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Partial US Travel Restrictions Start   06/29 06:07

   The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six 
mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a "close" family or 
business tie to the United States. The move came after the Supreme Court 
partially restored President Donald Trump's executive order that was widely 
criticized as a ban on Muslims.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa 
applicants from six mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a 
"close" family or business tie to the United States. The move came after the 
Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump's executive order that 
was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims.

   Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions 
issued by the State Department Wednesday said that new applicants from Syria, 
Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, 
spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling 
already in the United States to be eligible. The same requirement, with some 
exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations that are still 
awaiting approval for admission to the U.S.

   Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, 
brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members 
are not considered to be close relationships, according to the guidelines that 
were issued in a cable sent to all U.S. embassies and consulates late on 
Wednesday. The new rules take effect at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on 
Thursday (0000GMT on Friday), according to the cable, which was obtained by The 
Associated Press.

   As far as business or professional links are concerned, the State Department 
said a legitimate relationship must be "formal, documented and formed in the 
ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading" the ban. Journalists, 
students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment 
contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not 
apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational 
institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules, the cable said.  A 
hotel reservation or car rental contract, even if it was pre-paid, would also 
not count, it said.

   Consular officers may grant other exemptions to applicants from the six 
nations if they have "previously established significant contacts with the 
United States;" ''significant business or professional obligations" in the 
U.S.; if they are an infant, adopted child or in need of urgent medical care; 
if they are traveling for business with a recognized international organization 
or the U.S. government or if they are a legal resident of Canada who applies 
for a visa in Canada, according to the cable.

   Meanwhile, the Middle East's biggest airline says its flights to the United 
States are operating as normal as new travel guidelines come into effect for 
travelers for six mainly Muslim nations. Dubai-based Emirates said in response 
to questions on the travel ban Thursday that it "remains guided by the US 
Customs and Border Protection on this matter."

   The carrier reminded passengers that they "must possess the appropriate 
travel documents, including a valid US entry visa, in order to travel."

   On Monday, the Supreme Court partially lifted lower court injunctions 
against Trump's executive order that had temporarily banned visas for citizens 
of the six countries. The justices' ruling exempted applicants from the ban if 
they could prove a "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. person or entity, but 
the court offered only broad guidelines --- suggesting they would include a 
relative, job offer or invitation to lecture in the U.S.  --- as to how that 
should be defined.

   Senior officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland 
Security had labored since the decision to clarify the ruling and Wednesday's 
instructions were the result. The new guidance will remain in place until the 
Supreme Court issues a final ruling on the matter. Arguments before the 
justices will not be held until at least October, so the interim rules will 
remain in place at least until the fall.

   Shortly after taking office, Trump ordered the refugee ban and a travel ban 
affecting the six countries, plus Iraq. He said it was needed to protect the 
U.S. from terrorists, but opponents said it was unfairly harsh and was intended 
to meet his campaign promise to keep Muslims out of the United States.

   After a federal judge struck down the bans, Trump signed a revised order 
intended to overcome legal hurdles. That was also struck down by lower courts, 
but the Supreme Court's action Monday partially reinstated it.

   The initial travel ban led to chaos at airports around the world, but 
because the guidelines exempt previously issued visas, similar problems are not 
expected.  After a judge blocked the original ban, Trump issued a scaled-down 
order and the court's action Monday further reduced the number of people who 
would be covered by it. Also, while the initial order took effect immediately, 
adding to the confusion, this one was delayed 72 hours after the court's ruling.

   Under the new rules, would-be immigrants from the six countries who won a 
coveted visa in the government's diversity lottery --- a program that randomly 
awards 50,000 green cards annually to people from countries with low rates of 
immigration to the United States --- will also have to prove they have a "bona 
fide relationship" with in the U.S. or are eligible for another waiver or face 
being banned for at least 90 days. That hurdle may be a difficult one for those 
immigrants to overcome, as many visa lottery winners don't have relatives in 
the U.S. or jobs in advance of arriving in the country.

   Generally, winners in the diversity lottery only need prove they were born 
in an eligible county and have completed high school or have at least two years 
of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two other years of 
training or experience.

   ___

   Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this report.


(KA)

 
 
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