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Exactly What Is A Bona Fide Relationship?

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If you have been following the International Refugee Assistance Project that President Trump has been attempting to put into place since the beginning of his presidency, you are probably aware of the Supreme Court decision that was recently handed down. Although the high court supported allowing parts of the executive order to ban citizens from six majority Muslim countries, they did include an exemption for those who have a claim of a "bona fide" relationship with an entity or a person already in the country. But exactly what is a "bona fide" relationship, whom will it apply to, and who will be able to decide what bona fide means?

What Is A Bona Fide Relationship?

Ever since the order has come out this has been the question on everyone's lips. The order specifically states that the person applying for the visa must demonstrate a bona fide relationship in one of five ways. These ways are:

  • (1) close familial relationships
  • (2) Documented business relationships
  • (3) University students
  • (4) People with offers of employment
  • (5) A lecturer

Based on the language in the decision, they did not specifically state what qualified as a close familial relationship, but they did list several people whom you must be related to. These people included:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Adult Son or Daughter
  • Son-in-law
  • Daughter-in-law
  • Sibling

But more importantly, what stands out is not who is included, but it is who is not included. Some of the people not covered under the language include:

  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Aunts
  • Uncles
  • Cousins
  • Nieces
  • Nephews
  • Brothers-in-laws
  • Sister-in-laws 

Although it would seem that these people would be just as close, if not closer in some cases than those that were outlined in the language, they may not be able to get a visa to enter the country. 

Who Does This Affect?

Although people enter the United states from all over the world, The International Refugee Assistance Project only affect immigrants and their family members from the following six countries. These countries are:

  • Iran
  • Libya
  • Yemen
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria

Who Gets To Decide What A Bona Fide Relationship Is?

Multiple agencies have been trying to decide what a bona fide relationship is since the language of the decision has been released. These have included the Department of Homeland Security, The Justice Department, The State Department, and even the White House. Although they have each had their opinion, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will have the final say as they are the agency who is in charge of the boarder crossings, as well as all of the port of entry into the United States. 

What Happens From Here?

There is still a chance that the full ban could be implemented at some point in the future. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear full arguments on this point as early as October. For now there are questions about how closely the ban will be enforced. While in effect, there is a lot of legal wrangling going on as officials attempt to figure out who will and who will not be allowed to enter the country.  

If you have a loved one that is attempting to travel to visit you in the United States from one of the six countries that the ban applies to, and you feel that you have a bona fide relationship with, you need to enlist the services of an immigration attorney. They will be able to review everything that you have that pertains to your case and advise you on how to proceed. They have the knowledge and experience to advise you on the best way to handle your specific situation.