President Donald Trump’s fiercely litigated travel ban will take effect at 8 p.m. EST Thursday.
The ban prohibits migrants from six countries with high instances of terrorism — Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen — from entering the country without an established, significant connection to the United States.
The Supreme Court stayed several lower court rulings barring enforcement of the president’s order Monday, but provided an exemption for foreign nationals possessing a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
The Departments of State and Justice developed guidance for U.S. consular officials concerning the definition of “bona fide relationship,” concluding it applies only to foreign nationals with close, previously established ties to the U.S. The Associated Press obtained an all-embassies cable from DOS late Wednesday, advising that visa applicants from the six countries named in the order must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already residing in the United States in order to claim exemption from the ban.
Extended relations, including grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law or fiancees do not fall within the scope of the exemption, according to the guidance.
The cable further provides that affected foreign nationals with significant business ties to American entities may lawfully enter the country, on the condition that all such claims are “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading.” Students, journalists and workers may apply for a visa under this exemption, according to the AP.
U.S. citizens, green card holders, current visa holders, visa applicants inside the U.S. prior to June 26, and dual nationals from the affected countries are also exempt from the ban.
The order will remain in effect for a 90-day period. Refugees from the six countries named in the order may not seek resettlement in the United States through the refugee admissions program for a 120-day period.
“The professional men and women of DHS expect ‘business as usual’ at our ports of entry upon implementation of the March 6 EO,” Department of Homeland Security spokesperson David Lapan said in a statement.