On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order allowing part of the president’s Executive Order, commonly known as the “Travel Ban,” to be implemented. The Supreme Court’s order will prevent foreign nationals from Libya, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan who don’t already possess a valid visa from traveling to the U.S. unless they have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States or qualify for a waiver.
The Department of State has now issued guidance as to what they would consider a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity” in line with the Supreme Court order. The guidance provides the following definitions and examples:
- “Person” must be a close familial relationship:
- Close family” is defined as a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, fiancé/fiancée, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships.
- “Close family” does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, and any other “extended” family members.
- “Entity” relationships must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the Executive Order
Note: If an applicant has established eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa in any classification other than a B, C-1, D, I, or K visa, then the applicant isexempt from the Executive Order. The bona fide relationship to a person or entity is inherent in the visa classification.
- Exempt examples:
i. An I visa applicant employed by foreign media that has a news office
based in the United States
ii. Students from designated countries who have been admitted to U.S. educational
iii. A worker who accepted an offer of employment from a company in the United States
iv. A lecturer invited to address an audience in the United States would be exempt.
- Nonexempt examples:
i. A nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their inclusion in the Executive Order
ii. A hotel reservation, whether or not paid, would not constitute a bona fide relationship with an entity in the United States.