Donald Trump administration has set new travel rules and restrictions for citizens of six Muslim countries of the world. The move comes days after the US Supreme Court partially restored President Trump’s executive order, which was widely criticised as a ban on Muslims’ entry into the US. On Wednesday, new guidelines were sent to the US embassies and consulates with details of the rules and restrictions on the US visit of citizens of the six countries — Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen.
Here is all you need to know about the new set of rules implemented by the Trump administration:
- What the new guidelines say: The new guidelines say that visa applicants from six Muslim-majority countries must have a close US family relationship or formal ties to a U.S. entity to be admitted to the United States.
- Close familial relationship: It has been defined as having a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling, including step siblings and other step family relations.
- Who are not considered as close familial relationship: As per the guidelines sent to the US embassies and consulates, first reported by the Associated Press, close family “does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other ‘extended’ family members.”
- What is US entity: The US entity “must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the E.O.,” the letter said in reference to Trump’s March 6 executive order barring most US travel by citizens of the six nations for 90 days.
- The guidelines advice US consular officers on how to interpret Monday’s Supreme Court ruling that allowed parts of the executive order, which had been blocked by the courts, to be implemented while the top US court considers the matter.
- Exemption 1: The guidelines also gave several examples of what might constitute a bonafide relationship with a U.S. entity, and said broad categories would be exempt from the travel ban, such as those eligible for student visas, “as their bonafide relationship to a person or entity is inherent in the visa classification.”
- Exemption 2: Also, those eligible for family or employment based immigrant visa applications are exempt from the travel ban.
- Exemption 3: A worker who has accepted an offer of employment from a company in the United States or a lecturer invited to address an audience in the United States would be exempt from the travel ban.
- However, someone who simply made a hotel reservation would not count as someone with a bonafide relationship.
- Trump’s executive order had also imposed a 120-day ban on entry to the United States by refugees. The US Supreme Court order, however, said the ban did not cover those refugees “who can credibly claim a bonafide relationship with a person or entity” in the United States.
- The new guidelines are unclear on what US refugee agencies regard as a key question: whether their own dealings with refugees applying to come to the United States constituted a bona fide relationship.
- Diversity visas: The US consulates should continue to interview applicants for so-called diversity visas, which are granted to individuals from countries that typically do not send many immigrants to the United States.
- According to Reuters, around 10,500 citizens from the six banned countries were selected for the diversity visa lottery in 2015. The travel ban, however, will probably bar such visas for citizens of the six countries. The guidelines said, “We anticipate that very few DV applicants are likely to be exempt from the EO’s suspension of entry or to qualify for a waiver.” (With inputs from AP/Reuters)