I. An update for nationals of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen
As per the executive order issued by the President of the United States on Friday, January 27, 2017, a 90–day visa suspension is in place for all travel to the United States (except for those holding diplomatic status) by nationals of the aforementioned countries.
At the current time, an interim stay has been put in place allowing permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) to travel to the United States, even if they are nationals of the states listed in the order. However, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection maintain their right to refer such travellers to intense screening on a case–by–case basis.
II. Statements by Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
On January 29, 2017, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship confirmed that:
- Canadian citizens who hold dual nationality with one of the aforementioned countries are not affected by the executive order. However, U.S. Authorities have not yet provided detailed instructions to this effect.
- Canadian permanent residents who hold dual nationality with one of the aforementioned countries are not affected by the executive order. However, no additional information was provided on this point and U.S. authorities have not confirmed this.
- If required, Canada will issue a Temporary Resident Permit to nationals of the aforementioned countries stranded in a Canadian airport while in transit to the United States. It is not clear to what extent this policy has been implemented.
- In response to questions about the Safe Third Country Agreement and increasing resettlement levels, the Minister declined to make any commitment but did comment on how Canada’s resettlement numbers are high.
III. Advice for travellers
Unless and until such time a formal confirmation by U.S. authorities similar to the one that was just issued for U.S. permanent residents is made, no Canadian permanent resident or dual citizen can assume with certainty he or she will not be detained or removed from the United States.
- If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident holding dual citizenship with one of the countries listed in the executive order, we advise against any non–essential travel to the United States until further guidelines are issued by U.S. government authorities. If your situation is such that travel to the United States is imminently required, please ensure to have extensive documentation with you on the nature of your travel as well as your status in Canada.
If you are in Canada as a temporary foreign worker, study permit holder, or temporary visitor and are a national of one of the countries listed in the executive order, you should not travel to the United States.
By: Stéphane Duval, McCarthy Tétrault LLP
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