Department of State sets criteria for travel from 6 countries listed in travel ban

Update: The government amended the criteria to include ‘fiance’ as a bona fide relationship.

The Associated Press published an article about an hour ago tonight reporting that the US Department of State issued a cable message late Wednesday night (June 28th) to embassies. The guidance confirms that the travel ban for the 6 countries listed in the executive order- Syria, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen-will go into effect on Thursday June 29th at 8pm EST.  This is what I understand from the the AP report:

On family relationships:

For both individuals as well as refugees, the family ties that will be acceptable are as follows:

·    parent

·    spouse

·    child

·    adult son or daughter

·    son-in-law or daughter-in-law

·    sibling already in the US

*It should be noted that Diversity Lottery winners will be subject to the same standards as above regarding family relationships.

Family relationships that will NOT be considered close enough for these purposes include:

·    grandparents

·    grandchildren

·    aunts/uncles

·    nieces/nephews

·    brothers-in-law/ sisters-in-law

·    fiancé/fiancée

·    other extended family

Regarding business purposes:

The DOS takes the Supreme Court guidance that the relationship but must be “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading” the ban.  It appears the following will be exempt from the ban:

·    Journalists

·    students

·    workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S.

·    The AP further reports that the exemption will not apply to people who seek relationships with American businesses or educational institutions to the avoid rules. Hotel reservations or car rentals will not be taken into consideration.


The AP reports that 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 U.S.;

·    if they are an infant, adopted child or in need of urgent medical care;

·    if they are traveling for business with a recognized international organization or the U.S. government, or

·    if they are a legal resident of Canada who applies for a visa in Canada, according to the cable.

Once I see the actual document, I will be sure to update this post.  I am glad to see that the government has taken into the account the various scenarios that came up during the first travel ban, including the infant child that needed urgent medical care.

Here is a full link to the AP article.

If you are someone who needs help for yourself or a family member traveling, reminder to use the Airport Lawyer web app at