US embassy contradicts British government claim that ‘Muslim ban’ doesn’t apply to UK citizens

The Foreign Office claimed British citizens would not not be routinely affected

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Monday 30 January 2017 12:51 GMT
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Donald Trump signs an executive order to impose tighter vetting of travelers entering the United States
Donald Trump signs an executive order to impose tighter vetting of travelers entering the United States (Reuters)

The US embassy has appeared to contradict the Government’s claim that British citizens will be mostly exempt from Donald Trump’s travel ban on Muslim majority countries.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Sunday night that he had received assurances from the US that the “Muslim ban” would only apply to UK dual nationals travelling from the listed countries to the US.

However a statement issued by the US embassy in London on Monday morning marked as an “urgent notice” said that no visas would be issued to any dual nationals of the countries listed under the “Muslim ban”.

Thousands sign Trump petition - should the President come to the UK?

The page - which appeared to have been taken down on Monday afternoon - said the embassy would not even see dual nationals of the countries listed by Mr Trump for interviews to arrange a visa to travel to America.

“Per U.S. Presidential Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017, visa issuance to aliens from the countries of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been suspended effective immediately until further notification,” the US embassy’s statement said.

“If you are a national, or dual national, 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 your appointment as we will not be able to proceed with your visa interview.”

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister told a briefing of journalists on Monday morning that he had not seen the notice, could not comment on it, and that he was “confident” the criteria stated by the Foreign Secretary would stand.

Boris Johnson said yesterday the travel ban only affected British duals travelling from the listed countries to the US
Boris Johnson said yesterday the travel ban only affected British duals travelling from the listed countries to the US (Getty Images)

The Foreign Office says Mr Johnson's statement was based on an explanation he was given by the White House.

But a UK Government spokesman insisted the FCO guidance "was cleared by the top team in the White House and they are in charge".

A Government source said that after seeing the US Embassy guidance, Mr Johnson "sought clarity from the White House and was informed that the FCO statement was correct".

The Government faced significant criticism after British citizens including an Iraq-born Tory MP and Olympian Mo Farah said they believed they were banned from the US under Donald Trump's policy.

Theresa May initially refused to condemn the policy when questioned by reporters late last week, with Downing Street eventually issuing a tepid criticism in the early hours of the morning.

May refuses to condemn Muslim ban

Demonstrators are expected to descent on Downing Street tonight in protest of the Government's approach to the exclusion of British citizens. An official petition calling for Donald Trump's state visit to be cancelled hit a million signatures is record time.

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