The United States government has made it mandatory for visa applicants from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees to have “close family” in or business ties to the country, AP reported on Thursday. The development follows the Supreme Court’s decision to partially allow President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order restricting the entry of people from Muslim-majority countries into the US.
Applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen as well as refugees, barring a few exceptions, will have to prove their links to the US. Visa applications that were approved before the new guidelines were released will not be revoked.
The new rules require applicants to prove their relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the US, AP reported, quoting a cable from the State Department. The notification has been sent to US embassies and consulates on Wednesday and is expected to be implemented immediately.
The new rules do not consider grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members to be close relationships, the news agency reported. The Supreme Court had offered generic recommendations saying the link could be a relative, a job offer or an invitation to lecture in the US.
On March 6, the US president had signed an executive order imposing a 90-day ban on the entry of people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from March 16. A federal judge in Hawaiian had blocked the revised travel ban just hours before it was due to come into effect on March 16, a move Trump had called an “unprecedented judicial overreach”.