Trump’s travel ban comes in force tonight – here’s what you need to know

Donald Trump’s revised travel ban is set to come into force today after the initial one was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims.

The Supreme Court partially restored the POTUS’s executive order earlier this week, which bans people from six mainly Muslim countries from applying for admission to the US.With the ban comes a new criteria for visa applicants, outlined in a leaked state department cable.

Here’s what you need to know:

Which countries are affected by the ban?

Under the new guidelines, new visa applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship to a ‘close’ relative already in the US to be eligible for a US visa.

The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for refugees from all nations that are still awaiting approval for admission to the US.

 Trump's travel ban comes in force tonight - here's what you need to know

The new rules take effect at midnight GMT tonight (8pm EDT in the US) (Picture: EPA)

 

Who counts as a ‘close’ relative?

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 sent to all US embassies and consulates late on Wednesday.

When does the travel ban start?The new rules take effect at midnight GMT tonight (8pm EDT in the US).

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.

 WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29: Demonstrators gather near The White House to protest President Donald Trump's travel ban on seven Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump signed the controversial executive order that halted refugees and residents from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the US are exempt from the ban. (Picture: Getty)

 

Who is exempt from the ban?

Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the US would be exempt from the ban.

Consular officers may grant other exemptions to applicants from the six nations if:

  • they have ‘previously established significant contacts with the United States’
  • ‘significant business or professional obligations’ in the US
  • they are an infant, adopted child or in need of urgent medical care
  • they are traveling for business with a recognised international organisation or the US government
  • they are a legal resident of Canada who applies for a visa in

Where does the exemption not apply?

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.

 In this photo taken May 15, 2017, protesters hold signs during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban outside a federal courthouse in Seattle. President Donald Trump appears to be moving to significantly reduce the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S., even as his bid to temporarily suspend admissions is stalled in the courts. The latest effort comes through Trump???s federal budget proposal, which calls for a 25 percent cut in funds for resettling refugees on American soil. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The new guidance will remain in place until the Supreme Court issues a final ruling on the matter. (Picture: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

 

Flights from the Middle East

The Middle East’s biggest airline says its flights to the United States are operating as normal despite the new travel guidelines coming into effect for travelers.

Dubai-based Emirates said in response to questions on the travel ban that it ‘remains guided by the US Customs and Border Protection on this matter.’

The carrier reminded passengers that they ‘must possess the appropriate travel documents, including a valid US entry visa, in order to travel.’

 

When was the revised travel ban announced?

On Monday, the Supreme Court partially lifted lower court injunctions against 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.

Shortly after taking office, 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 United States.

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