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Update on Travel Ban – Ban Does Not Apply to U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (“Green Card” Holders)

3 Feb

Confirmed Facts

Recent updates to the executive order issued last Friday that imposed a travel ban on foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen:

  1. The White House has issued a memorandum confirming that the order does not apply to U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents.
  2. Dual citizens who have citizenship in one of the 7 designated countries and another country may travel to the United States, however they must present a passport issued by the other country.
  3. S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officials have confirmed that individuals who believe they may be eligible for a waiver of the ban may apply for a boarding letter at their U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The boarding letter must then be presented in order to board a flight to the United States.

Rumors

Lufthansa boarding banned passengers on flights to Boston – Lufthansa reportedly advised that the travel ban does not apply on flights to Boston until February 5, 2017, due to a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in place blocking implementation of the ban in the affected jurisdiction (Boston area). The order was issued on January 30th, to remain in place for 7 days. Accordingly, based on the TRO, Lufthansa had at one point posted on its website, “All passengers with valid travel documents are eligible to board on LH-flights to Boston.”

However, the post is no longer available on the Lufthansa website via the same link, and it is unclear if the airline still plans to board passengers from the seven designated countries. The Department of State had provisionally revoked visas in the passports of foreign nationals from the affected countries. Accordingly, it is possible that a facially valid visa may no longer be valid for travel. Travelers should be aware that they may likely not be allowed to board a Lufthansa flight to Boston, especially if a passport/visa scan at the airport indicates that the visa has been revoked.

Because visas have been revoked, and because the post does not appear to be on the Lufthansa website at this time, travelers should not rely on this rumor unless further clarification is provided to ensure reliability of the information.

Additional countries – for several days it has been rumored that other countries, such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Philippines, Colombia or Venezuela, may be added to the travel ban list. Federal officials have responded to this rumor by confirming that there are no plans to add these or any other countries to the travel ban list.

Foster advises anyone unsure of the applicability of the ban to consult immigration counsel before making final travel plans.

For answers to frequently asked questions, please review our updated Fact Sheet and join us on Tuesday, February 7th for a webinar covering the latest updates on this fluid situation.

Foster LLP will continue to closely monitor these travel issues. We will provide additional information in future Immigration Updates©, on our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com, and at our upcoming Immigration Update© seminars.