FAQs on Executive Order

June 30, 11:00 AM

UPDATE: On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings regarding the travel ban. The Court agreed to hear the administration's appeal of the lower courts' decisions against the ban, which will happen in the fall. The Court also held that until it decides the appeal, the government can reinstate and enforce certain parts of the ban. The parts of the ban that are no longer suspended should take effect on June 29, 2017, unless delayed by the president. The guidance below relates to the Executive Order issued on March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court decisions, and general advice. 


The Office of Global Services (OGS) is responsible for welcoming and supporting international students and scholars at Georgetown University.  This alert is for informational purposes only. OGS is closely monitoring the implementation of the March 6, 2017 Executive Order, Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To The United States, and will continue to update this website.

Supreme Court Rulings FAQS

Q. Where can I read the entire June 26, 2017 Supreme Court ruling?

www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-1436_l6hc.pdf

Q. Based on the Supreme Court's decision, who is banned from applying for a U.S. visa or entering the United States as of June 29, 2017? 

Citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (the "six countries") who 1) do not fall into one of the exceptions listed in the travel ban, 2) are not eligible for awaiver, and 3) cannot otherwise show that they have a "bona fide" relationship with a person or entity in the United States, are banned from entering the US for 90 days. 

Q. Who is exempt from the travel ban? 

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the travel ban does not apply to foreign nationals who were inside the United States as of June 26, 2017, who had a valid U.S. visa as of 8pm EDT on June 29, 2017 or who had a valid U.S. visa as of 5pm EST on January 27, 2017.  No visas will be revoked solely on the basis of the travel ban.  After their visa expires or they leave the United States, these foreign nationals will not be subject to the ban when they apply for a new visa or reentry, though they must still meet all admissibility requirements as usual.   

The following groups of foreign nationals are also exempt:

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
  • Dual nationals traveling on a valid passport from a non-restricted country and a valid U.S. visa (unless visa-exempt);
  • Applicants for adjustment of status with a valid advance parole document;
  • Foreign nationals with a valid A, C-2, G or NATO visa;
  • Foreign nationals granted asylum;
  • Refugees already admitted to the United States and those with travel formally scheduled by the State Department;
  • Persons who have been granted withholding of removal, parole or protection under the Convention Against Torture; and
  • Foreign nationals with a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States. 

Q. I'm a newly admitted student or a new employee at Georgetown. Do I have a "bona fide relationship"? 

Yes, you qualify for the exception in the previous question.  According to the Court, "bona fide relationships" may include: 

  • a foreign national that seeks to enter the US to live or visit with a family member, 
  • a student who has been admitted to a US university,
  • a worker who has a job offer from a US company, or 
  • a lecturer invited to address an American audience. 

Your spouse and children under the age of 21 should be able to obtain dependent visas to accompany or join you.  Please note that you should still expect close questioning by U.S. consular officials, enhanced security screening is likely, and the wait time for your immigrant visa could be lengthy 

Q. If someone is a citizen of one of the six countries and doesn't qualify for one of the exceptions, can he or she apply for a waiver of the ban, and if so, what are the requirements? 

The travel ban allows foreign nationals who are subject to the ban to submit a visa application to a U.S. consulate and explain and document during the visa interview why they should be granted a waiver from the travel ban.  The waiver must be requested in your consular visa interview.  In order to qualify for a waiver, a visa applicant would need to show that denying them a visa would cause undue hardship, that their entry to the US would not pose a threat to national security, and that it would be in the national interest to grant the waiver.   At this time, we don't know yet how difficult it will be to get a waiver, or what kinds of evidence a consulate would want to see before considering or granting a waiver. 

The executive order suggests that a waiver may be appropriate for several classes of foreign nationals, including:

  • Canadian landed immigrants applying for a visa in Canada;
  • Persons with significant business or professional obligations in the United States or with significant contacts;
  • Nonimmigrants previously admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study or another long-term activity who are seeking to resume that activity;
  • U.S. government-sponsored J-1 exchange visitors;
  • Infants, young children (including adoptees), individuals needing urgent medical care and others with special circumstances justifying a waiver;
  • Persons traveling for purposes related to a qualifying international organization or for meetings or business with the U.S. government; and
  • Persons who are or have been employed by the U.S. government and can document "faithful and valuable service."

Waivers are highly discretionary and subject to strict eligibility criteria.  As such, they may be difficult to obtain. 

Q. How easy or difficult will it be to show that the ban doesn't apply because of a bona fide relationship with a US person or entity? 

This is unclear at this time. The Supreme Court did not describe what procedures the government must follow to make this determination. It simply provided the examples of bona fide relationships referred to above. We assume individuals who believe they have a sufficient relationship with a US person or entity and the ban does not apply under the Supreme Court's ruling would provide evidence of such relationship(s) at their visa interviews, just as they would if applying for a waiver. We will be monitoring this carefully and report back as required. 

Q. Given the Supreme Court decision, how should individuals who may be impacted by the ban plan international travel? 

Currently the travel ban is set to expire on September 27, 2017, unless it is extended by the president. We cannot predict at this time if it will be extended. While the ban is in place, foreign nationals from one of the six countries who are outside the US and do not meet one of the exceptions and thus would need to apply for a waiver or show a bona fide relationship with a US person or entity should plan carefully and consider obtaining legal advice before proceeding with a visa application. For those already in the US, carrying a passport from one of the six countries, and not falling into one of the exceptions, it would be wise to avoid international travel until the law and procedures are more settled, and in any case to seek counsel before departing the US. 

Q, Does the Supreme Court decision impact the part of the ban pertaining to refugees? 

Yes. Beginning June 29, 2017, refugees will be unable to enter the US for 120 days unless they have already been scheduled for transit to the US, qualify for a waiver, or are able to demonstrate the type of bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the US as described above. 

Previous March 6, 2017 Executive Order FAQS

Q. What are the main components of the March 6, 2017 Executive Order?

Citizens and Nationals from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen will not be able to secure a visa to enter the United States for 90 days beginning on March 16, 2017, unless they first obtain a waiver, discussed below.  In addition, the Visa Interview Waiver Program is suspended so virtually all individuals seeking a non-immigrant visa will have to undergo an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate abroad.  Furthermore, refugees will not be admitted to the United States from any country for 120 days. 

More specific information regarding who is covered and exempt under the Executive Order, information regarding the issuance of waivers, and guidance for the Georgetown community can be found below.

Q. Where can I read the entire March 6, 2017 Executive Order?

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/06/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states

Q. When does the revised Executive Order go into effect?

The Executive Order was intended to go into effect on March 16, 2017 at 12:01am.  However, U.S. District Courts in Hawai'i and Maryland issued a nationwide temporary restraining order as well as an injunction, preventing the Government from enforcing the new executive order's entry ban.  The case has gone to the Supreme Court and you may find the Supreme Court ruling FAQs in the expandable section above. 

Q. Who is subject to the revised travel restrictions outlined in the March 6, 2017 Executive Order?

The Executive Order prohibits nationals of the six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from securing a visa to enter the United States for 90 days unless they qualify for an exemption or are granted a waiver.  Iraqi nationals are not subject to these restrictions, though they were covered by the original January 27, 2017 Executive Order.    

Q. Who is exempt from the March 6, 2017 Executive Order’s travel restrictions?

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders).
  • Holders of a valid U.S. visa, even if they have not yet used it. Visas that were provisionally revoked under the January 27, 2017 Executive Order should be valid for travel.  Foreign nationals with a visa that was physically canceled under the January 27, 2017 Executive Order may be entitled to a new travel document for entry to the United States.
  • Dual nationals traveling on a valid passport from a non-restricted country. Dual nationals must hold a valid U.S. visa or be visa-exempt.  Canadian landed immigrants are subject to the restrictions but may be eligible for a discretionary waiver (see below).
  • Foreign nationals holding a valid advance parole document.
  • Most foreign nationals holding a valid A, C-2, G or NATO visa.
  • Foreign nationals granted asylum.
  • Refugees already admitted to the United States and those with travel formally scheduled by the State Department.

Please note that the answers to the visa and admissions questions in this section were in relation to the March 6, 2017 Executive Order before parts of the Executive Order were suspended.  To see updated information, read the expandable Supreme Court Rulings FAQ section above.


Q. I was just admitted to Georgetown.   I am a citizen of one of the six countries identified in the Executive Order. Can I still apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa to study at Georgetown this summer or this fall?

Until the March 6, 2017 Executive Order takes effect, the State Department indicates that it will continue to process visa applications from nationals of the six restricted countries.  However, applicants should be prepared for lengthy security screening and the possibility that they may not be issued a visa before the new restrictions take effect. After Supreme Court decision if the Executive Order takes effect, there will be a 90-day waiting period before the restrictions are lifted, during which time the Executive Order prohibits the issuance of visas (both first-time visas and visa renewals) to citizens and nationals of the six identified countries unless a waiver is granted at the time of the visa interview.  During the interview,  the Department of State has the right to collect and review social media accounts, phone numbers, and email addresses used in the last 5 years.

The Executive Order permits Departments of Homeland Security and State to grant discretionary waivers on a case-by-case basis, when they determine: that issuance is in the national interest, the applicant poses no national security threat to the United States, and denial of the visa would cause undue hardship. Admitted students who wish to apply for a waiver should make and support the waiver request when they appear for their visa interview.  There will not be a separate waiver process. This means that visa applicants seeking a waiver must be fully prepared to provide evidence, including relevant documentation, of their eligibility for a waiver at the time of their interview.  

Students who intend to study in F-1 or J-1 status at Georgetown should request an immigration document from Georgetown as soon as possible.  There should be adequate time to apply for a visa to start study in Fall 2017 unless the restrictions are extended.  If you plan to arrive for a Summer 2017 program, you should request the waiver at your visa interview.

Q. I am a current student or scholar and a citizen of one of the six countries identified in the March 6, 2017 Executive Order. My current visa is expiring.  I hear I can request a waiver to the travel restrictions.  How do I request the waiver?

The Executive Order permits the Departments of Homeland Security and State to grant discretionary waivers of the entry restrictions.  Waiver applicants must show that a denial of entry would cause undue hardship and that their entry is in the national interest and would not pose a threat to national security.

The Executive Order suggests that a waiver may be appropriate for several classes of foreign nationals, including Canadian landed immigrants applying for a visa in Canada, persons with significant business or professional obligations in the United States, and nonimmigrants previously admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study or another long-term activity who are seeking to resume that activity.  Individuals who wish to apply for a waiver should make and support the waiver request when they appear for their visa interview.  There will not be a separate waiver process. This means that visa applicants seeking a waiver must be fully prepared to provide evidence, including relevant documentation, of their eligibility for a waiver at the time of their interview.  

At this time, OGS recommends that students and scholars who are citizens of these countries exercise caution and careful planning before finalizing international travel if their visa will no longer be valid on the desired return date.  

Q: If I request the waiver, but the consular officer determines that I do not qualify for a waiver, will my case be terminated? Can I apply for the visa again after 90 days have passed?

If a consular officer determines that you do not qualify for a waiver, you may reapply for your F-1 or J-1 visa using the same approved petition after the 90-day period in the Executive Order has passed. At that time, you should contact the embassy or consulate directly to schedule a new interview. If your medical exam results have expired by the date of your new interview, you must retake your medical exams.

If you are applying for a Summer 2017 program, please contact both OGS and your academic department immediately upon notification that you do not qualify for a waiver.  You will want to discuss the possibility of deferring your admission to the next possible start date of your academic program with your academic department. 

Q. I am not a citizen or national of one of the six countries identified by the revised Executive Order and need to travel abroad this summer. My student visa is expiring. Should I make plans to renew the visa over the summer break?

In addition to the entry restrictions, the President has issued a memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Department and the Justice Department to implement more stringent vetting of applications and petitions for immigration benefits.  Enhanced security screening (including review of social media accounts, phone numbers, and email addressed used in the last 5 years) could take effect quickly, and may delay processing at USCIS and at U.S. consulates. Please allow additional time for visa processing.  Apply for the renewal as soon as you return home after the end of the current term. The visa interview waiver option is no longer available to many students. To verify whether you qualify for an exemption from an in-person visa interview, visa applicants should check the website of the relevant U.S. consulate for specific information, which is subject to frequent change.

Q. Where can I find more information about the March 6, 2017 Executive Order?

The following DHS Fact Sheet and Q&A have more information about the implementation of the revised Executive Order:

Fact Sheet: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/03/06/fact-sheet-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states

FAQs: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/03/06/qa-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states

General Questions about Immigration Statuses and Travel

Q. Who at Georgetown can I contact to talk to about my immigration status? 

The Office of Global Services is available to meet with faculty, staff, and students on a one-on-one basis to provide guidance.  Information for international students and scholars and how to get in touch with OGS is available here:  http://internationalservices.georgetown.edu/  OGS may refer individuals seeking additional legal guidance to an immigration attorney.

Q. I am not directly affected by the March 6, 2017 Executive Order, but am worried about treatment by Customs and Border Protection agents at the airport.  What are my rights?

OGS recommends that you review the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website to know your rights: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights

Q: I am not directly affected by the March 6, 2017 Executive Order, but I have heard about restrictions for electronics.  Which airports or flights have restricted the use of electronics on board? 

The aviation security enhancements require that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage at the following 10 airports where flights are departing for the United States:

  • Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
  • Cairo International Airport (CAI)
  • Ataturk International Airport (IST)
  • King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED)
  • King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
  • Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
  • Mohammed V Airport (CMN)
  • Hamad International Airport (DOH)
  • Dubai International Airport (DXB)
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)

Please click here to view the DHS Fact Sheet and to see a list of the prohibited large electronic devices.

Q. My visa is expired. Is my immigration status in jeopardy?

A visa is only used to gain entry to the United States. Once inside the U.S., the visa does not influence your immigration status. Consult with a member of the Office of Global Services if you would like to discuss your immigration status.

If you are outside the U.S. and must renew your visa, please note the following:

The President has issued a memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Department and the Justice Department to implement more stringent vetting of applications and petitions for immigration benefits.  Enhanced security screening (including review of social media accounts, phone numbers, and email addresses used in the last 5 years) could take effect and may delay processing at USCIS and at U.S. consulates.  Please allow additional time for visa processing.  Apply for the renewal as soon as you return home as the visa interview waiver option is no longer available to many students.  To verify whether you qualify for an exemption from an in-person visa interview, visa applicants should check the website of the relevant U.S. consulate for specific information, which is subject to frequent change.  

Q. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued two memos related to increased immigration enforcement.  How can I best protect myself if my legal status is challenged?

While DHS has prioritized certain individuals who have been involved in criminal or unlawful activity, DHS has extended “expedited removal” proceedings nationwide, rather than just within 100 miles of a border.  People who are unable to show evidence of lawful immigration status in the U.S. can potentially face expedited removal from the U.S. without a hearing.  This makes it imperative that individuals carry proof of legal status with them at all times. 

  • F-1 students should carry photocopies of passports, I-20, printed copies of I-94, and EAD if applicable)
  • J-1 students should carry photocopies of passports, DS-2019, and printed copies of I-94
  • Faculty/Staff using temporary visas should carry photocopies of passports, I-797 approval notices, and printed copies of I-94
  • Permanent residents should carry their green cards

Also, we recommend you review the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website to know your rights: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights 

Q. I am a faculty or staff member at Georgetown University.  If a federal or state official requests information from me about a student at Georgetown, how should I respond?

Please review the protocol for responding to requests from federal or state officials for student information here: http://counsel.georgetown.edu/student_information_guidance

How can I obtain legal counsel?

Georgetown University has engaged a law firm to provide immigration consultations at no charge to Georgetown faculty, staff, scholars, and students directly affected by the latest Executive Order.  Georgetown faculty, staff, scholars and students who are citizens of, or were born in, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran, Syria and Yemen, and refugees from any country, who have questions about how the Executive Order impacts them, should make an appointment to meet with Rachel Rubin, Director of International Student and Scholar Services in OGS, who can connect affected community members to attorneys for legal advice.

Other members of the Georgetown Community who would like immigration-related legal advice can find attorneys through the following resources:

Immigration Advocates Network: https://www.immigrationlawhelp.org

1AILA Lawyer Search: http://www.ailalawyer.org/

Immigration Legal Directory: https://www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/legaldirectory/

Last Updated: June 30, 11:00 AM
 
The views of AILA are independent of and do not necessarily reflect the views of Georgetown University.