New Trump order will affect vessel crews

A new Executive Order (EO) from the office of President Trump means that crewmembers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen will not be able to enter the US unless they hold visas issued prior to 16th March. If they do not have a valid visa by that date, they will not be able to obtain a visa until 90 days after 16th March. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly wrote on March 6th that “the Executive Order signed today (EO 13780) is prospective in nature – applying only to foreign nationals outside of the US who do not have a valid visa. It is important to note that nothing in this executive order affects current lawful permanent residents or persons with current authorization to enter our country. If you have a current valid visa to travel, we welcome you.” EO 13780 revokes and replaces EO 13769, the rushed EO that was overturned in the US courts.

P&I Clubs Britannia, UK P&I, Swedish Club, London P&I, Shipowners all issued member alerts on the new order, mainly with an analysis from lawyers Freehill Hogan & Mahar.

Should a vessel arrive at a US port with crew who do not have valid visas from any of the six countries listed above, then those crewmembers will not be permitted to leave the vessel. It is possible that US authorities will order armed guards to be placed at the vessel’s gangway to prevent any crew without valid visas from going landside.

Section 3 of the new EO, dealing with the “Scope and Implementation of Suspension”, provides that the suspension of entry under Section 2 shall only apply to nationals of the designated countries who are outside the US on March 16th 2017 and who did not hold a valid visa as of January 27th 2017.

Section 2 also directs the US Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a worldwide review to identify what additional information is required from each foreign country to adjudicate an application by a national of that country for a visa “…in order to determine that the individual is not a security or public-safety threat.”

The Secretary of Homeland Security has been mandated to provide for the President within 20 days of the effective date of the EO a list of the countries that do not provide adequate information. Foreign governments that do not provide the information deemed necessary will be asked to begin doing so within 50 days. After that period expires, the Secretary of Homeland Security will provide the President with a list of noncomplying countries, which would then be included in a Presidential proclamation prohibiting the entry into the US of “appropriate categories of foreign nationals” from those countries, until such time as the country provides the required information.

Any individual whose visa was revoked or marked cancelled as a result of the now-revoked EO 13769 should receive a travel document entitling that person to travel to the US and seek entry.

Section 3 states that the new EO does not apply to permanent residents of the US, dual nationals of any of the designated countries if the individual is travelling on the passport of a non-designated country, any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic visa, and foreign nationals who have been granted asylum. In addition, Section 3(c) authorizes the issuance of visas on a case-by-case basis to foreign nationals whose entry is otherwise suspended by the new EO.

Section 4 of the EO calls for a thorough review of any Iraqi national who applies for a visa, with an emphasis on investigating for any connection to ISIS or any other terrorist organization, and assessing whether the applicant may be a threat to commit acts of terrorism.

Section 5 calls for a heightened vetting and screening standard for all US immigration programmes.

Section 6 suspends all travel of refugees to the US, and all decisions on refugee status, for 120 days from the effective date of the EO, and caps the number of refugees to be admitted in fiscal year 2017 at 50,000. Certain refugees may be admitted on a case-by-case basis.