FAQs on Executive Order

March 17, 2017 10:00 AM

UPDATE: The U.S. District Court in Hawai'i issued a nationwide temporary restraining order, preventing the Government from enforcing the March 6,2017 executive order's entry ban. The guidance below relates to the Executive Order issued on March 6, 2017. 


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.

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, on March 15th, the U.S. District Court in Hawai'i issued a nationwide temporary restraining order, preventing the Government from enforcing the new executive order's entry ban.

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.

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 on March 16, 2017, 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 March 16th, 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.

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 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. 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. 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

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

No. 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.

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

Q. 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: March 17, 2017 10:00 AM
 
The views of AILA are independent of and do not necessarily reflect the views of Georgetown University.