In January 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order banning all travel to the US of nationals from 7 Muslim majority countries. The order was immediately implemented with little guidelines and mass Travel Banchaos ensued at airports across the nation. A court placed an injunction on the first executive order. President Trump then signed a second executive order, rescinding the first and banning the travel to the US for travelers from six countries, which was also put under injunction before the executive order was able to take effect.

Today, the Supreme Court has partially lifted the injunctions against President Trump’s travel ban with the following exception:

The ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”  The Court states that “close familial relationship is required” to fulfill the “bona fide relationship” standard.  As for relationships with entities, the Court states that “the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading [Executive Order -2]”

The Court will hear the case in full this Fall when it reconvenes.

The travel ban applies to travelers from the following six countries:  Libya, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Sudan.  It does not apply to individuals with “green cards”.

What does this means?

  • Individuals coming from the affected countries may come to visit “close relatives” in the US, however, we don’t know how “close” is close enough?
  • Can students enter the US?  Yes, the Court specifically allows that.
  • Business travelers?   The Court states that “a worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience” will have the requisite relationship.   A causal business traveler does not appear to qualify.
  • Refugees? No, the Supreme Court allows the ban on refugees from these countries to take place for the time being
  • The Supreme Court states specifically that a “nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their exclusion.”
  • It seems that any relationship with an entity must have existed before the Supreme Court’s opinion issued today, or it will be treated with suspicion.
  • How is the exception enforced? Unclear. It appears travelers who have not applied for a visa will need to provide documents to demonstrate that they have “close relatives” in the U.S. or sufficient relationships with a U.S. entity at the time of the visa application. People who already have visas must be prepared to produce documents to prove the same at the time of arrival.

If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact the Immigration Team at Davis Miles McGuire Gardner at 602-733-6800 or email Jared Leung at jleung@davismiles.com.

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