How The 2018 Travel Ban Affects Your Visa (Spouse/Fiance)
Yet again, Trump has enforced a ridiculous travel ban against 8 countries including six from last year’s travel ban. So, in this post we’ll go over how the travel ban affects your visa (spouse and fiance).
Recently, I’ve gotten a number of emails from immigrants who worry that their relationship is doomed because they won’t be able to move to the United States.
Immigration is hard enough for immigrants from poor and Muslim countries, but it’s been made almost impossible since January 2017. I speak from some experience because I’m originally from Somalia and we still have family that is there and have been waiting over a decade to immigrate to Canada and the U.S..
Tanya is from Iran and her husband is a U.S. citizen. They recently got married on his trip there but now they are worried that the travel ban will affect their CR1 visa application. After submitting the I-130 6 months ago, they received an approval notice (NOA2) from USCIS. Their case was then transferred to the embassy in Iran for Tanya’s interview.
But now that Trump has instituted the travel ban, their case has been in limbo with no answers from the embassy. They’ve contacted their local congressman for help but their case still sits there being reviewed.
The case above is quite common for applicants that are from the travel ban countries. They are left waiting for an answer for several months and sometimes years. It can be very stressful and frustrating.
Countries That Are On The Trump Travel Ban
Now let’s take a look at the countries that are affected by this travel ban. Six of the 8 were on last years travel ban but Trump has added two new ones to the list. If you are applying for a CR1 spouse visa or K1 fiance visa from any of these countries, expect long delays and maybe outright denials.
I’ll do my best to explain your options and what you can do to help your case get resolved.
- Syria – This country has many refugees that are fleeing the violence and Trump has decided to limit the number of Syrians that can be relocated to the United States. This is unfortunate and if your applying from Syria, it’s likely that your case will be on hold for quite a while. Even if you do get an interview scheduled, you may be placed in administrative processing until the ban is resolved.
- Chad – I’ll be honest and say that I’m not sure why Chad is on the list because I thought they were an Ally of the U.S. but it could be that there is some terrorism associated with this country.
- Iran – Unfortunately, Iran is seen as a threat to the U.S. This means that anyone applying from this country will be under more scrutiny than anywhere else. Before the travel ban, couples could successfully get approved for the K1 or CR1 visa but now it’s definitely more difficult.
- Libya – This is another country that was bombed by the United States and is now a safe haven for terrorists. Because of this, the U.S. will run more security and background checks on anyone applying from Libya. Be prepared for long waiting times and possible visa denials.
- Somalia – Since the fall of the Somali government in the early 90s, Somalia has been seen as a rogue terrorist nation where there is no rule of law. The United States has restrictions of immigration from this country even if you have immediate relatives that are U.S. citizens. Expect very long delays and lots of security checks. Even after all this, it’s likely that you won’t be issued a visa just yet.
- Yemen – Another Muslim country on the hit list of Trump. The U.S. has been involved in some bombings in Yemen as well and this country is seen as a safe haven for
- Venezuela – It seems that Trump has put Venezuela on the travel ban list because they aren’t cooperating with security screening of their citizens. Venezuela was also accused of selling fake passports to Muslim terrorists from the Middle East.
- North Korea – I don’t have to tell you why North Korea is on the travel ban list. I think you understand why.
How The Travel Ban Affects Spouses Of US Citizens
If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen and are applying from any of these countries, you may be worried about your case being denied. But, I’ll tell you that instead of a visa denial, you’re more likely to be placed in administrative processing.
Before Trump was elected, it was almost guaranteed that as long as you had a bona fide relationship and had a sponsor that meets the income requirement, you were sure to be approved.
Now, things are really uncertain.
Even if your CR1 visa is approved, you may not be able to enter the U.S. on the visa at the port of entry. This can cause a lot of stress for any couple that wants to be together in the United States.
Mohamed is applying for a spouse visa from Somalia. His wife is a U.S. citizen and they got married a few months ago when she visited him in his home country. After submitting the I-130 and being approved, they quickly submitted the required documents to NVC.
After 3 months of waiting to hear from the US embassy, they were notified that the background checks have not been completed. They were not given an exact date of when this would be completed. Months go by and they hear nothing from USCIS or the embassy. It’s as if his case is in limbo due to the travel ban and the reason that’s given is due to security background checks.
How The Travel Ban Affects Fiances of US Citizens
When it comes to fiance’s of U.S. citizens, it will that much harder to get approved for the K1 visa. The reason for this is that you have less “skin in the game” when it comes to a bona fide relationship.
Since you don’t have to get married, the K1 visa is notorious as a way to commit immigration fraud.
This is why it’s harder to get the K1 visa approved compared to the CR1 spouse visa. It’s harder but not impossible. If you are applying from any of the travel ban countries be prepared to submit a lot of evidence of your relationship.
Mariam is applying for a K1 visa from Libya. She met her fiance while he was traveling northern Africa last year. After he proposed to her on his last trip, he submitted the I-129F petition for her.
After 6 months, the petition is approved and their case is sent to NVC. Once they submitted the required documents the visa interview was scheduled for the following month. During the interview, Mariam wasn’t told that she was approved and was asked to submit additional evidence.
She submitted the documents to the consulate but now her K1 visa case is in administrative processing. Months go by without any answers and Mariam believes that it’s due to the fact that she is applying from Libya which is on Trump’s travel ban list.
Final Thoughts On Trump’s Travel Ban
Overall, the Trump travel ban has no basis in security or logic. It’s based on discriminatory reasons of a president that doesn’t know much about foreign affairs.
Seeing as how all the terrorists blamed for 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, you;d think that this country would be #1 on the travel ban list. But, of course, they’re not and this is probably due to the monetary relationship they have with powerful people in the United States.
Okay, that’s enough ranting about U.S. foreign policy. I’m just shocked that this country has strayed so far from what it use to be where we accepted immigrants who wanted a better life and to work hard to achieve something for their families.
Applying for a spouse or fiance visa will be difficult from the countries on the travel ban but not impossible. I’m thinking that these strict rules will be loosened up a bit as time goes by. There are a lot of people in the U.S. that are completely against it so I wouldn’t be surprised if they repealed this policy.