Go back

What do I need to know about the US travel ban?

Prodigy Finance - July 04, 2017

What do I need to know about the US travel ban

Please note this post has been updated from its original publication on 2 May 2017 to reflect the most recent events. Updates can be found at the bottom of the post. 

At Prodigy Finance, we firmly believe that talent is global.

Being a borderless company that is global in outlook is more than just a point of pride for us – it is central to our identity and culture.

Our goal is to remove barriers and enable the world’s top talent to make the most of their potential. We understand that political changes can impact individuals, especially if you’re living away from your home country, looking to move abroad or travelling. With this in mind, we will continue to keep you updated on the in’s and out’s of the US travel ban.

To get you up to speed on what’s happening in the US, here are some of the key points.

What exactly is the US travel ban?

In January 2017, the US President, Donald Trump, signed an executive order barring nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – from entering the United States.

This executive order was very broad in scope and did not provide carve-outs for existing visa holders and others with a legal right to enter the US. It was initially blocked by District Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland under the premise of not providing adequate allowances for legal visa holders and its appearance of religious discrimination against Muslims.

Following the judicial halt of the original ban, the President issued a revised second order in the first week of March 2017.

This revised order was due to take effect on 16 March, and would have banned migrants from the above mentioned countries from entering the US – except Iraqi citizens holding valid visas; they were removed from the list. 

However, this order was also blocked.

District Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii argued that this ban would harm tourism, and the ability to recruit foreign students and workers. Other key states are also opposed, including California, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Washington; and are all taking part in legal actions against the revised ban.

What will the Trump administration do next?

The Trump administration is likely to appeal the decision, not to the Ninth Circuit where they are likely to get an adverse ruling, but to the Fourth Circuit; a conservative court more likely to uphold the travel ban. If the case is not agreed in the Fourth Circuit, it will go to the Supreme Court which has a newly appointed conservative judge, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Further details on the ban from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are available here.

How has the US education sector responded?

Diversity is central to innovation and is playing a growing role in classrooms. In France, INSEAD has always championed diversity in its MBA classes, which led to it being ranked the world’s top MBA more than once.

There is also a strong tradition of immigrant achievement in academia, with all six of the 2016 US-based Nobel prizewinners in economics and scientific fields born outside of the country.

Potential harm to public universities was a key part of the case taken by Minnesota and Washington states which led to the original ban being thrown out. During the 2015-16 school year, more than 17,000 students from the six countries targeted in this ban studied and conducted research at US universities.

Several leaders within the education sector have also publicly criticised the ban on these grounds:

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities said the ban will “undermine the ability of our public institutions to attract the best minds to teach and study at our state colleges and universities."

Peter McPherson, the president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities said that it “could have a chilling effect on students and scholars in other countries who are considering whether to study and conduct research in the United States or elsewhere.”

Molly Corbett Broad, the president of the American Council on Education, said “while the revised order has narrowed the number of people impacted by the travel ban, we fear that those still excluded — coupled with the faulty initial roll-out and the harsh rhetoric that often accompanies today’s public policy discussions about immigration — still creates a climate where it is far more difficult for international students and scholars to view this country as a welcoming place for study and research.”

How do these orders affect students currently in the US or those considering an application?

As it stands, the proposed measures are not in effect. Lawful permanent residents of the US from these countries, as well as those holding valid visa (including those on student and exchange visas) will not be denied entry on the grounds of these executive orders.

What happens if the executive order comes into effect?

If the executive order does come into effect at some point in the future, students currently in the US with valid visas would not be affected (but should not make plans to exit the country during their studies).

However, prospective students from the affected countries would not be granted visas. The order will prevent universities and university hospitals from bringing in new postdoctoral scholars, visiting faculty members, and other students who don’t already have visas.

It’s worth noting that both bans placed temporary bans on the issuance of visas to citizens of the listed countries – lasting only 90 days. It’s not certain whether extensions on the ban would be requested or justified.

I’m not sure if I will be affected, what do I do?

If you are not sure if you’ll be affected, or concerned that you might be, you should consult your international student advisor or immigration lawyer before travelling to or from the US.

We advise seeking a professional opinion before travel to ensure your documentation is in order.

Prodigy Finance will continue to provide talented individuals with access to the best education and hope for a resolution that encourages diversity and development.

Update 4 July 2017

What will this travel ban mean?

On the 26th June the Supreme Court announced their decision to limit the application of Trump’s travel ban to those who cannot prove any connection with the US.

The Supreme Court order stipulates that the ban should not apply to those with a ‘bona fide connection’ to the US and provides examples to clarify how the clause should be interpreted. Those with relatives in the US, students who have been admitted to US universities, and individuals who have been offered work in a US firm should continue to be allowed in the country.

There remains some uncertainty about how the ‘bona fide connections’ may be assessed in individual cases by the offices dealing with applications. However, the Supreme Court decision reiterates that the travel ban should not impact lawful permanent residents of the US from these countries, including those on student and exchange visas who de facto have a bona fide connection in the US.

How would the revised order affect students in the US or those considering an application?

Students currently studying in the US should be unaffected by the travel ban for the duration of their visas, however it is still unclear how those in the process of applying and future applicants may be affected.

During the 2015-16 school year, more than 17,000 students from the six countries targeted in this ban studied and conducted research at US universities. These students form a vital part of the research ecosystem in the US, and dropping applications and admissions can only hurt the economy that thrives on the diversity of top talent the US has always attracted.

This time is a critical period for students due to begin courses in US. Many will be submitting to consular interviews as part of the visa-application process, so we will soon be able to see how the Supreme Court order is being implemented. The new requirements to demonstrate ties with the US could cause delays due to the increased workload at consular offices, therefore students are advised to apply early.

Although the Supreme Court order appears favourable towards students, the uncertainty about how it will be implemented could depress enrollments of new applicants to American universities from the six countries.

Prodigy Finance’s aim is to democratise education and make access to further education borderless, increasing innovation and competition by diversifying of the student population.

How has the US education sector responded?

At Prodigy Finance we have always firmly believed that talent is evenly distributed across the world, and our mission is to help provide the most talented individuals access to the best education. This opinion is prevalent across the education sector, and many education leaders have been critical of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Molly Corbett Broad, the president of the American Council on Education, said “while the revised order has narrowed the number of people impacted by the travel ban, we fear that this creates a climate where it is far more difficult for international students and scholars to view this country as a welcoming place for study.”

Esther D. Brimmer, executive director and CEO of NAFSA, the international educators' association, has said “we should be making every effort to create connections and ties through robust international exchange and travel”. She is among those who are calling on the administration to make clear within its guidance that “prospective students and scholars should not be afraid to seek admission to the United States regardless of their current ties.”

What comes next?

The Supreme Court issued their decision regarding Trump’s travel ban on the last day of their sessional term. The Justices agreed to review when the next term begins, on the 2nd of October, to decide finally whether the ban is legal.

Campaigners from the higher education sector that formulated challenges to the original ban are among the cases which will be heard by the Supreme Court Justices when they reconvene in October.

However, if implemented according to the schedule announced by Trump, the 90-day travel ban would already have run its course when the Justices reconvene. In that case, the Supreme Court’s further deliberations would have no bearing on the ban, but could set a precedent for what the Trump administration could propose in the future.

Diversity is central to innovation, and is playing a growing role in classrooms. INSEAD has always championed diversity in its MBA classes, which led to it being ranked the world’s top MBA more than once. There is also a strong tradition of immigrant achievement in academia, with all six of the 2016 US-based Nobel prizewinners in economics and scientific fields born outside of the country.

Being a borderless company that is global in outlook is more than just a point of pride for us at Prodigy Finance – it is central to our identity and culture. Our goal is to remove barriers and enable the world’s top talent to make the most of their potential. 


Related Articles

Student lender

Prodigy Finance is not just a student lender

Ricardo Fernandez - September 19, 2017

Over the past decade, Prodigy Finance has lent more than $350M to more than 8000 students around... Continue reading

Agri and bio

Engineering: Biological and Agricultural Focus

Katie Schenk - September 14, 2017

The US government predicts a four percent job growth rate for agricultural engineers in the... Continue reading

Effectively mobilise mba recommenders

MBA Admissions Edge step 7: How to effectively mobilise your MBA recommenders 

Caroline Diarte Edwards of Fortuna Admissions - September 12, 2017

If your application essays (discussed in step 5 of this series) are about memorably conveying... Continue reading

Aerospace and aeronautics focus

Engineering: Aerospace and Aeronautics Focus

Katie Schenk - September 07, 2017

Ready to expand your aerospace or aeronautics career with a master’s degree from one of the top... Continue reading

Follow us