The State department have now clarified exactly how the travel ban will be implemented, including its impact on DV lottery cases. The exact text of a cable sent to all embassies can be read here, and there is an announcement here, but I am going to clarify the impact below.

  • The travel ban goes into effect today at 8pm EDT and will last 90 days (although could be extended). In theory, that means the ban could be over 2 days before the end of the DV2017 year, and will “hopefully” have ended before DV2018 processing starts.
  • The travel ban affects people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This ONLY affects people from those countries. NO OTHER COUNTRY is affected.
  • DV lottery cases are impacted by the ban.
  • Anyone already with an ISSUED visa (i.e. stamped in your passport), or existing Green Card holder is automatically exempt from the ban and can continue with travel.
  • There are exemptions from the ban for the following cases.
    • Existing Green Card holders
    • People holding a visa ISSUED prior to the ban (today) (i.e. people issued that have not yet travelled).
    • People that were already in the USA on June 26th (i.e. Adjustment of status cases)
    • People that hold dual citizenship of another (not banned) country (but they must travel on the passport of the “other”  country).
    • Anyone with a  “bone fide” family relationship to a US resident. Family is defined for this purpose as a parent, spouse, child or siblng. This will include “in law” relationships such as a parent in law. ***UPDATE 7/14/2017*** – this definition has been widened to include ” grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts and uncles, ‎nephews and nieces, and cousins” (see this link)
    •  Anyone with a  “bone fide” family relationship to a US entity (such as company or college). This will have to be proven by documentary evidence showing the relationship existed r to the ban.
  • There is also the possibility of waivers for undue hardship where the entry would not pose a threat to the USA and would be in the national interest of the USA. This sort of waiver will be extremely rare.
  • DV case interviews already scheduled will go ahead and further interviews can take place. The interviews will proceed as normal and if the case can be approved on its merits the  CO will then consider the case against the terms of the travel ban. Interviews would therefore end as approved (because the person qualifies for an exemption) or “refused under 221(g) which is actually Administrative Processing (AP). Theoretically, cases under AP because of the ban could be approved and issued on the final 2 days of September *IF* the ban is not extended. However, that would be difficult in practice (logistically).
  • Cases currently on AP will continue to be processed, but will be subject to the terms of the ban when AP completes. So, in practice, such cases might finish “regular AP, only to be immediately placed back on AP due to the ban.

So – it is good that we have very clear definition – but this is obviously a huge blow to many applicants. People will obviously have their hopes raised by the end of the ban being a day or two before the September 30th deadline, but in practice, the window of time to get cases approved will be too small to help many, if any cases.

I realize this is a complicated subject, so please read this post a couple of times before asking questions.