Many of our clients, including H-1B visa holders, are concerned about traveling outside of the US and returning in light of Mr. Trump’s recent executive orders. As of the time of this writing, the “travel ban” that was the center of one of the executive orders has been temporarily stayed. Therefore, travel has generally resumed to normal at least for now. However, this is subject to change in the future without advance warning. For now, it may be safest to remain in the United States and to postpone travel plans until more is known.
Keep in mind that Mr. Trump’s executive order affected only nationals from seven specific countries— Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. As of the time of this writing, a federal court has temporarily has lifted the travel restrictions placed on nationals from these seven countries. However, this is a temporary situation and is subject to change.
We have heard of vague reports of foreign nationals having trouble at US ports-of-entry, but details are unverified. We do not have any credible reports of green card holders or foreign nationals from a country other than one of the seven listed being turned away or unlawfully detained. That being said, if you are not a US citizen and you plan to travel outside the US and re-enter, you should keep in mind a few things:
- Although the travel ban has been temporary lifted, the US immigration environment right now is still precarious. You may face more questions while applying for a visa (visa stamping) or entering the US than in the past.
- Also keep in mind that although the ban has been lifted, the US consular officers and the CBP officers do have the discretion to deny a visa, to ask questions when you re-enter the US, or even to deny entry into the US even if you have a valid visa.
- There are widespread reports of CBP officer searching the phones of foreign nationals who are entering the US.
- If you do decide to travel, be sure to check your passport and travel documents for any expiration dates or other issues. Also keep a photocopy of your records in a safe place that is accessible by someone you trust.
We stand in solidarity with our foreign national clients, families, friends, and neighbors and hope to be able to safely guide our clients through these challenging times.
If you need assistance with a family-based or employment-based immigration matter, please contact our office at 804-396-3412 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can assist. We look forward to hearing from you!