Trump Administration Expands Travel Ban

On January 31, 2020, the Trump Administration announced an expansion of Executive Order 13780 to include six new countries: Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar (Burma).

By way of background, prior to January 31, 2020, President Trump previously prohibited the issuance of some visas and travel to the United States for certain citizens of Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela. This list was later modified by eliminating Chad and Iraq from the travel ban.

Under Executive Order 13780, not all travel to the U.S. is prohibited. For each country identified in the travel ban list, the President prohibited the issuance of certain types of visas. For more information regarding the travel ban and how it applies to each country’s nationals, click here.

In this new proclamation released last Friday, President Trump confirmed that his administration will continue to bar travel to the United States for some citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea, as well as Venezuelans political officials. President Trump indicated in the proclamation that these countries continued to lag behind other countries in sharing information regarding potential terrorist threats. For these reasons, the travel restrictions would continue to apply to many citizens from these countries.

In addition, the White House’s announcement on Friday identified these six additional countries, and identified the types of visas that could not be issued. Specifically, the ban prohibits nationals from Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar obtaining immigrant visas to enter the U.S. as lawful permanent residents. Further, the ban prohibits entry for nationals of Sudan and Tanzania as Diversity Visa (lottery) immigrants. In an interesting turn, the President stated that nationals from these six countries can still apply for non-immigrant visas and anyone outside of the U.S. with a currently valid immigrant visa, can still enter the U.S. Equally important, this travel ban does not preclude individuals who are in the United States in a valid status from applying for permanent residence through the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). This version of the ban will go into effect February 21, 2020.

Individuals who are citizens of these countries should consult with experience immigration counsel in order to understand whether this Executive Order applies to them.