US President Donald Trump has announced he will drop his legal opposition to his controversial travel ban, as he prepares to press ahead with a new executive order.

After Trump signed the initial order affecting seven Muslim-majority countries, protests were triggered worldwide and a number of legal challenges were filed.

Earlier in February, an injunction to halt the ban was upheld at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, and Trump tweeted he planned to challenge the decision – paving the way for a Supreme Court battle.

However, the president confirmed he would embark on a different path to get his ban put in place at a press conference on Thursday (16 February).

"We will be issuing a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people," he told reporters in Washington DC.

The ban's stated goal is to keep out terrorists, but has been widely criticised for being poorly drafted and implemented.

Trump, however, insisted that the rollout was smooth and criticised the court's decision, which suspended his ban.

"It was a very bad decision, very bad for the safety and security of our country," he said, reported AFP. "The rollout was perfect."

The Department of Justice filed a brief at the San Francisco court where the ban was upheld to notify it of its intention to drop the legal challenge.

"Rather than continuing this litigation, the president intends in the near future to rescind the order and replace it with a new, substantially revised executive order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns," the brief stated.

"In so doing, the president will clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than pursuing further, potentially time-consuming litigation," it added.

US Circuit Court of Appeals
Beth Kohn protests outside the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals courthouse in San Francisco. Reuters