7 March 2017
FAQ: US Border and Immigration Executive Order
Disclaimer: This FAQ does not constitute visa advice. Visa advice can be obtained from the US Department of Homeland Security or your nearest US embassy or consulate. Please also refer to the ESTA FAQ.
On 06 March 2017 a revised executive order was issued by the President of the United States which among other things, imposed a ban on entry to the USA for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days. This new travel ban takes effect from 16 March 2017 and as it stands, would deny these citizens entry to the USA until at least 14 June 2017.
This replaces the previous travel ban which was overturned by the Federal Court. It is important to note that the ACLU and other organisations intend to dispute this order also.
Who is banned this time?
People who are citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen will be denied entry to the USA from 16 March 2017. Iraqi citizens were previously included and are now exempt.
There is a 120-day suspension on the entry of any refugees (including Syrian refugees who were previously banned indefinitely).
What are the exceptions?
There are some important exceptions:
• Citizens of any of these six countries listed above who hold
an existing visa, US citizenship or a Green Card to enter the USA that was also valid as at 27 January 2017, will be able to enter from 16 March.
• Dual citizens of one of the six listed nations and another (not listed) country may apply for a visa to enter the USA from 16 March 2017. Please note: these people should travel on a passport other than the one they have for the banned country.
• Citizens of these countries who are inside the USA at the time of this ban are exempt but may not be able to return if they leave the USA.
• Certain diplomats and government officials.
• Hardship cases (on a case-by-case basis)
I am an Iraqi citizen. Can I travel freely to the USA now?
You are not banned from entry but you will still require a visa.
How do I apply for a US visa?
We strongly advise that you apply for your visa at least two months prior to travel. The process may be expedited but it is best to allow as much time as possible.
You should begin your visa application here: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/
I am a dual national as described above but I do not currently have a valid passport for my other country of citizenship. Can I still get a visa?
No. You will need to obtain a passport for your ‘other’ country of citizenship in order to apply for your US visa.
We strongly recommend that anyone who has any questions about their travel status or visa validity contacts their nearest US embassy or consulate (contact information below).
Can my travel consultant contact the US consulate on my behalf?
It is best if you contact the consulate yourself due to the personal nature of the information and the identity verification they will require. You should have your passport details handy when you are speaking to the consulate.
I have visited one of the six banned countries since 01 March 2011. Can I travel to the US?
Please also see the ESTA FAQ. Whether a citizen of one of the six countries or not, you will require a visa to enter the USA if you have visited Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen since 01 March 2011. You must contact your nearest US consulate or embassy for further advice.
I am not a citizen of one of these countries, nor have I visited any of them since 01 March 2011. What do I need to do to travel to the USA?
If you are a citizen of a visa waiver country (including Australia, New Zealand, Britain) you will be required to hold a valid ESTA. Please see the ESTA FAQ.
I was affected by the previous ban and adjusted my travel arrangements accordingly. Can I change them again since I can now travel?
Please speak to your travel consultant. Our airline and wholesale partners are working with us to help all of our affected customers. We will do all we can to re-accommodate you.
Will this all change again?
Unfortunately, it may as we have already seen significant changes to the original executive order in the past few weeks. We suggest that you stay in close contact with your travel consultant and continue to refer questions to the US embassy or consulate nearest you.
US Consulate in Hong Kong: +852 2523-9011 or https://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/index.html
US Consulate in Beijing + 86-10 8531-4200 or http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/
*Valid as at 0900 on 7 March 2017*