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IMMIGRATION POLICY UPDATES

(Updated: 08/10/2020)

 

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

 

07/29/2020 Injuction of the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule

  • On July 29, 2020 a U.S. District Court instructed the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (USDHS) that they cannot enforce the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to COVID 19 (see U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announcement). This applies to all petitions and applications adjudicated after July 29, 2020. The Forms I-129 and I-539 will not require additional information regarding receipt of public benefits, nor will the Form I-944 be required for Adjustment of Status petitions. In any public charge inadmissibility determination, USCIS will follow prior public charge guidance.

07/24/2020 Fall 2020 SEVP Guidance Update

  • On July 24, 2020, the Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) posted a Broadcast Message on the Immigration & Immigration & Customs Enforcement website to clarify certain aspects of applying the March 2020 SEVP guidance in the context of Fall 2020 term. In addition, SEVP posted Clarifying FAQs for Fall 2020.

  • With these announcements, SEVP stated the following: 

    1. Continuing Students: Students holding an active SEVIS record, including those who are outside the United States, are eligible to enroll in a fully remote course load for the Fall quarter, maintain their F-1 status, and seek re-entry into the U.S. In addition, they will be permitted to temporarily count online classes towards a full course of study in excess of the regulatory limits. 
    2. New Students: Admitted students, who are outside of the U.S., will likely not be able to obtain an F-1 visa or enter the United States to enroll in a U.S. school if they are taking a fully remote course load.

We at ISPO understand that everyone's immigration situation is unique, and that you may be concerned about how this new guidance may impact your visa status in Fall 2020. We encourage you to contact ISPO at icontact.ucsd.edu  with any questions that are not addressed here. 


Other Recent Updates (2020):

07/22/2020 Canada-Mexico "Essential Travel" Restriction Extended

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) extended once again the initial March 24, 2020 Federal Register announcements (Canada and Mexico) that temporarily only allow entry along the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders for "essential travel."
  • Essential travel includes attendance at educational institutions and traveling to work in the U.S. but does not allow for tourism. U.S. citizens and permanent residents may return to the U.S. and persons may also travel for emergency response and public health purposes. See the CBP FAQ for more information; this current extension runs through August 20th, 2020.

07/16/2020 National Interest Exception for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

  • The U.S. Department of State announced on Thursday, July 16th a " National Interest Exception for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland" that allows students with valid F-1 visas to travel from these locations to the U.S. without seeking a national interest exception.
  • Those students traveling on a J-1 visa should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request prior to traveling.
  • The announcement also mentions "academics" as qualifying for the exception, which may reference J-1 scholars, as suggested by individual posts' announcements (see 07/14/2020 U.S. Department of State Announces Phased Resumption of Visa Services in the list below). We encourage J-1 scholars to contact their nearest embassy or consulate for additional instructions or to request an exception prior to traveling. Additionally, no similar statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection has yet been issued indicating that these travelers will be admitted to the U.S.

07/14/2020 The Rescisssion of the July 06 SEVP Guidance for Fall 2020

  • On July 14, 2020, the July 6, 2020 SEVP Guidance for Fall 2020 was rescinded. At this time, ISPO is evaluating how the rescission may impact students in the Fall 2020 term and expect that there may be forthcoming guidance from SEVP. Please continue to check this FAQ page regularly as we receive further guidance from SEVP.
  • Per the guidance that is now in place, current students in F-1 active status are eligible to retain an active SEVIS I-20 record if you meet the following conditions:
  • For more information, including information regarding enrollment, travel, employment and more, visit the Coronavirus Information for International Students FAQ pages .
  • Please continue to check those pages regularly as we receive further guidance from SEVP.

07/14/2020 U.S. Department of State Announces Phased Resumption of Visa Services

  • On July 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of State announced the phased resumption of routine visa services, to occur on a post-by-post basis as post-specific conditions permit. Visa applicants are instructed to review individual consulate websites for information regarding operating status.
  • Note that the five geographic COVID-19 presidential proclamations (summarized in the latest: 10041 ) and two COVID-19 labor market proclamations supsending entry of certain nonimmigrants ( 10014 , 10052 ) remain in effect.
  • According to several embassies in the Schengen area, however, Washington announced on July 10th that certain travelers from Schengen area countries could resume traveling to the U.S. if they qualify as a National Interest Exception (NIE), as determined by a Consular Officer, including those traveling as F-1 students and J-1 students/researchers. Posts announcing this policy include Bern , Bratislava , Ljubljana , Luxembourg, Reykjavik , and Vienna .
  • We encourage you to contact your consulate regarding this policy and the procedure for boarding aircraft and subsequent admission to the U.S. at the port of entry in light of the current travel restrictions.
  • Please bear in mind that the San Diego county health order will require a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival from any international location.

07/14/2020 Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization

On Tuesday, July 14th the administration issued an executive order on "Hong Kong Normalization" that suspends or eliminates different and preferential treatment for Hong Kong as compared to China. This order will eliminate the "preference for Hong Kong passport holders as compared to PRC passport holders,"  revoke export licensing exceptions and suspensions (export control realm), and terminate the reciprocal Fulbright exchange program between the U.S. and China/Hong Kong.

07/06/2020 Fall 2020 SEVP Guidance Regarding COVID-19

  • The July 7th guidance from SEVP addressed UC San Diego's ability to issue and ‘activate’ SEVIS records for newly admitted students in the Fall 2020 quarter if they are registered for in-person courses. UC San Diego’s Fall 2020 course offerings follow a ‘hybrid model’, a mixture of remote and in-person courses. 

  • SEVP announced that it would no longer provide the same exemptions it allowed in the Spring and Summer for international students taking online classes due to the pandemic during the fall 2020 quarter. The guidance from SEVP addresses in-person, remote and hybrid enrollment in the Fall 2020 term and what actions students and institutions need to take to maintain F-1 recordsICE also indicated the rule will be published in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule. 
  • Continuing students with Active SEVIS records who enroll and remain enrolled in a minimum of one in-person course to meet the 12-unit full-time requirement will be eligible to remain in the U.S. or seek entry into the U.S. and be eligible for activation of their SEVIS record.

  • Continuing students who are outside the U.S. may take a fully remote course load. Students who are only taking remote courses must remain outside the U.S. 
  • Continuing students currently inside the U.S. must enroll in a minimum of one in-person or hybrid course to meet the 12-unit full-time requirement or must depart the U.S. or take other measures to maintain their non-immigrant status such as transferring to another school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status in the U.S.

  • Newly-Admitted students who are outside the U.S. and are unable to enroll in a minimum of one in-person or hybrid course will not be eligible to seek entry into the U.S. or be eligible for activation of their SEVIS record.

  • Newly-Admitted students who are inside the U.S. and enroll and remain enrolled in a minimum of one in-person or hybrid course to meet the 12-unit full-time requirement will be eligible to remain in the U.S. and be eligible for activation of their SEVIS record.

  • By August 4, 2020, ISPO must reissue new Form I-20s to all students enrolled in at least one in-person course with an updated SEVIS I-20 with a statement in the Form I-20 Remarks field that "the school is not operating entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load for the Fall 2020 quarter, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program." ISPO will be migrating to digital signatures so students can receive their updated documents in a timely manner. Additional information will be available in the next 1-2 weeks about this new document issuance process and for newly-admitted students who have not yet registered for FA20 courses.

  • UC San Diego must update their operational plans with the Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP): Schools that will be entirely online or will not reopen for Fall 2020 must notify SEVP no later than Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Schools that will offer an in-person or hybrid program for Fall 2020 must notify SEVP of their plans by August 1, 2020.

  • If UC San Diego changes their operational plan to fully remote at any time for Fall 2020 term because of Center for Disease Control or San Diego County Public Health guidance, then students cannot take a full online course load and remain in the U.S.
    International students with Active SEVIS records who are in the U.S. will need to take alternative steps to maintain their non-immigrant status such as depart the U.S. or transfer to a school offering in-person instruction.

06/22/2020 Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market

On Monday, June 22, President Trump issued a " Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak " that goes into effect on June 24 (12:01 am, EDT) and principally affects the H-1B and H-4 classifications. The J-1 classification's subcategories that were impacted are not typically seen on university campuses, and the F-1 OPT/STEM OPT category was not mentioned.

The proclamation limits the entry to the U.S. of individuals in H-1B status and their H-4 dependents who were outside of the U.S. as of the effective date of the proclamation AND who have no valid visa stamp as of the effective date (or other valid document, such as an advanced parole document). It is in effect through 12/31/2020 with the possibility of extension. Exceptions exist if deemed in the national interest as determined by the Departments of State/Homeland Security (such as national defense, medical care to hospitalized COVID patients, and COVID research).

If you are present inside the U.S. on June 24 or are outside the U.S. but have an H-1B visa stamp valid for June 24, then you will not be subject to the conditions imposed by this proclamation.

06/15/2020: U.S. Department of Transportation Notice Modifies June 3 Order Regarding Chinese Air Carriers

On Monday, June 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation modified the June 03 order limiting scheduled passenger operations of all Chinese air carriers to and from the United States.

The Chinese air carriers can continue to fly 4 weekly flights between China and the United States. See the modified order here.

05/29/2020 Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain Students and Researchers from The People's Republic of China

On Friday May 29th, the administration issued a presidential proclamation suspending entry of "certain students and researchers from the People's Republic of China (PRC)." The proclamation applies to all F-1 and J-1 international students and researchers who are:

  • Chinese nationals,  and
  • Affiliated with any institution that "implements or supports" the PRC's " military-civil fusion strategy " (past or present affiliation), to include employment, study, conducting research, and/or receiving funding from these institutions.

Undergraduate students are excluded from this proclamation. Additional exclusions include:

  • U.S. permanent residents or spouse/children of permanent residents
  • "Any alien who is studying or conducting research in a field involving information that would not contribute to the PRC's military-civil fusion strategy"
  • Law enforcement/national interest objectives

 

INTERPRETATION

The proclamation lacks clarity and suggests measures to be carried out in the future, both of which make it difficult to assess the impact on individuals at this time:

  • The entities that implement or support the "military-civil fusion strategy" are not specified in the proclamation, nor in the Dept of State fact sheet referenced above; we do not know which entity affiliations may result in future visa denials.
  • The proclamation gives discretion to the Department of State to revoke visas of F-1/J-1 graduate students/researchers currently in the U.S. The literal interpretation of "visa revocation" would be cancellation of the visa stamp in one's passport; such action would not negatively impact one's legal status while remaining inside the U.S., but upon exit, would prevent re-entry to the U.S. without a new visa stamp being issued.
  • The proclamation gives discretion to the Departments of State and Homeland Security to "take action to further mitigate the risk posed by the PRC's acquisition of sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property" and requests that the Secretaries of these departments report to the President within 60 days of any planned and executed actions.


The International Students & Programs Office remains committed to supporting our student population during these challenging times. Please contact an International Student Advisor if you have any questions about how this may impact you directly.

05/24/2020 Proclamation on Suspension of Entry ... of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Novel Coronavirus

  • On May 24, The Administration updated the 04/22/2020 Presidential Proclamation imposing travel restrictions into the United States. It now suspends entry into the United States by certain non-U.S. citizens, who were physically present within Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S.
  • Impacted Countries: Brazil, China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, Ireland, United Kingdom, and the Schengen Area of Europe (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland).
  • Travel and Visa Restrictions for students in F-1 and J-1 non-immigrant status in effect until further notice:
    1. The May 24, 2020 Proclamation on Suspension of Entry ... of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Novel Coronavirus mentioned above restricting travel to the U.S.
    2. The March 20, 2020 Suspension of U.S visa services at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.

03/19/2020 The U.S. Department of State Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.

Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.

Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.”

03/11/2020 Expanded Travel Ban Due to COVID-19

On March 11th, President Trump expanded the current travel ban on CDC-designated level 3 Travel Health Notice countries (mainland China excluding Macao and Hong Kong and Iran) to include the following European countries:

  • Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The expanded ban will go into effect after 11:59 pm, March 13th EST. Although the President stated in spoken remarks that the restriction would last 30 days, the Proclamation itself states that it “shall remain in effect until terminated by the President.”

02/06/2020 Nationwide Injunction of Accrual of Unlawful Presence 2019 Memo

On February 6, 2020, a federal district court issued a permanent nationwide injunction blocking the  August 8th, 2019 USCIS policy memo that sought to change how days of unlawful presence are counted following a violation of F, M, or J nonimmigrant status. This forces the immigration service to apply prior policy guidance based on its unlawful presence memo issued on May 6, 2009, under which unlawful presence does not begin accruing until an immigration judge finds a status violation, or an immigration officer finds a violation of status in the course of an application for an immigration benefit.

02/02/2020 Presidential Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus

On February 2, 2020, the Presidential Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus went into effect, banning entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants who were physically present within the People's Republic of China (excluding Macau and Hong Kong) during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S. Exceptions will be made for lawful permanent residents and family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The ban is in effect until cancelled.

Guidance on travel restrictions to and from China are rapidly evolving. If you have any travel emergencies or questions about future travel plans, please contact ISPO for guidance.

01/27/2020 Supreme Court Lifts Injunction Against DHS’s Public Charge Rule

On January 27, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted an October 11 2019 nationwide preliminary injunction that had prevented the administration from enforcing its public charge rule.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now permitted to implement and enforce its public charge rule while litigation continues in lower courts. For a short summary of this rule, see the 2019 posting in the archived drawer below.

 


2017-2019

08/21/2019 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Publishes Final Rule on Inadmissibility On Public Charge Grounds

Newly published regulations redefine the terms and conditions of the public charge ground of inadmissibility established earlier by INA 212(a)(4).  Under the new rule, “public charge” includes having received one or more “public benefits” for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (note that receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).  “Public benefits” include:

  1. Any federal, state, or local cash assistance for income maintenance (other than tax credits):
    1. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    2. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    3. Federal, state, or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance
  2. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; commonly known as “food stamps”)
  3. Section 8 Housing Assistance/Rental Assistance
  4. Medicaid (with some exceptions)
  5. Public Housing under Section 9 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937

Application: The new regulations are applied somewhat differently for Nonimmigrants applying for extension of stay (EOS) or change of status (COS) versus immigrants applying for Adjustment of Status (AOS):

Nonimmigrants Applying for EOS or COS:

DHS looks backward to see if “public charge” applies.  The benefit seeker must demonstrate they have not received public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period. DHS will only consider public benefits received on or after October 15, 2019.

Applicants for Admission to the U.S. and Applicants for AOS:

DHS must consider a “totality of the circumstances” and make a prospective, forward-looking determination of whether someone is likely at any time in the future to become a public charge.  A public charge inadmissibility determination must at least entail consideration of the benefit seeker’s age, health, family status, education and skills, assets, resources, and financial status; a regulatory provision establishes a protocol for DHS officials to weigh each of these factors.

DHS is working with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to ensure that the Foreign Affairs Manual, used by consular officials in the visa stamp application process, appropriately reflects the standards in this rule.  The new rule goes into effect October 15th, 2019.

The International Faculty & Scholars Office and the International Students & Programs Office encourage students and scholars with any concerns about their personal circumstances vis-à-vis these new regulations to seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer for assistance and/or immigration strategy support/representation.

Read the Final Rule

09/12/2018 U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services (USCIS) Change In Policy On "Issuance Of Certain RFEs And NOIDs"

Effective 9/12/2018, USCIS' new policy guidance grants discretion to adjudicators to deny applications/petitions when lacking initial evidence without issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). This policy rescinds earlier guidance that recommended the issuance of RFEs in all cases except where there was no possibility that a case's deficiency could be cured by submission of additional evidence. We can expect more stringent review of applications/petitions and it will be important for students to submit complete applications to ISPO.  Furthermore, students should whenever possible maintain an underlying nonimmigrant status while their application/petition is pending to protect them from immediate negative consequences to their immigration status should their application/petition be denied.

08/03/2018 USCIS Change in Policy on "Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants”

On August 9th, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will change the way it determines accrual of unlawful presence in the United States for persons in F and J status.  Currently, unlawful presence accrues for F and J nonimmigrants who have been admitted with “Duration of Status” (“D/S”) only on the day after USCIS formally finds a nonimmigrant status violation while adjudicating a request for another immigration benefit, or on the day after an immigration judge ordered the applicant excluded, deported, or removed.   Under the new policy, an F or J nonimmigrant will begin accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following:

  • The day after the F or J nonimmigrant no longer pursues the course of study or authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity
  • The day after completing the course of study or program (including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period)
  • The day after the Form I-94 expires (if admitted for a date certain rather than “D/S”)
  • The day after an immigration judge orders the nonimmigrant excluded, deported, or removed

 

Any F and J nonimmigrants who have failed to maintain status prior to August 9th will start accruing unlawful presence on August 9th.   Note that there are some exceptions, such as those for students or exchange visitors whose reinstatement applications have been approved.  We encourage you to review the policy change carefully.

Accrual of Unlawful Presence has significant negative ramifications for future immigration benefits, including three-year, ten-year, and permanent bars to admission to the U.S., depending upon the amount of unlawful presence accrued.  It is extremely important for F-1 students, J-1 exchange visitors, and F-2 and J-2 dependents to pay very careful attention to following all rules and regulations with regard to their nonimmigrant classifications, so that they do not unknowingly fall out of status and begin accruing unlawful presence. The International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) and the International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO) remain committed to supporting our students and scholars in their study and research programs at UC San Diego and are available for individual advising to discuss any concerns this or other new policies may create. 

06/26/2018 U.S Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban 3.0

On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Presidential Proclamation 9645 (Travel Ban 3.0)

The Presidential Proclamation 9645 (Travel Ban 3.0) which limits entry to the United States by certain citizens of seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen remains in effect indefinitely.

UC San Diego 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.

12/04/2017 Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban

On December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States stayed preliminary injunctions that had partially blocked the travel ban issued in September 2017. Because of the ruling, the U.S. government  can now enforce the travel ban proclamation on all 8 countries, pending resolution of the government's appeal to the Ninth and Fourth Circuits, and during any further Supreme Court proceedings on that issue. The 8 countries are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia.

10/24/2017 Resumption of U.S. Refugee Program

On October 24th, 2017, President Trump issued “Presidential Executive Order on Resuming the United States Refugee Admissions Program with Enhanced Vetting Capabilities”. The Executive Order clarifies an immediate resumption of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program after the 120-day suspension ended on October 24th, 2017. The Executive Order also states that increased vetting and review of refugee applicants have been implemented.

10/17/2017 Suspension of Some Travel Restrictions in Presidential Proclamation on Visas

On October 17th, 2017 the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting enforcement of Sections 2(a), (b), (c), (e), (g) and (h) of the Presidential Proclamation “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats” issued on September 24th, 2017. Visa applicants who are nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia are no longer subject to any of the restrictions or limitations under the Presidential Proclamation. However, the court order did not affect Sections (d) and (f) of the Proclamation, so nationals from North Korea and Venezuela are subject to the restrictions and limitations listed in the Presidential Proclamation, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017. For more information, visit the Department of State announcement.

The Temporary Restraining Order will likely face challenges from the U.S. Government, and the situation remains fluid. UC San Diego’s International Students & Programs Office and International Faculty & Scholars Office continue to recommend minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration’s policies on visas and U.S. entry.

10/09/2017 Suspension Of Nonimmigrant Visa Services By U.S. Consulates In Turkey

On October 9, 2017, the U.S. Ambassador announced the suspension of nonimmigrant visa services at U.S. consulates in Turkey.  This suspension of services is not a “visa ban” on Turkish citizens, but rather a suspension of consideration of new visa applications.  Turkish citizens with valid U.S. visa stamps may still travel to the USA, and Turkish citizens may still apply for U.S. visa stamps at other embassies/consulates outside of Turkey.  Additionally, immigrant visas are still being processed.  For more information, read the Ambassador’s statement

If you have pending travel to Turkey, please be aware of the negative impact that this suspension of services may have on your plans. For more information, please contact the International Students & Programs Office via our Contact Us eForm.

09/24/2017 Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities

On September 24th, 2017, President Trump issued a new  proclamation “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats,” related to the earlier “Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States” Executive Order (March 6th, 2017).  The new proclamation restricts entry to the U.S. for nationals of eight countries.  The restrictions are country-specific and tailored to the situation of each individual country.  For additional information from government agencies, please see the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Fact Sheet and the U.S. Department of State Travel Alert.

Below is a summary of the new proclamation and its effect on individuals from the designated countries.  This information and hyperlinks to all pertinent Executive Orders are posted on the websites of the International Students & Programs and International Faculty & Scholars Offices.  Our offices remain committed to providing support to our international student and scholar population; please continue to check our websites for updates on immigration information as new rulings are issued.

AFFECTED COUNTRIES

Chad, Libya, Yemen:

Entry as an immigrant and as a nonimmigrant on B-1/B-2 visas is suspended; entry under other nonimmigrant visas is not suspended.

Iran:

Entry under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.  Entry as an immigrant and under all other nonimmigrant visas is suspended.

North Korea, Syria:

Entry as immigrant or nonimmigrant, all classifications, is suspended.

Venezuela:

Entry under B-1/B-2 visas is suspended only for officials of certain government agencies; read full text of proclamation for details.

Somalia:

Entry as an immigrant is suspended; visa adjudications for nonimmigrant entry will be subject to additional scrutiny.

Note: While Iraq is not on this list, U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended additional scrutiny for nationals of Iraq to determine if they pose a national security risk.

EFFECTIVE DATES:

There are two effective date phases: September 24, 2017 3:30 pm EDT, and October 18, 2017 12:01 am EDT.  The 9/24/2017 effective date applies to nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who were subject to the 90-day entry ban of the March 6th Executive Order who “lack credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”  The 10/18/2017 effective date applies to all nationals of Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela, and to nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia “who have a creditable claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”  An example of a “bona fide relationship” might be an employment contract with U.S. employer or letter of admission to a U.S. institution’s degree program.

EXEMPTION:

Individuals inside the U.S. as of the applicable effective date or who have a valid U.S. visa on the applicable effective date.

EXCEPTIONS:

  • Any lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Any foreign national admitted to or paroled into the U.S. on or after the applicable effective date
  • Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa, valid on the applicable effective date or issued thereafter, allowing travel to the U.S. and admission, such as advance parole
  • Any dual national of a country designated under the order when traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country

WAIVER:

Granted on a case-by-case basis, based on demonstration of (see full text of proclamation for examples):

  • Denying entry would cause undue hardship
  • Entry would not pose threat to national security
  • Entry would be in the national interest

REFUGEES/ASYLEES:

This proclamation does not apply to individuals granted asylum by the U.S. or refugees who have already been admitted to the U.S., and does not limit the ability of an individual to seek asylum or refugee status and protection under the Convention Against Torture.

08/21/2017 U.S. Dept. of State suspends nonimmigrant visa processing in Russia

The U.S. Dept. of State is suspending nonimmigrant visa processing in Russia on Aug. 23rd, 2017.  Processing will resume in Moscow only on September 1.  Plan accordingly if you intend to travel to Russia in the future and will need to renew your visa stamp.  For additional information, see the mission statement and fact sheet.

06/28/2017 Enhanced Security Measures for All Commercial Flights to the United States

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a fact sheet on June 28th, 2017 that outlined an increase in security measures for all commercial flights to the United States. The new security measures include enhanced screening of passengers and personal electronic devices and increased security protocols around aircraft and passenger areas. For more information, visit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fact sheet.

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.

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.