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  • U.S. lays out criteria for visa applicants from six Muslim nations


    Visa applicants from six Muslim-majority countries must have a close U.S. family relationship or formal ties to a U.S. entity to be admitted to the United States under guidance distributed by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday. 

    Here is the text of the cable:


    Date:
    June 28, 2017 at 7:57:39 PM EDT


    Subject: (SBU) IMPLEMENTING EXECUTIVE ORDER 13780 FOLLOWING SUPREME COURT
    RULING -- GUIDANCE TO VISA-ADJUDICATING POSTS




    From:   SECSTATE WASHDC


    Action: ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE






    1.
      (SBU) Summary:  On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court partially
    lifted preliminary injunctions that barred the Department from enforcing
    section 2 of Executive Order (E.
    O.) 13780, which suspends the entry to the
    United States of, and the issuance of visas to, nationals of six designated
    countries, as well as section 6, which relates to the Refugee Admissions
    Program.
      A June 14, 2017 Presidential Memorandum announced each enjoined
    provision would become effective the date and time at which the referenced
    injunctions are lifted or stayed, with implementation of each relevant
    provision 
    within 72 hours after
    all applicable injunctions are lifted or stayed with respect to that provision.
    As a result, implementation of those sections for which injunctions have been
    lifted will begin 
    June 29, 2017,
    as detailed below.




    2.
      (SBU) This cable provides guidance for implementing provisions of
    section 2(c) of the E.
    O. impacting visa adjudication and issuance
    procedures.
      The E.O.’s 90-day suspension of entry will be implemented
    worldwide 
    at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) June 29, 2017.  All visa
    adjudicating posts should carefully review and prepare to implement this
    guidance at that time or at opening of the next business day if not open 
    at 8:00 p.m. EDT June 29, 2017.  Any
    modifications to this guidance, due to litigation or other reasons, will be
    sent in a subsequent cable.
      Public talking points and additional
    operational resources will be updated and available on CA Web
    http://intranet.ca.state.sbu/content/caweb/visas/news/100011.html>. 
    End Summary.




    3.
      (SBU) The Supreme Court’s partial lifting of the preliminary
    injunctions allows the E.
    O.’s suspension to be enforced only against foreign
    nationals who lack a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the
    United States.
    ”  Therefore, applicants who are nationals of the affected
    countries who are determined to be otherwise eligible for visas and to have a
    credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the
    United States are exempt from the suspension of entry in the United States as
    described in section 2(c) of the E.
    O.  Applicants who are nationals of the
    affected countries and who are determined to be otherwise eligible for visas,
    but who are determined not to have a qualifying relationship, must be eligible
    for an exemption or waiver as described in section 3 of the E.
    O. in order to be
    issued a visa.
      For adjudication purposes, the Supreme Court criteria have
    been couched in this guidance as exemptions from the E.
    O.’s suspension of entry
    in paragraph 10.




    (SBU) Suspension of Entry into the United States for Aliens from Certain
    Countries




    4.
      (SBU) The E.O. exercises the President’s authority under sections
    212(f) and 215(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and suspends
    for 90 days entry into the United States of, and issuance of visas to, certain
    aliens from the following countries:  Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria,
    and Yemen.
      Implementation of the suspension, for purposes of visa
    issuance, will begin 
    at 8:00 p.m. EDTJune
    29, 2017
    , worldwide.  The suspension of entry in the E.O.
    does not apply to individuals who are inside the United States on 
    June 29, 2017, who have a valid
    visa on 
    June 29, 2017,
    or who had a valid visa at 8:00 p.
    m. EDT January 29, 2017, even after their
    visas expire or they leave the United States.
      The suspension of entry
    also does not apply to other categories of individuals, as detailed
    below.
      No visas will be revoked based on the E.O., even if issued during
    the period in which Section 2(c) was enjoined by court order or during the
    72-hour implementation period.
      New applicants will be reviewed on a
    case-by-case basis, with consular officers taking into account the scope and
    exemption provisions in the E.
    O. and the applicant’s qualification for a
    discretionary waiver.
      Direction and guidance to resume normal processing
    of visas following the 90-day suspension will be sent septel.




    (SBU) Nonimmigrant Visas




    5.
      (SBU) GSS vendors and posts will continue scheduling NIV applicants of
    the six indicated nationalities.
      The E.O. provides for a number of
    exemptions from its scope and includes waiver provisions, and whether an
    applicant is exempt or qualified for a waiver can only be determined on a
    case-by-case basis during the course of a visa interview.




    6.  (SBU) 
    Beginning 8:00 p.m. EDT June 29, 2017, NIV applicants
    presenting passports from any of the six countries included in the E.
    O. should
    be interviewed and adjudicated following these procedures:




    a.
    ) Officers should first determine whether the applicant is eligible for a
    visa under the INA, without regard to the E.
    O.  If the applicant is not
    eligible, the appropriate refusal code should be entered into the Consular
    Lookout and Support System (CLASS).
      See 9 FAM 303.3-4(A).  Posts
    must follow existing FAM guidance in 9 FAM 304.
    2 to determine whether an SAO
    must be submitted.
      Applicants found ineligible for grounds unrelated to
    the E.
    O. should be refused according to standard procedures.



    b.
    ) If an applicant is found otherwise eligible for the visa, the consular
    officer will need to determine during the interview whether the applicant is
    exempt from the E.
    O.’s suspension of entry provision (see paragraphs 10-13),
    and if not, whether the individual qualifies for a waiver (see paragraphs 14
    and 15).




    c.
    ) Applicants who are not exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry provision
    and who do not qualify for a waiver should be refused by entering the code
    “EO17” into the Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS).
      As
    coordinated with DHS, this code represents a Section 212(f) denial under the
    E.
    O.



    (SBU) Immigrant Visas




    7.
      (SBU) The National Visa Center (NVC) will continue to schedule
    immigrant visa (IV) appointments for all categories and all
    nationalities.
      Posts should continue to interview all other IV applicants
    presenting passports from any of the six countries included in the E.
    O.,
    following these procedures:




    a.
    ) Officers should first determine whether the applicant is eligible for the
    visa, without regard to the E.
    O.  If the applicant is not eligible, the
    application should be refused according to standard procedures.




    b.
    ) If an applicant is found otherwise eligible for the visa, the consular
    officer will need to determine during the interview whether the applicant is
    exempt from the E.
    O.’s suspension of entry provision (see paragraphs 10-13),
    and if not, whether the applicant qualifies for a waiver (paragraphs 14 and
    15).




    c.
    ) Immigrant visa applicants who are not exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of
    entry provision and who do not qualify for a waiver should be refused 221(g)
    and the consular officer should request an advisory opinion from VO/L/A.




    (SBU) Diversity Visas




    8.
      (SBU) For Diversity Visa (DV) applicants already scheduled for
    interviews falling after the E.
    O. implementation date of 8:00 p.m. EDTJune
    29, 2017
    , post should interview the applicants.  Posts
    should interview applicants following these procedures:




    a.
    ) Officers should first determine whether the applicant is eligible for the
    DV, without regard to the E.
    O.  If the applicant is not eligible, the
    application should be refused according to standard procedures.




    b.
    ) If an applicant is found otherwise eligible, the consular officer will need
    to determine during the interview whether the applicant is exempt from the
    E.
    O.’s suspension of entry provision (see paragraphs 10-13), and if not,
    whether the applicant qualifies for a waiver (paragraphs 14 and 15).




    c.
    ) DV applicants who are not exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry
    provision and who do not qualify for a waiver should be refused 221(g) and the
    consular officer should request an advisory opinion from VO/L/A following
    current guidance in 9 FAM 304.
    3-1.



    Based on the Department’s experience with the DV program, we anticipate that
    very few DV applicants are likely to be exempt from the E.
    O.’s suspension of
    entry or to qualify for a waiver.
      CA will notify DV applicants from the
    affected nationalities with scheduled interviews of the additional criteria to
    allow the potential applicants to determine whether they wish to pursue their
    application.




    9.
      (SBU) The Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) will continue to schedule
    additional DV-2017 appointments for cases in which the principal applicant is
    from one of these six nationalities.
      While the Department is mindful of
    the requirement to issue Diversity Visas prior to the end of the Fiscal
    Year 
    on September 30, direction and
    guidance to resume normal processing of visas following the 90-day suspension
    will be sent septel.




    (SBU) Individuals Who Are Exempt from the E.
    O.’s Suspension of Entry



    10.
      (SBU) The E.O.’s suspension of entry does not apply to the following:





    a.
    ) Any applicant who has a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a
    person or entity in the United States.
      Any such relationship with a
    “person” must be a close familial relationship, as defined below.
      Any
    relationship with an entity must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary
    course, rather than for the purpose of evading the E.
    O.  Note:  If
    you determine an applicant has established eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa
    in a classification other than a B, C-1, D, I, or K visa, then the applicant is
    exempt from the E.
    O., as their bona fide relationship to a person or entity is
    inherent in the visa classification.
       Eligible derivatives of these
    classifications are also exempt.
      Likewise, if you determine an applicant
    has established eligibility for an immigrant visa in the following classifications
    -- immediate relatives, family-based, and employment-based (other than certain
    self-petitioning employment-based first preference applicants with no job offer
    in the United States and SIV applicants under INA 101a(27)) -- then the
    applicant and any eligible derivatives are exempt from the E.
    O.


    b.) Any applicant who was in the United States on June 26, 2017;


    c.) Any applicant who had a valid visa at 
    5:00 p.m. EST on January 27, 2017, the day
    E.
    O. 13769 was signed;


    d.) Any applicant who had a valid visa on 
    June 29, 2017;


    e.) Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;


    f.) Any applicant who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or
    after June 26, 2017;



    g.) Any applicant who has a document other than a visa, valid on June 29, 2017,  or issued
    on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States
    and seek entry or admission, such as advance parole;



    h.) Any dual national of a country designated under the order when traveling on
    a passport issued by a non-designated country;



    i.) Any applicant travelling on an A-1, A-2, NATO-1 through NATO-6 visa, C-2
    for travel to the United Nations, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa, or a
    diplomatic-type visa of any classification;



    j.) Any applicant who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been
    admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted
    withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention
    Against Torture; and



    k.) Any V92 or V93 applicant.


    11.  (SBU) “Close family” is defined as a parent (including
    parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law,
    daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half.
      This includes step
    relationships.
      “Close family” does not include grandparents,
    grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and
    sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other “extended” family members.




    12.
      (SBU) A relationship with a “U.S. entity” must be formal, documented,
    and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading the
    E.
    O.  A consular officer should not issue a visa unless the officer is
    satisfied that the applicant’s relationship complies with these requirements
    and was not formed for the purpose of evading the E.
    O.  For example, an
    eligible I visa applicant employed by foreign media that has a news office
    based in the United States would be covered by this exemption.
      Students
    from designated countries who have been admitted to U.
    S. educational
    institutions have a required relationship with an entity in the United
    States.
      Similarly, a worker who accepted an offer of employment from a
    company in the United States or a lecturer invited to address an audience in
    the United States would be exempt.
      In contrast, the exemption would not
    apply to an applicant who enters into a relationship simply to avoid the
    E.
    O.:  for example, a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may
    not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client
    lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their inclusion in
    the E.
    O.  Also, a hotel reservation, whether or not paid, would not
    constitute a bona fide relationship with an entity in the United States.




    13.
      (SBU) When issuing an IV or an NIV to an individual who falls into
    one of the categories listed in paragraph 10, the visa should be annotated to
    state, “Exempt or Waived from E.
    O. 13780.”  Interviewing officers must
    also enter a clear case note stating the specific reason why the applicant is
    exempt from the E.
    O.’s suspension of entry.  If consular officers are
    unclear if an applicant qualifies for an exemption, the cases should be refused
    under INA 221(g) and the consular officer should request an advisory opinion
    from VO/L/A following current guidance in 9 FAM 304.
    3-1.



    (SBU) Qualification for a Waiver and Process




    14.
      (SBU) The E.O. permits consular officers to grant waivers and
    authorize the issuance of a visa on a case-by-case basis when the applicant
    demonstrates to the officer’s satisfaction that the following three criteria
    are all met:




    a.) Denying entry during the 90-day suspension would cause undue hardship;




    b.) His or her entry would not pose a threat to national security; and




    c.
    ) His or her entry would be in the national interest.



    15.
      (SBU) The E.O. lists the following examples of circumstances in which
    an applicant may be considered for a waiver, subject to meeting the three
    requirements above.
      Note that some of the waiver examples listed in the
    E.
    O. are now considered exemptions in light of the Supreme Court’s
    ruling.
      Consular officers should determine whether individuals are exempt
    from the E.
    O. under standards described above, before considering the
    availability of a waiver under the standards described in this paragraph.
     
    Unless the adjudicating consular officer has particular concerns about a case
    that causes the officer to believe that that issuance may not be in the
    national interest, a determination that a case falls under any circumstance
    listed in this paragraph is a sufficient basis for concluding a waiver is in
    the national interest.
      Determining that a case falls under some of these
    circumstances may also be a sufficient basis for concluding that denying entry
    during the 90-day suspension would cause undue hardship:




    a.
    ) The applicant has previously established significant contacts with the
    United States but is outside the United States on the effective date of the
    E.
    O. for work, study, or other lawful activity;



    b.) The applicant seeks to enter the United States for significant business or
    professional obligations and the denial of entry during the suspension period
    would impair those obligations;




    c.) The applicant is an infant, a young child, or adoptee, an individual
    needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by
    the special circumstances of the case;




    d.) The applicant is traveling for purposes related to an international
    organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act,
    traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the United
    States government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an
    international organization not designated under the IOIA; or




    e.
    ) The applicant is a permanent resident of Canada who applies for a visa at a
    location within Canada.




    16.
      (SBU) Listed in this paragraph are other circumstances in which an
    applicant may be considered for a waiver, subject to meeting the three
    requirements in paragraph 14.
      Consular officers should determine whether
    individuals are exempt from the E.
    O. under standards described above, before
    considering the availability of a waiver under the standards in paragraph


    15.
      Unless the adjudicating consular officer has particular concerns
    about a case that suggest issuance may not be in the national interest, determining
    that a case falls under any circumstance listed in this paragraph is a
    sufficient basis for concluding a waiver is in the national interest.
     
    Determining that a case falls under some of these circumstances may also be a
    sufficient basis for concluding that denying entry during the 90-day suspension
    would cause undue hardship:




    a.
    ) The applicant is a high-level government official traveling on official
    business who is not eligible for the diplomatic visa normally accorded to
    foreign officials of national governments (A or G visa).
      Examples include
    governors and other appropriate members of sub-national (state/local/regional)
    governments; and members of sub-national and regional security forces; and




    b.
    )  Cases where all three criteria in paragraph 14 are met and the Chief
    of Mission or Assistant Secretary of a Bureau supports the waiver.




    17.
      (SBU) If the applicant qualifies for a waiver based on criteria in
    paragraphs 14 or 15, the consular officer may issue the visa with the
    concurrence of the Visa Chief (IV or NIV) or the Consular Section Chief.
     
    The visa should be annotated to read, “Exempt or Waived from E.
    O. 13780.” 
    Case notes must reflect the basis for the waiver; the undue hardship that would
    be caused by denying entry during the suspension; the national interest; and
    the position title of the manager concurring with the waiver.
      To document
    national interest in case notes in circumstances falling under paragraph 14 or
    paragraph 15(a), (b), or (c), the consular officer may write, “National
    interest was established by the applicant demonstrating satisfaction of the
    requirements for the waiver based on [insert brief description of category of
    waiver].




    18.
      (SBU) If the applicant does not qualify under one of the listed
    waiver categories in paragraphs 14 or 15, but the interviewing officer and
    consular manager believe that the applicant meets the requirements in paragraph
    14 above and therefore should qualify for a waiver, then the case should be
    submitted to the Visa Office for consideration.
      These cases should be
    submitted via email to 
    countries-of-concern-inquiries@state.gov. 
    The Visa Office will review these requests and reply to posts within two
    business days.
      Consular officers should be able to approve the majority
    of waiver cases without review by the Visa Office due to the broad authority
    granted in the E.
    O.



    (SBU) Refugees




    19.
      (SBU) The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is suspended for
    120 days, except for those cases where the Supreme Court has kept the temporary
    injunction in place for any applicant who has a credible claim of a bona fide
    relationship with a person or entity in the United States.
      Any such
    relationship with a “person” must be a close familial relationship, as defined
    above in paragraph 11.
      Any relationship with an entity must be formal,
    documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of
    evading the E.
    O as described in paragraph 12.  We believe that by their
    nature, almost all V93 cases will have a clear and credible close familial
    relationship with the Form I-730 petitioner in the United States and qualify
    for issuance under this exemption.




    20.
      (SBU) Posts should not cancel any V93 appointments, and NVC will
    continue to schedule new V93 appointment as normal.
      Beginning 8:00 p.m. EDT Thursday June 29, 2017, V93
    applicants presenting passports from any of the six countries included in the
    E.
    O. should be interviewed and adjudicated following these procedures:



    a.
    ) Officers should first determine whether the applicant is eligible for a V93
    under the current policy, without regard to the E.
    O.  If the applicant is
    not eligible, the appropriate refusal code should be entered into the Consular
    Lookout and Support System (CLASS).
      Applicants found ineligible for
    grounds unrelated to the E.
    O. should be refused according to standard
    procedures.
      See 9 FAM 203.6.



    b.
    ) If an applicant is found otherwise eligible for the V93 foil, the consular
    officer will need to determine during the interview whether the applicant is
    exempt from the E.
    O.’s suspension of entry provision based on a credible claim
    of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States per
    paragraph 19.




    c.
    ) Applicants who are not exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry provision
    should be refused by entering the code “EO17” into the Consular Lookout and
    Support System (CLASS).
      Please contact your VO/F liaison with any
    questions about V93 processing or adjudication under the E.
    O.



    (SBU) V92 Cases




    21.
      (SBU) The E.O. does not affect V92 applicants, and post should
    adjudicate these cases per standard guidance.




    22.
      (SBU) Posts with questions regarding this guidance should contact
    their post liaison officer in CA/VO/F.





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