On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the Trump administration’s motions for emergency stays of preliminary injunctions issued by U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland. The preliminary injunctions had prohibited the government from fully enforcing or implementing the entry restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 9645, “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats” to nationals of six countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. The Supreme Court’s orders allowed the government to implement those restrictions fully beginning December 8, 2017, until related litigation is resolved. The District Court injunctions did not affect implementation of entry restrictions against nationals from North Korea and Venezuela. Those individuals remain subject to the restrictions and limitations listed in the Presidential Proclamation. The Proclamation does not restrict the travel of dual nationals as long as they are traveling on the passport of a non-designated country.

The Department of State (DOS) issued a statement on December 4 providing guidance on several details related to the travel ban. Among other things, the statement said:

We will not cancel previously scheduled visa application appointments. In accordance with the Presidential Proclamation, for nationals of the eight designated countries, a consular officer will make a determination whether an applicant otherwise eligible for a visa is exempt from the Proclamation or, if not, may be eligible for a waiver under the Proclamation and therefore issued a visa.

No visas will be revoked pursuant to the Proclamation. Individuals subject to the Proclamation who possess a valid visa or valid travel document generally will be permitted to travel to the United States, irrespective of when the visa was issued.

We will keep those traveling to the United States and our partners in the travel industry informed as we implement the order in a professional, organized, and timely way.

The DOS provided the following details on the travel restrictions by country:

Nationals of the eight countries are subject to various travel restrictions contained in the Proclamation, as outlined in the following table, subject to exceptions and waivers set forth in the Proclamation.

Country Nonimmigrant Visas Immigrant and Diversity Visas
Chad No B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Iran No nonimmigrant visas except F, M, and J visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Libya No B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visas No immigrant or diversity visas
North Korea No nonimmigrant visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Somalia No immigrant or diversity visas
Syria No nonimmigrant visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Venezuela No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas of any kind for officials of the following government agencies[:] Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Immigration;the Corps of Scientific Investigations, Judicial and Criminal; the Bolivarian Intelligence Service; and the People’s Power Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and their immediate family members.
Yemen No B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visas No immigrant or diversity visas

The DOS statement provides the following list of exceptions:

The following exceptions apply to nationals from all eight countries and will not be subject to any travel restrictions listed in the Proclamation:

a) Any national who was in the United States on the applicable effective date described in Section 7 of the Proclamation for that national, regardless of immigration status;

b) Any national who had a valid visa on the applicable effective date in Section 7 of the Proclamation for that national;

c) Any national who qualifies for a visa or other valid travel document under section 6(d) of the Proclamation;

d) Any lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States;

e) Any national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date in Section 7 of the Proclamation for that national;

f) Any applicant who has a document other than a visa, valid on the applicable effective date in Section 7 of the Proclamation for that applicant 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;

g) Any dual national of a country designated under the Proclamation when traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;

h) Any applicant traveling on a diplomatic (A-1 or A-2) or diplomatic-type visa (of any classification), NATO-1 -6 visas, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; except certain Venezuelan government officials and their family members traveling on a diplomatic-type B-1, B-2, or B1/B2 visas[;]

i) Any applicant who has been granted asylum; admitted to the United States as a refugee; or has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Exceptions and waivers listed in the Proclamation are applicable for qualified applicants. In all visa adjudications, consular officers may seek additional information, as warranted, to determine whether an exception or a waiver is available.

Meanwhile, the 9th and 4th Circuits held arguments on the travel ban on December 6 and 8, 2017, respectively. Both courts are likely to issue rulings relatively quickly. The cases are then likely to go to the Supreme Court.

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