6/28/17 - Department of State Clarifies Exemptions, DHS & CBP Issue FAQs for Travelers

June 29, 2017

June 28 U.S. Department of State cable provides guidance for consular officers regarding implementation of Executive Order 13780 (E.O.) in visa issuance and exemptions from the suspension of entry. Notably, the cable seems to indicate that F-1, J-1, H1-B, TN, O-1, and Permanent Residents would appear to be exempt from the travel ban. Berkeley International Office continues to wait for further information as implementation of the order goes into effect.  The EO's  90-day suspension of entry goes into effect worldwide at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) June 29, 2017. 

The cable reconfirms the June 26 Supreme Court decision that Suspension of entry and/or visa issuance is only for those who lack a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” According to the Dept of State, suspension of entry would only apply to those without qualifying relationships unless they are eligible for an exemption or waiver. 

What is a Bona Fide Relationship?
The cable states thatSuspension of entry does not apply to "applicants with a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the US- close family relationship or entity relationship that is formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the E.O. If an applicant has established eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa in a classification other than a B, C-1, D, I, or K visa, then the applicant is exempt from the E.O., as their bona fide relationship to a person or entity is inherent in the visa classification." 

What is Close Family?
The cable defines close family as "a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships. 'Close family' does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other 'extended' family members."

Department of Homeland Security, Department of State and Customs and Border Protection FAQs
Department of Homeland SecurityDepartment of State , and Customs and Border Protection have each posted a set of Frequently Asked Questions for travelers.