International Student Support and Resources

The White House has released a number of Executive Orders recently and there have been other proposed policy changes that have created questions and concerns for our students. ISSS wants to reassure our community that we are staying on top of these developments and how it may impact our students. We will update information here when it is available. 

Travel Ban Executive Order Information

USF notices regarding the Executive Order Banning Entry into the U.S. for individuals from seven selected country:

On June 26, 2018 the Supreme Court upheld the travel ban that imposes travel restrictions on nationals of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. The ban does not prohibit international student visas, except for individuals from North Korea or Syria. However, we know that visa delays and denials are still possible for students from the other five countries. Please consult your ISSS advisor before any travel.

The court decision allows the following travel restrictions to be in place indefinitely:

  • Iran: No non-immigrant visas except F/M student visas and J exchange visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
  • Libya: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
  • North Korea: No nonimmigrant, immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
  • Somalia: Nonimmigrant visa applicants subject to heightened scrutiny; no immigrant or diversity visas.
  • Syria: No nonimmigrant, immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
  • Venezuela: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas for officials of designated Venezuelan government agencies. Other visa holders are subject to verification of traveler information. No restrictions on immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
  • Yemen: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.

On December 5, 2017 the Supreme Court issued an order to allow the current version of the travel ban to go into full effect. The main change related to international students is that those with bona fide ties to the U.S. will no longer receive an exemption to the travel ban. This will more likely impact family members of students in the U.S. who want to visit them. The case is still in the lower courts and the ruling in these courts may reverse this. However, this ruling by the Supreme Court shows what their final decision is likely to be once the case reaches this level. Otherwise the ban does not prohibit international student visas, except for individuals from North Korea or Syria.

On October 17, 2017, a federal judge in Hawaii blocked the third version of the travel ban, which was issued by the U.S. President on September 24. The U.S. Justice Department is expected to appeal this decision.  ISSS still recommends that students from these countries (North Korea, Syria, Chad, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Iran and Venezuela) consult ISSS before making any travel plans.

On September 24, 2017 the U.S. Federal Government announced new travel restrictions, expanding on the previously issued Executive Order. This new travel ban restricts travel from these eight countries; North Korea, Syria, Chad, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Iran and Venezuela. Visas and entry for Syrians and North Koreans has been entirely suspended. The other six countries have new visa and entry restrictions.

The restrictions are as follows:

  • North Korea and Syria: Entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants suspended.
  • Chad, Yemen and Libya: Entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants on some business and tourist visas suspended.
  • Somalia: Entry as Immigrants suspended, and nonimmigrants traveling to the U.S. will have additional screening.
  • Iran: Entry as immigrants and as nonimmigrants suspended, except under valid student and exchange visitor visas, with additional screening.
  • Venezuela: Entry of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on certain business and tourist visas suspended.

ISSS recommends that all nationals of these eight countries refrain from travel at this time. If you are already abroad, please contact us immediately. As this policy is unfolding please consult the ISSS office on current travel restrictions.

On June 26th, 2017 the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case regarding the legality of the travel ban.  The court date is set for October.  In the meantime, the Supreme Court has reinstated parts of the Executive Order. At this time those from the six countries wishing to enter who have no existing ties to the U.S. will not be granted a visa or entry. Individuals who have bona fide ties to the U.S. (including a family sponsor, admission to a university or a secured job) can apply for a visa and request entry to the U.S.

On June 12, 2017 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled against President Trump’s revised travel ban.This decision affirms the ruling in March made by the Federal District Court in Hawaii to block major parts of the revised Executive Order. The Executive Order is not implemented at this time and still awaits final review in the Supreme Court. Until the final ruling is made by the Supreme Court travel conditions are still difficult to predict, particularly for nationals from the six countries listed in the Executive Order: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. If you are a national from one of these six countries, ISSS advises that you refrain from travel outside the U.S. at this time. 

On May 25th, 2017 the Fourth District Court in Virginia upheld the injunction to prevent the travel ban. This means that the Executive Order will not be implemented at this time and will have its final review in the Supreme Court. Although travelers from the six countries should be able to apply for visas and travel in and and out the US, ISSS still recommends that these national refrain from travel.  Until this case reaches its final verdict in the Supreme Court travel conditions will be uncertain and subject to change.

On March 15th, 2017 a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was issued against the Executive Order (EO) banning the entry of certain nationals. This stay will temporarily halt the EO until a future court decision is made. ISSS still recommends the same travel precautions. Nationals of these six countries should remain in the U.S. Other international students should make sure they have all their documents before leaving the U.S. See more travel resources below and for more details about the ban you can visit the NAFSA: Association of International Educators website, which provides updated and reliable information.

On March 6, 2017, a new Executive Order (EO) was signed to replace the previous travel order. This new EO has a revised list of six countries impacted by the ban: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  It also exempts individuals who hold valid U.S. visas or permanent residency. Despite this change in language of the EO, ISSS still recommends that all students from these countries refrain from travel.

USF Memorandum: This Memorandum from the USF’s President and Provost outlines USF’s commitment to supporting all of our students. USF is also working with other Jesuit colleges to express the value that international students bring to our campus communities.

ISSS is available to answer any questions or concerns regarding changing immigration policy in the U.S. We have compiled a list of resources and materials that will help explain the current policies and developing information. We also highlighted campus resources and events that are available to all students, including international and undocumented, that can be used to ease stress and confusion. 

H1-B and Work Visa Updates

There have been some government proposals to review work authorization for foreigners in the U.S.  This includes the H1-B visa and could also include the F-1 benefits; Optional Practical Training (OPT), and Curricular Practical Training (CPT); and the J-1 benefit, Academic Training. So far there has been a notable tightening on the H1-B procedures and how the existing policies are enforced:

- 4/18/17 An Executive Order was signed calling for changes to the H1-B visa and other temporary employment categories. This order asks the various government agencies to review employment visas for foreigners and how they are issued. This order does not make any specific changes to the H1-B visa or other work categories, but it asks the relevant government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security to review the practices to make sure that American workers are not displaced and to prevent fraud. This order does not have any immediate impact on current visa holders in the US, including international students.

- 4/6/17 Heightened H1-B compliance measures: the federal government agencies have announced that they will work closely together to prevent fraud and enforce the existing H1-B policies. USCIS has also asked for the public to report any H1-B abuse.

- 4/3/17 Restricting entry level computer programmers: USCIS announced that they will review entry level positions in this area with more scrutiny to determine if they are appropriate for the H1-B specialty occupation visa.

Immigration Updates

On 11/06/2017, the U.S Consulate in Istanbul resumed visa issuance for Turkish Nationals. As visa issuance resumes, students should expect some delays in processing and plan ahead. More information can be found on the U.S. Consulates website.

On 10/08/2017, the U.S. suspended visa processing for Turkish nationals. This decision came after the arrest of a Turkish man who worked at the U.S. Embassy in a security position. Turkey has also suspended the processing of visas for U.S. nationals.

Turkish Students in the U.S: If your visa is expired do not plan any trips outside of the U.S. If you have a valid visa then you can potentially travel and reenter but there is some risk. Please consult your ISSS advisor in either situation.

Turkish Students Outside of U.S: If you are currently outside of the U.S. please email your ISSS advisor immediately with your travel plans.

ISSS will keep the Turkish students at USF updated as this situation unfolds. We understand that this uncertainty can be stressful, but we are glad that it is in the middle of the semester when students are not likely to be traveling. Please contact ISSS with any questions.

Additional Resources

Immigration Resources

Immigration Law Help

Travel Resources

USF Resources for Support and Community

USF Campus Events will be posted as they are planned and organized.

If you want to get more involved and have your voice heard, there are many things you can do. ISSS has created a handout that has information on how to get express concerns and have your voice be heard.