06/26/2017 Update: Presidential Executive Order
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court approved to uphold certain measures of President Trump’s Executive Order Travel Ban. ISSS recommends the NAFSA – Association of International Educators webpage on Executive Order updates for the most up to date information.
We are waiting to see how the latest developments will impact international students traveling to the U.S. to begin their program of study, or to return from travel to resume their studies, as well as impact on traveling family members. Please inform ISSS of any personal travel experiences you have this summer that may give an indication of how the Executive Order has impacted travel for international students, scholars and their families.
UConn International Student and Scholar Services Travel Abroad
04/18/2017 Update: Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American
On April 18, President Trump signed a new executive order that may lead to reforms in the area of H-1B high-skilled worker visa program. The executive order does not lead to any immediate changes to the visa program, but rather, calls for government agencies to suggest reforms to the current program.
Section 5 of the executive order addresses workers and the immigration system:
Sec. 5. Ensuring the Integrity of the Immigration System in Order to “Hire American.” (a) In order to advance the policy outlined in section 2(b) of this order, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, and consistent with applicable law, propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse.
(b) In order to promote the proper functioning of the H-1B visa program, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.
Read the full text of the executive order here. ISSS will update students and scholars with any reforms as a result of this executive order.
3/15/2017 Update: Federal Judge Halts Executive Order Entry Ban
A Federal Judge issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Wednesday, March 15, that prevents parts of the executive order (Sections 2 and 6) on immigration from going into effect today. This includes the entry ban for foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen, and the temporary suspension of the refugee program. We will continue to keep students updated as more developments from this legal battle unfold. You may read a copy of the temporary restraining order here: https://www.pacermonitor.com/view/P52F2SY/State_of_Hawaii_v_Trump__hidce-17-00050__0219.0.pdf
It is unclear whether the administration will continue to move forward with other parts of the executive order that were not frozen under the TRO. This includes the comprehensive review of information gathering for vetting of visa applicants from all countries, suspension of the visa interview waiver program, review of visa reciprocity and expedited implementation of a biometric entry/exit system. ISSS will continue to update our webpage with new information on other parts of the executive order.
3/6/2017 – Revised Executive Order
President Trump signed a new executive order today to replace the order issued in January, which has now been revoked. Read the new executive order here. The new order will become effective on March 16, 2017, and outlines a process to review current visa processes and identify countries that do not provide sufficient information to adjudicate visa applications. A list of countries that do not provide sufficient information will be produced within twenty days after the executive order effective date, and those countries will be given fifty days to comply with U.S. expectations for information requests. Non-compliant countries could face indefinite U.S. visa restrictions. The executive order also calls for a 90-day visa issuance and travel ban on citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen (certain exceptions apply). It suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program for most visa renewal applicants and calls for a review of visa reciprocity practices. Finally, the order suspends decisions on refugee applications for 120 days. Please check this website for any updates as they occur.
Impact on Students & Scholars from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen
- Individuals from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen who do not have valid U.S. visas will be restricted from entering the U.S. for the 90-day period from the effective date of the executive order.
- Individuals from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen will not be issued visas to enter the U.S. for the next 90 days. See information from the Department of State regarding visa applications from nationals of the countries listed above.
- Students from these countries who: have valid U.S. visas; who are legal permanent residents of the United States; who have advance parole; who are traveling on a passport of a country not on this list; or who have a visa that otherwise qualifies for an exception, will be allowed to seek entry during the 90-day period from the effective date of the executive order. However, we caution against unnecessary travel during this time.
- Students, scholars and employees from these countries whose visas have expired, are eligible for a waiver of the visa issuance ban if they are returning to resume their study, scholarly program, or work. The process to obtain a waiver is unclear and unnecessary travel should be avoided. If you are in this situation and need to travel please consult with an immigration attorney before doing so.
- ISSS will continue to issue Forms I-20/DS-2019 for admitted students and visiting scholars with plans to begin in summer and fall 2017, as well as spring 2018 terms.
- If you are from one of the countries designated above and you must travel, please consult with an immigration attorney before traveling.
- The Executive Order does not call for deportation of nonimmigrants and immigrants who are in the U.S.
- If you are from one of the designated countries, you do not have to leave the United States based on this executive order.
- It is very important to make sure that you maintain your current visa status.
- F-1/J-1 students from these countries can still:
- Work on campus incidental to status (up to 20 hours per week when school is in session)
- Participate in Curricular Practical Training (for F-1 students) and/or Academic Training (J-1 students)
- Extend your program of study, if eligible.
- Transfer to another school to continue study, if eligible.
- ISSS is awaiting confirmation from USCIS regarding continued processing of benefits for individuals from the affected countries.
Impact on all Students & Scholars
- The executive order suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program. This may require all students/scholars who travel and need to renew their visas to schedule a consular interview. Please check the website of the embassy/consulate where you will apply for further information.
- Students and scholars who travel and must renew their visa should expect longer visa appointment wait times, and longer visa processing times. Please plan accordingly when arranging travel outside the U.S.
- Students and scholars may expect increased security checks, visits to secondary inspection when traveling, etc.
- There could be changes to U.S. visa application fees and duration of visa validity when you apply for a visa in the future.
- New countries could be added to the list of visa-restricted countries after review of visa application processes.
- If you receive an email or letter from the Nonimmigrant Visa Division of a U.S. consulate with a message about a visa revocation, please see ISSS right away.
- Report travel problems ISSS and to DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP)
Information for UConn Faculty & Staff
UConn faculty and staff may have many questions about how the executive order will affect UConn students, scholars and staff. Please do not hesitate to refer your students to ISSS if your students have concerns about their particular situation.
Can we admit students who are from countries who are barred visa/entry under the terms of the executive order? Yes. Admission decisions should be made without consideration to country of nationality. ISSS will continue to issue Forms I-20/Forms DS-2019 for admitted students from all countries who qualify for a Form. If you have international applicants or admitted students who are concerned about their ability to arrive in time for the start of their academic program, you may refer them to ISSS for further visa guidance.
How can we support our international students and scholars, both from the affected countries and in general?
At this time, international students may feel worry and anxiety about how they are perceived in the United States, and about their future ability to travel freely and meet their academic goals. Students may appreciate gestures that demonstrate they are valued at UConn. We encourage staff and faculty to:
- Attend events put on by UConn cultural-themed student groups, the UConn Cultural Centers and ISSS. Take time to talk to students at events.
- Invite students and visiting scholars to participate in department activities and U.S. life.
- Take note of the contributions of international students and scholars from the affected countries, and other countries, to your department and to the University in general.
How can we support students’ academic plans?
If your students will be traveling overseas during their academic program, they may face longer visa appointment wait times, and extended visa-processing times. If visa delays or a visa/entry bar prevents your student from arriving to UConn as expected, you may want to consider offering these students the opportunity to work on their degree study from outside the U.S., until they are able to return. Offering academic flexibility is the best way to support your students who find themselves in this situation. Please note: in order for students to maintain their active SEVIS status while outside the United States, they must be working on full time academic study. Students who are outside of the U.S. for more than five months may be required to start the I-20/visa process over from the beginning in order to return.
I have a student from a country subject to the entry ban who will soon finish their program of study. What options do they have?
If an international student is ready to graduate, they cannot put off graduating to extend their student visa status. If they will stay in the U.S. to pursue post-graduate training, they may still apply for OPT or a change of status to another appropriate visa type. Students who are not ready to graduate may request an extension of their I-20/DS-2019 if there are unexpected academic or medical reasons that require the student to continue in their program. Remember that international students are required to study on a full time basis each semester. If they are in their final term of study and require less than full time registration to graduate, they may take a reduced course load for that term only. Students who are ready to graduate also have the option to pursue a new program of study in the United States, provided they are admitted to the new program and request the new I-20/DS-2019 within 60 days after completing their UConn degree.
- ISSS Immigration Attorney List
- CT Bar Association: www.ctbar.org
- CT Law Help: ctlawhelp.org/self-help-guides/immigration
- Connecticut Legal Services – Immigration Hotline (coming mid-February) – email:PovertyLaw@ConnLegalServices.org
- 03/6/2017 Revised Executive Order
- DHS Q&A: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/03/06/qa-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states
- Department of State Alert: Executive Order on Visas: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/news/important-announcement.html
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS): Statement and questions/answers regarding executive order
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS): Statement by Secretary of Homeland Security on executive order
- Departmetn of State: Remarks by Secretary of State on executive order
- NAFSA Statement on Revised Executive Order: Revised Executive Order Makes America Less Safe, Harms International Ties
- Resources for International Students & Scholars on their Rights in Encounters with Law Enforcement
- NAFSA Travel Advisory for Nationals of Certain Countries Pursuant to Executive Order
- NAFSA Visa Revocation Basics
- What to expect when traveling: The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Inspection Process
- What to expect when traveling: CBP Search Authority
- What to expect when traveling: Inspection of Electronic Devices by CBP
- UConn Counseling & Mental Health Services
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- ACLU Know Your Rights https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights?topics=270
- ACLU Know Your Rights, Discrimination against immigrants and muslims: https://www.aclu.org/feature/know-your-rights-discrimination-against-immigrants-and-muslims
View the ISSS Information Session on the Executive Order (Note: To play this video, you must have Silverlight.)