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Executive Order: “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals” FAQs

January 31, 2017
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From the Bureau of Consular Affairs

President Trump’s Executive Order allows us to review current screening procedures, while protecting national security – our top priority when issuing visas.

The U.S. government’s national security screening and vetting procedures for visitors are constantly reviewed and refined to improve security and more effectively identify individuals who could pose a threat to the United States.  

Working closely with the Department of Homeland Security, we are implementing the Executive Order.  We will announce any changes affecting travelers to the United States as soon as that information is available.

Q: Does this Order apply to dual nationals?

This Executive Order does not restrict the travel of dual nationals, so long as they hold the passport of an unrestricted country and possess a valid U.S. visa.  They may resume travel to the United States.

Our Embassies and Consulates around the world will process visa applications and issue nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to otherwise eligible visa applicants who apply with a passport from an unrestricted country, even if they hold dual nationality from one of the seven restricted countries.

Q: How does this affect dual nationals from Visa Waiver countries?

As before the Executive Order, dual nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Sudan are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program and must have a visa for travel.  Such individuals may apply for a visa as needed at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  Dual nationals of Yemen, Libya, and Somalia and a Visa Waiver Program country may continue to travel under the VWP unless they have travelled to any of the seven countries on or after March 2011, in which case they must first apply for a U.S. visa. 

Q: Does this apply to dual nationals of all countries?  Are there special rules for certain countries’ dual nationals?

This Executive Order does not restrict the travel of dual nationals from any country, so long as they hold the passport of an unrestricted country and possess a valid U.S. visa, if required.

Q: Does this apply to U.S. LPRs?


As stated by the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, “In applying the provisions of the president's executive order, I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest.  Accordingly, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.”

For further information about U.S. LPRs, we would refer you to DHS.

Q: Which countries are designated under the Executive Order?

The countries designated under the Executive Order are Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen.

Q: How will the Executive Order be implemented?

Under the Executive Order, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, will immediately conduct a review to ensure that the information available from a foreign country to be used in the processing of an application for a visa or other immigration benefit is adequate to uphold the integrity of the process.

To allow for proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals, the Executive Order imposes on nationals of certain designated countries a 90-day bar on entry into the United States.  This bar also includes a 90-day prohibition on visa issuance.  These countries, as designated by Congress or the Secretary of Homeland Security, are:  Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen.

We will announce any other changes affecting travelers to the United States as soon as that information is available.

Q: Are there any exceptions to the temporary bar on entry?

The Department of Homeland Security and Department of State may, when in the national interest, issue visas or allow entry to nationals of countries for which visas and entry are otherwise blocked under this Executive Order.

We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security to identify exceptions to this Executive Order that are in the national interest and will provide additional details as they are available.

Q: How many visas were issued to nationals from these countries last year?

We refer you to our published visa issuance statistics on our website, travel.state.gov, located here: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/statistics.html. Please note that these statistics do not reflect travelers who may hold more than one nationality.

Q: What about changes to the Visa Waiver Program/ESTA?

At this time, there are no changes to the Visa Waiver Program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security.  We refer you to DHS for more information.  A list of countries included in the Visa Waiver Program is available here:  https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html