Presidential Proclamation and new U.S. visa/travel restrictions

September 27, 2017

To our International Students:

On September 24, the White House released the Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists Or Other Public-Safety Threats.  The Proclamation created new travel restrictions on specific nationals of 8 countries – Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.  Additional details are available on the ISO “Major Immigration Updates” page and a summary follows this letter.

What you need to know

  • While the Proclamation outlines that waivers to visa issuance under these new restrictions will be considered on a case-by-case basis at time of visa application at U.S. Consulates, individuals subject to travel restrictions are advised to consult with the MIT International Students Office or MIT International Scholars Office, for guidance before planning any travel abroad.
  • If you are a citizen of any of the 8 designated countries, and have any questions concerning travel under the Proclamation, please feel free to contact me at the ISO.
  • If any student has questions concerning the Proclamation, or other matters impacting your stay at MIT, please do not hesitate to contact your ISO Advisor.
  • All travelers to the U.S., regardless of nationality, should expect increased security and vetting procedures both at U.S. Consulates abroad and at U.S. ports-of-entry. 

MIT continues to work closely to support our students, and all members of the MIT community, impacted by the Proclamation and other executive actions or legislation.   We understand the concerns and uncertainty that these changes in U.S. immigration policy create as you pursue your academic program at MIT. Please know that the MIT Administration, faculty, and staff are here to support you, and we encourage you to reach out to us if we can be of any assistance.

The ISO will continue to update the “Major Immigration Updates” page on the ISO website as additional information is received from the various government agencies.

Most sincerely,
David C. Elwell
Associate Dean and Director
MIT International Students Office 

 

PROCLAMATION SUMMARY

New travel restrictions on specific nationals of 8 countries – Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen

Under this new Proclamation, certain nationals of the eight designated countries are subject to travel restrictions as summarized below (unless exempted or if granted a waiver):

Chad:  No U.S. visitor visas (B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2); No immigrant or Diversity Lottery visas.
Iran:  No nonimmigrant visas except F and M student visas and J exchange visitor visas; No immigrant or Diversity Lottery Visas.
Libya:  No U.S. visitor visas (B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2); No immigrant or Diversity Lottery visas.
North Korea:  No nonimmigrant, immigrant, or Diversity Lottery visas.
Somalia:  Nonimmigrant visa applications subject to heightened scrutiny/review; No immigrant or Diversity Lottery visas.
Syria:  No nonimmigrant, immigrant, or Diversity Lottery visas.
Venezuela:  No U.S. visitor visas (B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2) for officials of designated Venezuelan government agencies.  Other visa holders are subject to verification of traveler information.  No restrictions on immigrant or Diversity Lottery visas.
Yemen:   No U.S. visitor visas (B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2); No immigrant or Diversity Lottery visas.

The Proclamation also provided the following updates on two countries designated by the previous Executive Order:

Iraq:  Nationals of Iraq are no longer subject to travel restrictions, but will be subject to additional scrutiny/review when applying for U.S. visas at U.S. Consulates and upon entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Sudan:  Has been removed from list of countries subject to travel restrictions, but will be subject to additional scrutiny/review when applying for U.S. visas at U.S. Consulates and at ports-of-entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

The following foreign nationals are NOT subject to the travel restrictions set forth by the Proclamation:

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents;
  • Dual nationals traveling on a passport from a non-restricted country;
  • Foreign nationals who were in the United States on the applicable effective date, regardless of their immigration status (can remain in the U.S. but would face difficulty returning to U.S. if they do not already have a valid visa in their passport);
  • Foreign nationals who have a valid visa on the applicable effective date (can still enter the U.S. from abroad);
  • Foreign nationals admitted or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date;
  • Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa (such as transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) that is valid on the applicable effective date or issued thereafter, that permits them to travel to the U.S. and seek entry or admission;
  • Foreign nationals traveling on a diplomatic/diplomatic-type visa, NATO, C-2, G-1, G-2, G-3 or G-4 visa (except certain Venezuelan government officials and their family members travelling on diplomatic type B-1, B-2, or B1/B2 visas);
  • Any foreign national who has been granted asylum by the United States;
  • Any refugee who has been admitted to the United States; and
  • Any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

The timeline for implementation of the components of the Proclamation are as follows:

Effective on September 24, 2017 (3:30pm Eastern Daylight Time)

  • Nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen are subject to restrictions if they were covered by the previous Executive Order/travel ban, unless they have a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States, are eligible for an exemption, or are granted a waiver.
  • Nationals of Sudan are no longer subject to restrictions.

Effective beginning on October 18, 2017

  • Nationals of all eight designated countries (Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen) are subject to country-specific travel restrictions, unless exempt or granted a waiver, as described below;
    • Nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S. are subject to the restrictions and limitations;
  • Visa appointments at U.S. Consulates will not be canceled for foreign nationals subject to restrictions based on the Proclamation. During visa interviews, consular officers will determine whether those applicants qualify for an exemption or waiver.

Please see an extended summary, and links to related resources, on the “Major Immigration Updates” page.