Virginia Tech™home

U.S. Immigration Actions

Last updated: July 7, 2020

Virginia Tech is closely monitoring information about presidential executive orders and the impact they may have on the university’s international community. As we receive more information and guidance, we will update this page.

The information on this page is intended as general information and should not be considered legal advice. Individuals should consider consulting the legal advisor of their choosing for an assessment of their individual situation.

Impact of SEVP/DHS July 6 Policy Modifications on Virginia Tech International Students

On July 6, 2020, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a news release announcing modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during the Fall 2020 semester. Additional details were outlined in the related "Broadcast Message Number 2007-01: COVID-19 and Fall 2020."

In the near future, DHS will be publishing a Temporary Final Rule in the Federal Register codifying the procedures and responsibilities outlined in the Broadcast Message. If the Temporary Final Rule alters any of the information below, Cranwell International Center will update the guidance at that time.

Please review the information below carefully, including the Action(s) Required that must be completed by Aug. 4, 2020. Failure to complete the required actions in a timely manner may result in serious consequences for your nonimmigrant status in the United States.

Background and context

Temporary exemptions to online courses permitted by SEVP/DHS were put in place for Spring 2020 during the initial height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary exemptions allowed international students in F-1 nonimmigrant visa status who were physically present in the U.S. to be enrolled 100% in online courses and still maintain their lawful status in the U.S. While this specific exemption will no longer be allowed, it is important to note that SEVP/DHS is still allowing other exemptions in order to provide flexibility to schools and nonimmigrant students, depending on the school's operational plans for Fall 2020 (e.g., schools operating under normal in-person classes, schools operating entirely online, and schools operating under a hybrid model — that is, a mixture of online and in-person classes).

As indicated in President Tim Sands’ announcement on June 8 regarding Virginia Tech’s operational plans for Fall 2020, and as outlined in detail on the  Ready website, Virginia Tech will offer a mix of in-person, online, and hybrid courses for Fall 2020. This means that Virginia Tech falls under the following category outlined in the SEVP/DHS modifications:

Students attending schools adopting a hybrid model — that is, a mixture of online and in person classes — will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load for the fall 2020 semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program.

Implications for international students at Virginia Tech

  1. International students who are currently engaged in post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) or STEM Extension OPT are not subject to the modifications outlined in the SEVP/DHS announcement. There are no changes and no action is required.
  2. International students who are not physically present in the U.S. are not considered to be in F-1 nonimmigrant visa status and are, therefore, not subject to the new policy that restricts online enrollment. Students outside the U.S. have always had the ability to enroll solely online, and this is not changing. Students will need to work with the academic advisor and/or department regarding online options available to them from outside the U.S.

    NOTE: International students in F-1 nonimmigrant visa status who are not physically present in the U.S. as of the last day to add/drop on Aug. 28, 2020, will have their SEVIS records terminated for “Authorized Early Withdrawal.” When you are ready to return to the U.S., please reach out to an International Student Advisor in the Cranwell International Center regarding the process. If you are outside of the U.S. for less than five months, the International Student Advisor will work with you and SEVP/DHS to seek to reactivate your current SEVIS record so you may re-enter with your current Form I-20 (reactivation is subject to SEVP/DHS discretion and is not guaranteed). If you are outside the U.S. for more than five months, or if SEVP/DHS will not reactivate your current SEVIS record, the International Student Advisor will be required to issue you a new “Initial Attendance” Form I-20 to facilitate your re-entry to the U.S., and you will be required to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee again. Please consult with your International Student Advisor at least 45 days prior to your anticipated date of your return to the US.
  3. International students in F-1 nonimmigrant visa status who are physically present in the U.S. and enrolled at Virginia Tech for Fall 2020 are not allowed to be enrolled 100% online. Students enrolled 100% online must either update their enrollment to include an in-person and/or hybrid course (see below) or leave the US. Students enrolled 100% online after the last day to add/drop on Aug. 28, 2020, will have their record in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) terminated for failure to maintain status.
  4. International students who are physically present in the U.S. and enrolled at Virginia Tech for Fall 2020 must be enrolled full-time (12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students) with at least one course (3 credits) being in-person or hybrid course. Students may be enrolled in more than one online course as long as the following certifications are documented in SEVIS and on a new Form I-20 issued by a Designated School Official (DSO) in Cranwell International Center by no later than Aug. 4, 2020:
    • The school is not operating entirely online;
    • The student is not taking an entirely online course load for Fall 2020; and
    • The student is taking the minimum number of online courses required to make normal progress in their degree program. (This means that whenever possible, if an in-person or hybrid course is available, it should be taken rather than an online course, provided that the in-person course fits within your academic progress, your overall course schedule, etc.)

    NOTE: The SEVP/DHS modifications note that “if a school changes its operational stance midsemester, and as a result a nonimmigrant student switches to only online classes, or a nonimmigrant student changes their course selections, and as a result, ends up taking an entirely online course load, schools are reminded that nonimmigrant students within the United States are not permitted to take a full course of study through online classes. … If nonimmigrant students find themselves in this situation, they must leave the country or take alternative steps to maintain their nonimmigrant status such as transfer to a school with in-person instruction.” While the Fall 2020 plan for Virginia Tech indicates that “the fall 2020 academic calendar has not been changed, with the exception of the eight instructional days after Thanksgiving break and final exams, which will be conducted entirely online,” this will not invoke the aforementioned provisions of the SEVP/DHS modifications since our institutional operational stance will still be hybrid, no students will be “switching to only online classes,” and no students will be “changing their course selections” relative to the last eight days of the semester.

Action(s) required

To facilitate the certification referenced in No. 4 above, which will require the reissuing of Forms I-20 for all international students (undergraduate and graduate) physically present in the U.S. and enrolled at Virginia Tech for Fall 2020 (nearly 4,000 students), Cranwell International Center is developing an E-Form available via our online immigration services portal, IntlHokies (an abbreviation for International Hokies). The E-Form will be available sometime the week of July 13, following the finalization of the timetable of classes indicating which classes will be offered in which mode of instruction (e.g., in-person, online, hybrid). Cranwell International Center will send a follow-up email to all international students when this E-Form is available for submission.

All international students in F-1 nonimmigrant visa status who are enrolled and will be physically present in the U.S. for Fall 2020 must complete the E-Form.

The E-Form will require you to confirm whether you are currently physically present in the U.S. and intend to remain in the U.S. for Fall 2020 (or not). The E-Form will also require you to attest and confirm that you are enrolled or intend to enroll in at least one in-person or hybrid course for Fall 2020 (i.e., you are not taking an entirely online course load for Fall 2020) and that you are taking the minimum number of online courses required to make normal progress in your degree program (this means that whenever possible, if an in-person or hybrid course is available, it should be taken rather than an online course, provided that the in-person course fits within your academic progress, your overall course schedule, etc.). This information will be checked again following the last day to add/drop on Aug. 28, 2020. If you are no longer in compliance with these attestations and certifications, an International Student Advisor will be required to terminate your record in SEVIS.

Once you have completed the E-Form, an International Student Advisor in Cranwell International Center will review the form and issue an updated Form I-20 for you with the following required annotation in the Remarks section:

Issuance of this Form I-20 certifies that, for the Fall 2020 semester, Virginia Tech will not be operating entirely online, that this student will not be taking an entirely online course load, and that this student will be taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program.

The updated Form I-20 will be issued, signed, and sent to you electronically.

Again, you will receive a direct link to the E-Form the week of July 13. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please reach out to Cranwell International Center via email, phone (+1.540.231.6527), or schedule an online Zoom appointment (undergraduate students can schedule online; graduate students need to call to schedule).


June 29 Amendment to June 22 Proclamation

On June 29, 2020, the President amended his June 22, 2020 proclamation barring entry into the United States of certain foreign nationals abroad on H-1B visas, H-2B visas, L-1 visas, some J-1 visas and their dependents seeking to accompany or follow them to the United States.

Section 3(a)(iii) of the proclamation noted that the suspension and limitation of entry to those on H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and some J-1 visas  would only apply to those who: “d[o] not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation.” The June 29, 2020 amendment alters the exemption in Section 3(a)(iii) of the proclamation by only applying it to those who had a valid H-1B visa, H-2B visa, L-1 visa, J-1 visa in the Intern; Trainee, Teacher; Camp Counselor, Au Pair; and Summer Work Travel Program categories, or those with a derivative visa as a dependent in one of the above categories.

June 22, 2020, Proclamation

On June 22, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of certain foreign nationals. The proclamation announced two actions:

  1. Suspending the entry of H-1B, H-2B, L-1A/B and some J-1 nonimmigrants through Dec. 31, 2020.
  2. Extending the ban on entry for certain immigrants.

The suspension on entry for affected nonimmigrants took effect at 12:01 a.m. EDT on June 24, 2020. The extension of the ban on entry for certain immigrants took effect on June 22, 2020. The proclamation is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020, though an extension is possible.

Who is affected?

The proclamation does not affect foreign nationals currently inside the United States in a lawful immigration status. It applies only to individuals who are outside of the U.S. on June 24, 2020, and restricts those seeking to enter the U.S. in the following categories on a new visa stamp issued after June 24, 2020:

  • H-1B Specialty Occupation Worker.
  • H-2B Seasonal Non-Agricultural Worker.
  • J-1 Exchange Visitor. The prohibition on J-1 Exchange Visitor visas is limited to the following J-1 categories: Intern; Trainee, Teacher; Camp Counselor, Au Pair; and Summer Work Travel Program.
  • L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visas.
  • All dependent visas for those seeking to accompany or follow to join anyone in the visa categories noted above.
  • It does not impact at all those already in the United States in any one of these categories and does not revoke existing visas of individuals who are inside the US in any of these categories.  They are all free to remain in the US and continue to work.

Who is not affected?

The proclamation does not affect those already inside the U.S. as of June 24, 2020. It does not affect their ability to extend or change their nonimmigrant status within the U.S. or their ability to apply for permanent residency (“green cards”) from within the U.S.

In addition, there are numerous other classes of individuals outside the U.S. who are not impacted by the proclamation. These include:

  • Those seeking nonimmigrant student visas to study in the U.S. or their dependents. The proclamation does not impact the F-1 Student visa or the J-1 Student visa, nor does it impact the visa for dependents of F-1 or J-1 students.
  • Those seeking a TN visa for Professional Workers from Canada and Mexico, or an E-3 visa for Specialty Occupation Workers from Australia.
  • Those who have a valid nonimmigrant visa that is valid on June 24, 2020.
  • Those who have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on June 24, 2020, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the U.S.
  • Any lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Anyone who is the spouse or child, as defined in section 101(b)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)), of a U.S. citizen.
  • Anyone seeking to enter the U.S. to provide temporary labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain.
  • Anyone whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the secretary of state, the secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

What is a visa stamp/visa foil?

A visa stamp/foil is affixed to a person’s passport after an interview with a U.S. consular officer, in a particular nonimmigrant visa category.

For the H-1B classification, an employer must first obtain an H-1B approval notice from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for each H-1B employee. Anyone who is outside of the U.S. must then schedule a visa stamping interview with a U.S. consulate. Only if/after the U.S. consulate issues the H-1B nonimmigrant visa stamp may a person be admitted into the U.S. in H-1B status. Someone in H-1B status in the U.S. who is not traveling does not require a valid, unexpired H-1B visa stamp because it is a travel document, not a status document.

What if my H-1B petition has been approved and I am outside the U.S.?

The primary impact on Virginia Tech will be for H-1B Specialty Occupation workers and their H-4 dependents who are currently outside of the U.S. and do not have an H-1B or H-4 visa foil in their passports by 12:01 am EDT on June 24, 2020. This population is mostly limited to new hires for whom Virginia Tech filed, or is in the process of filing, an H-1B petition for consular notification.

Due to the worldwide suspension of visa interviews that took place earlier this year, and that is still in effect, it is unlikely that those with an approved H-1B consular petition or those for whom the university is preparing an H-1B consular petition will be able to have visas foils placed in their and their dependents’ passports prior to June 24, 2020. If you believe you are in this situation, please contact Dena Neese (dneese@vt.edu) in International Support Services and your hiring unit.

What if I am in the U.S. and applying to extend or change my status?

If you are in the United States and Virginia Tech filed, or is in the process of filing, a petition to change employers, extend your H-1B status, or change your status from a different nonimmigrant visa status (e.g., F-1 or F-1/OPT) you petition will not be affected by this proclamation.

If Virginia Tech is sponsoring your permanent residency (“green card”) application, the proclamation will not impact that process.

If I am already in the U.S., can I travel abroad?

The proclamation may suspend new visa issuance for those in H-1B status in the U.S. without a valid, unexpired H-1B visa. So, at this time, Virginia Tech employees in H-1B status without an unexpired visa stamp should assume that they will not be able to get a new visa stamp until the proclamation is lifted.  We will provide updates to this guidance if there is further clarification on this issue.

Virginia Tech’s best advice is not to leave the United States. If you leave the U.S., you may not be able to return.

Beyond this proclamation, there are several other proclamations restricting entry to the U.S. for those traveling from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil. There is also a worldwide suspension of visa services at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, making it very difficult to apply for new visa foils. Further, new proclamations restricting travel from other countries, or extending existing travel restrictions, can be issued with very little warning.

If you have an emergency abroad and you feel you must travel outside the U.S., you are urged to contact your Virginia Tech immigration advisor (International Support Services for employees and J-1 scholars/student interns; or the Cranwell International Center for undergraduate and graduate students).

Whom should I contact if I have further questions?

Updated: April 28, 2020

Proclamation suspending entry of immigrants who present risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak

On April 22, 2020, the President signed a proclamation suspending the entry of certain immigrants to the United States for an initial period of 60 days. The proclamation was effective as of 11:59 p.m. on April 23, 2020. The stated purpose of the proclamation is to reduce competition between new permanent residents to the United States and United States citizens in the current U.S. labor market. The President asserts that this is necessary due to strain the COVID 19 pandemic has placed on the US labor market.

Does the proclamation apply to me?

The proclamation impacts a very precise population. The proclamation is limited to those applying for permanent residence status (“green cards”) through a US embassy or consulate abroad. Those who have or intend to apply for permanent residency inside the United States through an Application to Adjust Status (Form I-485) are not impacted.

There are also a number of exceptions for those applying for permanent residence status through a US embassy or consulate abroad. The exceptions are:

  • Those who have an immigrant visa that is valid as of the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Those who have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid as of on the effective date of the proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission;
  • Those who are lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  • Those seeking to enter the United States 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 Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees;  and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien;
  • Those applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
  • Those who are the spouse of a United States citizen;
  • Those who are under 21 years old and is the child of a United States citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
  • Those whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
  • Those who are a member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • Those seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose, and any spouse and children of any such individual; or
  • Those whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

Who determines if one of these exceptions applies to me?

The consular officer shall determine, in his or her discretion, whether an immigrant has established his or her eligibility for an exception.

Does the proclamation impact my current visa status?

The proclamation does not affect any nonimmigrant visas (E.g., F-1 visas, J-1 visas, H-1B visas, TN visas or E-3 visas).  However, the proclamation directs the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to review nonimmigrant programs and recommend other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers within 30 days of the effective date of the proclamation.

How long is the proclamation in place?

The proclamation expires 60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary.  Whenever appropriate, but no later than 50 days from the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend whether the proclamation should be continued or modified.

Last updated: Feb. 12, 2020

This page is designed to provide information and guidance regarding significant US immigration actions that may impact the Virginia Tech community. This page does not constitute a formal legal opinion or legal advice. No one should take any action based on the information and guidance below without first consulting with an experienced immigration attorney and/or immigration advisor. Virginia Tech will continue to update this page regularly.

Permanent nationwide injunction issued blocking changes in government policy regarding accrual of unlawful presence for F, J, and M nonimmigrants

UPDATE: On Feb. 6, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a permanent nationwide injunction blocking the Aug. 9, 2018 USCIS policy memo that sought to change how days of unlawful presence are counted following a violation of F, M, or J nonimmigrant status. The court's order states:

"The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services' August 9, 2018 memorandum entitled "Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants" (PM-602-1060.1), as well as the corresponding memorandum with the same title issued on May 10, 2018 (PM-602-1060), are hereby declared invalid, set aside, and enjoined nationwide in all applications."

On May 3, 2019, the same court had issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily halted enforcement of the 2018 policy while the underlying case was resolved. In the interim, USCIS returned to applying the prior policy guidance based on its unlawful presence memo issued on May 6, 2009. Under that prior policy, individuals admitted for duration of status do not begin accruing unlawful presence until an immigration judge finds a status violation in the course of an immigration proceeding, or an immigration officer finds a violation of status in the course of an application for an immigration benefit. The Feb. 6, 2020 decision and order means that the 2009 policy will continue in place; however, DHS may appeal the decision.

For general information and questions, students may consult with their International Student Advisor at Virginia Tech. For more detailed or nuanced questions about the injunction and applicability to a student’s individual situation, students will be advised to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer.

See more background from NAFSA: Association on International Educators regarding unlawful presence at www.nafsa.org/ulp. And see below for a timeline.

Timeline

  •  August 9, 2018 – The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made fundamental changes to its policy as to when international students and exchange visitors (in F, M, or J status) who have violated immigration status begin to accrue unlawful presence under the 3- or 10-year reentry bar provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 212(a)(9)(B).
  • October 23, 2018 – A group of colleges and universities (Guilford College, Guilford College International Club, The New School, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, and Haverford College) filed suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, to challenge USCIS's F, M, and J unlawful presence policy. The plaintiffs asked the court to declare unlawful and vacate the August 2018 policy memo, and to enjoin the enforcement or application of the memo.
  • January 28, 2019 – The District Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that blocked the Government from applying the unlawful presence memo on two named plaintiffs in the case, both of whom are MAVNI candidates. The TRO applied only to these two named plaintiffs, and had no effect on any other party. 
  • April 4, 2019 – A hearing on the motions took place.
  • May 3, 2019 – The Court issued a preliminary injunction. 
  • February 6, 2020 – The Court granted the plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment, denied the Government's motion for summary judgment, and declared the August 2019 policy invalid, set aside, and enjoined nationwide in all applications.

Travel Ban Expanded

In a January 31, 2020 Presidential Proclamation, the travel ban was expanded to place visa and entry restrictions on travelers from six additional countries: Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. The new ban (Travel Ban 4.0) becomes effective at 12:01 Eastern Standard Time on February 21, 2020. Travel Ban 4.0 contains restrictions on immigrants but not on nonimmigrants. Therefore, Travel Ban 4.0 will not impact acquisition of nonimmigrant visas like F-1 student, J-1 exchange visitor, H-1B worker, etc., or admission to the United States in those categories. Meanwhile, the September 24, 2017 Presidential Proclamation (Travel Ban 3.0) continues in effect on certain citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia.

The Travel Ban 3.0 and 4.0 restrictions are country-specific, and tailored to the situation of each individual country.

Travel Ban 4.0 Countries, effective Feb. 21, 2020

  1. Eritrea
  2. Kyrgyzstan
  3. Nigeria
  4. Myanmar
  5. Sudan
  6. Tanzania

Travel Ban 3.0 Countries, effective Sept. 24, 2017

  1. Iran
  2. Libya
  3. North Korea
  4. Syria
  5. Venezuela
  6. Yemen
  7. Somalia

Countries and Conditions Chart

Travel Bans 3.0 and 4.0 travel and entry ban restrictions apply to the following countries in specific ways.

Country

Conditions

Iran

Governed by Proclamation 9645, Travel Ban 3.0

  • Entry as an 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

Governed by Proclamation 9645, Travel Ban 3.0

  • Entry as an 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

Governed by Proclamation 9645, Travel Ban 3.0

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for all nonimmigrant visa categories

Syria

Governed by Proclamation 9645, Travel Ban 3.0

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for all nonimmigrant visa categories

Venezuela

Governed by Proclamation 9645, Travel Ban 3.0

  • 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

Governed by Proclamation 9645, Travel Ban 3.0

  • Entry as an 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

Eritrea

Governed by Proclamation of January 31, 2020, Travel Ban 4.0

  • The entry into the United States of nationals of Eritrea as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.

Kyrgyzstan

Governed by Proclamation of January 31, 2020, Travel Ban 4.0

  • The entry into the United States of nationals of Kyrgyzstan as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.

Myanmar (Burma)

Governed by Proclamation of January 31, 2020, Travel Ban 4.0

  • The entry into the United States of nationals of Burma as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.

Nigeria

Governed by Proclamation of January 31, 2020, Travel Ban 4.0

  • The entry into the United States of nationals of Nigeria as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.

Sudan

Governed by Proclamation of January 31, 2020, Travel Ban 4.0

  • The entry into the United States of nationals of Sudan as Diversity Immigrants, as described in section 203(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1153(c), is hereby suspended.

Tanzania

Governed by Proclamation of January 31, 2020, Travel Ban 4.0

  • The entry into the United States of nationals of Tanzania as Diversity Immigrants, as described in section 203(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1153(c), is hereby suspended.

 (Source: This information adapted from NAFSA: Association of International Educators).

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Third Travel Ban

On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the case Trump v Hawaii, and upheld the President’s third travel ban. This ruling means that the travel ban will remain in force. The chart below outlines the effect of the ban.

Country Nonimmigrant Visas
Immigrant and Diversity Visas
Iran
No nonimmigrant visas except F, M, and J student visas
No immigrant or diversity visas*
Libya
No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
North Korea
No nonimmigrant visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
Syria 
No nonimmigrant visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
Venezuela
No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas of any kind for officials of the following government agencies: Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Immigration; the Corps of Scientific Investigations, Judicial, and Criminal; the Bolivarian Intelligence Service; and the People's Power Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and their immediate family members
No restrictions
Yemen
No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
Somalia
No nonimmigrant visas**
No immigrant or diversity visas

*The Proclamation does not specifically reference “Diversity Visas”, although a chart published by the DOS at the time of the proclamation includes Diversity Visas with Immigrant visas.  The Diversity Visa program allows issuance of a limited number of permanent resident green cards to individuals who are citizens of countries with historically low levels of immigration into the United States. 

**The published DOS chart lists Somalia as a country for which no nonimmigrant visas will be issued.  However, the Proclamation makes no such broad statement.  The Proclamation states that the DOS will engage in additional scrutiny for nonimmigrant applications from Somalia to ensure that the applicant has no connection to a terrorist organization or otherwise poses a threat. 

EXCEPTIONS – The Travel Ban does not apply to the following individuals:

  1. Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S. (Green Card holders)
  2. Any foreign national who had a valid visa on October 18, 2017
  3. Any national who was in the U.S. on October 18, 2017, regardless of immigration status
  4. Anyone admitted or paroled into the U.S. after the effective date
  5. Anyone with a valid entry document other than visa, such as an advance parole document
  6. Dual nationals presenting a passport from another, non-listed, country
  7. Any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa
  8. Any foreign national who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture

WAIVERS Immigration officers (whether consular officer or Customs & Border Protection) have the discretion to grant waivers based on the following criteria:

a)       Denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;

b)      Entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the U.S.; and

c)       Entry would be in the national interest.

Waivers may not be granted categorically but may be appropriate in the following situations:

  • The foreign national has previously been admitted to the U.S. for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the U.S. on the applicable effective date, seeks to reenter the U.S. to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry would impair that activity;
  • The foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the U.S. but is outside the U.S. on the applicable effective date for work, study, or other lawful activity;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a U.S. citizen (USC), LPR or lawful nonimmigrant, and the denial of entry would cause undue hardship;
  • The foreign national is an infant, a young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by special circumstances;
  • The foreign national can document that he or she has provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S. Government;
  • The foreign national is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the U.S. Government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA;
  • The foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a location within Canada;
  • The foreign national is traveling as a U.S. Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
  • The foreign national is traveling to the U.S. at the request of a U.S. Government department or agency, for legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, or national security purposes.

Individuals who meet one or more of the situations above are not automatically entitled to a waiver. The decision to issue a waiver remains at the discretion of the immigration officer. 

Important notes

The travel ban does not revoke the immigration status of people from the affected countries who are already here in the U.S. They can remain in the U.S. in their existing immigration status until that status expires, as long as they continue to meet all the regulatory requirements associated with their status. If you have any questions related to the maintenance of your visa status, please contact your Virginia Tech immigration advisor.

The travel ban does not revoke visas or travel documents that have already been issued.  Individuals from the affected countries who have valid visas can use them to travel. However, they can expect enhanced questioning by Customs & Border Protection officers at ports of entry.

Student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas for Iranian nationals remain available. Iranian nationals applying for student and exchange visitor visas at the U.S. consulate can expect enhanced screening and vetting requirements at both the U.S. consulate when applying for their visa and again at the port of entry upon arriving in the US.

Impact on U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) Petitions

The ban does not address whether petitions or applications filed with the USCIS by or on behalf of citizens of the listed countries will continue to be processed. There has been no communication from USCIS stating that they will not process such petitions or applications.

This information does not construe legal advice and anyone desiring to apply for a waiver is encouraged to consult an immigration attorney.  Virginia Tech recommends that no one from the countries impacted by the travel ban travel outside the United States of America without first consulting an experienced immigration attorney or immigration advisor.

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review DACA Decisions

On Monday, February 26, 2018, the United States Supreme Court declined the Trump administration’s request to immediately review federal district court rulings that effectively block the administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) on March 5, 2018. No federal circuit court has reviewed the district court rulings, and the administration had asked the Supreme Court to take the unusual step of reviewing district court rulings before they had been reviewed by a circuit court. By denying the administration’s request, the Supreme Court has left the district court rulings in force. The administration is expected to appeal the district court rulings to the circuit courts. The DACA program should remain in effect beyond March 5, 2018, pending review by the circuit courts.

USCIS has not yet announced procedures for accepting DACA extensions beyond March 5, 2018. We will update this website once an announcement has been made.  

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Accepting Certain DACA Renewal Applications

On January 13, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has resumed accepting DACA renewal applications under the criteria that existed prior to the September 5, 2017, cancellation of the program.

Because the federal litigation is ongoing, the window for submitting applications is very likely temporary and could be overturned by a higher court at any time. Those who qualify under this announcement should apply as soon as possible to place their applications in queue for processing.

 As the USCIS announcement explains, people who hold, or previously held, a grant of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals can apply for an extension of DACA even if their DACA grant previously expired. USCIS stated that they will allow "renewal" applications for current DACA grantees and for those whose DACA expired September 5, 2016, or later. DACA extension applications will be processed according to prior policy and procedures. 

Importantly, applications by individuals who have never previously held DACA or whose DACA expired before September 5, 2016, will not be accepted. Applications for Advance Parole travel authorization for DACA grantees will not be accepted.

District Court Orders Department of Homeland Security to Partially Maintain DACA

On January 9, 2018, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order directing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to partially maintain the DACA program. The Court’s order directs DHS to maintain the DACA program nationwide on the same terms and conditions that were in effect prior to the rescission of the program on September 5, 2017.

The Court’s order allows DACA enrollees nationwide to renew their enrollments. However, the Court noted that new applications from applicants who have never before received DACA do not have to be processed, that advance parole under DACA need not be continued for anyone, and that DHS may take administrative steps to make sure fair discretion is exercised on an individualized basis for each renewal application.

DHS has yet to release information on how individuals may renew their DACA enrollments. 

Supreme Court Reinstates Enforcement of Third Travel Ban

On Monday, December 5, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order removing the injunction on enforcement of the administration’s third travel ban as it applies to citizens of six countries (the previous bans either expired or were rescinded).  After it went into effect on October 18, the federal District Court in Hawaii implemented a nationwide temporary restraining order against enforcement of the ban. The Supreme Court’s action removes all restrictions to enforcement of the ban and the full executive order will now be implemented throughout all pending appeal actions including review in the federal Circuit Court and the Supreme Court.

Affected Countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen

(Countries that were subject to the previous travel bans but have now been removed: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan)

  • Chad – Entry of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.
  • Iran – Entry of nationals of Iran as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is suspended, except that entry by nationals of Iran 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.
  • Libya – Entry of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.
  • North Korea – Entry of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
  • Somalia – Entry of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is suspended, and nonimmigrants traveling to the United States will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
  • Syria – Entry of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
  • Venezuela – Entry of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas is suspended. 
  • Yemen – Entry of nationals of Yemen as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.

EXCEPTIONS – The Travel Ban does not apply to the following individuals:

  1. Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S. (Green Card holders)
  2. Any foreign national who had a valid visa on October 18, 2017
  3. Any national who was in the U.S. on October 18, 2017, regardless of immigration status
  4. Anyone admitted or paroled into the U.S. after the effective date
  5. Anyone with a valid entry document other than visa, such as an advance parole document
  6. Dual nationals presenting a passport from another, non-listed, country
  7. Any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa
  8. Any foreign national who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture

WAIVERS - Immigration officers (whether consular officer or Customs & Border Protection) have the discretion to grant waivers based on the following criteria:

a)       Denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;

b)      Entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the U.S.; and

c)       Entry would be in the national interest.

Waivers may not be granted categorically but may be appropriate in the following situations:

  • The foreign national has previously been admitted to the U.S. for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the U.S. on the applicable effective date, seeks to reenter the U.S. to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry would impair that activity;
  • The foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the U.S. but is outside the U.S. on the applicable effective date for work, study, or other lawful activity;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a U.S. citizen (USC), LPR or lawful nonimmigrant, and the denial of entry would cause undue hardship;
  • The foreign national is an infant, a young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by special circumstances;
  • The foreign national can document that he or she has provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S. Government;
  • The foreign national is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the U.S. Government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA;
  • The foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a location within Canada;
  • The foreign national is traveling as a U.S. Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
  • The foreign national is traveling to the U.S. at the request of a U.S. Government department or agency, for legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, or national security purposes.

Individuals who meet one or more of the situations above are not automatically entitled to a waiver. The decision to issue a waiver remains at the discretion of the immigration officer. 

Important notes

The travel ban does not revoke the immigration status of people from the affected countries who are already here in the U.S. They can remain in the U.S. in their existing immigration status until that status expires, as long as they continue to meet all the regulatory requirements associated with their status. If you have any questions related to the maintenance of your visa status, please contact your Virginia Tech immigration advisor.

The travel ban does not revoke visas or travel documents that have already been issued.  Individuals from the affected countries who have valid visas can use them to travel. However, they can expect enhanced questioning by Customs & Border Protection officers at ports of entry.

Student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas for Iranian nationals remain available. Iranian nationals applying for student and exchange visitor visas at the U.S. consulate can expect enhanced screening and vetting requirements at both the U.S. consulate when applying for their visa and again at the port of entry upon arriving in the US.

Impact on U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) Petitions

The ban does not address whether petitions or applications filed with the USCIS by or on behalf of citizens of the listed countries will continue to be processed. There has been no communication from USCIS stating that they will not process such petitions or applications.  

Limited Visa Services Have Been Re-Opened in Turkey

The US Embassy in Turkey has announced that it believes the security situation in Turkey has improved to the point where it can resume limited visa services. Details can be found here.

United States and Turkey Stop Processing of Nonimmigrant Visa Processing

The United States Department of State (DOS) announced on Sunday, October 8, 2017, that it was suspending nonimmigrant visa services at embassies and consulates in Turkey. The suspension is in response to the arrest of a Turkish staff member of the US diplomatic mission. DOS feels the suspension will minimize the number of visitors to the embassy and consulates in Turkey while DOS assesses the commitment of the Government of Turkey to the security of the US diplomatic facilities and personnel.

In response, the government of Turkey announced a suspension of visa services to US citizens, also effective October 8, 2017. According to the Turkish government’s announcement, this includes the issuance of physical “sticker” visas at border posts, and the online Turkish electronic visa (e-visa).  U.S. citizens planning travel to Turkey, and who have questions regarding this regulation should contact the closest Embassy or Consulate of Turkey, or the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

For further detailed information regarding Turkey and travel:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Turkey’s Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklidere, 06100 Ankara, at +90-312-455-5555, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +90-312-455-5555 or +90-212-335-9000 (U.S. Consulate General Istanbul).
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, located at Poligon Mahallesi, Sarıyer Caddesi, No: 75, 34460, Istinye, Sariyer, at +90-212-335-9000.
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate in Adana, located at 212 Girne Bulvari, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir, Adana at +90-322-455-4100.
  • Contact the Consular Agency in Izmir at Izmir@state.gov.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).   

Presidential Proclamation Restricting Travel to the US for Citizens of Certain Countries

On September 24, 2017, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation titled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats.” The Proclamation imposes restrictions on travel to the US for citizens of the following countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. It is important to note that the ban does NOT require individuals from these countries who are already in the United States to depart (they can remain in their existing status); and does NOT revoke visas or travel documents that have already been issued. This memo will summarize the Proclamation.

BACKGROUND

The September 24 Proclamation follows earlier Executive Orders which required the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and the Department of State (“DOS”) to review the procedures for admitting foreign nationals into the US. As a result of that review, the DOS and DHS concluded that certain countries have inadequate procedures for providing information to the US regarding:

  1. whether persons applying for entry to the US are who they say they are (“identity management information”);
  2. whether persons applying for entry to the US pose a national security or public safety risk (“national security and public safety information”)
  3. whether the country itself is a security or safety risk because it is a haven for potential terrorists, is not part of the Visa Waiver program, or because it fails to receive its nationals who have been ordered removed from the US (“national security or public safety risk assessment”)

SUMMARY OF TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Depending on the level of “inadequacies” identified by the DHS and DOS, nationals of eight countries now have differing levels of “travel bans” imposed on them. The following is a chart from the US Department of State of the affected countries, and the types of entries that are restricted:

Country Nonimmigrant Visas Immigrant and Diversity Visas
Chad No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas No immigrant or diversity visas*
Iran No nonimmigrant visas except F, M, and J student visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Libya No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
North Korea No nonimmigrant visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Syria No nonimmigrant visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
Venezuela No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas of any kind for officials of the following government agencies: Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Immigration; the Corps of Scientific Investigations, Judicial and Criminal; the Bolivarian Intelligence Service; and the People’s Power Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and their immediate family members. 
No restrictions
Yemen No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
Somalia No nonimmigrant visas
No immigrant or diversity visas


*The Proclamation does not specifically reference “Diversity Visas”, although the chart published by the DOS includes Diversity Visas with Immigrant visas. The Diversity Visa program allows issuance of a limited number of permanent resident green cards to individuals who are citizens of countries with historically low levels of immigration into the United States. 

**The published DOS chart lists Somalia as a country for which no nonimmigrant visas will be issued. However, the Proclamation makes no such broad statement. The Proclamation states that the DOS will engage in additional scrutiny for nonimmigrant applications from Somalia to ensure that the applicant has no connection to a terrorist organization or otherwise poses a threat.

(Note:  Sudan, which was previously on the travel ban list, has been removed.  In comparison to the list of countries from the prior Executive Orders, the new list adds two non-Muslim majority countries:  North Korea, which has minimal entries to the US, and Venezuela, but only a limited number of certain governmental officials).

IMPLEMENTATION

The travel ban is implemented in two different phases:

Phase 1: From 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, September 24, 2017 until 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:

Nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.  Nationals of these five countries cannot travel to the US, except for:

  • Those individuals who have a bona fide relationship with a “close family” member in the US. “Close family” is defined as a parent, including parent-in-law, spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and first-cousin. For all relationships, half or step status is included (e.g., “half-brother” or “step-sister”). “Close family” does not include any other “extended” family members.
  • Those individuals who have a bona fide relationship with a “U.S. entity.” The relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading the restrictions of the Proclamation. 
  • Those individuals who meet the “Exceptions to the Travel Restrictions” listed below.

Phase 2: Beginning 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:

Nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia: Designated nationals of these countries cannot travel to the US in any of the immigration statuses listed in the chart above as being prohibited for the particular country, unless (1) they meet one of the “Exceptions to the Travel Restrictions” listed below, or (2) they qualify for a “waiver” allowing travel. The “bona fide” relationship exception will no longer apply, whether it is a bona fide family relationship or a bona fide US entity relationship.

Existing visas are not revoked. Individuals who have valid visas on the effective date of the applicable “Phase” can use the visa to travel. 

The DOS has stated that it will not cancel previously scheduled visa application appointments. 

All visa applicants from these countries, and individuals who are traveling to the US using existing visas, can expect enhanced questioning by consular officers and by Customs & Border Protection officers at ports of entry. 

EXCEPTIONS TO THE TRAVEL RESTRICITONS

The following individuals are not subject to the travel ban and can continue to travel to the US:

  • Foreign national in the US on the effective date of the Presidential Proclamation (regardless of immigration status on that date);
  • Foreign national with a valid visa as of the applicable effective date of the Presidential Proclamation for that individual;
  • Lawful permanent residents (i.e. “green card” holders) of the US.  (This appears to directly contradict language in the Proclamation that “immigrants” are subject to the ban);
  • Foreign national admitted or paroled into the US on or after the applicable effective date;
  • Foreign national who has a document other than a visa – such as a transportation letter or advance parole document – valid on the effective date;
  • Any dual national of one of the listed countries, who is also a national or citizen of a different country not listed, provided the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-listed country;
  • Foreign nationals traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, NATO visa, C-2 via for travel to the UN, or G-2, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa;
  • Foreign nationals who have been granted asylum to the US; refugees who have already been admitted to the US; or individuals who have been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.


WAIVERS

Immigration officers (whether consular officer or Customs & Border Protection) may, in their discretion, grant waivers based on the following criteria:

  • Denying entry would cause undue hardship;
  • Entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the US; and
  • Entry would be in the national interest.

The Proclamation provides the following examples of circumstances that may warrant a waiver, permitting travel to the US:

  • The foreign national has been previously admitted to the US for a continuous period of work, study or other long-term activity and is seeking to reenter the US to resume that activity and denying reentry would impair that activity;
  • The foreign national has previously established significant contacts within the US but is outside the US on the effective date for work, study or other lawful activity;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the US for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the US to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g. spouse, child or parent) who is a US citizen, green card holder or alien on a nonimmigrant visa and denial would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
  • The foreign national is an infant, young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstance of the case;
  • The foreign national has been employed by, or on behalf of, the US government;
  • The foreign national is traveling for purposed related to certain international organizations;
  • The foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident;
  • The foreign national is traveling as a US government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
  • The foreign national is traveling to the US at the request of a US government department or agency for law enforcement, foreign policy or national security reasons.

These are not guaranteed “waiver” fact patterns.  They are merely examples of fact patterns that “may” warrant a waiver.

Adjudication of Petitions by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)

The Proclamation does not address whether petitions or applications filed with the USCIS by or on behalf of citizens of the listed countries will continue to be processed. 

Additional Points

  • The Proclamation states that nationals of Iraq who seek entry will be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the U.S. 
  • Every 180 days the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with other government officials, will submit a report with recommendations to the President, and this list could be “continued, modified, terminated, or supplemented”, including the possibility of adding other countries as deemed necessary
  • The Proclamation does not address the refugee travel/entry ban, which is set to expire on October 24th.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring Joins Coalition Defending Dreamers

Attorney General Mark Herring joined 15 other state attorneys general to defend DREAMers from President Trump's termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On Sept. 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The withdrawal will be implemented over the course of the next six months. Details on the rescission may be found in a memorandum issued by Elaine C. Duke, Acting Secretary of US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS has also issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that provides detail on the rescission of DACA.

The memorandum and FAQ outline the following details:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will accept no further “new” DACA applications after Tuesday, September 5, 2017 —however they will process “new” applications received up to that date. These applications will be processed according to prior policy. A “New” application is one where the applicant has never held DACA status, or an application where the applicant did not apply to renew DACA within one year of the expiration of their prior grant of DACA.
  • Renewal applications for DACA will be accepted until October 5, 2017 and will be processed according to the prior existing policy. If approved, the DACA extension will be for the full two (2) year period, per existing policy. These applications will only be accepted for applicants whose DACA expires before March 5, 2018 (6 months from application date).
  • Current DACA grants will not be rescinded and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) already issued will not be revoked—they remain valid for the period of time reflected on the face of the EAD.
  • No new advance parole documents will be approved under DACA. Currently pending applications for advance parole will be closed and refunds issued.  No new applications will be accepted. Advance Parole documents already approved will “generally” remain valid; however the memo specifically states admission will still be subject to CBP discretion at the border and USCIS retains authority to revoke or terminate advance parole at any time.  Travel on Advance Parole based on DACA is quite risky in this environment.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) states they will not target DACA holders specifically for removal (i.e. will not use registration information to specifically target DACA holders); however, DACA holders will be treated like anyone else in the country illegally. ICE stated they will not “proactively” seek out DACA holders/applicants using information in the databases for DACA application purposes. However, that information could be obtained for national security and/or criminal investigations.
  • Neither DHS nor ICE would provide information on what might happen if Congress does not enact one (of the several versions) of the DREAM Act currently being proposed in Congress.

There are many resources at Virginia Tech available to members of the community affected by this decision. These resources include:

The Office of the Dean of Students: https://www.dos.vt.edu/

The Cook Counseling Center: https://www.ucc.vt.edu/

Student Legal Services: http://www.legal.sga.vt.edu/

Cranwell International Center: http://www.international.vt.edu/

Graduate School Office of Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives: https://graduateschool.vt.edu/about/diversity.html

International Support Services: http://www.iss.vt.edu

Presidential Proclamation Restricting Travel to the US for Citizens of Certain Countries

On September 24, 2017, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation titled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats.” The Proclamation imposes restrictions on travel to the US for citizens of the following countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. It is important to note that the ban does NOT require individuals from these countries who are already in the United States to depart (they can remain in their existing status); and does NOT revoke visas or travel documents that have already been issued. This memo will summarize the Proclamation.

BACKGROUND

The September 24 Proclamation follows earlier Executive Orders which required the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and the Department of State (“DOS”) to review the procedures for admitting foreign nationals into the US. As a result of that review, the DOS and DHS concluded that certain countries have inadequate procedures for providing information to the US regarding:

  1. whether persons applying for entry to the US are who they say they are (“identity management information”);
  2. whether persons applying for entry to the US pose a national security or public safety risk (“national security and public safety information”)
  3. whether the country itself is a security or safety risk because it is a haven for potential terrorists, is not part of the Visa Waiver program, or because it fails to receive its nationals who have been ordered removed from the US (“national security or public safety risk assessment”)

SUMMARY OF TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Depending on the level of “inadequacies” identified by the DHS and DOS, nationals of eight countries now have differing levels of “travel bans” imposed on them. The following is a chart from the US Department of State of the affected countries, and the types of entries that are restricted:

Country Nonimmigrant Visas Immigrant and Diversity Visas
Chad No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas No immigrant or diversity visas*
Iran No nonimmigrant visas except F, M, and J student visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Libya No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
North Korea No nonimmigrant visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Syria No nonimmigrant visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
Venezuela No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas of any kind for officials of the following government agencies: Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Immigration; the Corps of Scientific Investigations, Judicial and Criminal; the Bolivarian Intelligence Service; and the People’s Power Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and their immediate family members. 
No restrictions
Yemen No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
Somalia No nonimmigrant visas
No immigrant or diversity visas

Country

Nonimmigrant Visas

Immigrant and Diversity Visas

Chad

No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas

No immigrant or diversity visas*

Iran

No nonimmigrant visas except F, M, and J student visas

No immigrant or diversity visas

Libya

No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas

No immigrant or diversity visas

North Korea

No nonimmigrant visas

No immigrant or diversity visas

Syria

No nonimmigrant visas

No immigrant or diversity visas

Venezuela

No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas of any kind for officials of the following government agencies: Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Immigration; the Corps of Scientific Investigations, Judicial and Criminal; the Bolivarian Intelligence Service; and the People’s Power Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and their immediate family members. 

No restrictions

Yemen

No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas

No immigrant or diversity visas

Somalia

No nonimmigrant visas**

No immigrant or diversity visas

 

*The Proclamation does not specifically reference “Diversity Visas”, although the chart published by the DOS includes Diversity Visas with Immigrant visas. The Diversity Visa program allows issuance of a limited number of permanent resident green cards to individuals who are citizens of countries with historically low levels of immigration into the United States. 

**The published DOS chart lists Somalia as a country for which no nonimmigrant visas will be issued. However, the Proclamation makes no such broad statement. The Proclamation states that the DOS will engage in additional scrutiny for nonimmigrant applications from Somalia to ensure that the applicant has no connection to a terrorist organization or otherwise poses a threat.

(Note:  Sudan, which was previously on the travel ban list, has been removed.  In comparison to the list of countries from the prior Executive Orders, the new list adds two non-Muslim majority countries:  North Korea, which has minimal entries to the US, and Venezuela, but only a limited number of certain governmental officials).

IMPLEMENTATION

The travel ban is implemented in two different phases:

Phase 1: From 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, September 24, 2017 until 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:

Nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.  Nationals of these five countries cannot travel to the US, except for:

  • Those individuals who have a bona fide relationship with a “close family” member in the US. “Close family” is defined as a parent, including parent-in-law, spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and first-cousin. For all relationships, half or step status is included (e.g., “half-brother” or “step-sister”). “Close family” does not include any other “extended” family members.
  • Those individuals who have a bona fide relationship with a “U.S. entity.” The relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading the restrictions of the Proclamation. 
  • Those individuals who meet the “Exceptions to the Travel Restrictions” listed below.

Phase 2: Beginning 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:

Nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia: Designated nationals of these countries cannot travel to the US in any of the immigration statuses listed in the chart above as being prohibited for the particular country, unless (1) they meet one of the “Exceptions to the Travel Restrictions” listed below, or (2) they qualify for a “waiver” allowing travel. The “bona fide” relationship exception will no longer apply, whether it is a bona fide family relationship or a bona fide US entity relationship.

Existing visas are not revoked. Individuals who have valid visas on the effective date of the applicable “Phase” can use the visa to travel. 

The DOS has stated that it will not cancel previously scheduled visa application appointments. 

All visa applicants from these countries, and individuals who are traveling to the US using existing visas, can expect enhanced questioning by consular officers and by Customs & Border Protection officers at ports of entry. 

EXCEPTIONS TO THE TRAVEL RESTRICITONS

The following individuals are not subject to the travel ban and can continue to travel to the US:

  • Foreign national in the US on the effective date of the Presidential Proclamation (regardless of immigration status on that date);
  • Foreign national with a valid visa as of the applicable effective date of the Presidential Proclamation for that individual;
  • Lawful permanent residents (i.e. “green card” holders) of the US.  (This appears to directly contradict language in the Proclamation that “immigrants” are subject to the ban);
  • Foreign national admitted or paroled into the US on or after the applicable effective date;
  • Foreign national who has a document other than a visa – such as a transportation letter or advance parole document – valid on the effective date;
  • Any dual national of one of the listed countries, who is also a national or citizen of a different country not listed, provided the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-listed country;
  • Foreign nationals traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, NATO visa, C-2 via for travel to the UN, or G-2, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa;
  • Foreign nationals who have been granted asylum to the US; refugees who have already been admitted to the US; or individuals who have been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.


WAIVERS

Immigration officers (whether consular officer or Customs & Border Protection) may, in their discretion, grant waivers based on the following criteria:

  • Denying entry would cause undue hardship;
  • Entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the US; and
  • Entry would be in the national interest.

The Proclamation provides the following examples of circumstances that may warrant a waiver, permitting travel to the US:

  • The foreign national has been previously admitted to the US for a continuous period of work, study or other long-term activity and is seeking to reenter the US to resume that activity and denying reentry would impair that activity;
  • The foreign national has previously established significant contacts within the US but is outside the US on the effective date for work, study or other lawful activity;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the US for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
  • The foreign national seeks to enter the US to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g. spouse, child or parent) who is a US citizen, green card holder or alien on a nonimmigrant visa and denial would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
  • The foreign national is an infant, young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstance of the case;
  • The foreign national has been employed by, or on behalf of, the US government;
  • The foreign national is traveling for purposed related to certain international organizations;
  • The foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident;
  • The foreign national is traveling as a US government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
  • The foreign national is traveling to the US at the request of a US government department or agency for law enforcement, foreign policy or national security reasons.

These are not guaranteed “waiver” fact patterns.  They are merely examples of fact patterns that “may” warrant a waiver.

Adjudication of Petitions by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)

The Proclamation does not address whether petitions or applications filed with the USCIS by or on behalf of citizens of the listed countries will continue to be processed. 

Additional Points

  • The Proclamation states that nationals of Iraq who seek entry will be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the U.S. 
  • Every 180 days the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with other government officials, will submit a report with recommendations to the President, and this list could be “continued, modified, terminated, or supplemented”, including the possibility of adding other countries as deemed necessary
  • The Proclamation does not address the refugee travel/entry ban, which is set to expire on October 24th.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring Joins Coalition Defending Dreamers

Attorney General Mark Herring joined 15 other state attorneys general to defend DREAMers from President Trump's termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On Sept. 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The withdrawal will be implemented over the course of the next six months. Details on the rescission may be found in a memorandum issued by Elaine C. Duke, Acting Secretary of US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS has also issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that provides detail on the rescission of DACA.

The memorandum and FAQ outline the following details:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will accept no further “new” DACA applications after Tuesday, September 5, 2017 —however they will process “new” applications received up to that date. These applications will be processed according to prior policy. A “New” application is one where the applicant has never held DACA status, or an application where the applicant did not apply to renew DACA within one year of the expiration of their prior grant of DACA.
  • Renewal applications for DACA will be accepted until October 5, 2017 and will be processed according to the prior existing policy. If approved, the DACA extension will be for the full two (2) year period, per existing policy. These applications will only be accepted for applicants whose DACA expires before March 5, 2018 (6 months from application date).
  • Current DACA grants will not be rescinded and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) already issued will not be revoked—they remain valid for the period of time reflected on the face of the EAD.
  • No new advance parole documents will be approved under DACA. Currently pending applications for advance parole will be closed and refunds issued.  No new applications will be accepted. Advance Parole documents already approved will “generally” remain valid; however the memo specifically states admission will still be subject to CBP discretion at the border and USCIS retains authority to revoke or terminate advance parole at any time.  Travel on Advance Parole based on DACA is quite risky in this environment.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) states they will not target DACA holders specifically for removal (i.e. will not use registration information to specifically target DACA holders); however, DACA holders will be treated like anyone else in the country illegally. ICE stated they will not “proactively” seek out DACA holders/applicants using information in the databases for DACA application purposes. However, that information could be obtained for national security and/or criminal investigations.
  • Neither DHS nor ICE would provide information on what might happen if Congress does not enact one (of the several versions) of the DREAM Act currently being proposed in Congress.

There are many resources at Virginia Tech available to members of the community affected by this decision. These resources include:

The Office of the Dean of Students: https://www.dos.vt.edu/

The Cook Counseling Center: https://www.ucc.vt.edu/

Student Legal Services: http://www.legal.sga.vt.edu/

Cranwell International Center: http://www.international.vt.edu/

Graduate School Office of Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives: https://graduateschool.vt.edu/about/diversity.html

International Support Services: http://www.iss.vt.edu

June 27, 2017 update: The Supreme Court of the United States recently issued an order granting certiorari review of the constitutionality of the Executive Order (“EO”) issued by the White House in March banning travel to the United States for citizens of certain Muslim-majority countries.  The Supreme Court will hear arguments in October, with a final decision likely by December.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court made changes to the injunctions.  The Supreme Court ruled that the injunctions were too broad, and needed to be limited.  In the decision granting certiorari, the Supreme Court said that the EO banning travel may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”  Other foreign nationals from the listed countries are subject to the travel ban.

The Supreme Court went on to give examples of what qualifies as “bona fide relationships”:

“The facts of these cases illustrate the sort of relationship that qualifies. For individuals, a close familial relationship is required. A foreign national who wishes to enter the United States to live with or visit a family member, like [a] wife or [a] mother-in-law, clearly has such a relationship. As for entities, the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading EO–2 [the March EO]. The students from the designated countries who have been admitted to the University of Hawaii have such a relationship with an American entity. So too would a worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience.  Not so someone who enters into a relationship simply to avoid §2(c): For example, a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their exclusion.”

The impact of this ruling is this:  Most people coming to Virginia Tech from one of the six affected countries should be in a bona fide relationship, and therefore may apply for US visa stamps at US consulates and embassies abroad, and may request admission at US ports of entry. However, we recommend that those coming to Virginia Tech from the six affected countries take the following additional steps to document the bona fide:

  • For International Students:  A letter from the registrar confirming that the student has been admitted to the college or university, and confirming the date that the academic program will commence.  The student should also have a valid I-20 or DS-2019, and if enrolled for the coming semester, a course listing of classes they will take.
  • For International ScholarsA letter from your Virginia Tech host, confirming your participation in the Exchange Visitor program at Virginia Tech.  Scholars in J-1 status should also have a valid DS- 2019.
  • For Faculty and Staff:  A letter from the supervisor confirming that the faculty/staff member is employed by Virginia Tech and is coming to the US to undertake (or resume) employment.  If there is an employment contract or appointment letter, the individual should carry that as well, and copies of recent paystubs (for existing employees). 
  • For Invited Lecturers or Presenters:  A letter of invitation from Virginia Tech formally inviting and outlining the terms of the presentation, lecture, performance, etc. and any remuneration that will be provided in terms of honorarium and/or reimbursement of expenses.

There is no guidance (yet) regarding what types of evidence will suffice to allow individuals impacted by the EO to travel.  The key is to document that there is a verifiable relationship between the institution and the individual.   

It is also important to note exactly who is subject to the EO.  There are many categories of individuals from the listed countries who are NOT subject to the EO at all.  Below is a summary of the travel ban:

TRAVEL BAN SUMMARY

On March 6, 2017, the White House issued a new Executive Order which imposed travel restrictions on nationals of certain Muslim-majority countries.  The Executive Order (“EO”) suspended entry into the United States for 90 days (and possibly longer) by nationals from the following six countries:

  • Iran
  • Libya
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Yemen  

(Iraq was on the earlier January travel ban, but was removed from the list in the March travel ban). 

The EO prohibits entry to the US of the nationals of those countries who:

(i)   are outside the United States on the effective date of this order;

(ii)   did not have a valid visa at 5:00 p.m., eastern standard time on January 27, 2017; and

(iii)  do not have a valid visa on the effective date of the order [the original EO was effective on March 16, 2017; however the president recently issued a directive making the order effective on the date the injunction is lifted:  June 26, 2017].

Existing visas are not cancelled.  People from the listed countries with valid visas prior to the dates noted above are permitted to travel.

The EO also suspends refugee processing for 120 days, and suspends refugee travel to the U.S. for 120 days, unless travel was already scheduled by the Department of State.  The EO reduces the number of refugees the US will admit from 100,000 to 50,000. 

 

Exceptions to travel prohibition for nationals of these countries

The following individuals are not subject to the travel ban:

(i)    any lawful permanent resident of the United States (i.e. a green card holder);

(ii)   any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the effective date of this order;

(iii)  any foreign national who has a document other than a visa, valid on the effective date of this order or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission, such as an advance parole document;

(iv)   any dual national of one of the listed countries as long as the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-listed country;

(v)    any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; or

(vi)   any foreign national who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Waiver Process

The Executive Order permits “waivers” on a case-by-case basis.  That is, if a person otherwise would be banned, the person can apply for a waiver of the ban.  The waiver process can allow the issuance of visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of the 6 countries if the foreign national demonstrates to a consular officer's satisfaction (1) that denying entry would cause undue hardship, and (2) that his or her entry would not pose a threat to national security and (3) the person’s entry would be in the national interest.  No details have been provided on the waiver process.

Additional Issues for Individuals with ties to the Listed 6 Countries

  • There is no indication in the memo that the CIS has suspended or will suspend adjudication of petitions or applications for immigration benefits filed by or on behalf of individuals from the listed 6 countries. DHS has specifically confirmed that US CIS will continue normal processing of Applications for Naturalization (Form N-400) and Applications to Adjust Status (Form I-485) filed by citizens of the 6 listed countries.
  • Nationals of the 6 countries who are currently in the U.S. in valid immigration status will not see their status terminated or otherwise affected, even though they may not be permitted to reenter the U.S. after foreign travel. 

Hawai'i District Court Enters Preliminary Injunction

On March 29, 2017, the U.S. District Court in Hawai'i converted its March 15, 2017, temporary restraining order (which was valid for a maximum of 14 days), into a preliminary injunction, which will continue to block enforcement of the Executive Order 13780 Section 2(c) 90-day travel bar and the Section 6 120-day refugee admissions bar, for the duration of the litigation in the Hawai'i District Court. The Government may elect to appeal this court order. 

US Department of Homeland Security Announces Aviation Security Enhancements for Select Last Point of Departure Airports with Commercial Flights to the United States

On March 21, 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced “enhanced security measures” affecting 10 specific airports. DHS states that these security enhancements are in response to evaluated intelligence indicating that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are pursuing innovative methods to undertake such attacks, including smuggling explosives in various consumer devices. DHS issued a Fact Sheet describing these enhancements.

The 10 affected airports are Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

The aviation security enhancements include requiring that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage at 10 airports where flights are departing for the United States.

Electronic devices larger than a cell phone/smart phone will not be allowed to be carried onboard the aircraft in carry-on luggage or other accessible property. Electronic devices that exceed this size limit must be secured in checked luggage. Necessary medical devices will be allowed to remain in a passenger’s possession after they are screened.

The approximate size of a commonly available smartphone is considered to be a guideline for passengers. Examples of large electronic devices that will not be allowed in the cabin on affected flights include, but are not limited to:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • E-Readers
  • Cameras
  • Portable DVD players
  • Electronic game units larger than a smartphone
  • Travel printers/scanners

There is no impact on domestic flights in the United States or flights departing the United States. Electronic devices will continue to be allowed on all flights originating in the United States.

Temporary Restraining Order Issued Blocking Implementation of the March 6, 2017, Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”

On March 15, 2017, a federal court in the State of Hawaii issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) blocking the implementation of Section 2 and Section 6 of the March 6, 2017, Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”  The Executive Order was set to take effect at 12:01 AM on March 16, 2017. Section 2 of the Executive Order was to suspend entry to the United States, for a period of 90 days, nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen. Section 6 of the Executive Order was to suspend the US Refugee Assistance Program for 120 days. (See prior posts for a more complete summary of the Executive Order.)

In issuing the TRO, the court in Hawaii found that the State of Hawaii established “a strong likelihood of success” on their claims that the Executive Order violates religious freedom. The Hawaii court’s TRO will remain in place at least until an expedited hearing is scheduled to determine whether the TRO should be extended. A federal court in the State of Maryland entered a narrower TRO on March 16, 2017, blocking implementation of the portion of the Executive Order that was to suspend entry of nationals from the six affected countries to the United States for 90 days.

We will continue to monitor this fluid situation and provide updates as events warrant.

Summary and Frequently Asked Questions Regarding March 6, 2017, Executive Order Restricting Travel

On March 6, 2017, the White House issued a new Executive Order which imposed travel restrictions on nationals of certain Muslim-majority countries. The new Executive Order specifically revoked the prior Executive Order, which had been invalidated by the federal courts.  The effective date of the new Executive Order is March 16, 2017.

This posting will provide a summary of the restrictions imposed, based on guidance to date.  For those not familiar with immigration terminology, we are including a listing of common terms with relevance to the Executive Order. 

  • Immigrant – A foreign national who intends to reside permanently in the United States
  • Nonimmigrant – A foreign national who has the right to remain only temporarily in the United States for a specific purpose, and to return to an un-abandoned foreign residence abroad
  • National – A person who owes allegiance to a particular nation and who is eligible for diplomatic protection by that nation, but not necessarily having full political rights; typically denoted by eligibility to hold a country’s passport. 
  • Green Card – Form I-551 stamp or card which evidences an individual’s permanent residence in the United States.
  • Nonimmigrant Visa – Form placed in a passport by a U.S. Consulate abroad which allows the visa holder to board passage to the United States and to present him or herself for inspection by an officer of US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry into the U.S. for temporary entry to the U.S.
  • Immigrant Visa – Form placed in a passport by a U.S. Consulate abroad which allows the visa holder to present him or herself for entry to the US as a permanent resident.  A Green Card is issued after arrival. 
  • Form I-94 – Arrival/Departure Document – Document stored electronically by CBP at the port of entry authorizing an individual to enter the United States, stating the immigration status which the person is authorized to hold, and stating the date by which the individual must depart the United States.  Individuals should print this document after entry to the US.
  • Immigration Status – Status authorized by the type of visa used to enter the U.S. (i.e., H1B, F-1, etc.).  A person’s immigration status in the U.S. can exceed the validity period of the visa in his or her passport. 
  • Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) – The government agency which determines an individual’s eligibility for certain immigration benefits.
  • Customs & Border Protection (CBP) – The government agency which inspects individuals who apply at ports of entry for entry to the U.S.
  • Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) – The government agency charged with enforcing immigration law and policy within the U.S.
  • Department of State – The government agency which operates U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, and is charged with issuing visas to foreign nationals wishing to travel to the United States.
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – The government agency formed after 9/11 to consolidate many functions related to national security.  CIS, CBP, and ICE are agencies within DHS. 

In general, U.S. immigration law divides all individuals seeking to enter the United States into two categories:  immigrants and nonimmigrants.  “Immigrants” are individuals who are intending to remain permanently in the United States.  “Nonimmigrants” are individuals coming for only a temporary stay.   Most international students initially enter the U.S. in a nonimmigrant status (e.g., F-1, J-1).

The new Executive Order (“EO”) suspends entry into the United States for 90 days (and possibly longer) by nationals from the following six countries:

Iran

Libya

Somalia

Sudan

Syria

Yemen  

(Iraq was removed from the list).

 

The EO prohibits entry to the US of the nationals of those countries who:

(i)   are outside the United States on the effective date of this order;

(ii)   did not have a valid visa at 5:00 p.m., eastern standard time on January 27, 2017; and

(iii)  do not have a valid visa on the effective date of the order (March 16).

Existing visas are not cancelled, as was the case in the prior EO.  The EO takes effect on March 16, 2017.

The EO also suspends refugee processing for 120 days, and suspends refugee travel to the U.S. for 120 days, unless travel was already scheduled by the Department of State.  The EO reduces the number of refugees the US will admit from 100,000 to 50,000. 

The following individuals are not subject to the travel ban:

(i)    any lawful permanent resident of the United States (i.e. a green card holder);

(ii)   any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the effective date of this order;

(iii)  any foreign national who has a document other than a visa, valid on the effective date of this order or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission, such as an advance parole document;

(iv)   any dual national of one of the listed countries as long as the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-listed country;

(v)    any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; or

(vi)   any foreign national who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

NOTE:  Canadian Landed Immigrants from the six listed countries are not exempted from the EO.  They can apply for visas only pursuant to the “Waiver Process” described in the next section.

The Executive Order permits “waivers” on a case-by-case basis, to allow the issuance of visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of the six countries if the foreign national demonstrates to a consular officer's satisfaction (1) that denying entry would cause undue hardship, and (2) that his or her entry would not pose a threat to national security and (3) the person’s entry would be in the national interest.  No details have been provided on the waiver process. Case-by-case waivers could be appropriate in circumstances such as the following:

(i)     the foreign national has previously been admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the United States on the effective date of this order, seeks to reenter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry during the suspension period would impair that activity;

(ii)    the foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the United States but is outside the United States on the effective date of this order for work, study, or other lawful activity;

(iii)   the foreign national seeks to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry during the suspension period would impair those obligations;

(iv)    the foreign national seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or alien lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and the denial of entry during the suspension period would cause undue hardship;

(v)     the foreign national is an infant, a young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstances of the case;

(vi)    the foreign national has been employed by, or on behalf of, the United States Government (or is an eligible dependent of such an employee) and the employee can document that he or she has provided faithful and valuable service to the United States Government;

(vii)   the foreign national is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), 22 U.S.C. 288 et seq., traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the United States Government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA;

(viii)  the foreign national is a landed Canadian immigrant who applies for a visa at a location within Canada; or

(ix)    the foreign national is traveling as a United States Government-sponsored exchange visitor.

  • There is no indication in the memo that the CIS has suspended or will suspend adjudication of petitions or applications for immigration benefits filed by or on behalf of individuals from the listed six countries. DHS has specifically confirmed that US CIS will continue normal processing of Applications for Naturalization (Form N-400) and Applications to Adjust Status (Form I-485) filed by citizens of the six listed countries.
  • Nationals of the six countries who are currently in the U.S. in valid immigration status will not see their status terminated or otherwise affected, even though they may not be permitted to reenter the U.S. after foreign travel. 
  • Nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for citizens of other countries remain valid for travel to the U.S.
  • Immigration status in the U.S. for citizens of other countries is not impacted by the Executive Order.
  • Additional screening should be expected by anyone traveling to the U.S. who has visited one of the six listed countries, or who was born in one of the six countries.
  • Citizens of countries other than the listed six who are applying for visas at U.S. consulates should expect additional delays in processing, as more visa applicants will now need visa interviews.  Previously, interview waivers were available to individuals who were applying for a new visa within 24 months of the expiration of the old visa.  Under the EO, interviews are required unless the applicant applies within 12 months of expiration of the old visa.
  • 90 day ESTA Visa Waiver for eligible countries is still in effect. 
  • Although travel is not restricted for citizens of Iraq, the EO indicates that Iraqi citizens will receive more extensive screening.  Delays in visa processing and at the U.S. port of entry should be expected. 

Several groups have already said they will challenge the new EO as a violation of the Establishment Clause for targeting the restrictions to Muslim-majority countries, when there is arguably no demonstrable evidence that they pose a threat to safety or security.  The Establishment Clause prevents the U.S. government from favoring one religion over another.  As a result, the situation is fluid, and subject to change at any time.  Any individual who holds a passport from or is a national of one of the listed countries is advised not to travel outside the United States until they have consulted an immigration attorney. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Citizens of other countries are not impacted by the ban on entry, unless you are a dual citizen of one of the six listed countries, you were born in one of those countries, or you have traveled to one of those countries. 

If you are already in the United States, your current status is not affected by the Executive Order.  You can remain in the U.S. for as long as your status allows.  You should not depart the U.S. without consulting an immigration attorney or your foreign student advisor. 

If you are a dual citizen, you are permitted to travel using passports of a country OTHER than one of the list of six countries.  You should expect additional screening upon your return to the U.S.  If your nonimmigrant visa is in the passport of one of the listed countries, you should not travel outside the U.S. , unless you are prepared to apply for a visa in your other passport.

The Executive Order does not restrict travel by citizens of countries other than those on the list of six countries.  However, if you have traveled to one of the six listed countries in the past, you should expect additional screening.

You can travel if you have a valid visa.  If you need to obtain a new visa, you will need to qualify for a “waiver” on the grounds stated in the EO.  The procedure for requesting a waiver has not been released, but will likely cause delays in processing.  Approval is not guaranteed.  Applicants for waivers should plan for extended time outside the U.S. for waiver processing. 

You can travel outside the U.S. and reenter, but you should expect additional screening upon reentry to the U.S.

You can travel outside the U.S. and reenter, but you should expect additional screening upon reentry to the U.S.  You should travel only using your U.S. passport.

You can travel outside the U.S. and reenter.

You can travel outside the U.S. and reenter, but you should expect additional screening upon reentry to the U.S.

You can travel outside the U.S. and reenter.  You should expect additional screening upon reentry to the U.S.

You can travel outside the U.S. and reenter. 

Yes. The EO eliminated the ability for certain people renewing a nonimmigrant visa to skip the interview process.  In the past, some applicants for nonimmigrant visas were able to skip an in person interview at the Consulate if they were applying to extend an existing visa.  Under the EO, the circumstances under which a waiver of the interview may be granted are now more limited.  However, the State Department has confirmed that the interview waiver program still applies to applicants aged 14 and under and 79 and older.  They have also confirmed that it still applies to applicants who were issued visas that expired less than 12 months ago in the same category as they are currently seeking.  Individual consulates always reserve the ability to require an interview, even for individuals otherwise eligible for a waiver of the interview.  Travel plans should be made accordingly. 

Your employer can apply for H-1B on your behalf. 

Your employer can apply for H-1B on your behalf. 

Your employer can apply for H-1B on your behalf. 

You can apply for CPT.  This is authorized by the school.  There is no indication that the US CIS will suspend immigration benefits pursuant to this Executive Order.

You can apply for OPT.  Applications for the OPT employment authorization document (EAD) are filed with the US CIS.  There is no indication that the US CIS will suspend processing of immigration benefits pursuant to this EO. 

STEM extensions of OPT are still available and were not part of any signed Executive Orders. 

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it will temporarily suspend the premium processing program for all H-1B petitions. What does this mean for VT hiring units and employees?

On Friday,  March 3, 2017, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that effective Monday, April 3, 2017, it will temporarily suspend, for up to six months, the premium processing program for all H-1B cases. Under the premium processing program, USCIS adjudicates H-1B petitions within 15 calendar days. Currently, under the normal processing queue, USCIS takes 7 – 8 months to adjudicate the H-1B case.  The relevant USCIS notice is posted here.

  • A hiring unit that wants or needs to make a premium processing H-1B request should contact ISS immediately.  ISS MUST file the case by no later than Thursday, March 30, 2017, so that USCIS receives it by Friday, March 21, 2017.  Certain steps must be taken very soon, to file by March 30, 2017.  Please email Dena Neese at ISS if you have questions.
  • Important Note: USCIS only allows H-1B filings up to six months in advance of the requested H-1B start date listed on the petition (this includes new cases, extensions, change of employer cases and amendments).  To benefit from premium processing before the program is suspended, the requested H-1B start date must be September 30, 2017, or earlier. We may not request an H-1B start date of October 1 or later and benefit from premium processing at this time. 
  • New hires who need H-1B sponsorship to work – if a VT hiring unit intends to hire an international employee in H-1B status on or before September 30, 2017, please contact ISS immediately.  This includes, but is not limited to, new tenure-track faculty with an August 10, 2017, start date. 
  • Current employees in H-1B status, whose H-1B expires soon – if a VT hiring unit has an existing H-1B employee whose H-1B expires on or before September 30, 2017, please contact ISS immediately.   Existing H-1B employees benefit from the “240 day rule” where they may work on a timely-filed H-1B receipt notice for up to 240 days after their current H-1B expires.  Given long USCIS processing times, if we get to the 240th day and the extension is not approved, then the employee will not be able to continue to work.  Also, all persons in H-1B status must have a valid, unexpired H-1B approval notice to apply for a visa stamp to return to the US after international travel.  So, even though the 240 day rule exists for continued employment eligibility, international travel is not allowed for persons relying upon the H-1B status to return, if their H-1B approval notice has expired and their extension remains pending and not yet approved.
  • Current employees in F-1 OPT status, whose OPT expires soon, or in J-1 status, whose DS-2019 expires soon - employees working in F-1 OPT status or J-1 DS-2019 status, where the hiring unit intends to change them to H-1B.  Where it makes sense, ISS can work with a hiring unit to file a change of status to H-1B with a start date on or before September 30, 2017, even if the F-1 OPT or J-1 work authorization ends at a later date.

While premium processing is suspended, we can only file under the regular program, which means 7 – 8 months to get an approval.  Please start the H-1B process for these cases early.  We can file up to 6 months before the start date. 

Please initiate the H-1B process early so that we can file six months prior to the expiration date, to best ensure continued work authorization, based upon the 240 day rule, and to try to minimize disruption to international travel. 

See the ISS website for instructions on starting the H-1B process.

I will be entering the United States from abroad.  What can I expect at the border?

Everyone seeking entry to the United States is inspected by officers of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security.  CBP officers must determine your identity, whether you are admissible to the United States, and ensure that you are not bringing contraband into the United States.

To determine if you are admissible to the United States, CBP must establish if you are a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder), or if you have a valid US visa for the purpose of your visit, or are otherwise eligible for admission (e.g., have a credible fear of persecution if you were to return to your home country). The primary way that CBP make this determination is by reviewing your documents and asking you questions. Typically, CBP officers make these determinations by reviewing your passport, green card and/or visa and asking one or two brief questions. Sometimes CBP needs to ask more in-depth questions to make a determination.  In those circumstances, they will take you to an office at the port of entry to conduct a more in-depth interview. This is known as secondary inspection.

The level of questioning you can expect will depend on your personal circumstances. If you are a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, you are unlikely to be referred to secondary inspection. US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who were born in or have traveled to countries listed in the January 27, 2017 Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” (i.e., Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) or other countries the US government has concerns about, may be referred to secondary inspection for additional questioning.

The vast majority of people traveling to the United States with valid US visas are also inspected and admitted without being referred to secondary inspection.  Those with valid US visas who were born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can expect to be referred to secondary inspection for questioning, as can those traveling with valid US visas who were born elsewhere but have visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Regardless of where you were born or where you have traveled, CBP officers will ask valid US visa holders the purpose of your visit to the United States. This is to ensure that the purpose of your visit is consistent with your visa type.  CBP officers may ask you about your plans to work, study or conduct research in the United States. This is usually done with a few questions, but you can be referred to secondary inspection if CBP requires additional clarification.

When questioned by CBP officers, it is important to always give truthful answers. If you are confused or do not understand a question, ask the officer for clarification. If you are uncomfortable answering the questions in English, CBP will provide an interpreter for you.  Answer the question that was asked. It is not necessary to volunteer additional information beyond the scope of the question that was asked. Be polite to the CBP officer. Even though you may be tired after a long journey, and even if you feel that the CBP officer’s questions are unnecessary, being rude will not improve the situation.

CBP officers may inspect your person and possessions to establish that you are not trying to bring contraband into the United States and/or to help establish the purpose of your visit to the United States.  This might include the examination of your computer, phone, tablet or other portable electronic device. A CBP officer may also ask you to provide usernames and/or passwords to access data on your devices. If you refuse to provide usernames and/or passwords, you can anticipate that your devices will be confiscated and may not be returned for an extended period of time. Those who are not US Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents might also be refused admission to the United States, upon refusal to provide usernames and/or passwords, if CBP believes data on the device is necessary to establish the purpose of your visit, or if CBP suspects that the device contains contraband.

If you are concerned about sharing data on your devices, you might consider removing certain applications or other data from them before traveling, or traveling with a device that does not contain data you are unwilling to share. The Office of Export and Secure Research Compliance has a limited number of “clean” lap tops that they will loan to those on university travel. Employees involved in restricted research will be given priority.

While you are being questioned by CBP officers, you will not be permitted to make telephone calls, send text messages or emails, or communicate with others.

I heard that the government issued new information about immigration enforcement in the United States--is this true?

Yes. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued two memos relating to immigration enforcement initiatives for the new administration. This website has the executive orders, the recently released implementation memos and fact sheets related to the orders.

The following are some items from the memos that members of the Virginia Tech community should note:

  • DHS has prioritized certain individuals subject to removal from the US.  The list includes:
    • Anyone convicted of a crime
    • Anyone charged with a crime (even if innocent)
    • Anyone who has committed an act which would constitute a criminal offense (even if not charged)
    • Anyone who engaged in fraud or misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a government agency
    • Anyone who has abused a program related to receipt of public benefits
    • Anyone who has been ordered removed from the US but has not left
    • Anyone who, in the judgment of an immigration officer, poses a risk to public safety or national security
  • In order to trigger the “removal priority” list, an individual must first be “removable” from the US.  Those who qualify as “removable” include anyone who has violated status in any way. Students who drop below required course loads, or who work without authorization, or faculty/staff who fall out of status (even inadvertently) or overstay the end date on the I-94 record render themselves removable.  In order to avoid being placed in removal proceedings, it is more important than ever to make sure that international students and faculty/staff maintain their legal status in the United States at all times. 
  • The DHS has extended “expedited removal” proceedings nationwide, rather than just within 100 miles of a border.  People who are unable to show evidence of lawful immigration status in the US can potentially face expedited removal from the US without a hearing.  This makes it imperative that individuals carry proof of legal status with them at all times.
    • F-1 students should carry passports, I-20, printed copies of I-94, and EADs (where applicable)
    • J-1 students should carry passports, DS-2019, and printed copies of I-94
    • Faculty/Staff using temporary visas should carry passports, I-797 approval notices, and printed copies of I-94
    • Permanent residents should carry their green cards
  • DHS will hire 10,000 new Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to fan out across the country to ferret out immigration violators. DHS will also hire 5,500 new Customs & Border Protection officers.  With the number of new, inexperienced hires, and the draconian tone of the enforcement memo, foreign nationals must be prepared to demonstrate their legal status at any time.
  • The United States is to begin immediate planning and construction of the wall along the Mexican border. 

If you have any questions, please contact your immigration advisor on campus. International undergraduate students should contact the Cranwell International Center, international graduate students should contact International Graduate Student Services, and international faculty and staff should contact International Support Services.

Information related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  (DACA) program

A. Virginia Tech will cooperate with government agencies enforcing the recent executive order to the extent it is required to by law. The Virginia Tech police department does not have a policy or practice of requesting the immigration status of individuals it encounters and absent a change in the law compelling it to do so will not engage in such practices.

A. Most Virginia Tech student education records are covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which prohibits the release of these records without a court order. Virginia Tech will strictly adhere to the requirements of FERPA. The education records of students who are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the education records of any undocumented students are covered by FERPA.  However, there are certain members of the Virginia Tech community on non-immigrant visas that have been sponsored by the university (e.g., F-1s and H-1Bs). By participating in these programs, Virginia Tech may be required to release some information regarding sponsored individuals if it is requested by an appropriate federal authority such as Homeland Security.

A. Those with general questions about DACA, or questions related to Virginia Tech policies regarding DACA may contact Dr. Patty Perillo, vice president for student affairs (540-231-6272). Students with legal questions about DACA may contact Student Legal Services (540-231-4720) or an independent legal advisor of their choosing. Employees or other members of the community with legal questions about DACA should consult an independent legal advisor of their choosing.

What is the current state of the travel ban?

On Friday, February 3, 2017, a federal judge in Seattle, Washington, issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) with nationwide effect that restrained the federal government from enforcing the portions of the Executive Order related to the travel ban and refugee programs. The Trump Administration appealed the TRO to the Ninth Court of Appeals. On Thursday, February 9, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Trump Administration's emergency motion for a stay on the District Court's TRO preventing the government from enforcing the Executive Order's 90-day travel ban.

January 27, 2017 Executive Order - Summary

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”

  1. The order suspends the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits including “entry into the United States” for all individuals from seven designated countries:  Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, for at least 90 days.
    1. Individuals who hold passports from the designated countries are considered “from” the designated country.  This includes individuals who hold dual citizenship, i.e., those who hold passports from a designated country and from a non-designated country.  The suspension impacts individuals who are nonimmigrant visa holders, refugees, derivative asylees, Special Immigrant Visa holders, etc.
    2. The order does not apply to persons from the seven designated countries who are diplomats, and on NATO visas, C-2s (United Nationals related visas), and G visas (international organization officials and employees and their immediate family members)
    3. On Jan. 29, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement confirming that it is in the national interest to allow US permanent residents (green card holders) from the seven affected countries to enter the United States.  The statement goes on to note that “absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.”  It is likely that US permanent residents from the affected countries will be required to go through secondary inspection at the US port of entry to ensure that they do not pose a risk.
    4. The order does not apply to people who have merely traveled to the seven designated countries
  2. The order suspends (with some exceptions) the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program as a whole for 120 days, and halts Syrian refugee admissions indefinitely.
  3. The order suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program (VIWP).  Effective immediately, ALL nonimmigrant visa applicants (regardless of country of birth or citizenship) must attend an interview unless an interview is not required by statute.  Previously, the VIWP allowed consular officers to waive the interview requirement for applicants seeking to renew nonimmigrant visas within 12 months of expiration of the initial visa in the same classification.
    1. The suspension of the VIWP will likely cause delays in visa issuance at many US consulates abroad, particularly those in countries that already process a high volume of visa applications.  
  1. American Immigration Lawyers Association
  2. Virginia Lawyer Referral Service
  3. Students in the Northern Virginia area may contact a network of immigration attorneys who are available to answer questions (at no charge) at: legalquestion@dullesjustice.org

Citizens of other countries are not impacted by the ban on entry, unless you are a dual citizen of one of the seven listed countries, you were born in one of those countries, or you have traveled to one of those countries.

If you are already in the United States, your current status is not affected by the Executive Order.  You can remain in the US for as long as your status allows.  Please note that the Department of State has released a cable that purports to cancel existing visas in passports from the seven named countries, so you should not travel expecting to use the visa to return.  You should not depart the US without consulting an immigration attorney or your foreign student advisor.

The administration has stated that dual citizens are permitted to travel using passports of a country OTHER than one of the list of seven countries.  You should expect additional screening upon your return to the US.  If your nonimmigrant visa is in the passport of one of the listed countries, you should not travel outside the US.

The Executive Order does not restrict travel by citizens of countries other than those on the list of seven countries.  However, if you have traveled to one of the seven listed countries in the past, you should expect additional screening.

You can travel outside the US and reenter, but you should expect additional screening upon reentry to the US.

You can travel outside the US and reenter, but you should expect additional screening upon reentry to the US.

You can travel outside the US and reenter, but you should expect additional screening upon reentry to the US.  You should travel only using your US passport.

You can travel outside the US and reenter.

You can travel outside the US and reenter, but you should expect additional screening upon reentry to the US.

You can travel outside the US and reenter.  You should expect additional screening upon reentry to the US.

You can travel outside the US and reenter.

Yes.  The executive order eliminated the ability for certain people renewing a nonimmigrant visa to skip the interview process.  In the past, some applicants for nonimmigrant visas were able to skip an in-person interview at the Consulate if they were applying to extend an existing visa.  Under the Executive Order, the circumstances under which a waiver of the interview may be granted are now more limited.  However, the State Department has confirmed that the interview waiver program still applies to applicants aged 14 and under and 79 and older.  They have also confirmed that it still applies to applicants who were issued visas that expired less than 12 months ago in the same category as they are currently seeking.  Individual consulates always reserve the ability to require an interview, even for individuals otherwise eligible for a waiver of the interview.  Travel plans should be made accordingly.

Your employer can apply for H1B on your behalf.  However, there have been reports that the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (US CIS) has suspended adjudication of petitions for immigration benefits filed nationals or citizens of the seven listed countries.  Accordingly, it is possible that processing of the petition could be delayed.  We will circulate more information as it becomes available.

Your employer can apply for H1B on your behalf. However, there have been reports that the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (US CIS) has suspended adjudication of petitions for immigration benefits filed nationals or citizens of the seven listed countries.  Accordingly, it is possible that processing of the petition could be delayed.  We will circulate more information as it becomes available.

Your employer can apply for H1B on your behalf.

You can apply for CPT.  This is authorized by the school.  We are not aware of reports of CPT being impacted. Graduate students should contact International Graduate Student Services for assistance; undergraduate students should contact the Cranwell International Center.

You can apply for OPT.  Applications for the OPT employment authorization document (EAD) are filed with the US CIS.  There have been reports that the US CIS has suspended adjudication of applications for immigration benefits filed by nationals or citizens of the 7 listed countries.  Accordingly, it is possible that processing of the application could be delayed.  We will circulate more information as it becomes available. Graduate students should contact International Graduate Student Services for assistance; undergraduate students should contact the Cranwell International Center.

STEM extensions of OPT are still available and were not part of any signed Executive Orders.  If you do not have any ties to the seven listed countries, your STEM OPT extension should continue to be processed as they have been before the order.  If you are from one of the listed countries, the adjudication of your application for the STEM extension could be delayed, as explained above.

The information contained on this page is intended as general information and should not be considered legal advice. Individuals should consider consulting the legal advisor of their choosing for an assessment of their individual situation.