfortable questions to make sure you do not support terrorism or a like organization, may check your social media accounts.

LPRs may be asked if they were absent from U.S. for more than 6 months. If yes, you would be asked additional questions to determine if you abandoned your LPR status.

Certain officers ask that you must give up your greencard and sign a form I-407. DO not sign I-407 if the officer tries to convince you that it would be better for you, unless you want to give away your LPR status.

Remember, upon landing at U.S. airports, you have rights and can ask to speak to a lawyer.