On his first day in office, President Biden revoked the prior Executive Orders that restricted travel to the U.S. of individuals from primarily Muslim and African countries. As many of our clients know, these travel bans have unnecessarily separated families and caused confusion, anxiety, and uncertainty. The new Executive Order directs consulates to immediately resume visa processing and clear the backlog of waivers for those affected by the travel bans.
In addition, the Executive Order requests a report within the next two months that includes the following:
- A plan to promptly adjudicate the pending visa applications for applicants who requested a waiver of the prior restrictions
- A proposal to reconsider the applications that were previously denied based on the travel ban. This will include guidance on whether applicants will need to re-pay visa fees and a plan to expedite processing of these visa applications.
- A plan to ensure that people whose applications were denied based on the travel ban do not have problems applying for visas in the future because of the prior denial.
The Order also requires a review of the vetting and screening procedures. For example, the government will see if it should continue to thoroughly review social media accounts in the screening process. This review will make sure these policies are necessary and effective.
Visa applicants from the previously restricted countries can now apply for a visa as usual without requesting a waiver!
We will expect guidance from the government about reopening previously denied applications within the next couple months. We look forward to reuniting loved ones who have faced such unjust discrimination.