Trump’s Travel Ban: What It Means for Businesses

January 31, 2017 | Corporate

On January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order that temporarily restricts visitors from seven countries deemed to harbor terrorists. The order suspends for 90 days the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States by foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants waivers on a case-by-case basis.  These seven countries were previously identified by DHS under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 (VWPI).  Under the VWPI, individuals who had visited these seven countries after March 2011 were ineligible for the visa waiver program, which allows foreign nationals from certain countries to enter the United States with only their foreign passports.*

The new travel restrictions can disrupt your business if you aren’t prepared.  This alert will provide you with the information necessary to make difficult businesses decisions in a changing environment.

When sending employees oversees, be aware of the following information, which is current as of January 31, 2017:

  • Employees who attempt to enter the United States with a valid visa (such as H-1B, L and B) and a passport from one of the seven countries could experience significant delays in entering.
  • The country from which the employee departs is irrelevant. For example, a foreign national from Yemen with a valid H-1b visa who attempts to enter the United States after traveling to Canada would be subject to the order and would need a waiver to enter.
  • The executive order does not apply to U.S. citizens from one of the seven countries who attempt to enter with their U.S. passports.
  • DHS will generally grant waivers to foreign nationals from the seven countries, if they are lawful permanent residents of the United States and seek to enter with a permanent resident card (a.k.a “green card”).
  • The current list can be expanded to include other countries, and therefore, business owners must stay informed on the latest developments


* Several States have challenged the constitutionality of the executive order’s travel ban in federal court.  In that lawsuit, the federal courts have temporarily enjoined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from enforcing the travel ban nation-wide until the court issues a final decision.  DHS has confirmed that it is no longer enforcing the travel ban and is conducting inspections according to its standard procedures.

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