President Donald Trump has imposed visas restrictions on four African countries and two from Asia.
Citizens from Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan won’t be allowed to apply for visas to immigrate to the United States under the new policy for visas that can lead to permanent residency, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said during a call with reporters on Friday.
Wolf clarified that the targeted visas are distinct from non-immigrant visas issued to visitors, which will not be impacted by the ban.
Citizens from Sudan and Tanzania will be barred from participating in the diversity visa lottery, the Trump administration said.
The European country of Belarus was dropped from the list of seven countries as previously reported.
The administration said investor visas, which lead to green cards, will also be barred.
But the DHS official said the restrictions will not apply to skilled foreign workers entering the United States on H-1B visas, even though such visas are temporary, but can lead to permanent status in the United States.
He said immigrants already in the United States, or who have approved visas will be exempt from the ban.
However, people with pending visa requests – some of whom have waited years – will be barred.
All applicants will be able to apply for a waiver, a process already in place under Trump’s existing ban. But a federal lawsuit challenging the administration claims the waiver process is opaque and difficult to navigate.
The visa restrictions will not apply to refugees, according to the official. Trump’s administration has separately capped the number of refugees allowed into the United States at 18,000 for the 2020 fiscal year, the lowest level in decades, a report noted.
American lawmakers had called on Trump not to include Sudan to the travel ban, the Nigerian government began lobbying this week not to also be included to travel ban.
Last week, media reports said Nigeria, Tanzania, Sudan, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Belarus were on Mr. Trump’s new travel ban to be unveiled this week.
Last week, United States House of Representatives member Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to reconsider adding Sudan to the administration’s travel ban.
This is a breaking news that will be updated shortly when travel ban is officially unveiled.