Trump travel ban: What will happen to international students' visa status?
People protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court after the U.S. President Trump's travel ban was upheld by the US Supreme Court this June. Source: Reuters/Leah Millis

Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court upheld an executive order issued by President Donald Trump last year, which barred travelers, including students, from a half-dozen predominantly Muslim countries.

Known as the ‘travel ban’, the court sided with Trump’s administration in a 5-to-4 decision, ruling that the order was within executive authority over immigration and national security.

This means there will now be an indefinite ban for nearly all people from seven countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela – from entering the US.

What about those entering the US to study?

According to The Miami Hurricane, students will not be affected by the court’s decision. For the most part, at least.

In an email, the University of Miami (UM) wrote, “F-1 visa applicants are exempt from the travel ban, so no student visa will be denied because of this policy.”

Ahmed Khalil, an Egyptian national residing in the US, hugs his daughters Laila, 6, and Farida, 8, as they arrive at Washington Dulles International Airport after the Trump administration’s travel ban was allowed back into effect pending further judicial review, in Dulles, Virginia, US, June 29, 2017. Source: Reuters/James Lawler Duggan/File Photo

As the ruling was delivered during summer break, some international students would understandably be worried over their visa status. This will depend on the expiry date of their visas – those with unexpired visas should be able to enter the US.

However, those whose visas have expired would need to apply for it abroad.

A university official wrote in an e-mail, “Students who have valid and unexpired student visas and proper documentation pertaining to their status will be able to return to the US to continue their programs at UM, if otherwise admissible.”

“If any students with an expired student visa left the US and need to obtain a new visa, they can apply for it abroad, as F-1 student visas are exempt from the ban for most countries.”

Miami University in Ohio associate director of international student and scholar services department Molly Heideman advised students from travel ban countries to plan their trips back home accordingly as it could be risky for them to go out of the US.

“If they were to travel, they could have difficulty obtaining a new visa when they come back or have difficulty entering the US,” Heideman said. “So, we would probably recommend if they are considering traveling to speak with an immigration attorney first.”

Wright State University international education director Michelle Streeter-Ferrari echoed this advice, “… since students are on a student visa, they should be allowed to enter, however, we do caution students against traveling abroad if they are from one of the mentioned countries.”

UM did not respond to The Miami Hurricane’s query whether parents and relatives of students from the banned countries will be allowed to enter the US to visit the students or to attend their graduation ceremonies.

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