Travel ban to USA - What does this mean for Crew?

Update 10/02/17

The travel ban has been stayed in full temporarily and upheld by Circuit Court of Appeals.  Members should still be very vigilant about crew changes, ensuring all immigration visas are in place and, if possible, avoid having crew from the 7 countries affected.

Freehill Hogan & Mahar have issued a further update on the Court of Appeals decision and what this means for shipowners here.

Background

President Trump's Executive Order of January 27, 2017 on immigration indefinitely barred Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days and blocked citizens of seven countries.

  • For the next 90 days crewmembers from Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya, whether or not they hold visas, will be denied entry to the U.S. 
  • It also bars the entry of refugees from Syria indefinitely. 
  • The order stops admission of all  refugees to the United States for the next four months.
  • The order also calls for a review into suspending the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which allows travellers from 38 countries -- including close allies -- to renew travel authorizations without an in-person interview.
  • The order should not affect naturalized U.S. Citizens from the seven named countries;
  • After some initial confusion, it appears holders of U.S. Green Cards will be allowed into the US;

Recommendations

At present, the implementation of the Executive Order is not entirely clear should Members be affected by the order please contact the Club. Given the situation the Club recommends: 

  • For the next 90 days, crewmembers from Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya will be denied entry into the US. Whether or not they hold U.S. visas;
  • Nationals from the seven named countries with permanent resident (green card) status will be permitted entry, “….absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare…”
  • Do not arrange crew changes in the United States for those citizens of the identified countries including flights with transit through the U.S.
  • The Departments of State and Homeland Security (CBP) may determine on a case by case basis and when in the national interest, to issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked. We anticipate that in the event of a true medical emergency the CBP may permit the injured or ill crewmember entry to the U.S. under section 3(g) of the Executive Order.
  • For those nationals affected by the Visa Interview Waiver Program, we recommend contacting the local U.S. embassy or consulate for guidance as an interview now appears to be required.

The Club will continue to monitor the situation and will update Members as the situation becomes clearer. 

Update 31/01/17

Freehill Hogan & Mahar have just published a Client Alert - Executive Order On Immigration Could Impact Vessel Crews. Download a copy here.

Update 13/02/17

As a result of legal challenges, the recent Executive Order setting forth restrictions on immigration to the U.S has been temporarily suspended. Freehill Horgan and Mahar LLP explain further here: 

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