BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 30, 2017–A fake online news report saying that the recently installed US president Donald Trump, in a controversial executive order signed on Friday, January 27, captioned, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To The United States”, also imposes a new quota restriction of 100 visas a year to Belize with a limit of three months’ validity, has drawn the attention of many Belizeans after it was widely circulated on social media.
Personnel at the US Embassy in Belize also heard of the circulation of the report, and although when we contacted them this morning there was not yet any official word, a notice was sent to the press later today signaling that, “…there have been no new rules or regulations limiting the number of U.S. visas for Belizean citizens.”
The correspondence to the press added that, “The United States and Belize have strong bilateral ties based on shared interests and we look forward to further enhancing our friendship.”
Last Friday, an urgent notice was issued by the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Services, following the proclamation of Trump’s executive order, which bans entry of persons from seven predominantly Islamic countries, with a few exceptions, including holders of diplomatic passports.
That notice announced that, “Per the Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals signed on January 27, 2017, visa issuance to nationals of the countries of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been suspended effective immediately until further notification.”
It added that, “If you are a citizen of one of these countries, please do not schedule a visa appointment or pay any visa fees at this time. If you already have an appointment scheduled, please DO NOT ATTEND. You will not be permitted entry to the Embassy/Consulate.”
Trump’s executive order said, “For the next 90 days, nearly all travelers, except U.S. citizens, traveling on passports from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen will be temporarily suspended from entry to the United States. The 90-day period will allow for proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals.”
“In the first 30 days, [Department of Homeland Security] will perform a global country-by-country review of the information each country provides when their citizens apply for a U.S. visa or immigration benefit. Countries will then have 60 days to comply with any requests from the U.S. government to update or improve the quality of the information they provide,” the order went on to say.
The notice added that, “We will announce any other changes affecting travelers to the United States as soon as that information is available.”
The US Embassy in Belize advises Belizeans to continue to visit their website (https://belize.usembassy.gov/) for the most up-to-date and accurate information.