The title of this article may be a little ambitious. Trying to make sense of Donald Trump and the things he says can feel a bit like deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs blindfolded. But we’ll do our best.

What is the Trump travel ban?

On 27 January 2017, President Trump signed an executive order which banned refugees entering America for at least 120 days, and singled out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban. It also banned citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen – for at least 90 days, even those already in possession of valid visas.

Does it affect people with dual citizenship?

No. Citizens of one of the above seven countries who are also citizens of another country are not affected by the ban. For example, someone with dual citizenship from the UK and Iran will be able to enter America as normal.

How has the world reacted?

Badly, for the most part. The ban was widely condemned by world leaders and sparked major protests, with many dubbing it racist on the basis it appears to penalise people based on their religious belief. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan described it as “shameful and cruel”, French President Francois Hollande has said it amounts to a “dead end”, and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called it a “great gift to extremists and their supporters”.

A recent poll by StudentUniverse revealed almost two thirds of its respondents were less interested in studying in or travelling to the USA as a result of the new administration.

Why has the ban been put into place?

Trump sees the ban as helping to deliver his campaign trail promise to “make America great again”. He says halting refugees for 120 days and citizens from the seven blacklisted countries for 90 days will provide enough time for the government to develop a stricter vetting system. This, he claims, is urgently required to protect Americans from radical Islamic terrorism.

And what is the actual risk of that?

The think tank Cato Institute has analysed the risk posed to Americans on home soil in this regard, using statistical data from the last 40 years, including that of the 9/11 attacks, and found the following:

·        The chance of an American being killed by any foreigner with a tourist visa (the most common type) is 1 in 3,600,000 per year.

·        The chance of an American being killed in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3,600,000,000 per year.

·        The chance of an American being killed in a terrorist attack caused by an illegal immigrant is 1 in 10,900,000,000 per year.

For comparison, the odds of being struck by lightning in America in any given year are 1 in 700,000. The odds of dying at some point for some reason in any given lifetime are… you know what, let’s leave it there.

Has the ban been banned?

Sort of, though this may only be temporary; the situation is very up in the air. At time of writing (9 February 2017) the ban on people from the seven Muslim countries is suspended, following an intervention by a US judge, who ruled there were legal grounds to challenge it. Trump has vowed to restore the ban “at the earliest possible time”. The 120 day ban on refugees remains in full force.

Is now a good time to travel to the US?

Actually, yes. The recent political events have seen a bit of a drop in people travelling to the States, so airlines have been putting on some good deals! Search for flights with our booking partners StudentUniverse.

What is the policy of Flight Centre Travel Group?

gapyear.com is a part of Flight Centre Travel Group, as are brands including StudentUniverse, Flight Centre and Round the World Experts, and the Group’s policy is as follows:

In instances where we have customers who, due to their nationality, can no longer travel to the United States, we will waive all change and cancellation fees for all departures up until 27 April 2017 (90 days from the date the ban was put into place).