Newly elected President Biden is ending what is variously known as the “travel ban” or the “Muslim ban,” which is one of the first acts of the Trump administration. Trump in January 2017 banned foreign nationals from seven mostly Muslim countries from entry into the country. After a lengthy court fight, a watered-down version of the rule was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in 2018. The new administration says it will improve the screening of visitors by strengthening information sharing with foreign governments and other measures. All of the Trump executive actions, including Proclamations 9645 and 9983 are now revoked.
Resumption of Visa Processing and Clearing the Backlog of Cases in Waiver Processing.
The Secretary of State shall direct all Embassies and Consulates, consistent with applicable law and visa processing procedures, including any related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), to resume visa processing in a manner consistent with the revocation of the Executive Order and Proclamations. Within 45 days of the date of this proclamation, the Secretary of State shall provide to the President a comprehensive report that includes the following elements:
(i) The number of visa applicants who were being considered for a waiver of restrictions under Proclamation 9645 or 9983 on the date of this proclamation and a plan for expeditiously adjudicating their pending visa applications.
(ii) A proposal to ensure that individuals whose immigrant visa applications were denied on the basis of the suspension and restriction on entry imposed by Proclamation 9645 or 9983 may have their applications reconsidered. This proposal shall consider whether to reopen immigrant visa applications that were denied due to the suspension and restriction on entry imposed by Proclamation 9645 or 9983, whether it is necessary to charge an additional fee to process those visa applications, and development of a plan for the Department of State to expedite consideration of those visa applications.
(iii) 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.
The new order also calls for expansive overhauls and investments into screening and vetting processes for those seeking entry into the United States.