UCI International Center

Immigration Policy Updates

Section 1

The International Center created this page to provide information to UCI international students and scholars regarding changes in immigration policies and practice.

If you need clarification regarding travel, employment, study, or your status please contact the International Center with your questions or to schedule a time to meet with one of our advisors, internationalcenter@uci.edu or 949.824.7249.

05/30/2020: Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from China

On May 29, 2020, the President issued Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China. The proclamation is effective at 12:00 p.m. eastern daylight time on June 1, 2020, and will remain in effect until terminated by the President.

Ther proclamation will impact  graduate and researchers who seek to enter the U.S. on F-1 and J-1 visa, working in specific fields with relationships to specific entitities. This does not include undergraduate students. There is still additional information that needs to be reviewed to determine which individuals might be affected by this proclamation.  Information on this page will be updated as we learn more.

Questions about the impact on immigration status or visas related to this proclamation can be directed to Director of the International Center, Anna Wimberly acwimber@uci.edu.

FAQs on Proclomation (updated 06/02/2020)

I am a student from China does this proclamation apply to me?

This proclamation applies to you if you are a graduate student or researchers, including post-doctoral researchers, and other visiting scholars from People’s Republic of China (PRC) wanting to enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status to study or conduct research; who either:

  • Currently receives funding from or who currently is employed by, studies at, or conducts research at or on behalf of an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s ‘military-civil fusion strategy; or
  • In the past  “has been employed by, studied at, or conducted research at or on behalf of…and entity in PRC that implements or supports the PRCS’ ‘military-civil fusion strategy”.

I am an undergraduate student does this apply to me?

No this does not apply to undergraduate students.

Who is exempt?

Students who plan to be undergradaute students are not affected by this proclamation. There are other exemptions, including those who are studying or conducting research in a field involving information that would not contribute to the PRC’s “military-civil fusion strategy”.

Does this apply to F-1 and J-1 individuals who are already in the U.S.?

The proclamation only affects individuals seeking to enter the U.S., not individuals already present in the U.S. However, there is a provision which directs the Secretary of State to consider whether nationals of China currently in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 visa and who meet the criteria should have visas revoked.

What is military-civil fusion strategy?

The term “military-civil fusion strategy’ is defined as “Actions by or at the behest of the PRC to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance the PRC’s military capabilities”.

05/26/2020: Proclamation Suspending Entry to Travelers from Brazil

Effective May 26, 2020 Presidential Proclamation restricts the entry into the U.S of any foreign national who was physically present in Brazil during the 14-day period prior to entry or attempted entry  into the U.S.  This entry restriction does not apply to immediate family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Resources:

Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants…Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Novel Coronavirus

President, Amendment to Proclamation by the President of May 24, 2020

Previously announced travel suspensions include:

United Kingdom and Ireland

European Schengen Area

Iran

China

**Travel restrictions information updated on 5/30/2020**

04/23/2020: 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, the President signed a proclamation suspending entry of immigrants presenting risk to the U.S. labor market during COVID-19. The proclamation affects persons outside the U.S on the effective date, Thursday, April 23 at 11:59 PM ET, who do not have a valid immigrant visa and who not have any other valid travel document, such as advance parole.

The proclamation does NOT restrict persons with nonimmigrant visas, including international students, scholars, and  post-docs on F-1, J-1, and  H-1B  status from traveling to the U.S. or extending their status.

Here are some imporant items to know about this proclamation:

  • It limits those seeking status as a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR/Green Card), who are not spouses or children of a current LPR. it does not apply to people applying for LPR status through Adjustment of Status in the United States.
  • It does not apply to immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. for employment as a health care worker, researcher related to COVID-19, or for a job “essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak."
  • It is effective on April 23, 2020 and expires in 60 days unless it is given an extension due to the ongoing pandemic.
  • Within 30 days of April 23, 2020 there will be review by the government with the possibility of adding some nonimmigrant visas.

Please know that the International Center will update this page as needed.

03/02/2020: Presidential Proclamation Suspends Entry from Iran

On February 29, 2020 Presidential Proclamation cites INA212f) to suspend entry into the U.S. visa holders who were physically present within Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective starting 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020. There are exceptions to the ban for lawful permanent residents of the U.S., spouse of U.S. Citizens or lawful permanent residents and others. International students and scholars on non-immigrant visas (F, J, H, O, etc.) are affected by this ban.

If you are an international student or scholar and  need additional information or have travel plans to Iran, please consult with the International Center by emailing internationalcenter@uci.edu or calling 949.824.7249 to schedule an appointment.

Resources:

Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus

02/03/2020: Temporary Suspending Entry to the U.S. for Visa Holders who have been in China

The Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Novel Coronavirus represents a public health emergency in the United States and effective 5 p.m. EST on Sunday, February 2 the U.S. will implement travel restrictions to U.S. Citizens and implement a travel ban for others.

This applies to anyone who has traveled to China within 14 days of their entry or attempted entry into the United States.   International visitors (not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents or married to a U.S. Citizen/Permanent Resident) will not be allowed to enter the U.S.  This applies to any international that has traveled during the 14-days prior to China.

If you are a UCI student or scholar and are currently out of the U.S. and unable to return because of this temporary entry suspension, please contact the International Center internationalcenter@uci.edu and we can assist you make future plans for your return to UCI. 

Resources:

Department of Health and Human Services Press Release

Presidential Proclamation on Suspension of Entry

U.S Embassy in China

Unlawful Presence  - Effective August 9, 2018

On August 9, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a policy memorandum  announcing a change to its policy guidance on how the agency will calculate unlawful presence for students, exchange visitors, and their dependents in F, J, and M non-immigrant status.

Those who have accrued more than 180 days, but less than 1 year of unlawful presence are subject to a 3-year bar; and those who have accrued more than 1 year of unlawful presence are subject to a 10-year bar. These bars make subject individuals ineligible to apply for a visa, admission (travel), or adjustment of status to permanent residence to the U.S. 

Please note that this policy does not change your post-completion grace periods for F-1/F-2 and J-1/J-2 visa holders.

We strongly recommend that you continue to maintain your status by meeting your responsibilities as F and J visa holders. Please note that information about status is available on this website and the handbooks you received with your visa documents prior to arrival at UCI.

Should you have any questions, please contact the International Center.

Resources:

Policy Memorandum

USCIS News Release

JUNE 26, 2018: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban 3.0

As you may have heard from news reports, today the Supreme Court of the U.S. upheld the  3rd version of the travel ban for citizens from 7 countries.   This decision allows the government to continue to enforce the travel ban that was put in place in September 2017. Conditions of the travel ban differ for each of these countries, additional information can be found here.

We want to reassure you that your status here in the U.S. is not affected by the travel ban.  You are allowed to continue your studies, research, and teaching; and you can continue to apply for employment authorization (OPT, CPT). Travel, while allowed, may be challenging because of enhanced screening and possible denials or delays in getting new visas.  The International Center is available to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

If you need any clarification regarding travel, employment, study, or your status please contact the International Center with your questions or schedule a time to meet with one of our advisors, internationalcenter@uci.edu or 949.824.7249.  

June 11, 2018:  Changes in U.S. visas for Chinese Students and Scholars

It has been reported that starting  June 11, 2018 the U.S. Department of State plans on applying a more restrictive policy on some Chinese graduate students and researchers.

The new policy might affect students and scholars from China in the following way:

  • Students and scholars planning to study in “critical fields” (aviation, aerospace, robotics, and advanced manufacturing) might be issued a one-year visa only instead of a five-year visa. The purpose of a visa is to apply for entry or re-entry into the U.S. The length of validity of the visa does not limit the amount of time a student or scholar can remain in the U.S.  Students and scholars are allowed to stay the U.S. as long as a they maintain status by keeping a valid visa document (I-20 or DS-2019) and continues to be enrolled or engaged in research.  It will affect future plans for travel if the travel plans are after the visa (in the passport) has expired.
  • The Department of State will require increased review of the individual’s background my implementing a “multi-agency security advisory opinion” procedure for Chinese students and scholars. This will most likely delay the issuance of visas.

Any questions about visa issuance or if a student or scholar experiences delays in getting a visa, contact the International Center at 949.824.7249 or internationalcenter@uci.edu.

UPDATE: December 4, 2017: U.S. Supreme Court -  Proclamation 9645 (Travel Ban 3.0)

On December 2, 2017,  the Supreme Court of the United States stayed the preliminary injunctions issued by the U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland that had partially blocked travel ban 3.0. for citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen,  and Somalia. This allows the government to fully enforce the latest travel ban. Conditions of the travel ban differ for each of these countries, additional information can be found here.

If you need additional guidance, information or want to speak to an International Center advisor to discuss your specific situation, please contact our office at internationalcenter@uci.edu or by calling 949.824.7249.

 Additional Information:

Supreme Court Orders

Proclamation 9645 of September 24, 2017

October 10, 2017 - U.S. Visa for Turkish Citizens Applying in Turkey

On October 8, 2017, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey announced that it temporarily suspended nonimmigrant visa services at posts in Turkey, including the embassy at Ankara and consular posts in Istanbul and Adana. During the suspension, visa applications will not be accepted in Turkey. The suspension is not a travel ban and citizens of Turkey with valid visas may enter the U.S. and applications may be made outside of Turkey. However, the International Center advises that you consider travel plans carefully. If you have any questions, please contact the International Center.

Resource: U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Turkey News & Events

September 25, 2017: Presidential Proclamation

On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a Proclamation restricting entry into the United States for nationals of eight countries. The restrictions are country-specific. The eight countries include: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia.

Below are resources to provide additional information. If you have specific questions, please contact the International Center.

DHS Fact Sheet

Presidential Proclamation

White House FAQ

June 26, 2017: U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Travel Ban

Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow some aspects of the travel ban to be implemented will not affect international students and scholars coming to UCI to study, teach or do research. The decision contains an exception that allows individuals to continue to apply for visas and enter the U.S. if they have a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States", this includes: students who have been admitted to a U.S school and individuals who have been offered employment.

Please contact the International Center if you have questions.

June 26, 2017: U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Travel Ban

Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow some aspects of the travel ban to be implemented will not affect international students and scholars coming to UCI to study, teach or do research. The decision contains an exception that allows individuals to continue to apply for visas and enter the U.S. if they have a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States", this includes: students who have been admitted to a U.S school and individuals who have been offered employment.

Please contact the International Center if you have questions.

March 16, 2017: Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary injunction on Executive Order Signed on March 6, 2017

On March 15, 2016 the U.S. District Court in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order preventing the enforcement of the Executive Order's 90-day entry ban which has been scheduled to go into effect on March 16, 2017.

On March 16, 2017  the U.S. District Court in Maryland issued a nationwide preliminary injunction, preventing the enforcement the Executive Order's 90-day entry ban.

The International Center will update this page as new information becomes available. Because this is working its way through the court system, things can can change in regards to the travel ban. We continue to caution individuals from the six countries named in the executive order in regards to travel. Additionally, anyone travelling (regardless of country) should be sure to have all entry immigration documents in order and should consult with the International Center.  All applications for immigration benefits (OPT, CPT, extension of visa documents) and issuance of initial I-20s/DS-2019s for new students and scholars will continue.

Contact the International Center at (949) 824-7249 if you have any questions.

March 6, 2017: Information on Executive Order Signed on March 6, 2017

On March 6, 2017 Presdient Trump signed an updated Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United StatesThis is a new version of the Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017.   The new order puts a 90 day  hold on issuance of visas to citizens from six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (note that Iraq is not included as it was in the previous order). This new order takes affect 10 days from today on March 16, 2017.  We will continue to keep you updated on new developments and as new information becomes available. If you do have any questions, please call the International Center at (949) 824-7249. 

As in the previous order, applications for CPT, OPT or Academic Training; and issuance of I-20s or DS-2019 for new students or scholars or extensions are not affected by the order. If you have questions, please call the International Center (949) 824-7249.

UC Office of the President has issued preliminary guidance and can be found on the UC Office of the President website.

FEBRUARY 9, 2017:  TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER STILL IN AFFECT (TRAVEL BAN CONTINUES TO BE LIFTED)

On February 9, 207 the Ninth Court of Appeals denied the Federal Government's request for an emergency stay of the Temporary Restraining Order.  The court decided to continue the temporary restraining order, which means the travel ban is lifted until the a new decision is made on this case.

If you have any questions about the Executive Order and travel and visa issuance, please contact the International Center at internationalcenter@uci.edu or 949.824.7249.

FEBRUARY 6, 2017: DISTRICT COURT'S TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER

On February 3, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted a temporary restraining order that temporarilty prevents the Federal government from enforcing some provisions of the Executive Order. The relevant part for interantional students and scholars is that the restraining order prevents  enforcement of the 90-day ban on entry of  "immigrants and non-immigrants" from Iran, Iraw, Libya, Somali, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Please be aware that this may change with minimal notice and that the International Center contiues to recommend  that travel outside the U.S. be avoided if possible. If you do need advice on upcoming travel, please contact the International Center.

FEBRUARY 3, 2017: USCIS CONTINUES TO PROCESS APPLICATIONS

USCIS has indicated that they will contiue to process applications and petitions filed in the U.S. regardless of their country of origin. The International Center also continues to process all requests for I-20s and DS-2019s, including extension, OPT, and CPT. If you have any questions, please contact us at the International Center.

Information on Executive Order Signed on January 27, 2017

On January 27, 2017 President Trump signed an Executive Order titled Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States. This Executive Order contains provisions that directly affect international students and scholars. Visas and entry has been suspended for 90 days from the date the Order was signed for individuals from Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

The Department of State has issued a statement advising that citizens of these countries, should not schedule a visa appointment or pay any visa fees. If you already have an appointment scheduled, you should not attend. You will not be permitted entry to the Embassy/Consulate.

Please read UCI Chancellor Gillman’s message with guidance on the Executive Order and UC recommendation not to travel.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

I am a citizen from one of the countries on the list, can I travel outside the U.S. and return?

If you are an international student, scholar or dependent on a visa, we recommend that you do not travel outside the U.S.

I am a citizen from a country not part of the list in the Executive Order. Can I travel outside the U.S.? Can I apply for a new visa?

At this time, it is recommended that all international travel be minimized because of possible future changes in visa policies or U.S. entry.  In addition, there may be longer processing times for visas and your re-entry may be delayed. However, if you have travel plans that are necessary, please contact the International Center for further guidance.

Does the signing of the Executive Order prevent me from applying for OPT, OPT-STEM, CPT, Academic Training?

We have received no information that processing of applications are on “hold”. Our professional association has inquired directly to USCIS on this issue. It is recommended at this time to continue to apply for these immigration benefits.

The International Center will continue to processes recommendations and certifications for these benefits. We will provide updates as we get more information about these immigration benefits.

Who should I go to for help or questions about my visa status?

The International Center continues to be your point of contact in regards to immigration advice and support. Our advisors are available for appointments to discuss your concerns and questions. If you have a complex immigration related situation, we will provide referral to an immigration attorney.

I am feeling a lot of stress worrying about these changes, where can I go for help?

If you are an international student and find that you are impacted by the events and need support, the Counseling Center has Urgent Care walk-in available for UCI students from 8am-4:30pm Monday-Friday. Routine appointments are also available by calling or stopping in the Counseling Center to schedule. Alternatively, you can call to speak with a counselor by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (949) 824-6457. After Counseling Center business hours, you select option 2 to connect to our after-hours telephone counseling service.

International Scholars and Employees can find support through the Employee Assistance Program. This is a free, confidential benefit that can help address personal or work-related issues faced by UCI faculty, staff, retirees and dependents.  

I work in an academic unit and have faculty members interested in inviting J-1 visiting scholars from one of the seven countries listed in the Executive Order. Can we still invite them to UCI?

We recommend that departments continue with their plans, but be aware that there will be delays in obtaining a visa and that the situation on the travel ban may change with very little notice. The International Center will continue to process visa document requests, we will work with the specific department to find a realistic start date for arrival. Visa delays have always been common for the countries on the list; therefore, we recommend planning  in advance for arrival of a visiting scholars. Departments should contact the Scholar Advisor at the International Center for guidance.

I want to learn about my rights in case I come into contact with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent?

We recommend that you read the resources provided below to learn more about your rights.

RESOURCES

Text of the Executive Order

Chancellor Gillman Message to UCI Community: Guidance on the Executive Order Affecting Visa Processes and Entry into the United States

Department of State notice on visas after Executive Order https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/news.html

Department of Homeland Security Fact Sheet https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states

DHS Statement on Compliance with Court Orders and President’s Executive Order https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/dhs-statement-compliance-court-orders-and-presidents-executive-order