US Travel Ban: Should You Cancel Your Field Trip or Conference?

If your school jurisdiction is planning any field trips, or attending any sporting events or conferences in the United States, you are most likely considering the potential effects of Executive Order 13769, which has quickly become known as the “Trump Travel Ban”.

The Trump Travel Ban is currently suspended due to a temporary restraining order granted by U.S. Federal Court Judge James Robart on February 3, 2017. It is anticipated that the legality of the ban will be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States sometime in the near future or an alternative travel ban will be put in place by a new executive order.

Until a decision has been made by the Trump Administration, there are no additional barriers to travel to the United States for citizens of the seven countries affected by the Trump Travel Ban so it may be an opportune time to enter the United States sooner rather than later. Notably, stories about unlawful detentions and individuals being held up at border crossings largely resulted from confusion at U.S. Customs and Border Protection that has now been resolved.

In the event the Trump Travel Ban is upheld, we know that it has the following exemptions:

US Green Card Holders
The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that Green Card holders from the seven “countries of concern” can return to the United States as they are “lawful permanent residents”.

Canadian Dual Citizens
The Trump Travel Ban does not apply to citizens of the “countries of concern” who also hold dual citizenship in other “approved countries”. It is still unclear which countries are included in the approved countries list however we know that Canada is one of them.

Canadian Permanent Residents
The Canadian Government has confirmed that Canadian permanent residents will be allowed to enter the United States.

As well, as part of a school jurisdiction’s risk and safety management, it should have appropriate international student travel procedures and guidelines in place which address:

  • Travel location
  • Assessment and preparation for risks associated with international travel
  • Information regarding pre-departure travel requirements, including the signing of waivers and releases
  • Safe international travel
  • Response procedures for international emergencies.

You may wish to review the following risk assessment resources:

Before leaving Canada, school jurisdictions may wish to register with Foreign Affairs Canada. This will help the Canadian government to help you in case of emergency.

Information about the Trump Travel Ban and its legality continue to evolve daily. If you or your board have any questions, please contact Bryan Kwan at