International Student Services

U.S. Government Updates

 

COVID-19 Visa & Travel Restrictions: Updates and FAQs

Temporary Online Travel Signature Process: Online Request Form

International Student Services (ISS) closely monitors immigration-related news coming from the U.S. government and the White House that may have an impact on our international student community at the UW.

As we learn of any changes, updates, or new policies, we will post information to this page. 

2020 Government Updates

June 22: Proclamation extending suspension of immigrants to the U.S.

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 the U.S. for the purpose of study. J-1 academic exchange categories, and J-1 professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, and college or university students are excluded from this proclamation. 

This proclamation does not apply to F-1 students authorized for OPT.  OPT was excluded from this proclamation and no changes have been made to the current OPT benefits. 

The proclamation suspends and limits entry through the end of December 2020 for immigrants abroad seeking permanent residency to the U.S. The proclamation also suspends entry to the U.S. of new H, J (non academic categories), and L visa categories through the end of December. This does not apply to immigrants or visa holders already in the U.S. under these visa categories or anyone abroad who already holds one of these valid visas. For individuals outside the U.S. who are applying for an immigrant visa for U.S. permanent residency (adjustment of status) or an H, J (non academic category), or L visa, consult an immigration attorney for advice and options.

June 8: 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.

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 and to supporting all members of our community, no matter where they call home. We will continue to admit and welcome Chinese students and scholars, and will use the resources at our disposal to support our community members in obtaining appropriate and necessary documentation to enter the U.S. and study on our campus. 

Review additional information and next steps.  

May 29: Proclamation issued suspending the entry as nonimmigrants of certain students and researchers from the PRC.

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 or J visa to study or conduct research in the U.S.

The U.S. government did not release a list of associated entities that would be included in this suspension. ISS advisers do not know which entity affiliations could result in a visa denial.  

F and J undergraduate students are exempt from this proclamation. Other exceptions include:

  • Any graduate student or researcher who does not currently have or previously had funding, employment, study, or research connections with an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s military-civil fusion strategy.
  • U.S permanent residents and spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designee.

The immediate impact will be on visa applications for Chinese nationals seeking an F or J visa for graduate level studies in the U.S. Students planning to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa, either renewing or for the first time, should be prepared to answer potential related questions.

Reentry to the U.S. is also in question, so students with an unexpired F-1 visa should also be prepared to answer related questions at the U.S. border. 

The proclamation indicates the Secretary of State shall consider whether Chinese nationals currently in the U.S. who meet the criteria described should have their visas revoked, but it does not state visas will be revoked.

Chinese graduate students who are already in the U.S. may continue their studies.  

ISS remains committed to supporting and informing international students during this challenging time. We will continue to monitor government announcements and information for updates, and we will continue to advocate on behalf of our students and international education.

Jan. 31: Additional countries added to the 2017 travel ban list.

UW Office of Global Affairs:  Effective February 22, the Trump administration has added additional countries to the “travel ban” (Proclamation 9645) enacted in 2017. The six new countries affected include: Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, and Kyrgyzstan. The total number of countries on the restricted travel list now stands at 13.

 

2018 Government Updates

June 26: UW Office of Global Affairs is closely monitoring current events related to immigration and visa services.

The UW Office of Global Affairs is closely monitoring current events related to immigration and visa services. On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling which upholds the third version of President Trump’s “travel ban” (Proclamation 9645).

The provisions of the “travel ban” are in full effect. It imposes restrictions on the issuance of visas to, and travel to the U.S. by, citizens of Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Venezuela, and North Korea. It also states that nationals of Iraq who seek to enter the U.S. will be subject to additional scrutiny. Additional information is available here.

This order makes some allowances for the issuance of visas for students and researchers from some of the listed countries. However, travelers from all of the listed countries will likely encounter enhanced screening and vetting by U.S. Customs and Border Protection when entering the U.S.

We encourage visa holders from affected countries to plan ahead carefully if traveling outside the U.S., as U.S. Customs and Border Protection may hold you for additional screening and/or deny re-entry upon your return. It is essential that you bring appropriate documentation, and you should adjust your plans to allow extra transit time.

This will impact the UW community as we engage in study, research and other University activities abroad. However, we remain dedicated to our mission as a global university and to all members of our community, no matter where they call home. President Cauce is committed to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of our community.

 

2017 Government Updates

December 17: Supreme Court lifts injunctions which halted the enforcement of the Travel Ban - Proclamation 9645.

From NAFSA, the Association of International Educators:Enforcement of the Proclamation 9645 bars on Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, had been partially blocked by two preliminary injunctions issued by the U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland, but those injunctions were lifted by the Supreme Court on December 4, 2017. The bars on North Korea and Venezuela were not included in either order, and have been continuously in effect. As of December 4, 2017, then, the government can fully enforce Travel Ban 3.0 on all 8 countries while the administration appeals the District Court orders.”

The U.S. Department of State website includes information regarding the December 4th Court Orders: “We will not cancel previously scheduled visa application appointments.  In accordance with the Presidential Proclamation, for nationals of the eight designated countries, a consular officer will make a determination whether an applicant otherwise eligible for a visa is exempt from the Proclamation or, if not, may be eligible for a waiver under the Proclamation and therefore issued a visa.

No visas will be revoked pursuant to the Proclamation.  Individuals subject to the Proclamation who possess a valid visa or valid travel document generally will be permitted to travel to the United States, irrespective of when the visa was issued.

We will keep those traveling to the United States and our partners in the travel industry informed as we implement the order in a professional, organized, and timely way.”

September 25: UW is working to fully understand the Executive Order issued on September 24 and its implications for our community members.

“Together with partners from across the higher education community, the University of Washington is is working to fully understand the Executive Order issued on September 24 and its implications for our community members. Please check this site for updates.

We remain dedicated to our mission as a global university and to all members of our community, no matter where they call home. President Cauce is committed to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of our community.”

June 27: Supreme Court decision partially upholds the travel ban set by Executive Order 13780 in March.

There is a new Supreme Court decision partially upholding the travel ban that was set by Executive Order 13780 in March. This reverses previous district court rulings that temporarily blocked the travel ban.

“The decision, however, contains an important exception that upholds the injunction for individuals ‘who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.’ Most students, exchange visitors, and employment-based nonimmigrants should be able to meet this condition, and should therefore continue to be protected from the 90-day ban.” From NAFSA, the Association of International Educators.

We can hope that most students and scholars from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, therefore, will likely continue to be exempt from the 90-day ban.

The Office of Global Affairs also monitors and provides updates about the changing travel rules.

March 18: U.S. State Department continues to issue visas to citizens of the 6 countries included in the travel ban.

The U.S. State Department is the government agency that issues visas. Because the March 6 Executive Order 13780 has been blocked by law courts, the State Department has said they are continuing to issue visas to citizens of the 6 affected countries.

NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, has provided a brief summary of the U.S. District Court updates affecting Executive Order 13780:

On March 16, 2017, the U.S. District Court in Maryland issued a nationwide preliminary injunction, preventing the Government from enforcing Executive Order 13780’s 90-day entry bar, which had been scheduled to go into effect on March 16, 2017. Also read the court opinion supporting the preliminary injunction order.

On March 15, 2017, the U.S. District Court in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order, preventing the Government from enforcing Executive Order 13780’s 90-day entry bar and 120-day refugee entry bar, which had been scheduled to go into effect on March 16, 2017.

Other sections of Executive Order 13780 that are not enjoined by court order became effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern time on March 16, 2017.

We are still advising students to carefully consider their international travel during this uncertain time, to ensure they are carrying all their correct and valid documents, and to prepare for more potential delays than usual at consular posts and with Customs and Border Protection.

March 6: White House releases new Executive Order banning citizens from 6 countries from entering the U.S.

The White House released a new executive order March 6, 2017.  (UPDATE: This order has been barred from taking effect)

The UW Office of Global Affairs provides updated information and resources for UW community members.

NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, has provided a thorough summary of the March 6 executive order:

The order includes a revised entry ban on nationals of 6 countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen). The new order revokes and replaces Executive Order 13769 in its entirety, effective March 16, 2017. The administration hopes that the new order will address the legal challenges that barred enforcement of the prior 90-day entry bar on citizens of the same six countries plus Iraq, that had been instituted by Executive Order 13769 before its enforcement was enjoined by court order in February.

The new Executive Order is effective for 90 days starting on March 16, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. eastern time (10 days after the Executive Order was signed). This calculates until June 13 or 14, 2017, depending on whether you count the first and last days of the 90-day period.

The new Executive Order affects citizens of six of the seven countries that had been selected in the prior 90-day bar. Iraq has been removed from the list of countries in the new executive order.

Iran
Libya
Somalia
Sudan
Syria
Yemen

An Executive Order FAQ states:

“Per the Executive Order, foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, who are outside the United States and who did not have a valid visa at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 27, 2017, and do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order are not eligible to enter the United States while the temporary suspension remains in effect. Thus any individual who had a valid visa either on January 27, 2017 (prior to 5:00 PM) or holds a valid visa on the effective date of the Executive Order is not barred from entry.”

Based on a preliminary reading of the new Executive Order and a DHS FAQ and Fact Sheet, the new entry bar will not apply to the following individuals who are citizens or nationals of one of the 6 countries:

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents in possession of a valid Form I-551 (green card) or temporary I-551 stamp
  • Nonimmigrants who are in the United States in lawful status on March 16, 2017
  • Holders of a currently valid immigrant or nonimmigrant visa that was either:
    Approved prior to 5:00 eastern standard time January 27, 2017, or
    Is valid as of March 16, 2017
  • Dual citizens of one of the 6 countries and the United States (such individuals are always considered U.S. citizenz
  • Dual citizens of one of the 6 countries and another country not on the list of 6, who will enter the United States on the basis of a valid passport issued by the country not on the list of 6

Individuals who are citizens of one of the 6 countries who do not fall within one of the above-listed exceptions, would be subject to the new entry bar.

There are still some important unanswered questions, though, including:

  • Will nonimmigrants be able to renew a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification as a nonimmigrant visa that has expired or will soon expire, and thereafter reenter the United States in that same nonimmigrant classification?
  • Will beneficiaries of an approved I-539 change of status application be able to obtain a new nonimmigrant visa in the classification to which their nonimmigrant status has been changed under 8 CFR Part 248, and thereafter reenter the United States in the new nonimmigrant classification?Between March 6, 2017 and March 16, 2017, the status of the prior Executive Order 13769 should continue to control.

The Department of Homeland Security has published a thorough Question & Answer Resource. Questions 24 and 25 specifically address international students in F and J status.

February 19: Department of Homeland Security clarifies procedures for detaining and removing undocumented individuals.

Memos published late Saturday night by the Department of Homeland Security clarified procedures for detaining and removing undocumented individuals. The memos are drafts and under review, so there may be changes made.

Our reading of the guidelines does not indicate changes for students in F-1 and J-1 status. However, with the increased focus on documented status, we emphasize that it is vital that you carry your passport, visa, I-20 or DS-2019 and I-94 to show you were properly inspected at a border and have permission to study in the U.S. This is especially important if you are traveling internationally or in a U.S. state near the Mexican or Canadian borders. Immigration checkpoints can be as far as 100 miles inside the U.S.

There are also changes to advance parole and asylum, so if you have those, or are applying for either, please consult your attorney as soon as you can.

February 9: Government denied attempt to reinstate the travel ban.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the U.S. government’s attempt to reinstate the travel ban. This means there is currently no ban on travel, regardless of country of citizenship. The White House has expressed plans to continue fighting this legal decision (the next step would be taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court), or to issue a revised executive order. But for now, the U.S. government is not allowed to enforce the travel ban/restrictions outlined in the January 27 Executive Order.

We are still advising students to carefully consider their international travel during this uncertain time, to ensure they are carrying all their correct and valid documents, and to prepare for more potential delays than usual at consular posts and with Customs and Border Protection.

February 6: President Cauce makes statement addressing recent events in the U.S.

Read UW President Ana Mari Cauce’s statement, Standing Together. President Cauce addresses recent events in the U.S. and the importance of “critical thinking, evidence-based argument, reasoned dialogue and the free and open exchange of ideas.” She goes on to say “No matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, where or whether you worship, or any other aspect of your identity, we welcome your contributions to helping the University of Washington maintain it’s commitment to access and excellence, to building a better and more equitable future, and creating a world of good.”

The ISS staff is available as a resource to our international student community. If you have questions or concerns, complete the Have a Question form on the navigation bar to the right. An adviser will either reply or invite you to schedule an appointment within 2 business days.

February 4: Temporary travel window for individuals from countries impacted by the Travel Ban.

The 90-day travel ban that affects citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen has been temporarily lifted (see legal updates below). However, the situation is fluid and travel guidelines could change rapidly. Consult an immigration attorney prior to any travel.

The Trump administration appealed the District Court’s temporary restraining order (TRO) to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and asked the Court of Appeals for an emergency stay of the Circuit Court’s TRO. The administration also asked the appeals court to grant an immediate administrative stay of the Circuit Court’s TRO while the court considers the appeal and emergency stay petition.

The Court of Appeals denied the administration’s request for an immediate administrative stay of the TRO, but will proceed to consider its request for an emergency stay of the order.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has resumed inspection of travelers “in accordance with standard policy and procedure.” CBP updated its Executive Order FAQs. CBP has contacted airlines to inform them that during the validity of the TRO, airlines can board individuals who would otherwise be subject to the Executive Order’s Section 3(c) entry ban. Individual travelers should contact their airline directly to inquire about any adjustment to the airline’s boarding policy as a result of the TRO.

February 3: U.S. District Court in Seattle granted a temporary restraining order that prohibits the government from enforcing Executive Order 13769.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) that temporarily prohibits the Federal government from enforcing Section 3(c) of Executive Order 13769, the provision that established the 90-day ban on entry of “immigrants and nonimmigrants” from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The TRO “is granted on a nationwide basis,” according to the order. The suit was brought by the State of Washington and was later joined by the State of Minnesota.

The U.S. Department of State has temporarily lifted its suspension of visa processing, and reversed its directive that revoked the visas of individuals subject to the Section 3(c) entry ban. DOS posted an updated notice on the travel.state.gov website:

The Department of State had also, under the Executive Order, provisionally revoked all valid visas of nationals of those seven countries. That provisional revocation is now lifted, and those visas are now valid for travel to the United States, if the holder is otherwise eligible. Individuals whose visas are expired, or were physically cancelled, must apply for a new visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, absent a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) decision to grant parole or waive the visa requirement at the port of entry.

January 31: Resources for individuals impacted by the travel ban.

January 29: Presidential Executive Order 13769 signed banning individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days.

On Friday afternoon, a Presidential Executive Order 13769 was signed banning individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days. Although further information about the executive orders and the possible impact they may have is limited, we have notified UW students from these seven countries that we recommend they avoid any international travel. We are unaware of citizens from any other countries being impacted by this ban.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce has posted a statement supporting international scholars and students. The University of Washington is proud of our community of students, staff, and scholars from around the world. Both President Cauce and Provost Jerry Baldasty are “committed to providing a safe, secure, and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of all members of our community.”

International students are an important part of the UW community. The ISS advising team is committed to providing assistance and support to our international student community. If you have questions or concerns, complete the Have a Question form on the navigation bar to the right. An adviser will either reply or invite you to schedule an appointment within 2 business days.