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Immigration Updates

July 27, 2020

July 24, 2020: Updated F-1 Student Fall Policy Guidance Released  

On July 24th the Department of Homeland Security released Clarifying Questions for Fall 2020 policy guidance.  This is addition to the original March Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 updated on July 15th.  This new guidance clarifies that new students in initial status may apply for an F-1 visa and enter the U.S. as long as all of their Fall 2020 courses are not entirely online.  New students enrolled in at least one hybrid course, will be permitted to enter the U.S. and obtain a visa. Continuing students who were in the U.S. on March 9th as a full time student, even if they departed the U.S. after this date, will be able to enroll in entirely online courses if allowed by their department or school. Note: All undergraduate students must complete an online request form in order to be approved for online only learning.  For more detailed information please visit the OISS COVID Resourse Page.

 

July 16, 2020: F-1 students from the Schengen Area, the UK and Ireland may now enter the U.S. 

On July 16th, the U.S. Department of State announced that F-1 students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK and Ireland with valid F-1 visas can now travel to the U.S. 

 

July 14, 2020: Phased Reopening of U.S. Embassies and Consulates 

On July 14th, the U.S. Department of State announced a phased reopening of routine visa services as determined by the specific regions and countries.  Please check your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate's webstie for more information. 

 

July 14, 2020: July 6th Fall Government Guidance Rescinded 

On July 14th the Department of Homeland Security rescided the July 6th guidance as well as the July 7th Frequently Asked Questions. In doing so, the March 9th and March 13th guidance has been reinstated and is now effective with a July 15th date. Reverting back to this guidance means that currently enrolled F-1 students in the United States can remain in the U.S. as long as they are a full time student, regardless of whether the instruction is online, in-person or hybrid. An updated I-20 notating the program is not fully online is also no longer required. New fall guidance is expected to be released soon and we will continue to keep the BC community updated. 

 

July 6, 2020:  Fall 2020 Government Guidance (Rescinded July 14th)

On July 6th, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security issued immigration guidance  prohibiting F-1 students from remaining in the U.S. if they are engaged in on-line only study for the fall 2020 semester.  It is important to note that this is considered temporary guidance from the government and is not yet a final regulation.  As of July 8th, there are already multiple lawsuits against the government, so it may change in the days or weeks again. We will continue to keep the BC comminity updated. 

 

June 22,2020: Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak

On June 22nd the President signed a  Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak.  The Proclamation takes effect on June 24, 2020 at 12am and will remain in effect through December 31, 2020 (and may be continued or modified as necessary.)

The proclamation extends the April 23rd order pertaining to pending Green Card holders aboad (see details below) and also suspends the entry into the U.S. for those who do not already have a valid visa for the following categories:

  • H-1B or H-2B visas and any accompanying dependents
  • Certain J visas (and any accompanying dependents), including those participating in intern trainee teacher, camp counselor au pair or summer work travel programs. It does NOT include J-1 students, researcher scholars, professors, short terms scholars, or student interns.
  • L- visas and any accompanying dependents

The proclamation does not include:

  • Any individuals already in the U.S. 
  • Any individuals who are abroad who already hold a valid visa in one of the above nonimmigrant categories.
  • J1 Short term scholars, scholars and professors. 
  • H-1B employees currently in the U.S.  
  • H-1 B employees outside the U.S. with a valid H-1B visa stamp
  • H-1B employees seeking to obtain a new H-1B visa who are involved in COVID-19 research or in the provision of medical care for COVID-19 patients.  However, the process to request and be approved for an exemption has yet to be tested.
  • F-1 students and those on F-1 OPT. 

 

May 29,2020:  Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China. 

On May 29th the President announced a  Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China.   As of June 1, 2020, the proclamation suspends the entry of a small number of F-1 and J-1 GRADUATE students into the U.S. who are deemed affiliated with the PRC’s “military-civil fusion strategy”. It does NOT apply to undergraduate students. You can also find a summary of the proclamation on our professional organizations website here.  The OISS will continue to post additional information as it becomes available. 

 

April 23, 2020: Proclimation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

Effective April 23, 2020, a new presidential proclamation has suspended the entry of any individual seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant (Green Card Holder) who:

  • Is outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Does not have a valid immigrant visa (Green Card) on the effective date; and
  • Does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the United States to seek entry or admission.

NOTE: This proclamation DOES NOT restrict the issuance of nonimmigrant visas (e.g. H-1B, F-1, OPT, or J-1) nor entry to the US on such a visa

The following categories are exempted from the proclamation:

  • Lawful permanent residents (LPR)
  • Individuals, and their spouses or children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, (as determined by the Secretaries of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or their respective designees)
  • Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21 and prospective adoptees seeking to enter on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa 
  • Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by the Secretaries of DHS and State based on the recommendation of the Attorney General (AG), or their respective designees)
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
  • Individuals and their spouses or children eligible for Special Immigrant Visas as an Afghan or Iraqi translator/interpreter or U.S. Government Employee (SI or SQ classification)
  • Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by the Secretaries of State and DHS, or their respective designees).  
  • Asylum applicants. 

For the full summary of the this new presidential proclamation, please click here\

 

January 31, 2020: New Travel Ban 4.0 Suspends Immigrant Visa Issuance to Six Countries

Effective February 21, 2020, a new presidential proclamation expanded the travel ban to six additional countries including Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania for foreign nationals applying for immigrant visas. These restrictions apply to immigrant visas only and will NOT affect non-immigrant visas such as F, J, and H1B visas. 

June 26, 2018: Travel Ban 3.0 is currently in effect.

On June 26, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump's September 24, 2017 Proclamation 9645 (Known as Travel Ban 3.0).  This travel ban replaces the first travel ban announced on January 27, 2017 and the second travel ban announced on March 6, 2017.  

The restrictions are country-specific, and tailored to the situation of each individual country. The seven countries subject to the Proclamation are: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. Current valid visas will NOT be revoked.  For more information visit the NAFSA resource page

F an J visa holders who are nationals of the seven countries should contact the OISS before planning any travel outside of the U.S. We will keep you posted on updates by email and on this web page.