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What You Need To Know About The USA Immigration Ban

Published February 1st, 2017

News broke over the weekend that US President Donald Trump has signed a new immigration ban that could affect millions of travellers. Effective immediately, this new policy puts tougher restrictions on crossing the US border if you are a citizen of one of seven countries.  What does the new immigration ban mean for you?

Here's the FAQ on what we know at this time.

** UPDATE 1/2**

There have been some developments about the executive order to ban citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days.

The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand (NZ is yet to be formally confirmed) have negotiated entry to the USA for their dual nationals.

This means that people who are citizens of one of the seven banned nations and also citizens of Australia, the UK, Canada or (to be confirmed) New Zealand only, will be eligible to travel to the USA if they obtain the appropriate visa.  

Who cannot enter the USA?

  • For the next 90 days: Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who do not also hold citizenship and a valid passport for the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada or New Zealand.
  • The above dual citizens who do not have a valid visa to enter the USA.
  • For the next 120 days: Any refugees from any nation.
  • Indefinitely: Refugees from Syria.

Who can enter the USA?

  • Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who also hold citizenship and a valid passport for the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada or New Zealand with a valid visitor visa to enter the USA.
  • Citizens of visa waiver countries holding a valid ESTA.
  • For the next 90 days: Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are also US citizens or permanent residents.
  • For the next 90 days: On a case-by-case basis, citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are also US Green Card holders.

Even if you are a dual national who can now enter on a valid visa, we recommend you confirm your status by contacting your nearest US embassy or consulate, and obtain that confirmation in writing.

Please be aware that any new visa applications will likely take longer to process, so allow as much time as possible before travel.

If you do not hold dual citizenship and your travel plans have been disrupted, please contact your Student Flights travel expert for more information.

What did the executive order implement?

Along with new policies surrounding refugees, a  90-day ban will also be placed on entry to the USA for all citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – it is this ban that will have the largest impact on travellers.

Does the ban include dual nationals?

Yes.  People who have dual citizenship of a visa waiver country and one of the countries listed above will be affected by the ban.  This includes those who have automatic citizenship through their fathers excluding Iraq.  These changes are in addition to being ineligible for an ESTA due to changes in the program last year.

What if I am a citizen of one of the seven countries but have a current visa for the USA?  Can I travel?

Initially this was not clear. Over the weekend, people with valid visas were denied entry to the USA.  If you have a valid tourist visa, student visa or working visa and you are a citizen of one of these seven countries, you will be denied boarding.

I had to obtain a visa for the USA because I visited one of these countries since March 2011.  Can I enter the US?

Yes. This ban is based solely on citizenship.  If you have a valid visa, you will be allowed entry.

What if I am a citizen of one of these seven countries but I have a Green Card or residency for the USA?

Green Card holders will be admitted entry on a case-by-case basis and will have to contact their closest US embassy/consulate for advice.  It was announced this morning by the US Secretary of Homeland Security that permanent residents will be permitted entry.  You can read more about this HERE.

I am a citizen of one of these seven countries and a US citizen. Can I travel to the US?

Yes. If you hold a current and valid US passport, you will be admitted to the USA.

Will there be any changes for travellers from a visa waiver country?

At this stage there will be no changes.  If you are a citizen of Australia, New Zealand, the UK or any visa waiver country your entry is not restricted as long as you hold a valid ESTA. The ban only applies if you are also a citizen of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen.

How long will the ban be in place?

As it stands, the ban will be in place until 27 April 2017. We are unsure what will happen beyond the end of April at this time.

I am affected by this ban and due to travel within the next 90 days. What should I do?

Unfortunately, unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances, you will not be able to travel.  We recommend you contact your nearest US embassy/consulate for confirmation.

For all affected Student Flights customers that are due to travel, we will waive all change and cancellation fees for all departures within the next 90 days (up to and including 27 April 2017). Please contact your Travel Manager for more information.

Where can I find additional information about travelling to the USA at this time?

Here's a list of helpful websites with information about visas, US Embassies and travelling to the USA:

The US Customs and Border Protection website

The US Department of State

US Embassy & Consulates in Australia

Smart Traveller