CBP clarification could benefit dual nationals subject to Trump travel ban

31 Jan 17

UNITED STATES

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has said foreign nationals traveling to the United States will be “treated according to the travel document they present,” a change that could make coming to the U.S. significantly easier for dual nationals covered by President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban.

Trump signed an Executive Order last Friday suspending entry to the U.S. for nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

In a question-and-answer section on its website, CBP stated that while the order does apply to dual nationals, travelers “are being treated according to the travel document they present.”

This means that people who are nationals of one of the seven countries and another country should be admitted to the U.S. if they present a passport for a country that is not covered by the order. “For example, if they present a Canadian passport, that is how they are processed for entry,” CBP’s website says.

This development marks the second time in just five days that the government has issued guidance to reduce the number of travelers subject to the order. The Department of Homeland Security said Sunday night that it would deem lawful permanent residents, i.e., green card holders, “to be in the national interest” and that “absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.”

The administration faced legal action almost immediately after the Executive Order was implemented. A federal judge in New York issued an emergency stay blocking portions of the order Saturday. Judges in several other courts have since issued injunctions as well. CBP says the government “immediately began taking steps to comply with the orders and did so with professionalism.”

BAL Analysis: The recently announced exception could make travel to the U.S. easier for dual nationals. Those affected by the order who have a passport from a country that is not listed should make sure that their passport is current.

Due to the speed of developments, nationals of the designated countries, including dual nationals or people who have traveled to those countries, should continue to consult with BAL before departing or returning to the U.S.

Lawful permanent residents and individuals who travel pursuant to a passport or other travel document from a country other than one of the seven designated countries of concern should be allowed to enter the U.S.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact BerryApplemanLeiden@balglobal.com.

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