Travel Ban

In September 2017, the Trump Administration announced its third iteration of a travel ban barring entry to the United States of individuals from a group of Muslim-majority countries with a few exceptions. The third travel ban went into effect on October 18, 2017. President Trump also announced a further expansion of the travel ban in January 2020.

The first travel ban announced in January 2017 caused confusion and chaos. After a federal court blocked the executive order, the president signed a second order on March 6, 2017  (Executive Order 13769) that banned travelers from six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria. That order was also challenged in court.

The Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold the Travel Ban in 2018, meaning the ban will remain in place indefinitely.

Important to Know

What countries are included in the travel ban?

Eritrea Suspends the entry of immigrants,  except Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government
Iran Suspends the entry of immigrants and all nonimmigrants, except F (student), M (vocational student) and J (exchange visitor) visas, though they will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements. 
Kyrgyzstan Suspends the entry of immigrants,  except Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government
Libya Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2). 
Myanmar (Burma) Suspends the entry of immigrants,  except Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government
Nigeria Suspends the entry of immigrants,  except Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government
North Korea Suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants.
Somalia Suspends the entry of immigrants, and requires enhanced screening and vetting of all nonimmigrants. 
Sudan Suspends the entry of immigrants who would be under the Diversity Lottery Program
Syria Suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants.
Tanzania Suspends the entry of immigrants who would be under the Diversity Lottery Program
Venezuela Suspends the entry of certain government officials and their immediate family members on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2). The ban does not apply to other individuals.
Yemen Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2). 

Sudan, Chad, and Iraq were also included in early travel bans, but they were later removed.

Who is barred from entering the United States under the travel ban?

Unless there is an exemption or an individual is eligible for a waiver, the travel ban restrictions apply to individuals in the designated countries who were:

  • Outside the United States on the effective date (Oct. 18);
  • Did not have a valid visa on the effective date (Oct. 18);
  • Did not qualify for a reinstated visa or other travel document that was revoked under the March 6 executive order.

 Who is exempt from travel ban?

  • Individuals who are lawful permanent residents of the United States.
  • Individuals admitted to or paroled into the U.S. on or after the effective date (Oct. 18) of the travel ban.
  • Those with a document (not a visa) that allows them to travel to the U.S. if the document is dated on or after Oct. 18 (for example, an advance parole travel document).
  • Dual-nationals traveling on a passport for a non-designated country.
  • Individuals traveling on diplomatic visas, NATO visas, C-2/UN visas, or G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 visas.
  • People granted asylum.
  • Refugees already admitted to the United States or granted withholding of removal, advance parole or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Are waivers available?

Case-by-case waivers are available only for people who can show:

  1. that being denied entry would cause undue hardship;
  2. that their entry does not pose a threat to U.S. national security or public safety; and
  3. that their entry would be “in the national interest.”

Media coverage (Reuters, Washington Post and more), however, has stated that only a limited number of waivers have been approved.