President Trump’s Travel Ban takes effect at 8:00 p. m. ET Thursday. The implementation of the scaled back travel ban, criticized as a ban on Muslims, is a result of the Supreme Court partial restoration of Trump’s executive order.
The Trump administration implemented new measures for visa applicants—and refugees from the six predominantly Muslim nations with a “bona fide relationship” to a U.S. person or entity—a standard set by the Supreme Court on who can enter.
Under the new guidelines, visitors traveling from six majority-Muslim countries will be denied visas to enter the U.S., unless close family ties to someone already residing in the U.S., a workplace, university, or institution is proven.
International passengers arrive at Washington Dulles airport. Photograph: James L. Duggan/Reuters
On Monday, the Supreme Court partially lifted lower court injunctions against Trump’s executive order that had temporarily banned visas for citizens of the six majority-Muslim countries.
The Justices’ ruling exempted applicants from the ban if they could prove a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity. The court offered only broad guidelines — to include a relative, job offer or invitation to lecture in the U.S.—As to how that should be defined.
The State Department specified in the travel ban guidelines on Wednesday that new applicants from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible. The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations still awaiting approval for admission to the U.S.visas that have already been approved will not be revoked
To minimize confusion surrounding the “bona fide relationship” for visa applicants in the affected countries—grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, fiancé or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationships. The state guidelines were issued in a cable sent to all U.S. embassies and consulates late on Wednesday, with new rules taking effect at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, according to the cable, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
In addressing questions about business and professional entities, the State Department guidelines are as follows: A legitimate relationship must be “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading” the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban.
The exemption does not apply to anyone seeking a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules, according to the State Department’s guidelines. For example, a hotel reservation or car rental contract, even if prepaid, would also not count.
The State Department details possible exemptions in the guidelines: Consular officers may grant other exemptions to applicants from the six nations if they have “previously established significant contacts with the United States;” “significant business or professional obligations” in the U.S.; if they are an infant, adopted child or in need of urgent medical care; if they are travelling for business with a recognized international organization or the U.S. government; or if they are a legal resident of Canada who applies for a visa in Canada.
One of the largest airlines in the Middle East reports its flights to the United States are operating as normal amid new travel guidelines effective date.
Responding to questions on the Thursday’s travel ban, a spokesperson for the Dubai-based Emirates said the airlines “remains guided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on this matter.” Passengers traveling on the airlines were informed that they “must possess the appropriate travel documents, including a valid U.S. entry visa, in order to travel.”
Trump’s first travel ban led to chaos at airports around the world. The scaled back travel ban according to State Department guidelines exempt previously issued visas; therefore, similar problems are not expected. After a Judge had blocked Trump’s original ban, he issued the scaled-down order.
The Supreme Court’s action Monday further reduced the number of people affected by the travel ban. While the initial travel ban order took effect immediately, adding to the confusion, the scaled back travel ban was delayed 72 hours after the Supreme Court’s ruling.