Decision By U.S. Court Temporarily Freezes Key Parts of Executive Order.
On February 3, 2017, the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order which prohibits the federal government from enforcing parts of the Executive Order that banned travel by “non-immigrants” and “immigrants” from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya for 90 days (a copy of the court order is enclosed). The judge’s ruling also prohibits the Executive Order’s freeze on refugee admissions, including the indefinite ban on Syrian refugee admissions.
Entry into the U.S. After this Ruling:
The U.S. District Court ruling means that right now, until a court rules otherwise, all officials at U.S. airports and other ports of entry are not allowed to prohibit entry to people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya who are traveling on valid visas and are otherwise admissible. Customs and Border Protection has received these instructions to allow entry to allow entry to people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya who are traveling on valid visas. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has also confirmed that it will not be enforcing the Executive Order’s ban on non-immigrant, immigrant, and refugee entry because of the U.S. District Court ruling.
The U.S. State Department has confirmed with American Immigration Lawyers Association that unless there are additional issues in the case, all valid visas that were revoked/cancelled by the Executive Order have been made valid again.
Airlines Allowing Travel:
The International Air Transport Association (which represent 265 airlines, over 83% of total air traffic), has issued the following statement after the U.S. District Court ruling: ‘The restriction for passengers with a passport issued by Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen who were not allowed to enter the USA has been lifted. It has been removed from Timatic, pending an official confirmation.’
Subsequently, the following airlines have also confirmed, in addition to the IATA statement, that they will board people from the 7 affected countries if they have valid visas: KLM; British Airways; Emirates Airlines; Qatar Airways; Etihad Airways; Air France; Egyptair; Lufthansa (list as of 11 am EST, 2/4/17).
The U.S. federal government has announced that it will ask the court to end this temporary freeze of its Executive Order “at the earliest possible time.” Therefore, if you are attempting to travel to the U.S. on a valid visa, you should attempt to get on a plane as soon as possible. It is possible that during your travel, the law may change and you may be detained at a U.S. port of entry.