IMMIGRATION POLICY UPDATES & FAQs

(Updated: 06/26/2017; 7:00 PM PDT)

The UC San Diego International Students (ISPO) & Programs Office and International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO) recognize that recent changes in immigration policy may raise questions and concerns in our international community. Our commitment to supporting our international student and scholar population on campus remains strong and steadfast. This page provides information and support resources for the UC San Diego community.


 Most Recent Updates:

06/26/2017 Executive Order Travel Ban – Stay of Preliminary Injunctions

In a June 26, 2017 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court partially granted the government's request to stay the preliminary injunctions on the 90-day travel ban.

The decision, however, contains in important exception that upholds the injunction for individuals "who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

 

To qualify as a bona fide relationship with a U.S. entity, the Court states that "the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading EO–2." The Court gives the following examples of individuals who would likely have the required "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. entity, and therefore would remain exempt from the 90-day ban:

  • Students who have been admitted to a U.S. school (e.g., F-1, M-1, or J-1 student)
  • Workers who accept an offer of employment from a U.S. employer (e.g., H-1B, O-1, TN)
  • Lecturers invited to address an American audience

 

President Trump had stated in a June 12, 2017 memorandum that any enforceable parts of the travel ban would take effect 72 hours after a court decision lifting the injunctions, so the partial lifting of the section 2(c) injunction should go into effect on or about June 29, 2017.

 

The Supreme Court also formally lifted the injunction on the government's study that could lead, under section 2(e) of the executive order, to an indefinite ban on entry by nationals of countries that do not provide the U.S. government with sufficient information on their citizens who are applying for U.S. visas or immigration benefits.

 

The situation remains fluid. Please be aware that the situation could change rapidly. ISPO and IFSO therefore continue to urge caution in travel for those individuals from the six impacted countries listed in the March 6th Executive Order. Please meet with an ISPO or IFSO Advisor if you have any questions and consult legal counsel when needed. Should additional updates be made, ISPO and IFSO will provide information and updates as they are available on this website and through email communication.

04/19/2017 Executive Order "Buy American and Hire American"

UPDATE 4/19/2017 - NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER "BUY AMERICAN AND HIRE AMERICAN" ISSUED 4/18/2017

On April 18th, 2017 President Trump signed a new Executive Order titled "Buy American and Hire American." With specific regard to immigration ("hire American"), the order calls for:

  • The strict enforcement of all laws governing entry into the U.S. of workers from abroad in order to create higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers
  • The U.S. Departments of State, Justice, Labor, and Homeland Security to take prompt action in proposing new rules or issuing new guidance to protect the interests of U.S. workers in the administration of the U.S. immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse
  • The U.S. Departments of State, Justice, Labor, and Homeland Security to take prompt action in suggesting reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries

The text of the first bullet point references specifically section 212(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, pertaining to "Labor certification and qualifications for certain immigrants"

In meeting the second bullet point's requirement, the listed federal agencies can propose new rules, which typically will require considerable time for writing, publication in the Federal Register for public review and comment, rewriting with consideration given to public input, and final publication in the Federal Register with an effective date in the future. Federal agencies can issue guidance at any point, which can go into effect immediately.  Both rulemaking and guidance must remain consistent with applicable laws as passed by the legislative branch of the government.

Reforms to "promote the proper functioning of the H-1B program" suggested by federal agencies can take many pathways, from administrative procedures within an agency (implemented relatively quickly, such as increasing fees, revising prevailing wage scales, or increased enforcement efforts against perceived H-1B program violators)  to making suggestions for legislative actions, which would take considerable time ultimately to go into effect.

03/15/2017 Temporary Restraining Order for Executive Order Travel Ban

UPDATE 3/15/2017- TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER & PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIONS ISSUED FOR EXECUTIVE ORDER TRAVEL BAN- The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a nationwide Temporary Restraining Order on sections 2 and 6 of the new Executive Order 13780 which was to take effect March 16, 2017. Sections 2 and 6 of the new Executive Order barred entry for 90 days for individuals without valid visas from particular countries of origin (Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) and entry for 120 days for refugees. Enforcement of these sections of the Executive Order is currently prohibited in the U.S., at U.S. Borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas pending further court orders. In addition, on March 16, 2017, the U.S. District Court in Maryland issued a nationwide preliminary injunction on section 2(c) of Executive Order 13780 preventing the U.S. government from enforcing the 90-day entry bar.

Keep in mind other sections of the Executive Order will remain in effect, including suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program, increased screenings, and reviews of U.S. immigration policy.

Please be aware that the situation could change rapidly. ISPO and IFSO therefore continue to urge caution in travel for those individuals from the six impacted countries listed in the March 6th Executive Order. Please meet with an ISPO or IFSO Advisor if you have any questions and consult legal counsel when needed. Should additional updates be made, ISPO and IFSO will provide information and updates as they are available on this website and through email communication.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How are laws made in the United States?

Changes in laws or regulations take time and will have advance warning. However, changes in policy or guidance and executive orders may happen more quickly and may take effect immediately. ISPO and IFSO will continue to monitor any decisions impacting our student and scholar populations, and will provide updated information through this website and via email. 

NAFSA: International Association of International Educators offers an excellent summary of the U.S. immigration system, government agencies and the process of change on their Practical Immigration Concepts in a Time of Change webpage. More detailed information can also be found in the following sources (from full resource list at NAFSA.org):

2. What are the current Executive Orders?

On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed a new executive order which included a revised entry ban on nationals of 6 countries. The new order revoked and replaced Executive Order 13769 in its entirety. The new Executive Order 13780 was due to go into effect for 90 days starting on March 16, 2017 at 12:01AM Eastern Standard Time. On March 15, 2017, sections 2 and 6 of the new Executive Order were placed under a nationwide temporary restraining order by the U.S. District Court of Hawaii, and a nationwide preliminary injunction on section 2(c) of the new Executive Order was issued by the U.S. District Court in Maryland. In a June 26, 2017 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court partially granted the government's request to stay the preliminary injunctions on the 90-day travel ban.

 

Please meet with an ISPO or IFSO Advisor if you have any questions and consult legal counsel when needed. Should additional updates be made, ISPO and IFSO will provide information and updates as they are available on this website and through email communication.

3. Can I travel outside the US? Can I get my visa renewed? I am a citizen of X country- am I allowed to travel?

UPDATE 6/26/2017: In a June 26, 2017 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court partially granted the government's request to stay the preliminary injunctions on the 90-day travel ban. The decision, however, contains in important exception that upholds the injunction for individuals "who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

To qualify as a bona fide relationship with a U.S. entity, the Court states that "the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading EO–2." The Court gives the following examples of individuals who would likely have the required "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. entity, and therefore would remain exempt from the 90-day ban:

  • Students who have been admitted to a U.S. school (e.g., F-1, M-1, or J-1 student)
  • Workers who accept an offer of employment from a U.S. employer (e.g., H-1B, O-1, TN)
  • Lecturers invited to address an American audience

 

President Trump had stated in a June 12, 2017 memorandum that any enforceable parts of the travel ban would take effect 72 hours after a court decision lifting the injunctions, so the partial lifting of the section 2(c) injunction should go into effect on or about June 29, 2017.

The situation remains fluid. Please be aware that the situation could change rapidly. ISPO and IFSO therefore continue to urge caution in travel for those individuals from the six impacted countries listed in the March 6th Executive Order. Please meet with an ISPO or IFSO Advisor if you have any questions and consult legal counsel when needed. Should additional updates be made, ISPO and IFSO will provide information and updates as they are available on this website and through email communication.

 

UPDATE 3/15/2017: The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a nationwide Temporary Restraining Order on sections 2 and 6 of the new Executive Order 13780 which was to take effect March 16, 2017. Sections 2 and 6 of the new Executive Order barred entry for 90 days for individuals without valid visas from particular countries of origin (Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) and entry for 120 days for refugees. Enforcement of these sections of the Executive Order is currently prohibited in the U.S., at U.S. Borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas pending further court orders. In addition, on March 16, 2017, the U.S. District Court in Maryland issued a nationwide preliminary injunction on section 2(c) of Executive Order 13780 preventing the U.S. government from enforcing the 90-day entry bar.

On March 6, 2017 President Trump issued a new Executive Order entitled Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States and designed to replace the former similar order issued January 27th.  Under Section 2(c) of this Executive Order, entry into the United States of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen will be suspended for 90 days from the effective date of this order, 12:01 am EST, March 16th, 2017.  The scope of the order covers:

  • all persons outside the United States as of March 16th, 2017
  • anyone who did not have a valid visa stamp as of 5:00 pm EST, on January 27th, 2017, and
  • anyone who does not have a valid visa stamp as of March 16th, 2017

Certain exceptions apply, including those for:

  • lawful permanent residents of the United States
  • any foreign national admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after March 16th, 2017
  • any foreign national who has a document other than a visa allowing entry to the United States (such as an advanced parole document)
  • any dual national of a designated country when using a passport issued by a non-designated country

Certain waivers may be obtained, at the discretion of consular or port-of-entry officials, and decided on a case-by-case basis, if denying entry would cause undue hardship and admission would not threaten national security and would be in the national interest.  Examples of such circumstances include:

  • a foreign national previously admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work or study, who is outside the United States on the effective date of this order, and who seeks to reenter to resume that activity
  • a foreign national who has previously established significant contacts with the United States but is outside the United States on the effective date of this order for work, study, or other lawful activity
  • a foreign national seeking to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations and denial of entry would impair those obligations
  • a foreign national seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or alien lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and denial of entry would cause undue hardship
  • a foreign national who is a landed Canadian immigrant applying for a visa within Canada
  • other situations may qualify; see full text of the executive order

Federal Agency Response

  • United States Department of State (USDOS)  Note: DOS confirms that no visa issued before the order’s effective date will be revoked pursuant to the order
  • United States Department of Homeland Security Includes both United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Note: USCIS continues to adjudicate applications and petitions filed for or on behalf of individuals in the U.S. regardless of their country of origin.

Travel Advisory

Given the recent pacing of events and the discretion allotted to consulate and port-of-entry officials in granting visas and admission to the U.S., ISPO and IFSO conservatively recommend that UC community members from the designated countries avoid non-essential travel. If you decide to travel, please plan for possible delays at the port of entry. You may need to include an additional 60-90 minutes to your normal travel time.

  • UPDATE 3/15/2017: VISA RENEWAL: The executive order issued March 6, 2017 suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program, thus requiring in-person visa interviews for all nonimmigrant visa applications at all U.S. consulates. The suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program still remains in effect. Please be prepared for possible longer processing times. Allow at least 6-8 weeks to schedule an appointment, meet with a consular officer, undergo potential administrative processing time, and receive the visa stamping. Plan accordingly by reviewing the US State Department visa appointment and wait times.

In addition, until we have further information as to how each directive will be implemented, it is more important than ever that each person carry documentation of their valid status (passport, I-20/DS-2019, and I-94 document) at all times and abide by all laws of the United States. Please consult with an ISPO or IFSO advisor if you have any questions.

4. If I am stopped, will immigration officers (CBP or ICE) accept my student ID and/or driver’s license as appropriate documentation?

The US Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 requires foreign nationals to carry appropriate immigration-related documentation at all times. Appropriate documentation includes a valid passport, I-94 Non-immigrant Arrival/Departure Record, and for those persons in F or J status, the I-20 or DS-2019 form. Be prepared to present these original documents especially when going through airports, train stations, checkpoints, border crossings, and other transportation hubs.

5. Will I still have / OPT/ STEM/J-1 Student Academic Training available when I graduate? Will the H1-B program be cancelled? Will the Fulbright program or the J visa program disappear? Will the J-1 2-Year Home Residency Requirement significantly change?

Current regulations remain in place, until any changes are made by the new administration. ISPO will continue to accept and process applications for OPT, STEM OPT, Change of Status, and Reinstatement. IFSO will continue to process J-1 scholar, H-1B, O-1, and LPR requests.

NOTE: Starting April 3, 2017, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification.

  • UC San Diego students, who have employers planning to sponsor their H-1B petitions, should contact their employer directly for more information on how this will impact their current petition submission.
  • UC San Diego faculty and researchers should contact the International Faculty & Scholars Office for more information on how this will impact current and future petition submissions.

ISPO and IFSO will continue to monitor any decisions impacting our student and scholar populations, and will provide updated information as it is available through this website and via email. 

More Information

6. Will my country of citizenship be a factor in my admission to UC San Diego?

7. Can my family members from the affected countries attend my commencement ceremony in June?

On March 15, 2017, sections 2 and 6 of the new Executive Order were placed under a nationwide temporary restraining order by the U.S. District Court of Hawaii, and a nationwide preliminary injunction on section 2(c) of the new Executive Order was issued by the U.S. District Court in Maryland. Sections 2 and 6 of the new Executive Order barred entry for 90 days for individuals without valid visas from particular countries of origin (Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) and entry for 120 days for refugees. Enforcement of these sections of the Executive Order is currently prohibited in the U.S., at U.S. Borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas pending further court orders. 

However, be prepared for possible longer administrative processing times. Allow at least 6-8 weeks to schedule an appointment, meet with consular officer, administrative processing time, and visa approval. Plan accordingly by reviewing the US State Department visa appointment and wait times.

Please be aware that the situation could change rapidly. Please consult an ISPO or IFSO advisor.

Students can request an invitation letter for their immediate family members to attend their commencement ceremony. Please submit to ISPO and allow 5 business days for processing.

8. What things could jeopardize my status? Should I participate in protests or demonstrations? What are my rights?

At any time, it is important to avoid any violations of your F-1 or J-1 status. In addition to enrollment requirements, address reporting, or employment restrictions individuals in non-immigrant status are expected to refrain from breaking any U.S. state or federal laws.

Please think carefully before engaging in protest activities, as arrests can seriously impact immigration status or future visa applications.

Arrests or convictions that involve violence, drugs or alcohol can have serious or long-lasting impact on current or future immigration status. Be aware that while marijuana use is legal in many U.S. states, it remains illegal at the federal level and use constitutes a violation of federal law. Use of marijuana, or alcohol/drug-related DUI arrests or convictions can lead to severe immigration consequences ranging from fines, visa cancellation to deportation.

If you are arrested or have any legal concerns, please contact ISPO or IFSO immediately. In such cases, we urge you to retain immigration legal counsel to advise you as to next steps and possible consequences.

Additional tips for interacting with US law enforcement and understanding your rights is available with the American Civil Liberties Union:

9. Can I extend my program of study?

If you need additional time to complete your program of study at UC San Diego, you will need to identify an academic or medical reason for the extension.

  • Undergraduate Students: Please meet with your College advisor regarding questions about general requirements. Meet with your department advisor regarding questions about major/minor requirements.
  • Graduate Students: Please meet with your Faculty Advisor and Graduate Coordinator regarding questions about time limits, available funding, and reasons impacting your expected completion date.

10. What should I do if I am approached by a government officer?

Some individuals may be contacted by government officers or representatives to meet in a public location so they can discuss your current immigration status. In general, this does not have a negative impact on your status. ISPO and IFSO are available to hold the meeting in their offices or accompany you during the meeting with government officers or representatives. Please meet with an ISPO or IFSO advisor if you have any questions or concerns about these inquiries.

Additional tips for interacting with US law enforcement and understanding your rights is available with the American Civil Liberties Union:

11. How long will the Executive Order remain in effect?

In a June 26, 2017 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court partially granted the government's request to stay the preliminary injunctions on the 90-day travel ban.

 

President Trump had stated in a June 12, 2017 memorandum that any enforceable parts of the travel ban would take effect 72 hours after a court decision lifting the injunctions, so the partial lifting of the section 2(c) injunction should go into effect on or about June 29, 2017

12. Where can Undocumented Students find support?

13. What is ISPO and IFSO doing to advocate for international students and scholars?

ISPO and IFSO advocates for our international students and scholars on a campus and community level by continuing to provide education, training, and advising for campus partners and stakeholders regarding the complex issues facing our student and scholar population.

ISPO and IFSO also work in partnership with the campus administration and the University of California's Office of Federal Governmental Relations to advocate for regulations and policies supportive of our international community. Additionally, ISPO and IFSO work for advocacy through our membership in NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange.

14. Where can I find support if I have immigration concerns or questions? Where can I find support for stress and anxiety?

Please visit ISPO or IFSO with any immigration concerns or questions. Our advisers provide a welcoming, safe environment to discuss concerns you may have related to your visa status, as well as explore options and benefits available for your current or future plans. For complex issues beyond our scope, we can assist you in a referral to an immigration attorney.

Additional Campus Resources

Enrolled UC San Diego students can access resources through Counseling and Psychological Services, including individual confidential counseling appointments, groups, self-help tools, and more. UC San Diego employees and Visiting Scholars or postdocs can find support through the Faculty & Staff Assistance Program which provides free, confidential counseling and referrals.

15. What can I do now to make sure my record and documents are valid?

It is important to review your documents for accuracy and be aware of expiration dates.

  • Make sure the spelling of your first and last name match on your passport, visa, and I-20/DS-2019.
  • Check your passport expiration date. Make sure it is valid during your stay in the U.S. Apply for a new passport with your embassy or consulate when needed.
  • Check your visa expiration date. Make sure that your visa is valid before reentering the U.S. If it is expired, you will need to apply for a new visa. Remember: A visa is an entry permit into the U.S. It does not determine whether you can stay or work.
  • Print your current I-94 from the Customs & Border Protection website.
  • Make sure the major/field of study on your I-20/DS-2019 reflects your current information. If it is different, request a new I-20/DS-2019 as soon as possible.
  • Make sure the program end date on your I-20/DS-2019 has not expired. Request an I-20/DS-2019 extension at least 2-3 weeks before the expiration date.
  • Update/enter your local address, phone number, email address, and emergency contact information.
If you have any questions, please contact your ISPO or IFSO advisor.

16. What can I do for a student or scholar who might be affected by an Executive Order?

  • Gather as many facts about the situation as possible, within the scope of your authority as an employee of your institution.
  • Identify what you might be able to do within the scope of your role at your institution, and refer individuals with issues, questions, or concerns that are beyond the scope of your role or ability to appropriate helpers.
  • Consult with an advisor in the International Students & Programs Office regarding international student issues and an advisor in the International Faculty & Scholar Office regarding international faculty and researcher issues.
  • Remember that you cannot dispense legal advice. Know when to encourage someone to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney.
  • Notify stakeholders on your campus about the situation, through your normal supervisory chain

17. How do I contact the International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) or International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO)?

  • ISPO Advisors for students: Walk-In Advising on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9am-12pm & 1:00-4:00pm. Contact istudents@ucsd.edu or 858-534-3730.
  • IFSO Advisors for faculty and researchers: Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm. Contact ischolars@ucsd.edu or 858-822-246-1448 to schedule an appointment.