New Travel Restrictions to Take Place March 16 (03/16/17)

Update!  On March 15, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order on the second executive order seeking to enact a travel ban. The Hawaii ruling blocks provisions that would have frozen the refugee program for 120 days and blocked most citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the U.S. for a period of 90 days. Earlier this morning, a federal judge in Maryland blocked the 90-day suspension of entry. Other aspects of the executive order, including the reduction in number of refugees allowed to resettle in the U.S., were not blocked by either injunction. The Department of Justice is reviewing the decision and considering its options, which may include an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. This page will be updated as further developments unfold.

The White House has revoked the executive order announced on January 27, 2017 and has issued a new executive order that takes effect on March 16, 2017. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), beginning on March 16 and, “(f)or the next 90 days, foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen who are outside the United States on the effective date of the order, do not currently have a valid visa on the effective date of this order, and did not have a valid visa at 5:00 eastern standard time on January 27, 2017, are not eligible to travel to the United States.”

The DHS calls the restriction a “temporary suspension” and says, “(t)he 90-day period will allow for proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals.” DHS provides the following information:

Green card holders and dual citizens may continue to travel to the U.S., and individuals that hold a valid U.S. visa may travel to the U.S. for the remaining validity of their visa. The DHS fact sheet outlines the following exceptions to the restrictions:

“The Executive Order does not apply to certain individuals, such as lawful permanent residents of the United States; foreign nationals admitted to the United States after the effective date of the order; individuals with a document that is valid on the effective date of the order or any date thereafter which permits travel to the United States; dual nationals when travelling on a passport issued by a non-designated country; foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic, NATO, C-2 for travel to the United Nations, G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visas; and individuals already granted asylum or refugee status in the United States before the effective date of the order.  

DHS and the Department of State have the discretionary authority, on a case-by-case basis, to issue visas or allow the entry of nationals of these six countries into the United States when a national from one of the countries demonstrates that the denial of entry would cause undue hardship, that his or her entry would not pose a threat to national security, and that his or her entry would be in the national interest.”

While the legal and arts community continue to study the order more fully, here are the key ways the new rules intersect with travel by artists:

For all artists globally:             

  • The Visa Interview Waiver Program (VIWP) is immediately suspended, and all nonimmigrant visa applicants must have in-person interviews. Previously, some artists have been able to waive the interview requirement if they were collecting a visa less than 12 months after a prior visa expired. The elimination of the VIWP option will create more demand for consular appointments, so artists should allow extra time for the visa approval process abroad.
  • Vetting and screening procedures will be heightened at all levels of the immigration process. Again, artists should allow extra time for the visa approval process.

For individuals traveling on passports from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen:

  • Visas issued before March 16, 2017 may continue to be used for the duration of their validity, and any individual with a revoked or cancelled visa as a result of the prior, January 27, 2017 Order is entitled to a travel document for travel and entry to the United States. After March 16, 2017, nationals from the list of six countries will no longer receive visas, even if their visa classification has been approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • The new Order allows for exceptions and case-by-case waivers, although the terms for these exceptions and waivers are not clear at this time.
  • If an artist who is citizen of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen is also a citizen of another country not on the list (for example, a citizen of both Iran and Canada), s/he WILL be allowed to receive a visa and travel to the U.S. PROVIDED the visa is stamped into the passport from the non-banned country and the artist is traveling on the passport from the non-banned country. However, dual citizens should still expect "heightened vetting and screening procedures."

We will continue to update this page as further information becomes available.