What Are The Recent Developments In Regard To The Travel Ban?

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On March 6th, 2017, the President signed an executive order, called an EO, to seek to block nationals from 6 countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—from entering the US for 90 days. It was a straight ban—anybody from any of those 6 countries, whether they had visas already or were going to apply for visas. Shortly thereafter, the Federal courts in Maryland and Hawaii blocked the ban. Following this, there were appeals to the 9th and 4th Circuit Courts. There are various circuit courts that each covers a number of states. The 9th Circuit is the circuit that covers Hawaii, plus California and the other western states, while the 4th Circuit is the federal court that covers Maryland and other Eastern states.

At this point, the entire travel ban was blocked. The US Attorney General then took the appeal to the Supreme Court. They allowed the ban to be enforced on the nationals of those 6 countries, only if they lacked a bona fide relationship or a close connection with an individual or entity in the US. Following this announcement, US Customs and Border Protection and the State Department came up with definitions for close family relationship and close relationship with an entity. It was determined that in order for someone to be exempt from the order, that a close family relationship meant a relationship including with a parent, parent-in-law, a spouse, a child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or a sibling. Exemptions from this order did not initially allow fiancés, but they have been recently added.

The order doesn’t include grandparents or grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law or sisters-in-law or any other extended family. After these definitions were released, the state of Hawaii filed an emergency motion asking for a judge to clarify the definition of close family. In other words, the state of Hawaii felt that this was too broad, and the federal government just issued their response and to justify why those “relationships” are not close “family.” The Supreme Court decided that grandparents are included.

There are separate definitions for what constitutes a close relationship with an entity. A couple of examples are if someone is applying for a student visa, and they are going to a particular school, that would be considered a close relationship with the school or the university. If somebody gets a job offer and they are going based on a work visa, that’s a close relationship. If they are a journalist and working for some sort of media, that’s a close relationship. If you are coming to the US just as a visitor, and have no relatives, that isn’t a close relationship. If a lecturer were invited to address an audience in the US, this would be a close relationship to an entity. However, if you only have a hotel reservation, that isn’t a close relationship. These are examples of what will work and what won’t.

Are There A Lot Of EB-5 Investors That Originate From The Countries That Are Banned?

There are not many EB-5 investors that originate from these countries, but there are some. An individual who is investing in an EB-5 visa is actually investing in a project. Therefore, they have a close relationship with the entity, as a limited partnership, where they have their investment that their application is based on. It has been determined by the government that individuals who already have or are applying for EB-5 visas. As a matter of fact, anyone who has a visa as of the 29th of June is automatically exempt. Anybody who has a green card, period, is exempt. Anyone who is already in the US is exempt. Any dual national, let’s say you are a national of the UK and Iran and you have passports from both countries, if you are coming in on your UK passport, you can come in to visit anybody. If you are coming in on your Iranian passport, you can only come in and visit the people who are close relatives. Because of this, it would make sense for you to come in on your UK passport.

This travel ban only applies to people who are applying for new visas at US consuls as of the 29th of June. However, we do recommend that anyone, even if you have a visa, to take an abundance of caution. You never know who you are going to get at immigration when you enter the US, even if you technically had a visa as of June 29th. You should be able to come in and do whatever you want, but we are telling people just in the abundance of caution, assuming they do have proof that they are coming in to visit a close relative, that they should bring that. If you are coming in for a job, bring the proof of that. The reality is you shouldn’t need it, unless you’ve just gotten a visa, and you’ve already shown the consul this information to get the visa.

For more information on Travel Ban On 6 Countries, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (310) 477-3000 today.

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