Breaking news! Executive Order expected later today may affect travel for thousands of non-immigrant visa holders and immigrants

According to a draft Executive Order obtained by major media, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, President Trump seeks to suspend immigrant and non-immigrant entry into the U.S. by foreign nationals from countries referenced in the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act. That Act, passed in December 2015, included a provision that restricted the use of the visa waiver program by dual nationals of certain countries and by persons who had recently visited certain countries. According to CBP, the countries on the list (and those we expect to be affected by this Executive Order) include: 

  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Iran
  • Sudan
  • Libya
  • Somalia; and,
  • Yemen.

Accordingly, any foreign nationals from those countries, whether in the U.S. on temporary visas (including but not limited to F-1 students, E-1 and E-2 treaty traders/investors, E-3 Australians, H-1B professionals, J-1 exchange visitors, L-1 intercompany transferees, O-1 aliens of extraordinary ability, R-1 religious workers), or as permanent residents should be aware that if they travel outside the U.S., they risk not being re-admitted to the U.S. 

In addition to not granting re-entry into the U.S. for visa and green card holders from the countries listed above, the proposed Executive Order references the suspension of issuance of visas and other immigration benefits to nationals of those countries. It remains unclear how long delays will be for those seeking adjudication of a visa, admission to the U.S. or other benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"). 

Although it has been widely circulated in the press, the proposed Executive Order is not yet final. The wording could be changed and it is also possible that such an order ultimately may not be implemented. We share this information with you so can be prepared for the actions the new administration is considering taking imminently. We encourage you to visit our website for further updates and details. 

Temporary Protected Status extended for El Salvador and Syria

On July 8, 2016, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced that Temporary Protected Status ("TPS") for El Salvador has been extended for an additional eighteen-month period. The new period will now expire on March 9, 2018.  Applications for TPS extension must be received between July 8, 2016 and September 6, 2016. Salvadorans who already have TPS and who also have employment authorization will receive an automatic extension to their Employment Authorization Document ("EAD") for an additional six months upon applying for a new EAD. In order to qualify for TPS, applicants must prove they are Salvadoran nationals and that they have continuously resided in the United States since February 13, 2001.
Similarly, Secretary Johnson announced on August 1, 2016 that TPS for Syria has been re-designated and extended. Re-designation means that nationals of Syria may register for TPS for the first time if they have continuously resided in the U.S. since August 1, 2016 and will be able to show they have been physically present in the U.S. since October 1, 2016 (the effective date of the re-designation). USCIS will accept initial applications from Syrian nationals for TPS from August 1, 2016 until January 30, 2017. Syrian nationals who have already been granted TPS may extend their TPS for an additional eighteen months but must apply for the extension during the re-registration period that runs from August 1, 2016 through September 30, 2016. A complete explanation of the eligibility requirements can be found on the USCIS TPS website