The United States’ new “Muslim ban” now includes new guidelines for visa applicants that based on a partial enforcement of the ban. The information leaked from the US state department to the press includes the rules for visa applicants that were set to be implemented soon. In particular, applicants from the countries as well as all refugees must prove that they are related to a “close” relative who is currently living in the US in order to qualify for a US visa. The rule applies to people from the following countries:
The travel ban defines the term “close relative” as a parent, brother/sister, husband/wife, child, and adult son/daughter, son/daughter-=in-law.
The guidelines don’t include categories that were defined by the Supreme Court in the recent decision that in part reinstated the executive order Trump made on March 6. There are certain relationships that are not defined as “close” according to the guidelines sent to US embassies/consulates on Wednesday. That includes grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, brothers/sisters-in-law, grandchildren, or other members of the extended family.
In most cases, the requirements are the same for all refugees who still have a pending application for a US visa. The Department of State has stated that in terms of business/professional links they must be formal and formed.
The cable also stated that a person who has been asked to speak or a worker who receives a job offer in the US would be exempt from the new travel band. However, making a hotel reservation wouldn’t qualify as someone who has a legitimate relationship. It’s also possible for consular offices to provide other exemptions to US Visa applicants from the 6 countries if they have “significant” contacts with the US or “significant” business/professional responsibilities within the US.
There are other exemptions including the need for emergency medical care. However, that’s in the case they’re traveling for a particular international business or the US government, or they’re a legal Canadian resident who applies for a Canadian visa.
There are still various questions about how the state department’s new guidelines will be enforced. There are no details about which documents are required in order to prove applicants are included in one of the categories. There are also questions about how visa applicants must prove they have ties to businesses.
A former US official has stated that the categories that the Supreme Court established recently have been limited. This means that the Trump administration seems to be defiant about the relationship that required the state Department to keep granting visas. This could result from the case going back to court to determine if Trump or the state Department are opposing the Supreme Court’s ruling. He stated that the two categories that are listed are in fact narrower than the ones that were stated in the Supreme Court’s decision.
However, if the issue isn’t challenged then it will stay in place until the US court makes a final ruling on the matter. October would be the earliest that arguments would be made to the Supreme Court. Thus, the current rules will be enforced until at least the fall.