New Country Additions to Expanded US Travel Ban

Beginning February 22, a new US government proclamation will add six more countries to the list of those who are unable to apply for immigrant visas to the United States. The new countries are:

  1. Nigeria
  2. Myanmar
  3. Eritrea
  4. Kyrgyzstan
  5. Sudan
  6. Tanzania

This ban also prevents citizens of those countries from receiving immigrant visas through the annual diversity visa lottery, a program which grants as many as 55,000 green cards to people a year.

Non-immigrant visas, such as those for tourists and students, will still be allowed, as well as certain temporary workers, but even the non-immigrant visa applications have been under increasingly stricter scrutiny over the past few years. Hopeful immigrants will be able to apply for waivers for undue hardship if immigrant status was denied, but the process itself has been criticized for being opaque and difficult to understand.

The current US travel ban restricts citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela and North Korea from most immigrant and non-immigrant visas, though exceptions can be made for students and those with “significant contacts” in the United States.