Controversial US travel restrictions have been extended to cover North Korea, Venezuela and Chad
The countries join the ones covered by the original travel ban: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It will come into effect on October 18 after President Donald Trump signed a proclamation to replace the existing travel ban which was expiring.
Previously, people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were banned from entering the US, but Sudan is no longer subject to restrictions.
The new rules are targeted at countries which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) say fail to share sufficient information, such as a traveller's terror-related and criminal history, with the US, or do not take necessary security precautions, such as issuing electronic passports with biometric information or reporting lost or stolen passports to Interpol.
Shortly after the new policy was announced on Sunday, the President tweeted: "Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet."
The new restrictions differ between the countries, ranging from an indefinite ban on visas for citizens of countries such as Syria, to the suspension of non-immigrant visas to certain government officials and their immediate families from Venezuela.
The new rules include:
- A suspension of all immigrants visas for people from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen and Somalia
- The suspension of non-immigrant visas, such as for business and tourism, to nationals of Chad, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Yemen
- Citizens of Iran will not be eligible for tourism and business visas, but remain eligible for student and cultural exchange visas if they undergo additional scrutiny
- Similar additional scrutiny that experienced by Iranians will also be required for Somali citizens applying for all non-immigrant visas
Officials said they had been working for months on the new rules, collaborating with various agencies and foreign governments, in a bid to avoid the confusion and chaos sparked at airports across the country and a flurry of legal challenges which resulted from the President's first version.
Valid visas will not be revoked as a result of the new orders, while case-by-case waivers for citizens of affected countries who meet certain criteria will also be allowed.
Reasons for the waiver restrictions will include:
- Having previously worked or studied in the US for a lengthy and continuous period of time
- Having previously established "significant contacts" in the US
- Having "significant business or professional obligations" in the US