On Monday, June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court partially lifted the lower courts' preliminary injunctions and agreed to hear arguments pertaining to President Trump's revised Executive Order, which was released on March 6, 2017 and has been blocked by the courts.

The Supreme Court ruling allows immediate implementation of portions of Trump's travel ban, which bars travel into the United States by nationals of six impacted countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. However, the Court ruled that nationals of the six countries who have "a credible claim of a bona fide relationship" to a U.S. person or entity may continue to receive visas and travel to the United States. In addition, individuals from the six countries who are U.S. permanent residents, dual nationals and holders of valid visas  may continue traveling to the United States. The Court will hear full arguments on the case in its next term, which begins in October 2017.

In response, the U.S. State Department issued new guidelines to U.S. embassies and consulates on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Enforcement of the guidelines will begin at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, June 29, 2017 and continue for a 90-day period.

Foreign nationals from the six countries who are not subject to the travel restrictions include:

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
  • Dual nationals traveling on a passport from a non-restricted country;
  • Applicants for adjustment of status with valid advance parole;
  • Individuals granted asylum in the United States;
  • Admissible U.S. visa holders; and
  • Individuals admitted as a refugee or awaiting admission and whose travel has been formally scheduled by the U.S. State Department.

The Supreme Court ruling expanded the above list of exemptions to include:

  • Foreign nationals with a bona fide relationship with a person in the U.S. The State Department's new guidelines permit travel for applicants who seek to enter the United State to visit or live with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling (whole or half) in the U.S. The guidelines state that other family members, including fiancées, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and any other "extended" family members will not be considered "close family" under the Executive Order.
  • Foreign nationals with a bona fide relationship with an entity in the U.S. For a relationship to exist with an entity, the relationship must be formal, documented and arise in the ordinary course. Students who have been admitted to a U.S. university, a worker who has accepted an offer of employment from a U.S. company, or a lecturer invited to address a U.S. audience will meet the requirement.

Foreign nationals of a restricted country must be prepared to show their U.S. ties when applying for a visa or entry to the United States. We recommend that foreign nationals document and expect to be closely questioned by consular and border officials about their ties to the United States. 

We will continue to monitor the implementation of President Trump's Executive Order.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.