A majority of those denied entry into the US as a result of travel bans imposed by former President Donald Trump can either apply to have the decision reconsidered or re-apply, the State Department announced on Monday.
On January 20, Biden issued an executive order revoking the ban on travel from majority-Muslim countries.
Biden gave the State Department 45 days to provide a report with a proposal on how to handle the applications of those who were denied because of the two travel ban measures Trump implemented.
Most people from Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, North Korea, and Venezuela were prohibited from traveling to the US under a plan initially introduced in 2017. In 2020, Trump added immigrants and travelers from Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania to the list.
The State Department said those who got a final refusal on their application on or after January 20, 2020 “could seek re-adjudication without resubmitting their application forms or paying any additional fees, provided the underlying visa petitions remain valid.”
Those who were denied before January 20, 2020, would have to reapply and pay a new application fee.
US law bars people who were selected as part of the diversity visa lottery between 2017 and 2020 to be issued visas if they have not gotten them already, the statement said.
The Department said while they’re working to make sure those impacted can be helped as soon as possible, the pandemic has made it difficult to process visas.
“As the Department works to serve affected applicants as quickly as possible, the health and safety of our workforce and customers remains paramount. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the health safeguards it has necessitated, continue to severely impact the number of visas our embassies and consulates abroad are able to process,” the statement read.
“Our team in Washington and around the world continue to work tirelessly to find ways to increase the number of immigrant visa appointments, and will continue to do so in the coming months.”