ASTA: Court Decision Narrows Travel Ban Criteria

by Richard D'Ambrosio
ASTA: Court Decision Narrows Travel Ban Criteria

The International Terminal at LAX. Photo: TimBray

A day after the Supreme Court approved a modified travel ban for individuals from six muslim-majority countries, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) said the decision offers a narrow scope though questions remain.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled the Trump administration can enforce a 90-day ban on travelers from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Syria, though it narrowed the scope to allow people with a “bona fide” relationship “with a person or entity in the United States,” as well as college students, employees and those having family members living in the U.S., to obtain visas and travel to the U.S.

The ban should be implemented in the next few days, and the State Department said it will work with the travel industry to implement the order with greater transparency.

“We will keep those traveling to the United States and partners in the travel industry informed as we implement the order in a professional, organized, and timely way,” spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

"At the end of the day, this is between the traveler and the consular office issuing the visa,” said ASTA spokesperson Erika Richter. ASTA said it is assisting member travel agents in complying with the order as it currently stands pending the Court’s review on the merits expected in October. 

“As it is imperative that the traveling public maintain confidence in an industry so vital to our nation’s economy, we ask that the Administration set clear implementation guidelines in the interim so uncertainty, and the travel disruptions likely to result, are kept to an absolute minimum,” ASTA said in a statement. 

“In the meantime, we align with the sentiment expressed by the U.S. Travel Association and other industry leaders that an overt message welcoming legitimate international travelers to the United States should accompany any security steps aimed at terrorists and those who overstay their visas.”

As terrorism and the travel ban blanketed media coverage this year, ASTA has had a visibly closer relationship with the U.S. State Department, and has been closely coordinating with the agency regarding understanding the particulars of measures like this executive order.

In April of this year, at the suggestion of Travel Market Report, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs launched a website with information and links travel agents use to manage client travel needs, including travel alerts and warnings as well as information on passports, preparing for a trip abroad and emergency assistance.

The site, which also offers links to the TSA PreCheck and Global Entry programs and information for cruise passengers, is available on Travel Market Report’s home page.

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