Entry into the U.S. from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen will hinge on the State Department’s newly announced definition of the Supreme Court’s phrase “bona fide relationship.”
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court partially lifted preliminary injunctions from lower courts, upholding portions of section 2 of Executive Order 13780, which restricts entry into the U.S. by nationals of six countries for 90 days, and section 6 of the order, which restricts the entry of refugees into the U.S. for 120 days. This evening at 8pm EDT, the U.S. will begin implementing Executive Order worldwide, with important exceptions mandated by the Supreme Court.
Under the Supreme Court’s ruling, nationals of the six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) who have a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” will be granted entry into the U.S.
Today, the State Department, in a cable providing guidance to employees around the world, states that a “bona fide relationship” will be defined as a close family relationship, which will include only parent, spouse, children (including adult children), sons- and daughters-in-law or siblings, including step-siblings and step-parents. Under current State Department guidance, a “bona fide relationship” will not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers- or sisters-in-law, cousins, or a fiance or fiancee. Family relationships and employment and other relationships with an “entity” in the U.S. must be documented.
For most American travelers, the implementation of the Executive Order may have no direct personal impact at all. For nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen and their family and friends in the U.S., the implementation of the Executive Order and its effect on current travel, impending travel, and future visa applications is beyond Budget Travel's areas of expertise. We urge anyone who is concerned that they or a close friend or family member may be denied entry into the U.S. to consult an immigration attorney.
And we urge every member of our Budget Travel audience to understand that the implementation of this Executive Order may have more wide-ranging effects than any of us can anticipate at this time: Along with your other essential travel gear, pack patience and compassion.