As widely predicted, Trump has now revoked the earlier travel ban and issued a new order. The new order is available to read here and has broadly similar impact to the first with some exceptions.

  1. Iraq is removed from the list of countries affected. This is because the government of Iraq is co-operating with the USA and there are numerous Iraqis that have been helpful to the USA in their efforts in the region. This is explained in the new EO.
  2. Many of the clumsy aspects of the first order have been addressed. So, for instance, the ban does not apply to Green Card holders OR people holding approved visas (like DV applicants that have been approved but not yet entered).
  3. There are clear explanations of how people such temporary work visa holders are unaffected by the ban. There is a long list of exceptions described to ease case by case waivers to be issued very easily for some unaffected groups.
  4. People from banned countries holding dual citizenship of a non banned country will be allowed to travel.
  5. The ban will be effective on March 16, BUT for some DV cases the impacts will be immediate as they will most likely cancel interviews. I don’t know how they will handle cases in process right now that could in theory be issued before the ban is effective.

However, the ban does stop ongoing processing for 6 countries. This will mean that DV selectees from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen will be affected. They will find their interviews are cancelled or not scheduled (as we have seen for some people for April interviews).

This ban for DV cases will last 90 days. Given that the government have had 6 weeks to work on this, I don’t think the ban will be struck down as easily as the ban issued in January. There will be legal challenges to the ban but the extraordinary measure of relief via a restraining order will be harder this time because the new ban is better worded and has had broad input therefore less easy to challenge. It is likely therefore that the ban is in force for 90 days while legal challenges try to attack it. But of course, the ban will be in effect during that time.

This is extremely impactful to some cases. For Iranians for instance, the earliest interviews will not happen now before June or July. Given the long period of AP that Iranian cases often endure, there will not be enough time to complete AP before the year end. The year end deadline will not be extended for any case for any reason. So – whilst Iranians still have a chance of approval if their case does not need AP, there is now a big problem for Iranians not already approved.

For Iranians or any other affected cases currently on AP, the AP background checks will most likely continue. But those cases will be held on AP until after the ban is lifted, even once the background checks are cleared.

There is a chance that countries that continue to not co-operate could have their ban extended beyond the 90 days. For Iranians in particular (whose government is actively NOT co-operating with the USA) this is troubling – but OBVIOUSLY we cannot be sure what will happen. We can only wait and see.

Now, try and remember I am not a lawyer and I have only had the new EO for a few minutes. I just wanted to get the news out but I cannot be 100% clear on the specifics about the order until I have had a lot more time to study it closely. So – if you ask questions about this, don’t be surprised to get the answer “I don’t know”.