Guidance on Executive Order on Immigration
and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Updated January 21, 2021
On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued the Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States revoking the travel bans described below.
On January 31, 2020, the Trump administration released the fourth proclamation under an executive order entitled “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats,” commonly referred to as the “travel ban.” The effective date of this proclamation is February 21, 2020.
On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a decision upholding the third travel ban. SCOTUS held that President Trump acted within his authority to impose indefinite travel restrictions on certain nationals of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen (restrictions on Chad were lifted in April 2018). In a 5-4 decision writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts asserted that the president has broad authority under 8 U.S.C. Section 1192(f) to suspend entry of aliens into the United States, and that the president did not exceed this authority in issuing the executive order.
The January 20, 2020 order is an expansion of that ban and adds the following countries to the list of those facing certain restrictions for entry into the U.S.: Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. Country-specific restrictions are found below. The most notable difference for these countries is the exclusion of nonimmigrants (e.g., F-1 students, J-1 students and scholars, H-1B temporary workers, etc.) from the ban. It applies only to immigrant visas, thus limiting impact to those individuals with plans to come to the U.S. permanently.
The Office of International Services (OIS) will update this web page should new or updated information become available. Note: the information below is for general information purposes only. Please consult with an advisor in OIS about your specific circumstances before any travel abroad.
The Office of International Services (OIS) provides general travel guidance for JHU international students, faculty, staff, residents, and fellows.
We also provide personalized travel guidance to individuals on JHU sponsored visas (along with dependents) including the following:
- F-1 students
- J-1 students, faculty, researchers
- H-1B temporary workers
- O-1 extraordinary ability aliens
- TN for Canadian and Mexican professionals
Note that OIS does not generally provide guidance or support to U.S. lawful permanent residents since those individuals do not require JHU sponsorship and JHU has no reporting or compliance obligations with respect to lawful permanent residents. In light of these special circumstances, however, we encourage all members of the JHU community to contact OIS if they have questions or need support.
Generally, OIS travel guidance includes:
- Explanation of required documentation for the nonimmigrant and visa application process;
- Explanation of required documentation for entry or reentry to the United States;
- Discussion of potential risks of entering and/or leaving the United States during the nonimmigrant and visa application process; and,
- Emergency telephone support for issues encountered at borders and/or airports.
The executive order on immigration released on September 24, 2017 replaced the executive order released in March 2017 and impacts individuals from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen (restrictions on Chad were lifted in April 2018). The Proclamation issued January 31, 2020 adds six additional countries to the list: Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
Per Department of Homeland security, the country-specific restrictions are as follows:
- Burma (Myanmar) – the entry into the United States of nationals of Burma (Myanmar) as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.
- Eritrea – the entry into the United States of nationals of Eritrea as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.
- Iran – the entry into the United States of nationals of Iran as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is suspended, except that entry by nationals of Iran under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
- Kyrgyzstan – the entry into the United States of nationals of Kyrgyzstan as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.
- Libya – the entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.
- Nigeria – the entry into the United States of nationals of Nigeria as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.
- North Korea –the entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
- Somalia – the entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is suspended, and nonimmigrants traveling to the United States will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
- Sudan – the entry into the United States of nationals of Sudan as Diversity Immigrants, as described in section 203(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1153(c), is hereby suspended.
- Syria –the entry into the United States of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
- Tanzania – the entry into the United States of nationals of Tanzania as Diversity Immigrants, as described in section 203(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1153(c), is hereby suspended.
- Venezuela –the entry into the United States of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas is suspended.
- Yemen –the entry into the United States of nationals of Yemen as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.
Note that several classes of foreign national are exempt from the restrictions, including U.S. lawful permanent residents, dual nationals traveling on a passport from a non-restricted country, foreign nationals who hold a valid U.S. visa or advance parole and those who were physically in the United States on the applicable original effective date of the travel restrictions. As noted above, nonimmigrants from Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania have a blanket exclusion from the ban.
OIS continues to encourage all pending visa applicants/recipients who may be affected by the executive order to reach out to both OIS and their sponsoring departments/units if they have any questions or concerns. OIS can be reached during regular office hours by calling 667-208-7001 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In the case of an emergency outside regular office hours, such as an urgent travel need or issue at the border, please call 443-240-1938.
While the executive order permits travel and entry to the U.S. for certain persons from the initial seven countries, and all from the six countries named on January 20, 2020, with an appropriate valid visa, the university continues to advise Johns Hopkins-affiliated students or scholars to consult with OIS before departing the U.S. Those who do choose to travel outside the country should be aware that they still may encounter delays obtaining new visas at a U.S. consulate, or difficulties upon reentry including secondary inspection and longer detention periods for extended questioning by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. CBP officers have wide discretionary authority to deny entry to the U.S. If that occurs, such individuals may not be able to return to the U.S. for an indefinite period of time. Individuals from all named countries are urged to weigh the risks surrounding visa renewal applications, reentry into the U.S., and other issues, and to discuss those prior to travel with an advisor in OIS.
Q: I know it is being cautioned that persons from countries subject to restrictions who travel outside the US may not be able to return for an indefinite period of time. What if I have a family emergency and need to leave?
A: You should speak with an OIS advisor about your individual situation before making travel plans to weigh the risks surrounding visa renewal applications or reentry to the U.S.
Q: I am not from one of the named countries but am from a predominantly Muslim country. Should I travel?
A: While the executive orders do not address countries of origin other than the designated countries, we routinely recommend everyone speak with an OIS advisor about their individual situations before making travel plans. However, there is no indication that your travel will be impacted by this executive order, though additional questions and delays may occur at U.S. Consulates and Ports of Entry, particularly if you have travelled to one of the named countries.
Q: Will additional countries be added to the ban?
A: Possibly. The Administration could add new countries and broaden restrictions on foreign nationals already subject to the proclamation. OIS is constantly monitoring for any possible changes to rules and processes that may affect the JHU community.
Q: Are U.S. Permanent Residents impacted by the Executive Order?
A: No, the executive order does not apply to U.S. Permanent Residents from the named countries and they are not impacted by the Executive Order.
Q: How many of our students, faculty and staff may be impacted?
A: OIS has previously been in direct communication with those sponsored through our office who are from the countries listed in the executive orders. We are constantly monitoring for changes and new information, which is our standard operating procedure.
Q: What if I have an emergency outside regular office hours? What is an emergency?
A: OIS has an emergency telephone number for use outside regular office hours – 443-240-1938 – for issues such as urgent travel needs due to family concerns, or problems at the border or airport during your return. This telephone number is monitored by a senior OIS staff member who can access OIS immigration records. Please note that at times, the staff member may not be able to immediately pick up the telephone call. Should the call go to voicemail, please leave a clear message or call back in a few minutes. Our office number for non-emergency calls is 667-208-7001.
Q: I am a permanent resident from one of the impacted countries. May I contact OIS?
A: Yes, as a member of the JHU community, you may access OIS services. Keep in mind that our guidance will be general in nature, and we may need to refer you to an outside immigration attorney.
Q: Do you have special access to information that we do not?
A: We do not have special access to information that is not already in the public sphere. However, we have special training to interpret the meaning of what is out there and have access to additional interpretive resources provided to us by our professional organizations.
Q: I am a concerned U.S. citizen. How can I help?
A: If you know of someone who is impacted, be a supportive friend. If you are inclined, express your opinions to your member of Congress. There are a variety of other ways to voice your support and opinion, including becoming involved with organizations dedicated to the issues of concern to you.
Q: I am a United States citizen who is also from and/or a citizen of one of the affected countries. What should I do?
A: Nothing different. U.S. citizens, even those with dual citizenship and/or national origin from an affected country, are not affected by the executive orders. Always use your U.S. passport for reentry to the U.S.
Q: I am a dual national from one of the countries but have a passport from a non-restricted country. What should I do?
A: You may travel using the passport from the non-restricted country but be aware that additional questions and delays may occur at U.S. Consulates and Ports of Entry, particularly if you have travelled to one of the named countries. Note that if your supporting documentation lists a named country, be sure the country of citizenship matches that of the passport you intend to use. Thus, you may need to request reissuance of that document to match the country of the passport you intend to use to enter the U.S. well in advance of your travel date.
Q: I am from one of the named countries and will be graduating soon. I expect to apply for Optional Practical Training. Will this be impacted?
A: There was no change to in-country benefits under prior bans and no indication of any change with the latest ban. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services commented after the first ban that it is processing all applications for individuals from the seven countries. OIS has not observed any distinction in processing times for citizens of the named countries.
Q: If I am not exempt from the ban, can I get a waiver of the suspension?
A: Those who are not exempt from the ban may request a waiver when applying for a visa. To be eligible for a waiver, you must demonstrate that you would suffer undue hardship if denied visa and entry to the U.S., and that your entry would not pose a threat to U.S. national security or public safety and would be in the U.S. national interest. Note that waivers are highly discretionary, and chances of receiving one in all likelihood will be low.
Q: What if I am detained at the border? Can JHU offer legal assistance? Who will cover the cost of the legal assistance if I am unable to?
A: JHU will always attempt to support members of our community. If you are detained at the border or in an airport, please contact OIS at our emergency telephone number, 443-240-1938. If OIS is not able to resolve the issue with the border official, JHU will work on a case-by-case basis to refer affected members of our community to individuals or organizations that can be of assistance, including those who may be able to provide legal services at no or little cost.
Message from President Daniels on Supreme Court decision - June 29, 2018
Message from President Daniels on the executive order on immigration – February 1, 2017
JHU closely monitoring immigration actions – January 28, 2017
JHU and undocumented U.S. residents at the university – December 19, 2016
January 20, 2021 Proclamation:
January 31, 2020 Proclamation:
Supreme Court decision of June 26, 2018:
September 24, 2017 Executive Order--Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats:
Department of Homeland Security Fact Sheet:
Statements By Department of Homeland Security:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services notice on adjudications:
Fragomen updates and alerts:
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) FAQs related to Executive Orders