New Travel Restrictions Issued as Previous Order Ends

On Sunday, September 24th, the President issued a new order regarding travel restrictions. The proclamation, signed hours before the previous travel ban expired, impacts eight countries including five from the original ban.

The proclamation, which carries the same weight as an executive order, imposes more severe restrictions than the previous bans. While edicts are tailored to address each country’s individual security risk, restrictions are indefinite: a stark departure from earlier 90-day limitations.

The five countries from the previous ban are: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. New nations include Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. Seven out of the eight countries essentially face blanket travel bans, while Venezuela’s restrictions are highly segmented.

Travel Restrictions by Country

Previously Restricted Nations

Iran is under a broad travel ban due to being uncooperative with the U.S government’s new screening requirements. However, the administration made exceptions for students and exchange visas, though these travelers will be subject to enhanced screenings.

Both Libya and Yemen’s citizens are unable to immigrate or visit, for business or leisure, the United States. The countries face this edict for two reasons: neither country has the technology to effectively identify or screen their travelers, and both nations are suspected of containing terrorist networks.

Citizens of Somalia are also unable to immigrate to the U.S. However, short-term visitors are allowed if travelers submit to additional scrutiny. The country did meet minimum security standards but faces restrictions due to terrorism-related risks segments the nation poses.

While Syria faces a similar blanket ban as Libya and Yemen, it is for vastly different reasons. The two previously mentioned nations, besides suspected terrorist activity, lack the technical capacity to meet requirements. Syria, on the other hand, reportedly failed to cooperate with the U.S government entirely.

New to Travel Restrictions List

Despite the administration’s assertion that Chad is a valuable counter-terrorism partner, the country faces sanctions. Chad nationals are unable to visit or immigrate to the U.S due to the country’s lacking technical capacities; the nation also poses a threat due to potential terrorist groups within or around the country.

In addition to growing nuclear tensions, North Korea was added to the banned list due to a lack of cooperation related to information sharing. All North Korean citizens are denied entry into the U.S indefinitely.

Venezuela is the only nation not subject to an all-encompassing ban; only Venezuelan government officials and their families are subject to travel restrictions. The U.S government identified these individuals as being responsible for inadequate information collaboration, allowing citizens to retain the ability to enter the U.S.

For the nations newly singled out by the proclamation, travel restrictions will take effect beginning October 18th. For nations included in the previous ban, new restrictions are effective immediately. However, individuals in these countries who have a ‘bona fide relation’ to the U.S can apply for visas up until October 18th.

It’s important to note that, while Iraq failed to meet minimum security requirements, the administration did not impose any travel restrictions. Iraq, the subject of January’s travel ban but not the March revision, maintains a close relationship to the United States. The country has also made advancements to its passenger screening capabilities. For these reasons, travelers may continue to enter the U.S under heightened scrutiny.

Sudan, the sole nation from the previous order not included in the third iteration, no longer faces travel restrictions. The nation was excluded from the new edict due to its cooperation and active engagement in counter-terrorism efforts.

Framework for Travel Ban Determinations

Unlike previous orders, the most recent travel ban is based on an extensive, global review of security risks. When making new determinations, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considered factors such as a country’s:

  • Ability to establish citizen’s identity, whether through issuing biometric or ePassports, or by providing additional information on an applicant if requested;
  • Willingness to provide biometric and/or biographical data on an individual’s criminal history or suspected involvement with terrorism;
  • Status as a known or potential safe haven for terrorism, and other considerations

Countries currently singled out by the proclamation can have sanctions lifted or adjusted if they meet minimum security requirements. Conversely, new countries may face restrictions if at any point they fail to meet base security measures.

Going forward, a report analyzing foreign countries’ security risk will be compiled every 180 days and will determine which countries are added, augmented, or removed from the travel ban. The DHS Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence, is responsible for maintaining the report. Once completed, the findings are submitted to the President, who will review and make determinations based on the information.

As with the previous bans, the new travel restrictions do not apply to the following:

  • Legal, permanent residents of the United States;
  • Dual nationals traveling using documents from an non-impacted nation;
  • Individuals with diplomatic visas;
  • Travelers who hold previously approved visas;
  • Individuals granted asylum; and
  • Vetted refugees

The previous ban’s constraints on refugee admissions are still in effect, though they will expire by late October. The administration is expected to announce new regulations regarding refugees in the near future.

The Supreme Court originally scheduled hearings regarding the previous travel ban’s legality for October 10th. The Court removed the two cases – Trump vs. International Refugee Assistance Project and Trump vs. Hawaii – from its calendar. However, the Supreme Court asked parties from both cases to file briefs on whether recent events have negated the need for additional hearings. These briefs are due on Thursday, October 5th, at which point the Court will determine whether or not to reschedule the hearings.


We will be providing updates as new developments unfold; stay tuned.

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