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NZ dual citizens exempt from US ban: PM

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/01/2017 Sean Martin

File © Getty File New Zealand dual citizens won't be affected by a US travel ban, Prime Minister Bill English has confirmed after a "frustrating" few days of confusion around the new policy.

But citizens who have in the last five years visited one of seven countries affected by the ban will no longer be eligible for the visa waiver programme and will need to apply for a visa.

"They won't have problems if the US officials follow the US government policy and we expect that to happen," Mr English confirmed on Wednesday after advice from US officials overnight.

"What I've been advised is that dual citizens are not covered by the ban so we don't see any reason why someone who is a New Zealander with dual citizenship for those seven countries would have any problems."

It had earlier been believed that citizens of members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes New Zealand, would be exempt but it's now understood that position applies to all dual citizens.

Trump's ban, introduced by executive order over the weekend, bans citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days and has led to confusion, chaos and protests worldwide.

"It has been frustrating but I think that's probably a frustration shared by pretty much every country in the world," Mr English said of the way the policy announcement had been handled.

He was not aware of any New Zealanders who have sought assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for issues with the travel ban.

Trump's new policy also suspended the US refugee programme for 120 days, while an indefinite ban has been placed on refugees arriving from Syria.

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