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2017-2018 Immigration News & Alerts Archive

Jun 26, 2018
Indefinite Entry Bar Under Executive Order

On June 26, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States upheld President Trump’s Executive Order (Travel Ban) which was signed September 24, 2017.  This places the bar on entry to the U.S. for people in certain immigration statuses if they are nationals from seven countries into effect immediately.  The chart below contains information on entry to the U.S. by country and immigration status for commonly used statuses at the University of Maryland College Park. 

Country F-1/J-1 B-1/B-2 H-1B Immigrant Visa (Permanent Residency in process) Individuals granted U.S. Permanent Residency or Asylum Special Condition
Iran Permitted Suspended Suspended Suspended Permitted Additional vetting of background information during visa interview
Libya Permitted Suspended Permitted Suspended Permitted Additional vetting of background information during visa interview
North Korea Suspended Suspended Suspended Suspended Permitted Additional vetting of background information during visa interview
Somalia Permitted Permitted Permitted Suspended Permitted Additional vetting of background information during visa interview
Syria Suspended Suspended Suspended Suspended Permitted Additional vetting of background information during visa interview
Venezuela Permitted Suspended – limited to officials of government agencies and their family Permitted Permitted Permitted Additional vetting of background information during visa interview
Yemen Permitted Suspended Permitted Suspended Permitted Additional vetting of background information during visa interview

Apr 11, 2018
Chad Removed from List of Travel Ban 3.0 Countries

Jan 20, 2018
Message from ISSS regarding the potential impacts of a Federal Government Shutdown

It is possible that a partial shutdown of the Federal Government could occur on Friday, January 19th if Congress is not able to pass a budget bill (or stop gap action). This message summarizes potential impacts should the shutdown happen.

USCIS – Because the agency is funded by fees, the agency will continue to process H-1B, O-1, E3, TN, F-1 OPT and permanent residency applications.   The applications that are currently pending at USCIS, will be processed and adjudicated.  As usual, USCIS will continue to issue receipt and approval notices.  

SEVIS Database – SEVIS data is a fee-based information system considered to be important to National Security therefore it will continue to operate as normal.

The US Department of Labor (USDOL) has closed during prior government shutdowns.  USDOL issues Prevailing Wage Determinations and certifies Labor Condition Applications (LCA) and PERM applications. These applications are required for filing H-1B , E-3  and some permanent residency cases with USCIS.  A shutdown will mean that DOL will neither accept nor process any pending applications.  If the Federal Government shut down occurs please contact ISSS with you questions or concerns.

Department of State:  During past shutdowns, US embassies abroad continued to issue visas. A longer government shut down may require that services be limited and this may impact visa applications for internationals.  If a shutdown occurs, all international travelers should contact ISSS prior to travel.

J-1 Students and Scholars requiring authorizations will not be affected because ISSS processes many requests internally.

Customs & Border Protection:  During past government shutdowns, services at ports-of-entry by air and land continued as usual, including the electronic I-94 process.

Social Security Administration will not be processing applications during a government shutdown.

SAVE Database – It is anticipated that this system will remain open during any government shutdown.

Click here to read the full alert from Fragomen, Del Rey, Bersen & Loewy LLP(link is external), an international immigration law practice, describing the impact of the government shutdown.  

We will be contacting departments to discuss individual cases that are currently in process and may be impacted by these closures.

ISSS will keep campus updated as more guidance becomes available.  If you have questions please contact a staff member in the ISSS office.  

Dec 5, 2017
Executive Order and Travel Restrictions Information

Nov 6, 2017
U.S. Mission in Turkey Has Resumed Processing Non-Immigrant Visas on a Limited Basis

November 6, 2017 -Turkish citizens with valid visas may continue to travel to the United States. Turkish citizens are also welcome to apply for a non-immigrant visa outside of Turkey whether or not they maintain a residence in that country. Please note that an applicant applying outside of Turkey will need to pay the application fee for services in that country, even if a fee has previously been paid for services in Turkey.

Oct 17, 2017
U.S. District Court in Hawaii issues Temporary Restraining Order to Block Implementation of Proclamation 9645​

On Oct 17, 2017 the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) prohibiting enforcement of sections  2(a), (b), (c), (e), (g), and (h) of the Sept 24, 2017 travel ban.  This Temporary Restraining Order blocks enforcement of the travel ban on Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. The Court continues to uphold enforcement of the portions of the travel ban applying to North Korea and Venezuela.

The Temporary Restraining Order will likely face challenges from the U.S. Government, and the situation remains fluid. 
In the wake of the court order, nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen should be able to apply for U.S. visas and enter the United States if they are otherwise admissible, but restrictions could be reimposed if the TRO is overturned on appeal.  

Notwithstanding the court order, nationals of the six countries remain subject to lengthy security checks under the Trump Administration's extreme vetting policies, as well as heightened scrutiny at U.S. ports of entry.  

Oct 9, 2017
Suspension of U.S. Non-Immigrant Visa Services in Turkey

This is to alert you of the suspension of visa services at the U.S. embassy and consulates in Turkey. Until further notice, it is not possible to apply for a non-immigrant visa in Turkey.

In a statement from the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Ambassador John Bass indicates that this suspension of services is not a visa ban nor a travel ban for Turkish citizens. If you already have a valid visa, the visa remains valid:

For the near future, UMD's International Office recommends planning ahead for your international travel when a U.S. visa application is required for your return to UMD. Should you have essential travel that requires a visa application, you can look into the possibility of applying in a third country and consult with a UMD International Office Adviser.

ISSS will continue to provide updates via this page and email alerts.

Sep 24, 2017
Proclamation: Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats

On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation entitled Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats. This Proclamation partially or fully restricts entry into the United States for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen. The proclamation contains specific provisions for each impacted country, as summarized below. The new restrictions established by the proclamation take effect October 18, 2017.

Who is directly impacted?

The Proclamation cites country-specific entry restrictions for nationals of the subject countries. Individuals from all impacted countries should expect increased scrutiny and screening of visa applications in all non-immigrant categories.

  • Somalia - Suspended immigrant visas
  • North Korea, and Syria - Entry is indefinitely suspended for all non-immigrants and immigrant visas
  • Chad, Libya and Yemen- Entry in B-1, B-2 and B-1/B-2 visas and immigrant visas is suspended.
  • Iran- Entry in all non-immigrant categories is suspended– except F,M, and J exchange visitor visas. F, M and J exchange visitors will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements. Entry for immigrant visas is also suspended.
  • Venezuela- All Venezuelan nationals who are visa holders may face increased screening and scrutiny. Entry is specifically suspended only for B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas 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.

For the near future, ISSS recommends minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration’s policies on visas and U.S. entry.

  • Increased Screenings, Possible Travel Delays - The Proclamation specifically indicates increased scrutiny for Iraqi citizens or nationals. Due to the possibility of increased scrutiny at the Port of Entry and at consulates and embassies abroad, immigrant and non-immigrant travelers should expect increased travel delays when applying for a new U.S. visa or when entering the U.S.
  • Future Changes in Visa Issuance for additional countries- The Proclamation provides for ongoing review of U.S. visa issuance procedures for all countries. These continuing revisions and reviews may result in countries being continued on, added to or removed from the visa/entry suspension list, changes in fees, or visa lengths.  This continuous process of change means that all foreign nationals, prior to travelling internationally should consult ISSS. 
    UMD's International Office is monitoring continuing issues impacting our international student, scholar and employee populations. 

UMD's International Office is monitoring continuing issues impacting our international student, scholar and employee populations. 

Jul 24, 2017
Premium Processing Restored for Cap-Exempt Institutions

On July 24, 2017, USCIS announced that effective immediately it has restored premium processing for the following H-1B petitions:

Petitions that are exempt from the cap because the H-1B petitioner is:

  • An institution of higher education;
  • A nonprofit related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education; or
  • A nonprofit research or governmental research organization
  • Petitions that are exempt because the beneficiary will be employed "at" one of the above qualifying cap-exempt institutions, organizations or entities.
  • Premium Processing back on for Conrad and IGA waiver petitions

USCIS announced that starting June 26, 2017, it will resume premium processing for H-1B petitions filed for medical doctors under the Conrad 30 Waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers. These two programs provide for waivers of the J-1 two-year home residence requirement in conjunction with the filing of an H-1B petition for an individual who would otherwise be subject to the 2-year requirement for having participated in the J-1 exchange visitor program as an alien physician. USCIS stated that it "plans to resume premium processing of other H-1B petitions as workloads permit. We will make additional announcements with specific details related to when we will begin accepting premium processing for those petitions. Until then, premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions."

Jun 26, 2017
Executive Order 13780 "Travel Ban" Update

Supreme Court opinion regarding the March 6, 2017 Executive Order 13780 “Travel Ban.”​ 

Mar 6, 2017
President Trump Signs New Executive Order

President Trump signed a new Executive Order entitled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States". The order includes a revised entry ban on nationals of 6 countries. The Executive Order revokes and replaces Executive Order 13769 in its entirety, effective March 16, 2017. A helpful question and answer resource can be found on the website of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  In addition to the Executive Order the President also issued a memorandum to implement more stringent vetting of applications and petitions for immigration benefits.

Feb 4, 2017
Federal Courts issue a Temporary Restraining Order on  Executive Order 13769

On February 3, 2017, a Federal Judge in Seattle granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) that temporarily halts the enforcement of Executive Order 13769(link is external) nationwide, the provision that established the 90-day ban on entry of "immigrants and nonimmigrants" from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Customs & Border Protection has updated their website with the following message:

In accordance with the judge's ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States."

This includes actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travelers for operational action subject to the Executive Order. DHS personnel will resume inspection of travelers in accordance with standard policy and procedure.

At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the President's Executive Order, which is lawful and appropriate.

The situation remains in flux, UMD ISSS urges caution for individuals from the 7 countries choosing to travel. Please read the attached Client Alert from Fragomen, Del Rey, Bersen & Loewy LLP  for more detail. Travellers may wish to travel via Abu Dhabi International Airport to access a pre clearance immigration inspection. Please understand that the restaining order is a temporary measure, and subject to change quickly. The. U.S. government will be working to challenge the restraining order as early as possible.

Feb 2, 2017
Guidance Received from the Maryland Office of Attorney General

Jan 31, 2017
UMD President Loh, "Executive Actions and Staying True to Our Values" 

Jan 29, 2017
Statement By Secretary John Kelly On The Entry Of Lawful Permanent Residents Into The United States

Jan 28, 2017
For Foreign Nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen

  • Ban on entry to the U.S: The executive order bans entry for at least 90 days for nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. If you are from one of these countries, you can stay in the U.S. provided you maintain your current visa status.
  • Travel outside the U.S.: We strongly recommend that you do not travel to any country outside of the U.S. at this time. If you do, you will not be able to reenter the country, at least until the ban on entry to the U.S. is lifted.
  • Impact on U.S. Permanent Residents, Naturalized Citizens, and Dual Citizens:  U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have broad discretion and authority to question an individual regardless of country of origin or nationality.  Although we have received word that U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents should not be affected by this order (read the DHS statement), we would remind you to proceed with caution with the understanding that we cannot guarantee that you will not have additional delays during transit.

Jan 27, 2017
President Trump Signs Two Executive Orders 

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