Immigrant visa attorneys are concerned by the Executive Order signed by the President yesterday. Pursuant to the Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals signed on January 27, 2017, the Department of State has temporarily stopped scheduling appointments and halted processing of immigrant visa applications for individuals who are nationals or dual nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
National Visa Center announces procedures for temporary immigrant visa cancellations pursuant to the Executive Order
The National Visa Center has cancelled all scheduled immigrant visa interviews for these applicants scheduled in February 2017. This includes all visa categories, whether they are family immigrant visas or work immigrant visas. Applicants for fiancé visas (“K” visas) are included. Until the ramifications of the Executive Order are settled and the procedures for its enforceability are established, National Visa Center will not process immigrant visa applications regardless of the inconvenience this causes. Once it is appropriate, the National Visa Center or a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad will notify you of a new interview date and time.
The National Visa Center advised that if you received an interview appointment in February and have not yet attended the required medical exam, please cancel your medical examination appointment. Medical exam results are only valid for six (6) months and we cannot predict when your visa interview will be rescheduled. When the National Visa Center or U.S. Embassy is able to reschedule your interview, they will contact you.
The National Visa Center will continue to work on in-process cases for these applicants up to the point of the interview. You should continue to pay fees, complete your Form DS-260 immigrant visa application, and submit your financial and civil supporting documents to NVC. NVC will review your case file and can qualify your case for an appointment. However, you will not receive a visa interview until further notice.
On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
Ban on Entry to the United States for immigrants and foreigners from Countries of Concern
The Executive Order “temporarily suspends” immigrants from seven (7) designated countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – from entering the United States for a minimum of ninety (90) days.
Entry and Admission of Permanent Residents, Dual Nationals, Refugees, and Nonimmigrant Visa Holders
Sources report that the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) apply the Executive Order to the entry and admission of permanent residents (green card holders) born in the seven (7) countries. CBP also applies the Executive Order to nationals with dual citizenship. These are persons who are or were nationals or citizens of one of the seven (7) listed countries and a citizen of a non-listed country. The CBP applies it also to refugees and non-immigrant visa holders.
Returning Green card holders — be aware not to abandon your residency!!!!
Because of the overreaching nature of the Executive Order, we strongly discourage any travel overseas for nationals or former nationals of these countries. CBP Agents might ask returning green card holders to execute at the border Form I-407 (Abandonment of LPR Status). We strongly urge you not to surrender your green cards or sign this form regardless of the pressure. If CBP agents ask you to sign Form I-407, refuse to do so. You can only sign this document voluntarily. There are no potential negative ramifications for refusing to sign Form I-407. If you refuse to sign Form I-407, CBP agents cannot detain you. If you refuse to sign Form I-407, CBP agents must issue you a Notice to Appear (NTA). Only the immigration judge can determine whether you have lost your LPR status.
Recent statements and announcements from the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. State Department indicate that both agencies will continue to implement the order, albeit with some possible modifications.
- We advise that anyone presently in the U.S. and holding the nationality or a passport from any of the seven (7) countries is strongly urged to refrain from leaving the United States until further notice.
- If you are presently outside the U.S. and this order could pertain to you, consult with us or your attorney before trying to return to the United States.
- Due to the possibility of detainment of permanent residents, dual nationals, refugees, and non-immigrant visa holders, we advise that those who might fit into these classes of travelers refrain from international travel.
- Finally, because the President may extend the list of the countries, we recommend that immigrants refrain from non-urgent international travel.
Immigrants with pending adjustment of status and change of status applications
The Executive Order will be broadly construed by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services and Department of Homeland Security. Please prepare to experience further delays in processing of asylum applications, work related and family based applications, which are currently pending with the USCIS and DHS.
We stand with those individuals, families, organizations, and businesses adversely affected by this order. We are here to be of support in these challenging times.