WASHINGTON (CNN) After months of winding through the courts, the so-called “watered down,” revised version of President Donald Trump’s fiercely litigated travel ban finally went into effect at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.
Here’s what to expect for version 2.0:
Who can’t enter the US?
The test for foreign nationals under the Supreme Court’s ruling is whether one has a “credible claim of bona fide relationship” with either an entity (like a school or a job) or a person living in the US (such as a spouse).
A hotel reservation, for example, will not constitute a “bona fide relationship” under the executive order, but an academic lecturer invited to speak in the US will be exempt from the travel ban.
If you can’t sufficiently establish such a close relationship, you are banned for 90 days if you are from Libya, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, and 120 days if you are a refugee from any country.
The new guidelines — sent to US embassies and consulates on Wednesday and senior administration officials confirmed on a call with reporters Thursday — provide that applicants must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the US in order to enter the country.
Other family members — including fiancees, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and any other “extended” family members will not be considered “close family” under the executive order.
The State Department criteria applies not only to visa applicants, but also to all refugees currently awaiting approval for admission to the US.
Senior administration officials further confirmed despite any ambiguity in the Supreme Court’s decision, a refugee resettlement organization’s “assurance” or relationship to a prospective refugee will not be considered sufficiently close or bona fide for protection under the administration’s interpretation of the revised executive order.
Advocacy groups such as Amnesty International planned to send researchers to US airports, such as Dulles International Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport on Thursday, to monitor developments and observe implementation of the ban in case any disputes arise.
Who is exempt from the ban?
- US citizens
- Legal permanent residents (aka green card holders)
- Current visa holders
- Any visa applicant who was in the US as of June 26
- Dual nationals
- Anyone granted asylum
- Any refugee already admitted to the US (or cleared for travel by the State Department through July 6)
- Foreign nationals with “bona fide” family, educational or business tie to the US.
What about visa holders?
Importantly, visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, and senior administration officials confirmed on Thursday that previously scheduled visa application appointments will not be canceled.
The executive order also permits the issuance of a visa to anyone who would otherwise be excluded on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of DHS and the State Department.
Senior administration officials expressed confidence to reporters Thursday that the pandemonium seen at airports would not occur this time around and that consular officers and border agents are “well-versed” in how the process works.
“We expect business as usual,” said one official. “We expect things to run smoothly — our people are well-prepared for this.”
Why is this happening?
The intent behind the executive order was hotly debated for the past several months.
On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the US.
But the text of the executive order states that “additional scrutiny” is required for foreign nationals traveling from the six identified nations because “the conditions in these countries present heightened threats. Each of these countries is a state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organizations, or contains active conflict zones.”