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State Dept expands 'close family' criteria for visas

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department is expanding its definition of "close family" to include grandparents and other relatives that constitute a bona fide U.S. relationship for visa applicants and refugees from six mainly Muslim nations.

In response to a federal judge's order last week, the department on Monday instructed U.S. diplomats to consider grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts and uncles, ?nephews and nieces and first cousins to meet the criteria for applicants from the six countries to receive a U.S. visa. Those had been omitted by the department after the Supreme Court partially upheld the Trump administration's travel ban in June.

Under the rules applicants from the six countries have to prove a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S. to be exempt from the ban.