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U.S. Government Updates


  • USCIS Increases Filing Fee for Form I-765

    February 7, 2024

    On January 30, 2024 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced adjustments to filing fees for certain immigration requests including Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. The I-765 is used by both F-1 and J-1 international students for various employment benefits such as Optional Practical Training and J-2 dependent employment authorization. What is the change?…


  • DHS Extends Special Student Relief for Students from Syria

    January 31, 2024

    Summary On January 29, 2024 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended Special Student Relief (SSR) to F-1 students from Syria  through September 30, 2025. The original SSR notice was set to expire on April 01, 2024.  What is Special Student Relief? Special Student Relief (SSR) is the suspension of specific immigration regulations for F-1…


  • Department of State Extends SSR for J-1 Students from Ukraine

    November 6, 2023

    Summary On October 31, 2023, the Department of State announced that the U.S. government and the government of Ukraine have agreed to extend Special Student Relief (SSR) to J-1 students from Ukraine through April 19, 2025. The original SSR notice was set to expire on October 23, 2023.  What is Special Student Relief? Special Student…


  • USCIS Issues Policy Guidance for 2-year Foreign Residence Requirement for J Exchange Visitors

    October 26, 2023

    On October 24, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued policy guidance related to the 2-year Foreign Residence requirement for certain J exchanger visitors. The guidance clarifies 1) how USCIS determines whether the requirement has been met and 2) the evidence a benefit requestor may submit to show compliance with the requirement among other…


  • DHS Updates Tip Sheet to Help Avoid Form I-765 delays

    October 17, 2023

    The Department of Homeland Security's CIS Ombudsman unit recently released an update to their tip sheet to help F-1 students avoid Form I-765 delays. This tip sheet provides guidance for F-1 students applying for OPT work authorization. What are the key points in the tip sheet? Check USCIS’ website for updates before you submit your…


  • DHS Extends Special Student Relief for Students from Cameroon

    October 12, 2023

    Summary On October 06, 2023 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended Special Student Relief (SSR) to F-1 students from Cameroon, effective from December 08, 2023 through June 07, 2025. The original SSR notice was set to expire on December 07, 2023.  What is Special Student Relief? Special Student Relief (SSR) is the suspension of specific…


  • DHS Extends Special Student Relief for Students from Afghanistan

    September 25, 2023

    Summary On September 21, 2023 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended Special Student Relief (SSR) to F-1 students from Afghanistan, effective from September 25, 2023 through May 20, 2025. The original SSR notice was set to expire on November 20, 2023.  What is Special Student Relief? Special Student Relief (SSR) is the suspension of specific…


  • SEVP Allows for Electronic Signatures and Transmission of the Form I-983

    September 22, 2023

    The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) recently updated Form I-983 instructions to remove language requiring wet signatures. The Form I-983 is a training plan developed between the F-1 student and their STEM employer. It is submitted to ISS in the process of applying for the STEM OPT Extension I-20. What kind of signatures are…


  • DHS Extends Special Student Relief for Students from South Sudan

    September 8, 2023

    Summary On September 5, 2023 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended Special Student Relief (SSR) to F-1 students from South Sudan, effective from November 04, 2023 through May 03, 2025. The original SSR notice was set to expire on November 3, 2023.  What is Special Student Relief? Special Student Relief (SSR) is the suspension of…


  • DHS Extends Special Student Relief for Students from Sudan and Ukraine

    August 23, 2023

    Summary On August 18th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended Special Student Relief (SSR) for students from Sudan and Ukraine through April 19, 2025 due to ongoing situations in those countries. What is Special Student Relief? Special Student Relief (SSR) is the suspension of specific immigration regulations for F-1 students who face unexpected hardship…


  • DHS Announces Updated STEM Designated Degree Program List

    July 13, 2023

    On July 12, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security announced an update to the STEM Designated Degree Program List which included the addition of 8 CIP codes. The newly STEM-designated CIP codes are as follows: Landscape Architecture (04.0601) Institutional Research (13.0608) Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering Technology/Technician (15.0407) Composite Materials Technology/Technician (15.0617) Linguistics and Computer…


  • New Guidance for J-1 Students

    June 15, 2023

    On June 8, 2023, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Private Sector Exchange released Guidance Directive 2023-01 which clarifies guidance regarding exchange visitors' participation in remote work and enrollment and online classes. As of July 1, 2023, the following policies for J-1 students will be in effect: J-1 students may…


  • SEVP Portal Update

    June 14, 2023

    This Thursday, June 15, 2023 from 8 PM to 11 PM EDT, the SEVP Portal will not be available. During this time, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will be making a technical update that will fix issues in the portal. The notice our office received indicates that this update will correct issues related…


  • Premium Processing Expanded for Form I-539

    June 12, 2023

    Today, USCIS announced that they are expanding premium processing for Form I-539 Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status. This means that F-1 or J-1 students applying to change their status within the U.S. may request premium processing when filing their application. There are two phases for the premium processing implementation. Starting June 13, students…


  • SEVP COVID-19 Flexibilities Terminated

    May 12, 2023

    Effective May 11, 2023, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) ended its Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) guidance, consistent with the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, following the end of the COVID-19 National Emergency on April 10, 2023. While the SEVP’s COVID-19 guidance is terminated as of May 11, 2023, Active F and M…


  • DHS Redesignates and Extends Special Student Relief Employment Benefits to Hong Kong Resident Students Experiencing Severe Economic Hardship

    May 4, 2023

    May 3: On May 3, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a Federal Register Notice announcing the suspension of certain regulatory requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant students who are Hong Kong residents and are experiencing severe economic hardship as a result of the current crisis in Hong Kong. This notice redesignates Special Student…


  • U.S. Department of State Provides Updated Visa Issuance Guidance

    May 3, 2023

    May 2, 2023: Updated Guidance on Visa Issuance In February 2023, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) provided updated guidance that consular officers can now issue an F or M student visa up to 365 days in advance of an international student's program start date. This new guidance does not change the requirement for issuing Forms…


  • 03/28/2023: Interim Final Rule Regarding Digital Signing and Transmission of Form DS-2019

    March 28, 2023

    March 28, 2023: The Department of State announced an Interim Final Rule allowing the digital signing and electronic transmission of DS-2019s beginning April 27, 2023. In effect, this will allow for J-1 students to request and receive their DS-2019 directly through their MyISSS portal.


  • 01/20/2021: Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States

    February 20, 2021

    On January 20: The President of the United States signed a Proclamation revoking the previously signed Executive Order 13780 and Proclamations 9645, 9723 and 9983, collectively referred to as the travel ban. The revocation of these discriminatory bans will allow for the resumption of visa processing by embassies and consulates around the world which had…


  • 06/22/2020: Proclamation extending suspension of immigrants to the U.S.

    June 22, 2020

    On June 22, the President signed a Proclamation that extends the suspension of entry to the U.S. of immigrants abroad seeking U.S. permanent residency (adjustment of status) and individuals who present a risk to the U.S. labor market due to COVID-19. This proclamation does not apply to F or J academic visas who will enter…


  • 06/08/2020: UW Offices of Federal Relations, Global Affairs, Graduate School, and Research respond to the May 29 proclamation suspending the entry of certain students and researchers from the PRC

    June 8, 2020

    The UW is partnering across and beyond the University to gain clarity around this proclamation and better understand its impact on Chinese students, scholars, and faculty. These efforts are lead by the UW Offices of Federal Relations, Global Affairs, Graduate School, and Research. The UW is committed to continuing our mission as a global university…


  • 05/29/2020: Proclamation issued suspending the entry as nonimmigrants of certain students and researchers from the PRC

    May 29, 2020

    The U.S. President issued a proclamation that suspends the entry into the U.S. of Chinese nationals who either receives/received funding from, currently is or was employed by, studies/studied at, or conducts/conducted research at on behalf of an entity in the PRC that supports the PRC's  military-civil fusion strategy and is seeking entry under an F…