On September 25, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a new Presidential Proclamation, which impacts several countries. In particular, the inclusion of Venezuela has many nationals wondering “how does this impact me?” Often times, turning to the news media offers little to no clarification.
First, it is important to understand the purpose behind the Proclamation. The Proclamation notes that, after a worldwide review of how countries assess safety and security threats, a small number of countries were found lacking in security protocols. Specifically, various countries were not properly verifying, or sharing with the United States, immigrant identities, security threats, and/or terroristic threats. After a 50-day period, the countries that were still not up to standard were included in the ban.
In particular, Venezuela was included because, even though it follows the basic standards to confirm identities, the Venezuelan government does not cooperate with verifying and sharing identity and public safety/terrorism threat information with the U.S. The Proclamation also notes that Venezuela does not cooperate to receive back its nationals once deported from the U.S.
The Proclamation prevents certain Venezuelan government agency officials and their immediate family from entering the U.S. under a non-immigrant visitor (B1/B2) visa. In addition, Venezuelan nationals that are unaffiliated with government agencies and already have visas may be subject to more procedures to make sure their information stays up to date, but it is clear that this Proclamation is not a wholesale ban on Venezuelans obtaining visas to enter the U.S.
These limitations will only apply to Venezuelans who are outside of the U.S. and do not have a valid visa, as of October 18, 2017. It will not affect those who are lawful permanent residents, diplomats, or have been granted asylum. The Proclamation does not revoke a valid visa.