UK

British Citizens NOT Banned From US - Unless Travelling From Seven Outlawed Countries

Mo Farah would be allowed home to the US after all.

29/01/2017 20:50 GMT | Updated 29/01/2017 22:06 GMT
Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Somalia-born Sir Mo Farah feared he would not be able to enter the US, where his family lives.

British dual nationals are exempt from Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the US unless they’re travelling from one of the seven predominantly Muslim countries outlawed by the US President, the Foreign Office has said amid huge confusion over his executive order.

It means Sir Mo Farah can now return home to his family in Oregon, US, despite the Somalia-born Olympian’s fears he would be blocked from entering the country.

A spokeswoman for the athlete said Sir Mo Farah is “relieved” that he will be able to return to his family. Hundreds of thousands of British families feared they would be affected by the order.

Following conversations with the US government, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has confirmed:

  • Trump’s executive order only applies to individuals travelling from one of the seven named countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan.

  • If travelling to the US from anywhere other than one of those countries, including the UK, the executive order does not apply - regardless of nationality or your place of birth.

  • If a UK national is travelling from one of the seven countries to the US, then the order does not apply – even if born in one of those countries.

  • A dual citizen of one of the seven countries travelling to the US from outside those countries is not subject to the order.

It means only dual nationals coming from one of the seven countries will face extra checks. The Foreign Office cited the example a UK-Libya dual national coming from Libya to the US. 

As reported by HuffPost UK, the Foreign Office has been maximising the “special relationship” it had built up with the US State Department and White House in recent weeks.

After an exchange of texts, Johnson was phoned personally by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who confirmed the executive order could be clarified to make clear it would not affect Brits like Sir Mo or Tory MP Nadhim  Zahawi.

Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau had won a similar clarification in the early hours of Sunday. But it was agreed that the Brits would not ‘spin’ the news as an ‘exemption’, as Canada had appeared to.

Earlier on Sunday, the four-time Olympic gold medallist, who has lived in Oregon for the last six years, made clear his fears.

He said Trump’s policy “comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice”, adding: “Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome.”

Farah’s statement in full:

“On 1st January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm. On 27th January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.

“I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years - working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home. Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome. It’s deeply troubling that I will have to tell my children that Daddy might not be able to come home - to explain why the President has introduced a policy that comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice.

“I was welcomed into Britain from Somalia at eight years old and given the chance to succeed and realise my dreams. I have been proud to represent my country, win medals for the British people and receive the greatest honour of a knighthood. My story is an example of what can happen when you follow polices of compassion and understanding, not hate and isolation.”

Zahawi, who was born in Iraq, also feared he had been banned from the US, despite being a full British citizen,

He warned on Sunday that Trump was playing into the hands of so-called Islamic State militants by banning millions of Muslims entering the US.

He accused the President’s new immigration rules of being “counterproductive” to his long-stated desire to defeat Islamic extremism, adding: “For the first time in my life last night I felt discriminated against. It’s demeaning. It’s sad.”