Presidential Proclamation (Travel Ban): Update from the International Center

On September 24, 2017, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation titled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats.”   The proclamation restricts visa issuance and entry to the United States for citizens/nationals of eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.  Citizens/nationals of Sudan are no longer subject to travel restrictions.

The following is based on our current understanding of the aspects of the Presidential Proclamation that most directly impact university community members and are described in the Proclamation, the Fact Sheet and FAQ issued by the White House, and the announcement on the Department of State website.  There will be a phased implementation of the proclamation, with the provisions most likely to affect U-M community members taking effect on October 18, 2017.

For the most part, however, the restrictions apply to the issuance of immigrant visas, (to permit initial entry to the U.S. as a permanent resident), and B1/B2 business tourist visas, not to the F/J/H-1B etc visas used by U-M’s students, scholars and employees.

  • Students and scholars from Chad, Libya, Venezuela, and Yemen should still be able to apply for F or J visas, and employees from Chad, Libya, Venezuela, and Yemen should still be able to apply for employment-based visas such as H-1B.
  • Students and scholars from Iran should still be able to apply for F or J visas, although they may be subject to increased scrutiny (administrative processing). However, since all other visa categories are restricted for citizens/nationals of Iran, employees may not be able to apply for employment based visas such as H-1B, O-1, unless they are eligible for a waiver.
  • Citizens/nationals of North Korea and Syria will not be issued nonimmigrant visa in any category. Students, scholars and employees from these countries will not be able to obtain a visa to enter the United States, unless they are eligible for a waiver.
  • Although there are no specific restrictions on nonimmigrant visa issuance for citizens/nationals of Somalia, the Presidential Proclamation states they will face additional security clearances in the visa application process.

Remember that the term “visa” refers to the visa stamp (or visa sticker) in your passport, and that it is only necessary to have a valid visa when you enter the United States.  The Presidential Proclamation places restrictions on visa issuance and entry to the United States for citizens and nationals of the eight designated countries, but it does not include any statements about restrictions on change of status (from F-1 to H-1B, for example), within the United States.  Of course, applications for changes of status within the United States must be approved by USCIS, and it is possible that there could be additional scrutiny of these applications in the future. 

We are glad that you are here and are prepared to support you as we learn more about the implications of the Presidential Proclamation.  We encourage you to contact the International Center, should you have any questions or concerns.