Immigration Updates

The ISSO is monitoring Presidential Actions, immigration policy, and regulations and will post information about changes that may impact international students and scholars at Iowa State University on this site.

As always, it is important to maintain your legal nonimmigrant status in the United States and to avoid committing serious crimes, which crimes include drunk driving.  Please be certain to pay extra attention to communications from the ISSO regarding your status.  Have questions? Contact us via email (isso@iastate.edu) or phone (515-294-1120). 

 

July 16, 2020 

The Department of State announces that students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 visas are now exempt from the June 15, 2020, travel ban and are permitted to enter the U.S.  J-1 students may request an exception to the travel ban from the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  The full announcement can be read here.

 

July 1, 2020 (updated every 30 days starting 3/5/2020)

University-Sponsored International Travel Temporarily Suspended

The Board of Regents suspended all University-sponsored international travel on March 5, 2020. Until further notice, the Board will extend the international travel ban by seven days each Monday. Providing this continuous 30-day window, until conditions improve, will allow faculty, staff and students to plan accordingly.

 

June 29, 2020   Amendment to the June 22, 2020, Presidential Proclamation

The White House issued an amendment to the June 22, 2020, Presidential Proclamation (see below) to clarify that individuals who were outside the U.S. on June 24, 2020; who did not have a valid H-1B or H-4 nonimmigrant  visa in their passport on June 24, 2020; and who do not have an official travel document other than a visa (for example, advance parole based on a pending application for U.S. lawful permanent residence) are barred from entry to the U.S. in H-1B, or H-4 status through December 31, 2020.  The original Proclamation did not make clear what type of valid visa was required on June 24th in order to enter the U.S. in H-1B or H-4 status prior to December 31, 2020.

 

June 22, 2020  (Updated June 25, 2020)    Amended June 29, 2020 (see above)

Presidential Proclamation: "Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak”

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/

  • Employees in H-1B nonimmigrant status (current or future)

The Proclamation was effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on June 24, 2020.  It suspends entry to the U.S. through December 31, 2020 for individuals who wish to enter the U.S. in H-1B or H-4 status and may be “continued as necessary.”  It affects individuals who were outside the U.S. on June 24, 2020; who did not have a nonimmigrant U.S. visas in their passport that was valid on June 24, 2020; and who do not have an official travel document other than a visa (for example, advance parole based on a pending application for U.S. lawful permanent residence). 

If you are currently inside the U.S. and hold H-1 or H-4 status, international travel is not recommended for the duration of the Proclamation. 

6/25/2020 Update:  The American Immigration Lawyers Association has confirmed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection that those who travel on a Canadian passport are not subject to the provisions of this Proclamation.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to process all H-1B petitions we file. 

  • Exchange Visitors (EV) in J-1 nonimmigrant status sponsored by Iowa State University (current or future)

Not affected by this proclamation.  ISU hosts EVs in the following categories:  research scholar, professor, short-term scholar, specialist, student intern, student non-degree, student bachelors, student masters, and student doctorate, none of which are mentioned in the proclamation.   

  • Students in F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status (current or future)

Not affected by this proclamation.

  • Workers essential to the U.S. food supply chain, or in the national interest of the U.S.

May be eligible for an exception to the provisions of this proclamation.  The Proclamation lists the following categories of individuals who may be eligible for an exception.  Those who are coming to the U.S. to perform activities that are:  (1) critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the U.S.; (2) involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized; (3) involved with the provision of medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or (4) are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.

It is our understanding that U.S. consular officials and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agents will determine who meets the exception criteria.  No additional guidance has been provided at this time.   

 

 

June 15, 2020 (updated 1/31/2020, 2/29/2020, 3/11/2020, 3/14/2020, 5/24/2020, 7/16/2020)

Presidential Proclamation: Certain Travelers’ Entry to the United States Prohibited

Presidential proclamations impose restrictions on the entry of certain travelers into the United States in an effort to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)With specific exceptions, foreign nationals who have been in any of the following countries or world regions during the past 14 days may not enter the United States:   China, Iran, European Schengen area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Brazil.  [Please see the July 16, 2020, update for F-1 and J-1 students from the European Schengen area, United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland.]   For a full list of exceptions, please refer to the relevant proclamations found on the U.S. Department of State website.

Visit the Center for Disease Control's Website for a summary of COVID-19 travel suspensions:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/from-other-countries.html

 

 

June 4, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Field Offices Reopen

Certain USCIS field offices and asylum offices resume non-emergency face-to-face services to the public.  Application support centers will resume services later.  Offices are phasing in  biometric appointments for applicants who filed I-539 or I-485 applications with USCIS.

 

 

June 1, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Premium Processing Service Resumes

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed its premium processing service for H-1B petitions in two phases: 

  • The first phase, beginning June 8, 2020, for petitions pending at USCIS as of June 7, 2020.
  • The second phase, beginning June 15, 2020, is for petitions submitted to USCIS on or after June 8, 2020.
  • Premium processing for I-140 Immigrant Petitions resumed on June 1, 2020. 

 

 

May 29, 2020

Presidential Proclamation: “Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China”

Restricts the entry to the U.S. of any Chinese F or J graduate student or J Chinese researcher  who “receives funding from or who currently is or has been employed by, studies at, or conducts research at or on behalf of an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s ‘military-civil fusion strategy.’”  This proclamation took effect June 1, 2020, and can be read here

The Proclamation does not apply to undergraduate students or to graduate students or scholars who are “conducting research in a field involving information that would not contribute to the PRC’s military-civil fusion strategy, as determined by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security.”

Although at this time there are still many unanswered questions, it is our understanding that:

  • U.S. Embassies and Consulates will deny F-1 or J-1 visas to Chinese graduate students and scholars who they determine are affected by this Proclamation.
  • Chinese graduate students and scholars affected by this Proclamation who already have F-1 or J-1 visas will be denied entry or re-entry to the U.S. after international travel. 
  • Chinese graduate students and scholars affected by this Proclamation who are currently in the U.S. may have their F-1 or J-1 visas revoked by the U.S. Department of State. 

If a visa is revoked, the student or scholar will receive an e-mail notification from the U.S. Department of State.   Revocation of a visa cancels the visa in the passport, but does not affect the ability to stay in the U.S. for the duration of the DS-2019 or I-20.   However, a new visa application will be required to return to the U.S. after any international travel.

We don’t know how the government will determine which students and scholars are affected by this Proclamation.   In addition, the ban on entry to the U.S. from China due to the pandemic is still in place and to the best of our knowledge, visa appointments at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world remain suspended due to the public health emergency.   International travel is not recommended for our Chinese F-1 and J-1 graduate students and scholars at this time.

 

 

May 12, 2020 (updated from 3/12/2020)

The Exchange Visitor (EV) Program of the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Paused

All J-1 Exchange Visitor programs funded by the Department of State have been paused “until further notice,” which translates as guidance for other program sponsors such as Iowa State University. Please watch for updates here.

 

 

March 20, 2020

Routine Visa Services at U.S. Embassies and Consulates Temporarily Suspended

In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State has temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates canceled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. Consular posts will resume routine visa services “as soon as possible” but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. 

 

 

June 26, 2018

Country Specific Travel Ban Upheld

A 5-4 vote by the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Travel Ban which has been in effect since December 2017.  This means that the ban remains in effect for certain individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Venezuela, and Yemen, and for all citizens of North Korea and Syria.  (Please see the December 4, 2017, entry below for country-specific information.)  A country can be removed from the travel ban if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security deems that country to have met “global requirements for information sharing in support of immigration screening and vetting.”    Under this provision, Chad was removed from the travel ban in April 2018.

   

 

December 4, 2017 (updated from September 24, 2017)

Presidential Proclamation:  Country Specific Travel Ban Issued, Later Upheld

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled on December 4, 2017, that the administration can enforce the travel ban on eight countries as written in the Presidential Proclamation of September 24, 2017, effective immediately.   The injunctions issued by U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland are no longer in effect. The affected countries are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela (certain government officials only), Yemen, and Somalia. Although there are some exemptions, exceptions, and waivers available for certain circumstances, the basic rules for each country are listed below.

Immigrants are individuals who have been granted the right to live permanently in the United States and include US Permanent Residents (green card holders).  Permanent Residents are not affected by this travel ban. Individuals from affected countries seeking to enter the United States for the first time on an immigrant visa granted by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas are subject to the travel ban.

Nonimmigrants are individuals who seek to enter the United States for a temporary stay.   Examples of nonimigrant statuses include F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, H-1B, H-4, B-1, and B-2.

Chad -  Update:  CHAD WAS REMOVED FROM THE TRAVEL BAN APRIL 2018

  • Entry as a new immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is not suspended

Iran

  • Entry as a new immigrant is suspended
  • Entry of Iranian nationals "under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals should be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements."
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is suspended

Libya

  • Entry as a new immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is not suspended

North Korea

  • Entry as a new immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for all nonimmigrant visa categories

Syria

  • Entry as a new immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for all nonimmigrant visa categories

Venezuela

  • Entry is suspended for Venezuelan nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, but only for officials of government agencies of Venezuela involved in screening and vetting procedures - including the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations - and their immediate family members.
  • Nationals of Venezuela not subject to the above suspension should nevertheless "be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current."

Yemen

  • Entry as a new immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is not suspended

Somalia

  • Entry as a new immigrant is suspended
  • "Visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as nonimmigrants should be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants are connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States."

To read the full text of the September 24, 2017 Proclamation including information about each country affected and the available exemptions, exceptions, and waivers, please visit this site: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-enhancing-vetting-capabilities-processes-detecting-attempted-entry-united-states-terrorists-public-safety-threats/

We strongly encourage members of the ISU community from the seven countries named in the travel ban to speak with an International Student or Scholar Advisor in the ISSO before traveling abroad.

Remember that you are a welcome and valued member of the Iowa State University community.   If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us in the ISSO.