Last updated on September 14th, 2017 with elements about the future of the travel ban. On September 24th, 2017, the President of the United States issued a new executive order that essentially replaces the first version of the travel ban described in this post.
Who were the target of the first travel ban?
Citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
When did the ban start, and when did it end?
June 26th, 2017 after a U.S. Supreme Court decision, for period of 90 days. The current version of the ban expired on September 24th, 2017. That same day, a new ban was issued.
Did the first ban have an impact on family-based green cards?
No, applicants eligible as immediate relatives for a family-based preferences were exempt from the first ban.
Were existing visas revoked?
No. Those who had a visa on January 14th, 2017 or June 19th, 2017 were allowed to keep using their visa.
Could the first ban be overcome?
Yes, applicants who have a ‘close’ family relationship with someone in the United States were still be able to obtain a visa.
Which family relationships could overcome the ban?
People with the following relationship with someone in the United States could still apply for a visa:
- Spouse (or fiancé);
- children (young or adult);
- parent (including parent-in-law);
- sibling (including half-sibling).
The following relationships were added by a U.S. court, effective September 12th, 2017:
- brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law;
- aunts, uncles;
- nieces, nephews;
Were step-relationships allowed?
Yes, step relationships (stepchild, stepparent, or step-sibling) are eligible.
What is next for the first ban?
A different ban was be enacted, but the two bans are still a bit intertwined. Also provisions from the first ban as it relates to refugees still apply. What is going to happen with the U.S. Supreme Court (which was supposed to hear cases about the first ban later this year) is unclear.
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In August 2017, the President of the United States endorsed a 'merit-based' immigration system which would change significantly the existing family-based green card process.