February 4, 2017

Court Suspends Trump’s Travel Ban

In the largest legal blow yet to President Trump’s Executive Order banning entry for individuals from Iran and six other countries, a U.S. judge has temporarily blocked Trump from implementing the travel ban. This is big news, though the ultimate outcome is still uncertain as the administration has promised to challenge the ruling.

The ruling has opened up a window in which individuals with current visas should be permitted to return. It also invalidates visa revocations undertaken during the implementation of the ban so long as the ruling remains in effect. However, we caution that Customs and Border Protection’s implementation of court rulings has proven inconsistent and the Department of State must still reinstate the visas it previously revoked.

If the court order is stayed, enforcement of the travel ban could resume immediately. Already, the White House has stated its intention to challenge this ruling vigorously. The Department of Justice will reportedly have an opportunity to argue for an emergency stay of the Court’s restraining order Monday at 5 PM. If the stay is granted then the opportunity to enter the US will be closed at least temporarily.

We caution that given the various legal challenges to the order, the situation remains very fluid. If you intend to return to the country then it is best to make immediate travel plans with short layovers to arrive as quickly as possible. The likelihood of this window of opportunity closing will increase significantly as the weekend comes to a close. Anyone attempting to return should be financially prepared to return to the destination of your last connecting flight if a change occurs while you are in transit. If you do travel it is highly recommended you begin your trip immediately and aim to arrive in the United States by or before Monday morning.

Separately, it is worth noting that recent decisions have all-but nullified the effect of the order on individuals with green cards and dual nationals traveling on a non-Iranian passport.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide our best judgment for what this ruling means for the Iranian-American community and visa holders of the seven targeted countries.

Update: A Department of State official has told CNN that it has reversed the cancellation of visas that were provisionally revoked following the Trump administration’s travel ban. However, the Department is warning that if a traveler’s visa was physically stamped as canceled, the visa needs to be reissued and so the person has to re-apply for a visa.

Update 2: The American Immigration Lawyers Association states that it has “confirmed with CBP that individuals who arrived last weekend and had their visas physically cancelled as a result of the [executive order] will not need to reapply for a new visa and absent any other admissibility issues will receive an I-193 waiver (Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa) upon arrival to the U.S. For those traveling by air, airlines have been instructed to contact CBP to receive authorization to permit boarding.”

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