(Updated: 09/12/2018; 4:30 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.


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. 


Most Recent Updates:

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

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 at or visit 

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


  • 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


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


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"


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?

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.

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:

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?

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.
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 or 858-534-3730.
  • IFSO Advisors for faculty and researchers: Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm. Contact or 858-822-246-1448 to schedule an appointment.