Note: As of Feb. 3, federal agencies have temporarily suspended enforcement of key provisions of President Donald Trump’s executive order, allowing refugees and travelers with valid visas to enter the country. The change is based on a temporary restraining order issued that day by U.S. District Senior Judge James Robart of Seattle. On Feb. 4, an appeals court denied the Trump administration’s request to restore the president’s order. The legal battle will continue, but for the time being, the provisions of the order explained below are not in effect.
President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and certain travelers from the U.S. affects millions of people, both in and out of the country. But thanks to a chaotic rollout, many people are still unsure what the order means for them ― whether they’re restricted from travel, banned from the country or safe to live as they did before.
The order bars more than 200 million people of seven nationalities from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days, with very few exceptions. People of those nationalities who are already in the U.S. will not be allowed to return if they travel abroad, unless they hold a green card or a passport from a country not on the list of seven. The order also blocks all refugee resettlement for 120 days and bans the 4.8 million refugees from the war in Syria indefinitely.
Although the order doesn’t bar U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents from the country, it could still touch them in other ways, such as blocking their family and friends from visiting and creating a brain drain of scientists, doctors and the many other types of visitors and immigrants who contribute to the country.
For more information about the order, see the list of questions below. This is reporting, not legal advice, and is subject to change. If you’re not sure about your situation, contact an attorney.
I am a citizen of one of the seven affected countries and I want to travel to the United States. Can I?
Trump’s executive order bars most nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen ― all Muslim-majority countries ― from entering the U.S. for 90 days, with some exceptions. That applies even to individuals who possess valid visas to enter the U.S., such as students or people approved to legally work in the country.
Individuals who are U.S. legal permanent residents are able to return to the country, as are Iraqis with Special Immigrant Visas, which are granted to people who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government. People who also have citizenship in a non-affected country can travel to the U.S. on the other country’s passport. U.S. citizens are not barred from the country due to the order.
I am a U.S. legal permanent resident/green card holder with citizenship from one of the seven countries. Can I travel to and from the U.S.?
The executive order’s language initially included legal permanent residents from the seven affected countries, but the Trump administration later said they would be exempt from the order. They can now travel to and from the U.S. as before.
I am a visa holder or legal permanent resident from a country not on the list of affected countries. How am I affected?
The executive order currently applies only to seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. That means that currently, someone who holds a visa from another country is not affected. For example, a green card holder who is a French citizen can enter the U.S. The Trump administration has left open the possibility of expanding the travel ban to other countries, but the Department of Homeland Security said on Friday that it had not identified any other countries to add to the list.
I am a visa holder from one of the seven countries, but I’m already in the U.S. Will I be deported? Can I travel outside the U.S.? Will I be able to come back?
Government officials said U.S. visa holders from one of the seven affected countries who are already in the U.S. will not lose their authorization to work or attend school during the term of their initial visa. They can also leave during the 90-day period ― but they will not be able to return.
I am a dual citizen of one of the seven countries and another country. Can I travel to and from the U.S.?
Dual citizens of an affected country and a non-affected country are not affected by the order. If an individual holds a passport from Syria and from France, for example, he or she can enter the U.S. using a French passport.
I am a refugee. Can I settle in the U.S.?
The executive order suspends refugee resettlement from all countries for 120 days and Syrian refugee resettlement indefinitely.
The order does allow the government to make exceptions during the 120-day period in some instances, including if the individual is a persecuted religious minority or is already in transit to the U.S. The government allowed nearly 900 refugees to resettle in the U.S. in the week after the order was announced because they were already in transit.