The U.S. Travel Ban: Changes to U.S. Entry Requirements and What It Means for Australian Business Travellers

By Jo Sully, Vice President of APAC | American Express Global Business Travel

 In the past few weeks, I often have been asked about the implications of the U.S. travel ban for Australian business travellers.  

Business travellers — in particular those who are dual citizens of Australia and one of the six countries that falls under the temporary U.S. travel ban — while inconvenienced, still should be able to travel to the United States.  

The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold President Donald Trump’s right to impose part of his temporary travel ban means that citizens from Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Iran are banned from entering the United States for 90 days, taking effect June 29 2017, unless they are “foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” It is this very important caveat that means all legitimate Australian business travellers should have no issue entering the country during the period of the ban.  

The Supreme Court defines a “bona fide” relationship to include citizens with family in the U.S., employment in the country or enrolment in academic courses. As a further reassurance, earlier this year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he had sought assurances that Australians with dual nationality would be exempt from the travel ban.  

President Trump has hailed this as a win for national security, but this is unlikely to be the end of the story. The full, lasting impact on the travel ban will not be known until the Supreme Court formally reviews the executive order in its entirety in October 2017.  

As a company globally and here in Australia, American Express Global Business Travel is making every effort to support any impacted business travellers on behalf of our clients. We remain committed to helping our clients navigate this situation in compliance with the U.S. regulatory requirements.

The anxiety and unrest caused by this travel ban undoubtedly will be unsettling for many of our clients. We are in the business of transporting a company’s most vital and valuable resource: their employees. Despite whatever’s happening in the world, it’s our job to help companies get their travelling employees from door to destination and back again.

We have a global footprint and have local expertise in a wide variety of locations, including the Middle East. We also have specific programmes to support our clients. EXPERT CARE is our disruption management solution, which gives companies the power to quickly pinpoint travellers at a global level and provide immediate assistance in times of need. Proactive Traveller Care is a 24/7 service that monitors for and identifies travel disruptions — anything from weather delays to civil unrest — to help affected business travellers.

No matter what is happening in the world, our smart programmes and dedicated consultants make sure that we provide total care from door to destination.