UPDATED 07/19/2017: Department Of State Clarifies Enforcement of Travel Ban

July 19, 2017

UPDATE: The definition of “close family” in Executive Order 13780 has been expanded.

The District Court in Hawaii ruled that in addition to what was previously defined as “close family” now also includes “grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunt and uncles, nephews and nieces, and cousins.”

The previous U.S. government guidance defined “close family” as “parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half, and including step relationships.”

Source: American Immigration Lawyers Association

June 30, 2017


The Department of State issued a cable at approximately 8:00pm EST on June 28, 2017 issuing guidance about the enforcement of Executive Order 13780, which took effect at 8:00pm EST on June 29, 2017. The travel ban is to be enforced exclusively against foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who ‘lack of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.’

Foreign nationals of the affected countries who are otherwise eligible for visas but who do not have a qualifying relationship may request a waiver.

For specific questions about how the travel ban applies to you, a friend, or a family member, please contact us directly to speak with an attorney.

A qualifying relative is defined by the DOS cable as a: ‘parent (including parent-in-law) spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half.’ Notably, “close family” does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, siblings-in-law, and other extended family members.

A waiver may be issued on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the consular officer. A waiver of the executive order would successfully result in the issuance of a visa if the officer is satisfied that an applicant meets all three of the following criteria:

1) denying entry would cause undue hardship;

2) entry would not pose a threat to national security; and

3) entry would be in the national interest.

Examples of circumstances that will generally be approvable (with the exception of cases where a consular officer determines that visa issuance is not in the national interest):

a.) You have already established significant contacts with the U.S., but you are outside of the country on the effective dates of the Executive Order for work, study, or other lawful activity;

 b.) You seek to enter the U.S. for significant business or professional obligations, and these obligations would be impaired by the denial of your entry;

c.) You are an infant or young child, adoptee, someone needing urgent medical care, or someone whose specific circumstance warrants entry to the U.S.;

For more information, read the complete text of the DOS cable and the Department Of State FAQ Page related to implementation of the ban.

Our original post about the travel ban can be found here.