Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has released a diplomatic cable to all U.S. embassies stating that persons who have obtained a visa before entering the U.S. must follow through on their plans upon entry for three months or risk losing all possibilities for future visas approvals.
This means that a foreign national of countries who need visas to enter the U.S. cannot do anything they did not express in their consular interview once arriving in the United States. This includes marriage, school and employment. Doing these things within the first three months will be seen as “willful misrepresentation” according to the cable.
This policy is a change from previous protocol where a change of plans was seen as a misrepresentation for only the first month in the States. Diana Rish of AILA explicitly clarified the policy. She remarked, “If someone comes to the U.S. as a tourist, falls in love and gets married within 90 days and then applies for a green card, this means the application would be denied.”
This rule only applies to nationals of countries that require a visa. Citizens of 38 countries (mostly Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan) do not need visas to travel to the U.S. Asia and the Middle East will be most impacted by this policy.
This visa policy follows a September 13th ruling by the U.S. State Department that they will stop issuing certain visas for nationals of Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone because these nations are not taking back their citizens who have been deported from the U.S. The diplomatic cable sent by Rex Tillerson accuses these countries of “denying or unreasonably delaying” the return of their citizens.
Proponents of these policies say they will prevent people from abusing the legal immigration process, and it’s the immigrant’s responsibility to substantiate their change of plans. Yet, while other countries are enhancing their visa issuance policy to allow more global talent, the U.S. states has taken a number of actions to frustrate visa applicants in interest of adhering to quotas and arbitrary diplomatic rules that shut out otherwise lawful employment.
If the U.S. wants to continue to be competitive in the global marketplace, its leaders must stop curbing company’s ability to hire the talent it needs to contend.