We expect that further clarification and perhaps even revisions will be made in the coming days as a result of the lawsuit brought by Harvard and MIT. This is what we do know at this time:
UNH is committed to supporting its international students and steps are being taken to ensure that you can progress with your studies. While we do not have all the answers, we promise to keep you informed as updates become available. The Global Education Center staff, Faculty, Senior Administration and others in the UNH community care deeply about you, your education and well-being. Please know that we are available should you wish to contact us: email@example.com
Temporary procedural adaptations related to online courses permitted by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) during the height of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19 )crisis will be modified for the fall 2020 semester. There will still be accommodations to provide flexibility to schools and nonimmigrant students, but as many institutions across the country reopen, there is a concordant need to resume the carefully balanced protections implemented by federal regulations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures and responsibilities described in the below Broadcast Message in the near future as a Temporary Final Rule in the Federal Register. This message is intended to provide additional time to facilitate the implementation of these procedures.
Due to COVID-19, SEVP instituted a temporary exemption regarding the online study policy for the spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted F and M students to take more online courses than normally allowed for purposes of maintaining a full course of study to maintain their F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency.
For the Fall 2020 semester, SEVP is modifying these temporary exemptions. In summary, temporary exemptions for the Fall 2020 semester provide that:
1) Students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online courseload and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester, nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status or potentially face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
2) Students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online (see 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G)).
3) 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. The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses (see 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G) and8 CFR 214.2(m)(9)(v))).
For all students attending schools in the United States this Fall 2020, designated school officials (DSOs) must issue new Forms I-20 to each student certifying that the school is not operating 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. DSOs must indicate this information in the Form I-20 Remarks field in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Schools must update and reissue all Forms I-20 to reflect these changes in program enrollment and student information within 21 business days of publication of this Broadcast Message (by August 4, 2020). When issuing new Forms I-20, please prioritize students who require new visas and are outside of the country.
For the fall 2020 semester, continuing F and M students who are already in the United States may remain in Active status in SEVIS if they make normal progress in a program of study, or are engaged in approved practical training, either as part of a program of study or following completion of a program of study. If a school changes its operational stance mid-semester, 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.
For the fall 2020 semester, continuing F and M students outside of the United States, whose schools of enrollment are only offering online classes, may remain in Active status in SEVIS if they are taking online courses and are able to meet the normal full course of study requirements or the requirements for a reduced course of study. Only students enrolled at a school that is only offering online coursework can engage in remote learning from their home country. In this case, DSOs should annotate the student’s record to make it clear that the student is outside the US but taking full time online courses, as that is the only choice offered by the school.
1) Schools that offer entirely online classes or programs or will not reopen for the fall 2020 semester must complete an operational change plan and submit it to SEVP@ice.dhs.gov no later than Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The subject line must read: “Fall 2020 (Fully Online/Will not Reopen)–School Name and School Code.”
2) Certified schools that will not be entirely online but will reopen in the fall and that will use any of the following educational formats, must update their operational plans by August 1, 2020 and include whether they will be:
These plans shall also be submitted to SEVP@ice.dhs.gov and the subject line must read: “Fall 2020 (in person/hybrid/modified session)–School Name and School Code."
3) Schools should update their operational plans if circumstances regarding their operational posture change within 10 calendar days.
SEVP will continue to develop and provide resources to stakeholders on ICE.gov, including answers to frequently asked questions, to clarify and expand upon information in this Broadcast Message.
This Broadcast Message is not a substitute for applicable legal requirements, nor is it itself a rule or a final action by SEVP. It is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil or criminal matter.
On Friday, May 29, 2020, the White House issued a proclamation suspending the entry of certain graduate students and researchers from China: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-nonimmigrants-certain-students-researchers-peoples-republic-china/ in response to concerns that they are coming to the U.S. to acquire “sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual property” to advance the PRC’s military capabilities.
This proclamation goes into effect today at noon and will remain in effect until terminated by the President. No implementation guidelines have been published - we will share those with you as soon as they become available.
This is what we know at this time:
Chinese nationals seeking entry to the U.S. in F or J visas for graduate study or to conduct research who currently or in the past have ties to entities in China that implement or support the PRC’s “military-civil fusion strategy”, or “actions to acquire…critical and emerging technologies” to benefit the PRC’s military capabilities.
Undergraduate students are not affected by this this proclamation.
The executive order also does not apply to:
This is a possibility. Section 6 of the proclamation indicates that the Secretary of State “shall consider whether nationals of the PRC currently in the United States who meet the criteria previously described should have their visas revoked.”
This is unclear but since the order is intended to restrict entry to the U.S., it is likely that the determination will be made at the time of the visa application and at the U.S. ports of entry.
We do not know how many students and scholars at UNH will be affected and we realize this Executive Order will have serious and life-changing ramifications. There are many advocacy groups challenging this order. OISS will be following developments closely and will provide updates as they become available. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns.
During these challenging times, it is important to support all members of our international community. Please keep the Chinese community in mind as they learn of this new proclamation.
The President of the United States has signed several Executive Orders on immigration intended to keep the country safe from potential terrorist threats, protect U.S. workers, and stop illegal immigration. It is important for you to know that some of the provisions of the Executive Orders could affect you directly or indirectly.
Please note that the implementation of these orders is still evolving and likely to change. Updates will be posted as information from reliable sources is received.
UNH response to the Executive Orders: President Mark Huddleston's Letter to the UNH Community - January 29, 2017
Expect regulations to be more strictly enforced. Take a moment to review your immigration documents to ensure they are valid and remember to renew/extend your documents before they expire.
To maintain status, students must also:
Scholars are required to report address changes here.
The information on the NAFSA website is updated often. You can check here for the latest news regarding the Executive Orders. The latest travel ban was updated June 26, 2018 and is being referred to as Travel Ban 3.0. Chad has been removed from the list of countries subject to this travel ban, which includes Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia.
On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Proclamation 9645 (Travel Ban 3.0) issued by President Trump on September 24, 2017 can be fully enforced. This Proclamation bans travel to the United States by certain citizens of aforementioned countries. For additional information, refer to the NAFSA: Association of International Education resource detailing country-specific restrictions and exceptions.
Court Orders on Presidential Proclamation - December 4, 2017
Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States signed January 25, 2017
Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements signed January 25, 2017
Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States signed January 27, 2017 and updated March 6, 2017
Presidential Proclamation updated September 24, 2017
Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Non-Immigrants updated May 24, 2018
There are many provisions in the Executive Orders related to immigration. This Fact Sheet will focus only on key sections that may impact international students and scholars.
Section 3(c) of Executive Order 13769, "Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States" bans individuals from 7 countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entry to the United States for at least 90 days from the date of signing the EO. This means that if you are from one of these countries and you leave the United States for any reason, you will be barred re-entry until after the ban is lifted.
Update: On February 3rd, 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 ruling is being challenged by the government.
Section 8 of Executive Order 13769 suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program for all countries. This change may affect those who need to renew their visas in order to return to the United States. What you can expect:
USCIS Implementation of Jan. 27 Executive Order
Initially, it was reported that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was not adjudicating applications for immigration benefits. On February 2nd, USCIS issued a clarification:
"USCIS continues to adjudicate applications and petitions filed for or on behalf of individuals in the United States regardless of their country of origin, and applications and petitions of lawful permanent residents outside the U.S. USCIS also continues to adjudicate applications and petitions for individuals outside the U.S. whose approval does not directly confer travel authorization. Applications to adjust status also continue to be adjudicated, according to existing policies and procedures, for applicants who are nationals of countries designated in the Jan. 27, 2017, "Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States."
An individual is considered to be unlawfully present in the United States when they violate the terms of their immigration status. Prior to August 9, 2018, Unlawful Presence (ULP) began only after a DHS (Department of Homeland Security) Officer or Immigration Judge has ruled that a status violation has occurred.
Effective August 9, 2018, a formal ruling is no longer considered necessary to establish ULP and days of unlawful presence are now counted beginning the day after the status violation.
Once more than 180 days of unlawful presence has accrued, an individual could be subject to a 3 to 10 year bar from admission to the U.S. Those who accrue more than one year of unlawful presence could be permanently barred from the U.S.
On October 23, 2018, several schools filed a legal challenge against this new policy. A copy of the complaint can be found here.
For additional information, go to: Accrual of Unlawful Presence
If you have any questions about the applicability of the new policy to your individual situation, please reach out to us at OISS.Advisor@unh.edu.