Presidential Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States

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Presidential Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States

On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed a Presidential Proclamation titled “Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States.”  This proclamation ends the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 and directs the State Department to pursue the processing of visa applications for individuals from impacted countries consistent with applicable law and visa processing procedures, including any related to COVID-19.  Pursuant to the Proclamation, all embassies and consulates have been instructed to process visa applications for individuals who were subject to the restrictions under those proclamations, consistent with current visa processing procedures related to COVID-19.  The full proclamation may be viewed here:

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are included below:

  • What happens if I was previously denied a visa under Proclamation 9645 and 9983?
    • President Biden’s proclamation directs the Department to develop a plan to ensure that visa applicants are not prejudiced as a result of a previous visa denial due to the suspension and restriction on entry imposed by Proclamation 9645 or 9983 if they choose to re-apply for a visa.
    • Over the coming weeks, the Department will develop guidance for visa applicants who were previously denied under the travel bans.  We will provide more detail when we are able.
    • Those who had nonimmigrant visa applications denied may reapply at the appropriate embassy or consulate.
  • What countries were impacted by the Proclamations?
    • Certain applicants from the following countries had been, but no longer are, ineligible for visas under Proclamations 9645 and 9983:  Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Yemen.
  • What changed as a result of President Biden’s Proclamation?
    • Before the Proclamation signed January 20, individuals from those countries targeted under Proclamations 9645 and 9983 could apply for a visa and be considered for a waiver only if Proclamations 9645 and 9983 were the only bases for their ineligibility.
    • As of January 20, those restrictions are no longer in effect, and the State Department will pursue processing for applicants from those countries, without regard to those proclamations, consistent with applicable law and visa processing procedures, including any related to processing during COVID-19.
  • How soon will applicants be able to get visa interviews?
    • Interview wait times vary by post and have been severely affected by COVID‑related limitations, as well as the type of visa application, e.g. immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas.  Travelers should check their local post’s website to get the latest post-specific information.
  • What happens to applicants who were informed they were subject to one of these proclamations, if their cases remain pending?
    • For visa applicants who would have been otherwise eligible for a visa but for the restrictions under Proclamations 9645 and 9983 and are currently being considered for a waiver of the restrictions, consular officers will be taking steps to adjudicate those applications, subject to completion of any required security vetting procedures and other applicable grounds of inadmissibility.
  • Will the Proclamation from President Biden have an impact on my case if I was advised that I was subject to those proclamations, but my case is in administrative processing?
    • Administrative processing may not be related to the proclamations, as it covers many situations.  Please reach out to the Post where you applied for any further details on the status of your case.

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