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EB-5 Insights

Where Government Policies and Business Realities Converge

Posted in Executive Order, Immigration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Visa

The heavily anticipated new Executive Order (EO), “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” banning nationals from six countries from entering the United States, was signed by President Donald Trump on March 6, 2017 with an effective date 10 days following on March 16, 2017. This new EO revokes and replaces the previous EO 13769 signed on Jan. 27, 2017. The replacement EO provides additional clarification that stemmed from judicial review. For a summary of EO 13769, and a history of events that transpired, please visit.

Highlights of changes in the new EO include:

  • The six countries under the travel ban are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  Iraq has been lifted from the travel ban.
  • Clarification has been given that lawful permanent residents are not subject to the travel ban, and dual nationals may use another passport (that is not from one of the six countries) to enter the United States.
  • Waivers may be granted to individuals applying for a visa who are subject to the travel ban if: 1) denying entry during this period would cause undue hardship, 2) the entry would not pose a threat to national security, and 3) it would be in the national interest of the United States. Examples were provided of situations where a waiver would be appropriate.
  • Entry under the U.S. Refugee Admission Program will be halted for 120 days from March 16, 2017. Notably, the blanket halt on Syrian refugees has been removed.
  • The Visa Interview Waiver Program is suspended until further guidance from the Department of State.
  • Those who are in the United States will not have their visas revoked.

The new EO provides an explanation for some components of EO 13769 that are now rescinded, amended, or clarified in this Order. A section-by-section analysis is below:

Section 2:  Suspension of Visa Issuance- Iraq Removed

The text of this EO calls for the suspension of issuance of visas to nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen, except in case-by-case waivers, for 90 days from the effective date of the EO (March 16, 2017), while an ongoing assessment of the countries for terrorist threats is conducted. Notably, Iraq has been removed as one of the original countries subject to the travel ban. The reason cited is that the United States has been closely working with the Iraqi government and because of the military presence in Iraq, and Iraq’s commitment to fight ISIS, removing this country from the travel ban is justified.

In addition, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, will conduct a worldwide review to identify additional information, if necessary, from any country to ensure that the individual applying for a visa benefit is not a security threat. Within 20 days of March 16, 2017, a required report will be submitted to the President on the results of the worldwide review. Copies of this report will also be given to the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence.

Once the report has been submitted to all parties, the Secretary of State shall request the foreign governments to provide the information needed within 50 days of notification. After the 50 day period has expired, the Secretary of Homeland Security, with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, will submit to the President a list of countries where certain categories of foreign nationals should be prohibited from visa issuance because they have not provided the information. Additional countries may also be submitted for consideration to be added to the list of countries where restrictions or limitations are deemed necessary to protect the United States. In the same way, countries may be recommended for removal from the list as well.

Four reports, each submitted within 30 days of the effective date of the Order (March 16, 2017) to President Trump, are required to document the progress.

Section 3:  Scope and Implementation of Suspension

Application:  The suspension of entry into the United States will only apply to foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen who are outside of the United States as of March 16, 2017; did not have a valid visa as of 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 27, 2017; and do not have a valid visa on March 16, 2017.

Exceptions: The suspension of entry will not apply to the following individuals even if the person is a national of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen:

  • A lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  • A foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after March 16, 2017;
  • Any foreign national who has a travel document other than a visa stamp that is valid on March 16, 2017, or any date afterwards that would permit travel into the United States;
  • A dual national of one of the six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen) but traveling on a passport not from one of the six countries;
  • Any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, NATO visa, C-2 visa, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa;
  • Any foreign national who has been granted asylum; a refugee who has been admitted to the United States; or any person who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under CAT (Convention Against Torture).

Waivers:  A consular officer or a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may, in their discretion, decide on a case-by-case basis, if the person has demonstrated that:

1) denying entry during this period would cause undue hardship;

2) denying entry during this period would not pose a threat to national security; and

3) it would be in the national interest to issue a visa to, or grant entry to, one whose entry would otherwise be suspended.

If a consular officer issues a waiver to grant a visa, then that waiver will apply to the entry on the visa as well. Individuals in the following situations may qualify for a waiver:

  • The foreign national was previously admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, and who was outside the United States on March 16, 2017, and is now seeking reentry to the United States to resume that activity. The foreign national will also need to show that denial of entry during the suspension period will hinder the activity.
  • The foreign national has significant contacts in the United States, but was outside the United States on March 16, 2017, for employment, studies, or other lawful activity.
  • The foreign national wishes to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations, and denying the entry would hinder the obligations.
  • The foreign national is seeking to enter the United States to visit or live with a close U.S. citizen family member, LPR, or individual who was admitted in non-immigrant status, and the denial of such entry would cause undue hardship.
  • The foreign national is a young child or adoptee, a person needing urgent medical care, or whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstances.
  • The foreign national has been employed by the U.S. government (or is a dependent of such employee) and has provided valuable and faithful service at the time to the U.S. government.
  • The foreign national is traveling for meetings or business with the U.S. government representing an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act.
  • The foreign national is a Canadian immigrant and who is applying for a visa within Canada.
  • The foreign national is traveling in the capacity of a U.S. government-sponsored exchange visitor.

Section 4:  Additional Inquiries Regarding Iraqi Nationals

A thorough review and, if necessary, consultation with a designee of the Secretary of Defense will be required for applications by any Iraqi national for a visa, admission, or other immigration benefit. The thorough review will include consideration of whether there are ties to ISIS, or any other terrorist organization, and whether the individual will pose as a threat to U.S. national security.

Section 5:  Uniform Screening and Vetting Standards for All Immigration Programs

The text of the EO proposes to implement the following to better identify those who seek to enter the United States to harm the country:

  • Develop a uniform baseline for screening procedures, including in-person interviews;
  • Establish a database for identity documents to ensure duplicates are not used by different applicants;
  • Utilize application forms with amended questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent; and
  • Identify questions to evaluate whether the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts in the United States.

The Secretary of Homeland Security will be required to submit a report to the President 60 days from March 16, 2017, on the progress of these initiatives for a new screening and vetting program.  A second report will be due 100 days from March 16, 2017; and a third report 200 days from March 16, 2017.

Section 6:  U.S. Refugee Admission Program Suspension for the Fiscal Year 2017

President Trump, through this EO, is temporarily suspending USRAP, effective March 16, 2017, for 120 days. Syrians are included in this temporary suspension and not signaled out for indefinite suspension during this 120 day period. A review will be conducted to determine and change the adjudications procedure. This will not apply to refugees who have been formally scheduled for transit by the Department of State prior to March 16, 2017.  U.S. refugee admission will resume under the USRAP 120 days after March 16, 2017.

In addition, the text of the EO limits the number of refugees per fiscal year to 50,000, until the President determines that additional entries would serve the national interest.

The EO includes a provision that would allow the admission of refugees on a case-by-case basis, if it is in the national interest. The Order also includes a provision to assist state and local jurisdictions with their involvement in the resettlement process.

Other Provisions

The EO includes other provisions related to the entry of foreign nationals into the United States. These include the following:

  • Section 8: Expedited completion of the biometric entry-exit tracking system. Three reports shall be submitted within 100 days; 200 days; and 365 days of March 16, 2017, respectively, and a report shall be submitted every 180 days until the system is completed and operational.
  • Section 9: Visa Interview Security. The visa interview waiver program will be suspended until further notice or guidance from the Department of State. This would require individuals who would otherwise be qualified for a visa interview waiver to appear at the U.S. consulate or embassy in person for an interview. The visa interview program suspension will not be applicable for those applying for a diplomatic or diplomatic-type of visa (NATO, C-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4; or traveling under the IOIA for business purposes). In addition, the Secretary of State is instructed to expand the Consular Fellows Program where allowable to alleviate consulates and embassies abroad of workload.
  • Section 10: Review and Change of Visa Validity Reciprocity. The Secretary of State is required to review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements, including all categories, duration of time, and fees. If the foreign country does not treat the U.S. national in a reciprocal manner, the Secretary of State will adjust the conditions to match.
  • Section 11: Reports for Transparency and Data Collection. The Secretary of Homeland Security will publish a report for public viewing, every 180 days from March 16, 2017, a list of foreign nationals who have been charged, convicted, or removed from the United States based on terrorism-related activity; the number of foreign nationals radicalized after entry into the United States; information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women; and any other relevant information.  The first report will cover the time period from Sept. 11, 2001, to the report’s due date.
  • Section 12:  Enforcement. This section provides text for the following:
    • The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security are instructed to work with the appropriate domestic and international partners to ensure compliance and implementation of the contents of this EO.
    • Opportunities will still be given to those individuals to claim a fear of persecution or torture to make their applications for asylum.
    • There will be no revocation of an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa that was issued prior to March 16, 2017.
    • Those whose immigrant or nonimmigrant visas had been revoked due to EO 13769 will be able to apply for a new travel document and seek entry.
    • The EO will not apply to any person who was granted asylum, who is a refugee admitted to the United States, or to a person granted withholding of removal or protection under CAT. A person will still be able to seek asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under CAT.

As this Order is expansive, Greenberg Traurig will continue to monitor the conditions and changes. In addition, we expect additional EOs related to immigration in the coming days and weeks. To receive updates, please subscribe to our blog.

Posted in Events, Immigrant Investor

Kate Kalmykov and Jennifer Hermansky recently attended the Investment Immigration Summit MENA in Dubai. The Summit is the leading immigration conference in the Middle East, hosting hundreds of immigration agents and consultants, private bankers and wealth managers, law firms and government officials.  Hermansky provided an outlook for EB-5 in 2017.  Kalmykov presented a workshop on L-1 visas.

Greenberg Traurig’s Jennifer Hermansky preparing to provide an EB-5 outlook for 2017.

Greenberg Traurig’s Jennifer Hermansky preparing to provide an EB-5 outlook for 2017.

Kate Kalmykov preparing to present a workshop on L-1 visas.

Kate Kalmykov preparing to present a workshop on L-1 visas.

Greenberg Traurig’s Kate Kalmykov presented a workshop on L1 visas.

Greenberg Traurig’s Kate Kalmykov presented a workshop on L1 visas.

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, Visa

Beginning Feb. 16, 2016, USCIS began reissuing receipt notices on Form I-797 to applicants who continue to have pending applications for renewed employment authorization (EAD applications) under certain categories that were originally filed between July 21, 2016 and Jan. 16, 2017. EAD applications that were filed during this window did not fall within the benefits of the finalized rules to modernize and improve employment-based non-immigrant and immigrant visa programs, published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and which took effect on Jan. 17, 2017.

Specifically, USCIS began reissuing EAD receipt notices for the below categories because some of the receipt notices issued by USCIS between July 21, 2016 and Jan. 16, 2017 did not indicate the EAD category.  These EAD categories are:

  • (a)(3) Refugee
  • (a)(5) Asylee
  • (a)(7) N-8 or N-9
  • (a)(8) Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau
  • (a)(10) Withholding of deportation or removal granted
  • (c)(8) Asylum application pending
  • (c)(9) Pending adjustment of status under section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
  • (c)(10) Suspension of deportation applicants (filed before April 1, 1997), cancellation of removal applicants, and special rule cancellation of removal applicants under NACARA
  • (c)(16) Creation of record (Adjustment based on continuous residence since January 1, 1972)
  • (c)(20) Section 210 Legalization (pending Form I-700)
  • (c)(22) Section 245A Legalization (pending Form I-687)
  • (c)(24) LIFE Legalization
  • (c)(31) VAWA self-petitioners

As part of the finalized rules that took effect on Jan. 17, 2017, USCIS indicated on the EAD renewal receipt notice the EAD category for renewal applications that were filed after Jan. 16, 2017. Under the finalized rules, applicants could present the EAD renewal receipt notice to their employer as a valid List A document for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to show that they had continued work authorization for 180 days while USCIS reviewed their EAD renewal applications. By reissuing the receipt notices to EAD renewal applicants who filed applications between July 21, 2016 and Jan. 16, 2017 under the above-listed categories, these EAD renewal applicants can present the reissued receipt notice to their employer for Form I-9 and take advantage of the finalized rules providing 180-day extensions in employment authorization.

Absent from the above-listed EAD categories are dependents of popular employment-based nonimmigrant visas, such as the H-4, L-2, and E-3D, as well as EAD applicants who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which give applicants authorization to remain in the United States.

Applicants who file for an EAD renewal based on TPS already receive a 6-month extension through the Federal Register notice that extended their respective country’s TPS designation. For the other EAD renewal applicants, they must present the actual EAD to their employer to verify their continued employment authorization. The specific categories are noted below:

  • (a)(17) Spouse of an E nonimmigrant
  • (a)(18) Spouse of an L nonimmigrant
  • (c)(26) Spouse of an H-1B nonimmigrant
  • (c)(33) Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

For more information please contact your Greenberg Traurig attorney.

Posted in Awards & Recognitions, Immigration, Immigration Reform

Laura Reiff provided a briefing on Capitol Hill to new members and staff of the 115th Congress on Thursday, February 23, 2017. Laura discussed the impact on the business of immigration and the need for policy reforms. Please visit the National Immigration Forum for additional information.

Posted in Executive Order, L visa, Visa

It has been reported that President Trump’s administration is likely preparing to effectuate additional changes affecting immigration issues.  Specifically, in addition to the Executive Order executed on Jan. 27, 2017, the administration is reportedly working on additional Executive Orders, a released draft of which addresses the availability and use of advance parole, among other issues which pertain to employment-based immigration.  Advance parole enables return to the United States after international travel for those who are in the process of applying for permanent residence while living in the United States.  Parole is also available to other classes of foreign nationals, including asylees, as well as those granted this ability via the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  Based on the released drafts of the Order, it is possible that, when signed and implemented, it could severely curtail the ability of foreign nationals to be able to re-enter the United States after international travel using Advance Parole.  Therefore, until further information is available, employers may consider advising their foreign national employees fitting the above description to refrain from international travel at this time.  Likewise, foreign nationals who have applied for or currently have valid advance parole should consider remaining in the United States until further information regarding the Order is available.

Importantly, those individuals who are maintaining temporary visa status such as H-1B, L-1A, or L-1B are not subject to this caution.  In fact, because the H-1B and L-1 regulations specifically allow for permanent intent while in the United States, foreign nationals are able to continue to maintain and extend these visa statuses even while their green card applications are pending in the United States.  Therefore, they have the ability to utilize their valid H-1B and L-1 visas for international travel, rather than the advance parole issued as part of the green card application process.  Based on this, as well as on the draft language of the administration’s Executive Order, foreign nationals and employers may wish to consider ensuring that, where possible, H-1B or L-1 visa status is extended throughout the green card application process and until green card approval.  Notably, those foreign nationals in the United States who were in F-1, J-1, O-1, H-1B1, E-1, E-2, E-3, TN, or a number of other visa statuses at the time of their green card applications will not be able to maintain their visa status throughout the green card application travel if they intend on traveling internationally, because of the temporary intent requirements of these visas.

Please contact your GT attorney to discuss temporary visa and green card application processes.  GT will continue to follow and report any developments with regards to the related Executive Order.

Posted in Awards & Recognitions

Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Kate Kalmykov and Nataliya Rymer were recently featured in The Legal Intelligencer, the oldest daily law journal published in the United States, which serves the legal community of Philadelphia and surrounding areas. In their article, Kalmykov and Rymer discuss how the new National Interest Waiver standards will benefit U.S. employers and start-ups. To read the full article, click here.

Posted in Executive Order, Temporary Restraining Order, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

On Feb. 9, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling keeping in force the temporary restraining order (TRO) that was issued last Friday by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The TRO was issued in connection with the lawsuit filed by State of Washington and State of Minnesota challenging the Executive Order (EO) 13769, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” The TRO stopped the enforcement of some of the key provisions of the EO. Two days after hearing oral arguments, the Court of Appeals issued an Order declining to stay the TRO while the Government proceeds with its appeal of the lower court’s decision. In allowing the TRO to continue in effect, the Court noted that the States had standing to bring suit and that the Government was unable to establish that the TRO was “overbroad” or that persons identified in the TRO were not subject to Constitutional protections. In addition, the Court’s order maintained the national application of the TRO. While declining to address in detail the issue of religious discrimination, the Court noted that, in the interest of the emergent nature of the current legal proceedings, review and full consideration of these claims should be made at a later time. Finally, the Court found that keeping the TRO was in the general public interest.

As a result of today’s decision, the TRO remains in effect, preventing the application of the key provisions of the EO. It is likely that the Government will quickly announce their proposed next steps in this litigation. GT will continue to monitor and report on these important events.

Posted in Executive Order, Temporary Restraining Order, U.S. Customs and Border Protections

On February 3, 2017,  U.S. District Judge James L. Robart of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle issued a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) halting the enforcement of the Executive Order (“EO”) “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” signed by President Trump on January 27th, 2017.  The TRO was issued in connection with State of Washington, et al v. Donald Trump, et al (C17-0141JLR), filed with the Court earlier this week.

The TRO is effective nationwide and prohibits the enforcement of the ban on entry of nationals of the impacted countries with nonimmigrant (temporary) and immigrant (permanent) visas, refugees, and the permanent ban on Syrian refugees.

In granting the TRO, the Court found the State of Washington, and the other States in the U.S. have shown that the litigation against the EO is likely to be successful, that the States will suffer irreparable harm with respect to familial relationships, employment, travel, business, and education due to the enforcement of the EO.

It has been reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protections (CBP) has informed the airlines that they may board foreign nationals of the impacted countries who have visas and that they will be allowed entry to the U.S. in compliance with the TRO.  It has also been reported that the State Department has reversed its prior provisional revocation of valid visas of the impacted foreign nationals, allowing them to utilize these visas for entry to the U.S.

On February 4, 2017, the White House released a statement that they intend to seek a Stay of the TRO immediately and consider the provisions of the EO to be lawful and within the President’s authority.

Update:  On February 4, 2017, subsequent to the filing with the court of a notice of its intent to appeal the TRO, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an Emergency Motion to stay (or stop) the TRO with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, pending a full hearing in connection with the lower court’s decision to grant the TRO.  The Ninth Circuit denied DOJ’s Emergency Motion and ordered briefing from both parties in connection with the lower court’s decision.  DOJ’s brief is set to be due at 11:59 pm on February 5, 2017, with the State of Minnesota et al having to file their reply brief by 3 pm on February 6, 2017.

GT will continue to monitor this constantly changing situation and provide updates.

Posted in Executive Order, Immigration Law, Screening Procedures, Visa Issuance

We have prepared a serious of Questions and Answers below addressing some of the most commonly asked questions with regard to this Executive Order (EO). GT will continue to monitor developments and provide up to date information.

Q1:         What do the provisions of the EO address?

A1:         The provisions of the EO address several issues:

1. Ban of entry to the United States for nationals of seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and Syria, whether with nonimmigrant (temporary) or immigrant (permanent) visas for 90 days. At the conclusion of 90 days, the ban is not automatically lifted; instead, there are a number of affirmative steps listed in the EO to once again enable such entry.

2. Suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver program for all visa applicants. Instead, the U.S. Department of State will mandate visa interviews for all applicants for nonimmigrant visas, with the following exceptions:

a. Diplomatic and official visa applicants (A-1, A-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through-6, C-2, and C-3);

b. Visa applicants who are under 14 or over 79 years of age;

c. Visa applicants who previously held a visa in the same category, which expired less than 12 months before the present visa application.

3. Ban of entry to refugees to the United States from Syria indefinitely.

4. Reduction of the total number of refugees to enter the United States in Fiscal Year 2017 to 50,000.

5. Establishment of requirements for “extreme vetting” for a finding of eligibility of refugee status.

To read the full GT Alert, click here.

Posted in Executive Order, Screening Procedures, Visa Issuance

As we previously reported, President Donald Trump signed a third Executive Order (EO) related to immigration on Jan. 27, 2017.  The stated purpose of this EO is to protect the United States from terrorism stemming from foreign nationals of other countries by limiting entry and visas to certain individuals, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” In practice, it will block admission to the United States for at least 90 days for nationals of seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) who hold nonimmigrant visas, such as H-1Bs and L-1s, and green card holders.

Suspension of Visa Issuance

The text of this EO calls for the suspension of issuance of visas to nationals of certain countries where concerns of terrorism arise. The Secretary of Homeland Security, consulting with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, is tasked with the duty to submit a report to President Trump, in 30 days, regarding the review of information necessary for visa adjudications to verify individual identity and a list of countries that are of concern.

To alleviate the burden of investigation by the agencies, and to ensure that review is thoroughly completed with the resources needed, President Trump proclaims in the Executive Order that any immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States shall be suspended for 90 days by persons who are nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This 90 day entry ban excludes those traveling to the United States on diplomatic visas, NATO visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, and G-4 visas, but includes those entering the United States on L-1, H-1B, and most work visas.

The definition of “national” typically refers to a person born in that country, who may or may not be a citizen of the country. In some cases, it can also refer to the children of such individuals born in other countries to parents who in turn were born in one of the listed countries.  Because of the broad way in which the Order appears to reference “nationals,” in the process of enforcement of the Order, it has been interpreted to include all those fitting the definitions outlined above.

Once the report is received by the Secretary of State regarding the information needed to continue adjudication of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, information shall be requested of all foreign governments that have not supplied such information within 60 days of notification. After the 60 day period has ended, the Secretary of Homeland Security, consulting the Secretary of State, is required to submit to President Trump a list of countries recommended to be put on a list that would prohibit the entry of foreign nationals from the countries that do not supply the required information. The list of countries would exclude its nationals who travel for the same categories as mentioned above. The Executive Order includes language that gives the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State the discretion to add additional countries to this list for President Trump’s review. In addition, visas may also be issued on a case-by-case basis to nationals even if their countries are on the list. Four reports, each submitted within 30 days of the Order to President Trump, are required to document the progress.

Implementing New Standards for Screening Those Seeking Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visas

The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the FBI are tasked with implanting a program that will develop and change the uniform screening standard and procedure at the U.S. consulate, including the following:

  • Establishing a database of identity documents to ensure they are not used by multiple applicants;
  • Application forms with amended questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent;
  • Questions to evaluate whether the applicant will be a positively contributing member of society;
  • Process to assess whether the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts in the United States.

Suspensions for the Fiscal Year 2017

President Trump, through this Executive Order, is temporarily suspending the following until further review and notice:

  • Suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admission Program (USRAP) for 120 days. During this period, a review will be conducted to determine and change the adjudications procedure. Refugee applicants already in the process may be admitted upon the initiation and completion of the revised procedures. Refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution (if the religion is a minority religion in the country of nationality) will be made a priority once USRAP is continued;
  • Suspension of Syrian refugees until further determination;
  • Suspension of refugee entry until admissions are permissible, and at that time, such numbers shall not exceed 50,000 per fiscal year; and
  • Suspension of the visa interview waiver program for anyone seeking a nonimmigrant visa.

The Executive Order includes a provision that would allow the admission of refugees on a case-by-case basis, if it is in the national interest, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship. A report must be submitted by the Secretary of State on claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution within 100 days of the Order, and a second report within 200 days of the Order. The Order also includes a provision to assist state and local jurisdictions with their involvement in the resettlement process.

Other Provisions

The Executive Order includes other provisions related to the entry of foreign nationals into the United States. These include the following:

  • Expedited completion of the biometric entry-exit tracking system. Three reports shall be submitted within the first year of the Order, and a report shall be submitted every 180 days until the system is completed and operational;
  • Review and Change of Visa Validity Reciprocity.  The Secretary of State is required to review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements, including all categories, duration of time, and fees. If the foreign country does not treat the U.S. national in a reciprocal manner, the Secretary of State will adjust the conditions to match;
  • Reports for Transparency. The Secretary of Homeland Security will publish a report for public viewing, every 180 days, a list of foreign nationals who have been charged, convicted, or removed from the United States based on terrorism-related activity; the number of foreign nationals radicalized after entry into the United States; information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women; and any other relevant information.

As this Order is expansive, Greenberg Traurig will continue to monitor the conditions and changes. In addition, we expect additional Executive Orders related to immigration in the coming days and weeks. To receive updates, please subscribe to our blog.