Risk Management Advisory Memo: Executive Order Travel Ban

In light of uncertainty around the roll-out of President Trump’s recent travel bans, WorldStrides released guidance to its university clients in the Capstone division about upcoming international travel. Most programs and customers are not affected by the executive order, but international students traveling outside the country may experience apprehension about the rules. As a partner to our university clients, WorldStrides released the following guidance based on our experiences and observations after the second version of the travel ban was issued in March.

The second travel ban, while still controversial, clarified many of the initial points of confusion from the first version. It impacts nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, but specifies exemptions for U.S. permanent resident (green card holders) and travelers from the six countries who had been previously approved for the U.S. The second order is a 90-day ban, with the clock re-started on the date of the order, March 16, which means the 90-day period will expire in mid-June 2017.

While the summary below represents our best assessment of the situation with recommendations for ease of re-entry, WorldStrides does not make any guarantees regarding these suggestions. We advise students/faculty/staff who carry passports from one of the six impacted countries, or who were born in one of the six impacted countries, to consult with an immigration attorney about their recommendations for travel.

  • Our experience in January and February indicated that even if travelers were not explicitly impacted by the travel ban, some – including those with U.S. passports but names that sound foreign – could face additional scrutiny and questioning upon return to the U.S.
  • All international travelers should carry WorldStrides 24/7 contact number, as well as the phone number for their program leader.
  • All international students should travel with their valid student ID.
  • When traveling on group airfare, the accompanying program leader should monitor the status of international students as they progress through immigration to make sure all are accounted for.
  • For programs without group air, universities may choose to implement a protocol for tracking international students’ flights and request students text a contact person once they clear immigration.
  • Universities may choose to provide international students with personalized letters confirming their enrollment in the school with the expected graduation date.
  • If questioned by U.S. immigration officials, answer truthfully. Remain calm and polite at all times.  Be aware that you will not be permitted to use your cell phone, but you may be able to send a quick text to your program leader that you are delayed.  Note that you may be required to show immigration officials your social media and contacts on your cell phone and computer.

Generally, our risk management team perceives the following categories of risk for re-entry into the U.S.:

  • High risk: Passport holders from the 6 countries without current U.S. visas. This should not impact current students with U.S. visas, unless they are expiring in the next few months. This could impact international students from overseas matriculating in Fall 2017 who need to get student visas this summer.
  • Moderate risk: Passport holders of any other country (excluding U.S.) who were born in one of the six impacted countries. Please reach out to us, as we don’t capture this information. Most likely outcome is unclear.
  • Low risk: U.S. passport holders born in one of the 6 countries. Most likely outcome is additional questioning, followed by entry.
  • Low risk: Passport holders from predominately Muslim countries not impacted by the executive order – or non-U.S. citizens with names that sound Muslim – or non-U.S. citizens who have visas/passport stamps from the 7 countries. Most likely outcome is additional questioning, following by entry.
  • Negligible risk: All U.S. passport holders and other international passport holders not referenced in categories above. Most likely outcome is routine questioning and easy entry.

*Last updated 4/11/2017