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RECENT IMMIGRATION POLICY UPDATES

(LAST UPDATE/REVIEW: April 22, 2022)

 

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.

 



 

IMMIGRATION NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

 

4/19/2022: DHS Publishes TPS Designation for Ukraine, Sudan, and Cameroon

  • On April 19, 2022 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the Federal Register notice designating Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an 18 month period, beginning April 11, 2022 and ending on October 19, 2023.

    • The original March 3 notice by DHS listed the start date as March 1, 2022. The change in date will permit thousands of Ukrainians who arrived in the United States between March 1 and April 11 to be eligible for TPS.

    • If granted TPS, individuals are permitted a temporary stay of deportation and temporary authorization to work in the United States.

    • Under TPS, individuals are eligible for advance parole, allowing them to travel abroad and return to the United States, though this must be applied for separately.

    • DHS also announced that Ukrainian students will be eligible for Special Student Relief (SSR), permitting students to obtain employment authorization, increase their work hours, and adjust their course load while maintaining their F-1 visa status.

    • Please review further information on the USCIS website.

  • Also on April 19, 2022 DHS published the Federal Register notice designating Sudan for TPS for 18 months, beginning March 1, 2022 through October 19, 2023.

    • Under this notice, current beneficiaries of Sudan’s 2013 TPS designation received an automatic extension of their status through December 31, 2022, and are eligible to file a new TPS application under the new designation.

    • Please review further information on the USCIS website.

  • On April 15, 2022 DHS announced the designation of Cameroon for TPS. Individuals residing in the United States as of April 14, 2022 will be eligible for this TPS.

  • ISPO recommends consulting with an experienced immigration attorney when applying for TPS.

 


Winter 2022 Updates:

03/03/2022: DHS Secretary Mayorkas Designates Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status for 18 Months

01/21/2022: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Actions to Attract International STEM Talent to the U.S.

 


Fall 2021 Updates:

12/28/2021: Biden Administration to Lift Travel Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated Travelers from Southern Africa

  • On December 28, 2021, President Biden has announced that he has revoked Presidential Proclamation 10315, which had suspended entry of certain individuals physically present in countries where the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had been detected.

  • The travel restrictions originally placed on Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe on November 29, 2021, will be revoked effective December 31, 2021, at 12:01 am (ET). Vaccine requirements will remain in effect.

 12/23/2021: Department of State to Waive the In-Person Interview Requirement of Certain Nonimmigrant Visas

  • The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has authorized consular officers through the end of 2022 to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain temporary employment nonimmigrant visa applicants who have a petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

  • This new authorization applies to temporary workers applying for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q visas who meet certain conditions.

  • In addition, the Secretary extended previously approved policies to waive the visa interview for certain students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists (F, M, and academic J visa applicants) through the end of 2022. It is at the discretion of the consular officers whether to waive the interview for F, M, and academic J visas.
  • Due to differing consular and local government responses and resources to the ongoing pandemic, visa applicants are encouraged to contact or check the website of the U.S. consulate that will process their visa application to confirm the availability of nonimmigrant visa services.

 11/26/2021: Biden Administration Restricts Travel from Southern Africa Due to New COVID-19 Variant

  • Due to the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant, on November 26, 2021, President Biden signed a  proclamation that suspends the entry into the U.S. of "noncitizens" who were physically present within certain Southern African countries up to 14 days before their attempted entry.
  • This new travel ban, which went into effect on November 29, 2021, impacts those who were physically present within the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe

10/25/2021: Biden Administration Lifts Travel Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated International Travelers

10/12/2021: Department of Homeland Security to Lift Restrictions on Land Border Travel for Fully-Vaccinated Individuals from Canada and Mexico

  • On October 12, 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced that "non-essential" travelers who are fully vaccinated and have appropriate documentation can enter the U.S. via land and ferry points of entry.
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin to allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter beginning in November.
  • Travelers must have proof of vaccination with them at the time of crossing to be permitted entry.
  • See the full announcement here

09/22/2021: CBP Extends Canada-Mexico Land Border Restrictions to October 21

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection has extended the temporary COVID-19 travel restrictions that limit land-border entry into the U.S. for individuals from Canada and Mexico through October 21, 2021. 
  • Travel will be limited to "essential travel" only, but students are still considered "essential travelers".
  • See CBP announcement here .

09/14/2021: Expansion of In-Person Visa Interview Waiver for F, M, and Academic J Visa Applicants

  • On September 14, the Department of State announced that through the end of 2021, consular officers a U.S. embassies and consulates may now adjudicate F, M, and "academic J visa applicants" (students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists) without an in-person interview, with certain exceptions.
  • For more information, including eligibility requirements, see the State Department's announcement.

07/01/2021: DHS Withdraws Proposal to Eliminate Duration of Status Restrictions

  • On July 1, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security withdrew its September 20, 2020 proposed rule to eliminate the current "duration of status" (D/S) policy for international students in F-1 and J-1 status. The September 2020 proposal sought to both limit the period of authorized stay in the U.S. for F or J status students as well as reduce the F-1 grace period from 60 to 30 days.
  • The withdrawal of this proposed rule is welcome news for our international student community. It means that the current D/S policy remains intact, giving students the flexibility to remain in the U.S. for the duration of their studies, so long as they abide by the regulations authorizing their F-1 or J-1 status ("maintain status").
  • ISPO is grateful for the many advocacy efforts put forth to challenge this proposal. We will continue to update you on any other policy changes and/or advocacy efforts as they occur.

06/24/2021: State Department Clarifies National Interest Exception Policy

On June 24, 2021, the State Department  updated its National Interest Exception (NIE) page from its original announcement on April 26, 2021 to clarify certain NIE eligibilities to all countries subject to a geographic COVID-19 ban.

The notice clarifies that:  

  • New or returning F-1 students present in China, Brazil, Iran, South Africa or India are automatically considered for the National Interest Exception (NIE) at the Port of Entry into the U.S. and do not require advance approval of a NIE from an embassy or consulate prior to travel;  
  • New or returning F-1 students present in China, Brazil, Iran, South Africa or India may arrive no earlier than 30 days before the start of an academic program beginning August 1, 2021 or after, including optional practical training (OPT); and 
  • New or returning F-1  students who were present only in the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, or Ireland are not subject to the August 1 condition; however, they could still be subject to a "no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies" condition (for example, if students plan to begin or resume their studies for the Fall 2021 quarter at UC San Diego, which begins on 9/20/21, they may only enter the U.S. as early as 8/21/21).

If you are unsure about whether you must apply for a NIE, ISPO strongly encourages you to contact your local U.S. consulate or embassy for guidance and instructions.

 

 

 

 


Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can I travel outside of the United States? Can I get a visa renewed? Am I allowed to travel if I am a citizen of ____?

The International Students & Programs Office continues to recommend minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the current administration’s policies on visa and entry into the United States. If you have any questions or concerns about immediate or essential international travel or visa renewal, please meet with an ISPO advisor.

Also, refer to the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Executive Order Resources and Travel Advisory web pages.

2. 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.

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

UC San Diego welcomes applicants from the around the world. Applicants are evaluated based on their academic preparation and qualifications. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate student application process, visit:

4. 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.

What Rights Do I Have While in the U.S.?

U.S. constitutional law is complex however regardless of your immigration status, noncitizens generally have equal First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution*: 

  • Freedom of speech, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and freedom of religion 
  • Freedom from illegal search and seizure (a law enforcement official must have a subpoena or warrant), unless a crime has been committed where the search would take place 
  • Permission to remain silent (and not say anything that could be used against you)
  • Guarantee of “due process” and “equal protection under the law”, which means that you have the right to an attorney, and a right to have a hearing before a judge in most cases
  • Right to contact your country’s Consulate

*Learn Liberty: The Constitutional Rights of Noncitizens and 2003: Cole, David: Georgetown Law, "Are Foreign Nationals Entitled to the Same Consitutional Rights as Citizens?"

Participating in Protests:

ISPO understands that choosing to protest is a very personal decision. Think carefully before engaging in protest activities as the potential to encounter or be approached by law enforcement is higher. If you choose to engage in protest activities, review the Amnesty International "Safety During Protest" information, the ACLU "Protesters' Rights" -  and print and carry the "Know Your Rights" card. 

What if I am Approached by U.S. Law Enforcement?

Review the following resources from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Immigration Lawyer's Association (AILA). 

Arrests and Convictions:

Finally, understand that 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 immediately. In such cases, we urge you to retain immigration legal counsel and criminal legal counsel to advise you as to next steps and possible consequences.

5. 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.

6. 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:

7. Where can Undocumented Students find support?

The Undocumented Student Services Center provides legal support, resources, and information. On November 29, 2016, the University of California, California State University, and the California Community College System advocated to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and allow California and the nation’s students known as Dreamers to continue to pursue their education in the United States.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.
    • Students: Update your record via TritonLink.
    • Faculty & Researchers: Notify IFSO.
    • Individuals on OPT/STEM OPT/Academic Training should submit their employment verification, local address, phone number, and email address via the Employment Verification Form 
If you have any questions, please contact your ISPO or IFSO advisor.

11. 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

12. 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 icontact.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.