President Trump is working to form a travel ban on all refugees and some nationals from specified countries. Some of the affected countries are: Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and North Korea. I’m a U.S. citizen and citizen of one of these countries. I want to travel and live in the United States. But, I’m wondering if I can do that right now?
Thanks, Jenn, Omaha, NE
This is an excellent question, and answers are tied to two things: the status of your passport and the status of the travel ban.
Your U.S. passport holds your identity and allows you to travel outside the country on a regular basis. In some countries, U.S. citizens can obtain a passport that allows them to travel without additional paperwork and without being required to present additional proof of U.S. citizenship when traveling abroad. The Department of State, and its Traveling Citizens Authority, makes these passports available to U.S. citizens on a daily basis.
Another useful source of information on passport status in your country is the website for the U.S. Consulate General. Find it at www.cgus.gov/cg-notification.aspx, or you can contact the U.S. Consulate General in your country directly by calling 202-501-4444.
Your travel ban status should change as a result of the travel ban in place. For the length of time you are being denied entry into the U.S., you must be lawfully permitted to travel in your country and for that you should document the date, time and place at which you were denied entry. Then, fill out the requested documentation and send it to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with your request for an official waiver. If your travel ban status changes, you will receive a notification letter and possibly a copy of your photo I.D.
And finally, if you are not currently traveling, there are a number of ways you can always travel safely, including long-distance trips. Many air travel agencies do not require passports as part of their service. And, in Europe, there are often no passport regulations for cross-border travel. As a traveler and as a U.S. citizen, I feel confident that I am never going to lose my identity or, worse, my life, to a visa issue.