Travel ban update

In 2020, more countries were added to the travel ban. Learn what the travel ban means for immigrants and refugees, country by country. Read about the effects of the travel ban so far.


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April 2020: There have been changes and closures in the US immigration system because of the COVID-19 pandemic. See updates for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers about extra restrictions during this time.

Starting in 2020, people from Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Tanzania were added to the travel ban.

Immigration from Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, and Kyrgyzstan is banned. People from Sudan and Tanzania are not allowed to enter the diversity visa lottery. The government said student visas and work visas for temporary or skilled workers are not affected. Officials said the countries were added to the travel ban for security reasons.

You can read the announcement from the Department of Homeland Security. The travel ban is still being challenged in the US courts.

What does the travel ban mean for immigrants?

The travel ban means different things for different groups of immigrants. Here is what it means, country by country:

  • Eritrea
    Entry as an immigrant is banned. There may be some exceptions for people who have provided special assistance to the United States government.
  • Iran
    Entry as an immigrant is banned. Entry of Iranian nationals student and exchange visitor visas is still allowed, although applicants will receive enhanced security screening. Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is banned.
  • Kyryzstan
    Entry as an immigrant is banned. There may be some exceptions for people who have provided special assistance to the United States government.
  • Libya
    Entry as an immigrant is banned. Entry is banned for nonimmigrants on business and tourist visas. Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is still allowed.
  • Myanmar
    Entry as an immigrant is banned. There may be some exceptions for people who have provided special assistance to the United States government.
  • Nigeria
    Entry as an immigrant is banned. There may be some exceptions for people who have provided special assistance to the United States government.
  • North Korea
    Entry as an immigrant is banned. Entry is also banned for all nonimmigrant visa categories (student, business, tourist etc.).
  • Sudan
    People from Sudan are still allowed to come, but they cannot apply to the visa lottery.
  • Somalia
    Entry as an immigrant is banned.
  • Syria
    Entry as an immigrant is banned. Entry is also banned for all nonimmigrant visa categories (student, business, tourist etc.).
  • Tanzania
    People from Tanzania are still allowed to come, but they cannot apply to the visa lottery.
  • Venezuela
    Entry is banned for certain government officials and their families. Other Venezuelans will receive enhanced security screening.
  • Yemen
    Entry as an immigrant is banned. Entry is banned for nonimmigrants on business and tourist visas. Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is still allowed.

What about refugees?

A few refugees may be allowed to come from some of these countries, but it will be more difficult.

What have been the effects of the travel ban so far?

Here are some of the effects of the travel ban:

  • People from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen have been the most affected. Visas issued to people in those countries were down by 80% compared to 2016.
  • Visas have been refused to spouses and children of US citizens and permanent residents.
  • Far fewer refugees are being admitted.
  • Permanent immigration for people from the listed countries has been banned.
  • There is much more information required and vetting for visa applications.
  • The appeal process against denied visas is much longer and more difficult.
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A 2018 decision by the Supreme Court

Many Americans think the travel ban is wrong. But on June 26, 2018, the United States Supreme Court made a decision that the travel ban is allowed under US law. The judges decided that President Trump has the right to use an executive order to stop non-citizens entering the USA. He has this right if he believes their entry could harm the country.

Know your rights

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) offers “know your rights” advice for those affected by the travel ban. The English version of their guide is current as of April 10, 2018, including new refugee screening procedures.

The information on this page comes from the Federal Register, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and other trusted sources. It is intended for guidance and is updated as often as possible. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice. If you are looking for a free or low-cost lawyer or legal help, we can help you find free and low-cost legal services.