Donald Trump: US visa applicants require 'close' family ties under revised travel ban


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The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a "close" family or business tie to the United States. The move came after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump's executive order that was widely criticised as a ban on Muslims.

Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions issued by the State Department say that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the US to be eligible.

The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations that are still awaiting approval for admission to the US. 
Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationships, according to the guidelines that were issued in a cable sent to all US embassies and consulates late on Wednesday (local time), the Associated Press reported.

As far as business or professional links are concerned, the State Department said a legitimate relationship must be "formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading" the ban. 
Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the US would be exempt from the ban.

The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules, the cable said. 
A hotel reservation or car rental contract, even if it was pre-paid, would also not count, it said.

Consular officers may grant other exemptions to applicants from the six nations, including for infants, adopted children, those in need of urgent medical care and for Canadian residents who applied for a visa while in Canada.
Green card lottery also affected

On Monday, the Supreme Court partially lifted lower court injunctions against Mr Trump's executive order that had temporarily banned visas for citizens of the six countries. 
The justices' ruling exempted applicants from the ban if they could prove a "bona fide relationship" with a US person or entity, but the court offered only broad guidelines — suggesting they would include a relative, job offer or invitation to lecture in the US — as to how that should be defined.

Senior officials from the Departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security had laboured since the decision to clarify the ruling, resulting in the new instructions. 
The new guidance will remain in place until the Supreme Court issues a final ruling on the matter.

Arguments before the justices will not be held until at least October.

Shortly after taking office, Mr Trump ordered the refugee ban and a travel ban affecting the six countries, plus Iraq. 
He said it was needed to protect the US from terrorists, but opponents said it was unfairly harsh and was intended to meet his campaign promise to keep Muslims out of the US. After a federal judge struck down the bans, Mr Trump signed a revised order intended to overcome legal hurdles. That was also struck down by lower courts, but the Supreme Court's action on Monday partially reinstated it.

The initial travel ban led to chaos at airports around the world.

Under the new rules, would-be immigrants from the six countries who won a coveted visa in the Government's diversity lottery — a program that randomly awards 50,000 green cards annually to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the US — will also have to prove they have a "bona fide relationship" with in the US or are eligible for another waiver or face being banned for at least 90 days.

That hurdle may be a difficult one for those immigrants to overcome, as many visa lottery winners do not have relatives in the US or jobs in advance of arriving in the country.

Generally, winners in the diversity lottery only need prove they were born in an eligible county and have either completed high school or have at least two years' of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two other years of training or experience.


Donald Trump: US visa applicants require 'close' family ties under revised travel ban Donald Trump: US visa applicants require 'close' family ties under revised travel ban Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Thursday, 29 June 2017 Rating: 5

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