Bookings from worldwide to the USA have been slowing down from +3.4% as of Jan 27th to +2.3% as of Feb 4th. ForwardKeys the travel intelligence analyst, which monitors travel patterns by analyzing 16 million flight reservation transactions a day, reported that following President Trump's travel ban slowed international bookings to the USA and discovered a 6.5 percent negative variation compared with the equivalent eight-day period the year before excluding China and Hong Kong as origin markets because of the seasonal effect of Chinese New Year break. Bookings already made for upcoming USA arrivals for the next coming months sees that the seven banned countries are behind 14.7% on last year as of Feb 4th. However, one week prior to the ban they were only 10.4% behind.
On 06 March 2017, a revised executive order was issued by the President of the United States imposing a ban on entry to the USA for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days. This revised order was set to take effect from 16 March 2017 and was due to deny entry to affected parties to the USA until at least 14 June 2017.
The revised order replaces the previous travel ban which was overturned by Federal Court. The order has now been blocked a second time by two federal judges. A ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii yesterday (Wednesday March 15th) resulted in a temporary restraining order nationwide, hours before it was set to go into effect. In a decision published this morning (Thursday March 16th), another federal judge in Maryland specifically blocked the 90-day ban on immigration for citizens of six Muslim-majority countries. US District Court Judge Derrick Watson, who presides in Honolulu, concluded in no uncertain terms that the new executive order failed to pass legal muster at this stage and the state had established "a strong likelihood of success" on their claims of religious discrimination.
While Watson signaled that this temporary freeze of the travel ban may not last forever, he nevertheless concluded that the changes made between the first and second versions of the travel ban weren't enough.*
So what will happen if the travel ban goes ahead and who is restricted this time?
Citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen will be denied entry to the USA from 16 March 2017. Iraqi citizens are now exempt. There is a 120 day suspension on the entry of any refugees, including Syrian refugees, who were previously banned indefinitely.
What are the exceptions?
- Citizens of any of the six countries listed above who hold an existing visa, US citizenship or a Green Card to enter the USA that was also valid as at 27 January 2017, will be able to enter from 16 March 2017.
- Dual citizens of one of the six listed countries and another unlisted country may apply for a visa to enter the USA from 16 March 2017. Please note, affected dual citizens should travel on a passport other than the one they have for the restricted country.
- Citizens of these countries who are inside the USA at the time of this ban are exempt but may not be able to return if they leave the USA.
- Certain diplomats and government officials.
- Hardship cases will be considered on a case by case basis.
I am an Iraqi citizen. Can I travel freely in and out of the USA now?
You are not banned from entry but you will require a visa.
How do I apply for a US visa?
We strongly advise that you apply for your visa at least two months prior to travel. The process may be expedited but it is best to allow as much time as possible.
I am a dual national as described above but I do not currently have a valid passport for my other country of citizenship. Can I still get a visa?
No. You will need to obtain a passport for your other country of citizenship in order to apply for your US visa.
We strongly recommend that anyone who has any questions about their travel status or visa validity contact their nearest US embassy or consulate via the details at the bottom of this document.
Can my Travel Manager contact the US consulate on my behalf?
It is best if you contact the consulate yourself due to the personal nature of the information and the identity verification they will require. You should have your passport details handy when you are speaking to the consulate.
I was affected by the previous ban and adjusted my travel arrangements accordingly. Can I change them again since I can now travel?
Please speak to your Travel Manager. Our airline and wholesale partners are working with us to help all of our affected customers. We will do all we can to re-accommodate you.
Will this all change again?
Unfortunately it may as we have already seen significant changes to the original executive order in the past few weeks. We suggest you stay in close contact with your Travel Manager and continue to refer questions to the US embassy or consulate nearest you.
Corporate Traveler Clients please contact your dedicated Travel Manager if you have any concerns about any upcoming travel concerns.