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Under Tightened Visa Rules, an Aunt Isn't a 'Close Relative'

Move affects refugees, citizens of 6 countries
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2017 4:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a "close" family or business tie to the United States. The move, which takes effect at 8pm Thursday, came after the Supreme Court partially restored an executive order from President Trump that was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims, the AP reports. Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions issued by the State Department say that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran, and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or sibling already in the United States to be eligible.

The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations who are still awaiting approval for admission to the US. Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationships, according to the guidelines that were issued in a cable sent to all US embassies and consulates late on Wednesday. As far as business or professional links are concerned, the State Department says a legitimate relationship must be "formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading" the ban. (Read more State Department stories.)

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