The Supreme Court decision means that citizens of the listed countries will continue to be submuject to travel restrictions identified in the September 24 Presidential Proclamation.  The ban does NOT revoke the immigration status of people from those countries who are already here in the U.S.  It also does not invalidate existing visas.  Individuals who have a valid visa can use the visa to travel, with the expectation that they will likely be subject to enhanced screening upon entry into the country.

Exceptions to the ban on travel

A:  The following individuals are not subject to the travel ban and can continue to travel to the US:

  • Foreign nationals in the US on the effective date of the Presidential Proclamation (regardless of immigration status on that date);
  • Foreign nationals with a valid visa as of the applicable effective date of the Presidential Proclamation for that individual;
  • Lawful permanent residents (i.e. “green card” holders) of the US. 
  • Foreign nationals admitted or paroled into the US on or after the applicable effective date;
  • Foreign nationals who have a document other than a visa – such as a transportation letter or advance parole document – valid on the effective date;
  • Any dual national of one of the listed countries, who is also a national or citizen of a different country not listed, provided the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-listed country;
  • Foreign nationals traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, NATO visa, C-2 visa for travel to the UN, or G-2, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa;
  • Foreign nationals who have been granted asylum to the US; refugees who have already been admitted to the US; or individuals who have been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Note that the only countries currently officially banned from issuing either F-1, J-1, or H-1B visas (the most common visas to affect JMU students, faculty and staff) are North Korea, Syria, and Somalia, which do not allow any nonimmigrant visa to be issued, unless a waiver is granted.  With those exceptions, individuals from the affected countries who have valid paperwork to study or work at JMU are not barred from applying for a visa.  Note, however, that a visa issuance is always discretionary and we have no way of knowing whether any specific visa will be granted.

Waivers to the ban on travel

Immigration officers (whether consular officer or Customs & Border Protection) may, in their discretion, grant waivers based on the following criteria:

  • Denying entry would cause undue hardship;
  • Entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the US; and
  • Entry would be in the national interest.

The Proclamation provides the following examples of circumstances that may warrant a waiver, permitting travel to the US:

  • The foreign national has been previously admitted to the US for a continuous period of work, study or other long-term activity and is seeking to reenter the US to resume that activity and denying reentry would impair that activity;
  • The foreign national has previously established significant contacts within the US but is outside the US on the effective date for work, study or other lawful activity;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the US for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the US to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g. spouse, child or parent) who is a US citizen, green card holder or alien on a nonimmigrant visa and denial would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
  • The foreign national is an infant, young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstance of the case;
  • The foreign national has been employed by, or on behalf of, the US government;
  • The foreign national is traveling for purposed related to certain international organizations;
  • The foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident;
  • The foreign national is traveling as a US government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
  • The foreign national is traveling to the US at the request of a US government department or agency for law enforcement, foreign policy or national security reasons.

These are not guaranteed “waiver” fact patterns.  They are merely examples of fact patterns that “may” warrant a waiver.  Statistical and anecdotal evidence from around the world suggests that waivers are extremely unlikely to be approved.

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