Maryland residents will likely recall the furor that surrounded President Trump’s January 2017 executive order that banned citizens from seven primarily Muslim countries from entering the U.S. A federal court judge soon lifted the travel ban, and the Supreme Court may ultimately settle legal arguments regarding the president’s authority in this area. Data from the State Department indicates that the number of visitors from these countries has plummeted in recent months.
Trump had issued a directive requesting that the agency publish details concerning how many visas are issued each month, and the figures for April 2017 showed that travel to the U.S. was down by about 15 percent overall. However, the number of visas issued in most of the seven countries included in the travel ban were down by half when compared to an average month in 2016.
The State Department did not reveal how many visa applications were submitted by people in Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Libya and Iran. Therefore, it’s difficult to ascertain whether the decrease was caused by fewer residents from these countries wanting to travel to the United States or changes in the ways that visa applications are processed at U.S. Consulates. A State Department representative pointed out that visa applications fluctuate during the year. He also stated that national and international events could influence the number of visas that are issued each month.
Dealing with the scrutiny that often accompanies the visa application process can be daunting even for those who have nothing to hide. Experienced immigration law attorneys could help reduce their clients’ anxiety and improve the chances of a successful outcome by ensuring that the visa applications are completed correctly and submitted on time and include all the required documentation.