The Trump administration has issued a new travel order, to take effect March 16, imposing a 90-day freeze on new visas for citizens of six majority-Muslim nations. But it alleviates many of the other rules that have ensnared travelers worldwide since the original order in January, which caused protests and confusion at U.S. airports, blocked travelers who should legally have been allowed to enter the United States, detained others in airports abroad, and caused many travelers to pull back on international travel plans.
The new rules, signed by President Trump in an executive order today, block travelers from Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen from entering the country, and stop the issuance of new visas. But green card holders are not affected by this order, and neither are visa holders from Iraq.
Travelers who have already been admitted to the country for “a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity,” will be allowed to apply for visas on a case-by-case basis, as will those with “significant business or professional obligations.” Foreign travelers seeking to visit or live with family also will be able to apply on a case-by-case basis, and, generally, those who hold current visas should be able to leave and enter the country with no problems.
Exceptions also will be granted to legal permanent U.S. residents, dual nationals who use a passport from another country, and those who have been granted asylum or refugee status.
“This executive order responsibly provides a needed pause, so we can carefully review how we scrutinize people coming here from these countries of concern,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby said “the process for rolling out this new order appears improved but again we intend to keep a close eye on these developments as they unfold. Minimizing uncertainty and disruption is important to allowing the traveling public to maintain confidence in an industry so vital to our nation’s economy.”
A federal district judge in Washington State suspended the initial “travel ban” on Feb. 3. Six days later, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California upheld that decision. A federal court in Virginia also opposed the ban in a separate decision for Virginia residents.
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow called the new order “substantially more cautious and deliberate,” but added that “unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the administration fully seized the opportunity to differentiate between the potential security risks targeted by the order and the legitimate business and leisure visitors from abroad who support 15.1 million American jobs.”
"The question remains whether the revised order did enough to mollify the prospective traveler from Canada, Europe, or elsewhere around the world who may have been put off by the initial travel ban. If undecided voters need to hear certain things to be motivated to get out and vote, then the same is true for undecided travelers.”
Dow said that "solid data on the January 27 executive order's impact on inbound travel will become available in the coming weeks. We are confident that administration officials have adequately prioritized national security, but we hope they are open to adjusting their approach to address economic objectives as well. We also continue to urge that the security reviews prescribed by the executive orders be concluded as quickly as possible."