Changes to USA border and immigration policy

USA update
Travel News 31 Jan 2017

**UPDATE 9 MARCH, 2017**

President Donald Trump has revised the travel ban to no longer include Iraq in the list of countries banned from travel to the United States. Furthermore, the revised ban advises that citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are holding a valid visa will be exempt from the ban. Citizens of the aforementioned countries will not be eligible to apply for new visas. FCM advises all passengers to err on the side of caution, recommending any passengers from the aforementioned countries consult their nearest US Embassy or Consulate. The order will become effective on March 16 for 90-days.

**UPDATE 5 FEBRUARY, 2017**

A tentative lift of President Trump's travel ban has allowed major airlines to resume boarding for citizens of the seven previously named countries with valid travel documents. Qatar Airways announced on Friday that it would allow passengers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to resume flying to US cities provided they had valid travel documents. Emirates and Etihad have since announced the same. 

Given the continuous moving pieces in this ongoing news, FCM recommends all travellers to consult the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi or US Consulate in Dubai prior to commencing travel. 

News broke over the weekend that President Donald Trump has signed a new immigration ban that could effect millions of travellers. Effective immediately, this new policy puts tougher restrictions on crossing the US border if you are a citizen of one of seven countries.

The executive order implements a 90 day travel ban for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. There are many moving pieces and constant updates regarding the new immigration ban and FCM strongly recommends all travellers refer to the US Embassy for confirmation on the changes prior to commencing travel. 

There have been some developments overnight - the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada have negotiated entry to the USA for their dual nationals. This means that people who are citizens of one of the seven banned nations and also citizens of the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada only, will be eligible to travel to the USA if they obtain the appropriate visa.  

We do strongly recommend that even if customers or staff are dual nationals who can now enter on a valid visa, that their status is confirmed through contacting their nearest US Embassy or Consulate

Please be aware that any new visa applications will likely take longer to process at this time so we should allow as much time as possible before travel to obtain these.

Who cannot enter the USA?

  • For the next 90 days: Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who do not also hold citizenship and a valid passport for the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada or New Zealand
  • These dual citizens (above) who do not have a valid visa to enter the USA
  • For the next 120 days: Any refugees from any nation
  • Indefinitely: Refugees from Syria

Who can enter the USA?

  • Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who also hold citizenship and a valid passport for the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada or New Zealand WITH a valid visitor visa to enter the USA (Please confirm this with the US Embassy before travel)
  • Citizens of visa waiver countries holding a valid ESTA
  • For the next 90 days: Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are also US citizens or permanent residents
  • For the next 90 days: On a case-by-case basis, citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are also US Green Card holders

If you think you may be impacted by these changes please contact your Travel Manager or refer to the US Embassy in Abu DhabiUS Consulate in Dubai or US Customs and Border Protection.