February 2, 2017 – USCIS Guidance Concerning Executive Order on Immigration

In light of President Trump’s Executive Order of January 27, 2017, it was unclear as to whether USCIS would stop processing all applications for people from the 7 affected countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

USCIS Acting Director Lori Scialabba issued a memorandum on February 2, 2017, to clarify the processing of cases for people who are in the United States presently and are from one of the 7 countries.

You can read the memorandum here.  It is good news, for the most part.

1) The travel ban in the Executive Order will not impact processing of the vast majority of cases by USCIS, even if the individual comes form one of the countries effected.  This includes the cases of individuals outside of the United States with the exception of some applications where USCIS approval automatically involves the applicant being granted permission to travel – USCIS will not approve those cases. Examples of applications USCIS may approve if the person is outside the United States and is from one of the effected countries include fiance petitions and I-130s.
2) Applications to register permanent residence or adjust status (applications for green cards) will continue to be processed normally regardless of the applicant’s country of origin.
3) Applications for the relatives of refugees or individuals who have already been granted asylum will be processed as normal, as long as the refugee or person granted asylum is inside the United States.
4) Where an individual is a religious minority suffering persecution in their country of origin, or where there is an already existing agreement on refugee processing, USCIS will continue interviews.
5) All asylum cases filed outside of immigration court will continue to be processed as normal.
Note: this memo does not affect the processing of visas by the State Department and U.S. embassies.  It appears that all of those applications have been paused in light of the Trump EO.