Frequently Asked Questions
Questions About the Executive Order on Immigration Issued on March 6, 2017
The US Department of Homeland Security has a comprehensive set FAQs about the executive order issued on March 6, 2017. If your question is not answered in these FAQs, please contact Pitt's Office of International Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-624-7120.
Questions About the Executive Order Issued on January 27, 2017
What are the key points of this Executive Order?
President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) the afternoon of Friday, January 27, 2017 which, according to its introduction, is intended to “protect Americans.” The EO became effective as of the date of signing. Among the EO’s key provisions are the following:
- A 90 day ban on the issuance of US visas to and entry to the United States of anyone who is a national of one of seven (7) “designated” countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
- An immediate review by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of the information needed from any country to adequately determine the identity of any individual seeking a visa, admission or other immigration benefit and that they are not “security or public-safety threat[s]. This report must be submitted within 30 days and must include a list of countries that do not provide adequate information.
- The suspension of the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days.
- The implementation of “uniform screening standards for all immigration programs” including reinstituting “in person” interviews
- Requiring all individuals who need visas to apply for them in-person at US consulates, rather than allowing “mail-in” or drop-box applications.
What exactly does the 90-day ban prohibit?
The ban halts visa issuance and entry to the United States for affected individuals.
The US Department of State’s (DOS) consulates around the world are not permitted to issue visas to individuals who are nationals of a designated country. Consulates will deny pending visa applications of any individuals who fall within the scope of the EO – both nonimmigrant (temporary) visas, such as Bs, Fs, H-1Bs, etc. and immigrant visas for those seeking to become US permanent residents.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at border crossings, US airports and pre-flight inspection at certain foreign airports are not permitted to admit individuals who are nationals of designated countries or allow them to enter the United States, even if they have a facially valid visa or a green card.
Who is affected by the 90 day ban?
This ban applies to nationals of the seven (7) designated countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
What does it mean to be a “national”?
A national is a citizen of a particular country, someone entitled to hold the country’s passport. This encompasses someone born in the country or who is a citizen of the country. This may include individuals who were not born in the country but whose parents were, if such parentage entitles them to citizenship in that country. For example, someone born in Germany but whose parents were born in Iran, may be considered an Iranian under Iranian law, and therefore may be considered subject to the ban.
Does the ban include “dual” nationals? What if the individual was born in one of the 7 countries but is now a citizen of another country (e.g., Canada) and only holds that passport?
For the moment and until more information becomes available, we must assume that the ban includes dual nationals. We should assume that it includes those born in one of the designated countries even if they do not currently hold a passport from that country or no longer consider themselves a citizen of that country. Keep in mind that “country of birth” is listed on permanent resident cards and is usually listed on one’s passport and that CBP and DOS consular officers review these documents.
Concerning third country Canadians (i.e., someone whose place of birth is a designated country but who holds a Canadian passport), there have been reports that CBP at the US-Canada land border entry points is treating these individuals as Canadians. Please keep in mind that this information is completely anecdotal and that we have not heard any agency pronouncement confirming this.
Does the ban include permanent residents (“green card” holders)?
Yes, the ban is being applied to lawful permanent residents (LPRs). However, on January 29, 2017 Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly stated that in applying the provisions of the EO, the entry of lawful permanent residents is in the national interest. Accordingly, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in permitting entry.
Does the ban apply to someone who has just traveled to a designated country?
No. Unless the individual is a national of a designated country, the ban does not apply solely because he or she has visited one or more of the 7 countries. Travel to one of the 7 countries however may increase the likelihood of being questioned by CBP about the nature of the visit – why the person was in the country, for how long, etc. Such individuals may be placed in secondary inspection on arrival at a US airport so that CBP may question them about the purpose and nature of such travel.
Can an affected individual still board a plane and try to enter upon arrival at a US airport?
There have been reports of airlines refusing to board individuals who appear to be affected by the EO’s ban. Before making any travel plans, affected individuals should consult with the Office of International Services (OIS) at OIS.pitt.edu or call 412-624-7120.
Should affected individuals travel outside the United States?
Individuals who are affected by this ban must understand that if they depart the United States during the 90 day period, they will most likely not be able to return. This caution includes LPRs. The temporary halt in enforcing portions of the ban, discussed below, could end at any time. We caution affected individuals not to rely on the court’s temporary halt when making a decision to travel abroad. Before making any travel plans, affected individuals should consult with the Office of International Services (OIS) at OIS.pitt.edu or call 412-624-7120.
What about individuals who are outside the United States and want to return?
Airlines may refuse to board anyone who appears to be affected by the ban. Those who are able to board a plane almost certainly will be refused admission (entry) to the United States on arrival at a US airport. Anyone affected by the ban who is currently outside the United States should consult OIS before attempting to return in order to understand the current state of affairs, the risks involved and to develop a strategy based upon his or her individual circumstances.
How are the US consulates implementing the ban on visas?
There are reports that US consulates are cancelling the nonimmigrant and immigrant visa interviews of anyone subject to the ban.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has received reports that as of the evening of January 27, 2017, all U.S. embassies and consular posts received instructions to immediately suspend the issuance of nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for nationals of designated countries. The EO has an exception for nationals of the 7 designated countries who are applying for A, G, NATO, C-2 and C-3 visas; presumably affected individuals seeking A, G, NATO, C-2 and C-3 visas may still apply for and expect to receive these visas, if otherwise eligible. In addition, contractors working with the US embassies and consular posts have been instructed to cancel visa interviews for affected individuals.
How will the EO affect applications pending before the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?
While we do not yet know how USCIS will implement this directive, we assume that the agency will suspend the review and adjudication of applications of affected individuals. This may include adjustment of status applications, applications or petitions to change or extend nonimmigrant status, applications for employment authorization and advance parole travel documents; naturalization applications; and applications for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
What does the EO mean for the immigration status of someone who is in the United States?
The EO only impacts those who are applying for visas (nonimmigrant and immigrant), seeking entry, or actively applying for an immigration benefit (e.g., change or extension of status, adjustment to permanent resident, naturalization, and other benefits noted above).
Has Pitt changed its admissions practices based on the Executive Order?
At this point, and until there is more clarity regarding the situation, recruitment of faculty and students and other activities should proceed as usual. We will continue to evaluate information as it becomes available.