UMD: A Globally Connected University

Immigration Updates

Immigration Updates

This page highlights the recent immigration enforcement changes and what they may mean for you.  We'll keep this page updated with the most recent information and our guidance. If you have any questions, you can contact International Students and Scholar Services.

NEWS / STATEMENTS / PRESS RELEASES


06/24/2020  - Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak

Effective June 24, 2020, the President issued a proclamation to suspend the entry of H-1B temporary workers, L-1 transfers and certain J-1 categories and their dependents who are outside the United States and do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on June 24, the effective date of this proclamation.  

The proclamation also extends the suspension of immigrant visas into the U.S. through December 31, 2020.

The proclamation directs the Secretary of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a review and consider revising regulations and/or taking the necessary steps to ensure that the EB-2 and EB-3 permanent residency and H-1B nonimmigrant visa programs do not disadvantage U.S. workers.  

Who is affected? 
This ban affects H-1B, H-4, L-1, H-2B, and certain J-1s who are outside the U.S. and do not have a valid visa as of June 24, 2020, or a valid advance parole document. 

The following J-1 categories will not be permitted entry in the U.S.: intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair and summer work travel. 

Who is not affected?
The ban does not apply to: 

  • Canadian citizens
  • foreign nationals who hold H-1B, H-4, L-1, H-2B and J-1 status and their dependents who are currently in the U.S. 
  • J-1 and their J-2 dependents in the following categories: Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar, Student, Student-Intern, and Specialist.
  • Spouses or children (unmarried and under age 21) of a U.S. citizen
  • Temporary workers seeking to enter the U.S. to provide temporary labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain; or
  • Temporary workers whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

Will this impact ISSS’ ability to file my application?
ISSS continues to process H-1B extensions, change of employer, amendments and change of status petitions. The ban does not impact the university’s ability to file the following petitions:

  • Foreign nationals who hold J-1 status and plan to apply for a change of status to H-1B
  • Foreign nationals who hold F-1 OPT and F-1 OPT STEM and plan to apply for a change of status to H-1B 
  • Foreign nationals who currently hold H-1B status and wish to amend, extend or change employers 

The proclamation will not impact the following categories under the J-1 exchange visitor program, for which we will continue to process J-1 extensions, amendments and change of status petitions: 

  • Research Scholar
  • Professor
  • Short-term Scholar
  • Student Intern

What is the end date of the Proclamation? 
The proclamation is in effect through December 31, 2020 and may be extended.

I am currently in the U.S. and hold H-1B status.  Will I and my dependent be able to travel during this period? 
It is ISSS’ recommendation that our international employees not travel at this time, but if you must due to personal reasons, please note the following:

  • If you have a valid I-797 Approval Notice and an unexpired H-1B visa stamp in your passport as of June 24, 2020, the ban does not apply.
  • If you have a valid I-797 Approval notice and a valid Advance Parole Document, the ban does not apply. 
  • If you have a valid I-797 Approval Notice and an expired H-1B visa stamp, the ban does apply and you will not be permitted re-entry into the U.S.

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6/3/2020 - Suspension of Passenger Flights by Chinese Airlines to and from the United States (Source:  NAFSA)

June 3, 2020 Department of Transportation order set to automatically go into effect on June 16, 2020 (unless President Trump approves the order earlier), will "suspend scheduled passenger operations of all Chinese carriers to and from the United States." The order will affect flights by the following Chinese airlines:

  1. Air China Limited (doing business as Air China)
  2. Beijing Capital Airlines Co., Ltd.
  3. China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited
  4. Hainan Airlines Holding Co. Ltd.
  5. Sichuan Airlines Co., Ltd.
  6. China Southern Airlines Company Limited
  7. Xiamen Airlines

The Department of Transportation's order applies to scheduled passenger flights coming into and going out of the United States, but does not impact cargo operations.

The order summary attributes the U.S. order to "the failure of the Government of the People’s Republic of China (China) to permit U.S. carriers to exercise the full extent of their bilateral right to conduct scheduled passenger air services to and from China."

The order also states that, "Our overriding goal is not the perpetuation of this situation, but rather an improved environment wherein the carriers of both parties will be able to exercise fully their bilateral rights. Should the CAAC [NAFSA note: Civil Aviation Authority of China] adjust its policies to bring about the necessary improved situation for U.S. carriers, the Department is fully prepared to revisit the action it has announced in this order."

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6/3/2020 - Travel-Related Proclamations Affecting Entry from Certain Countries (SOURCE:  NAFSA )

The President has issued five COVID-19-related proclamations to limit travel to the United States. These proclamations will remain in effect until terminated by the President. The proclamations state that the "Secretary of Health and Human Services shall recommend that the President continue, modify, or terminate" the proclamations.

  1. China Travel Proclamation. January 31, 2020 - Proclamation 9984 of January 31, 2020, published at 85 FR 6709, titled Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The proclamation cites INA 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the People's Republic of China, excluding the Special Autonomous Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective starting 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 2, 2020.
  2. Iran Travel Proclamation. February 29, 2020 - Proclamation 9992 of February 29, 2020, published at 85 FR 12855. The proclamation cites INA 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of 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. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020.
  3. European Schengen Area Proclamation. March 11, 2020 - Proclamation 9993 of March 11, 2020, published at 85 FR 15045 (March 16, 2020). "The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation... This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020." Although in his address President Trump reportedly said the ban would last 30 days, the proclamation language itself states that it "shall remain in effect until terminated by the President."
    • Note: the European Schengen area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
  4. Ireland and United Kingdom Proclamation. March 14, 2020 - Proclamation 9996 of March 14, 2020, published at 85 FR 15341 (March 18, 2020). Covers England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. "The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe, or the Republic of Ireland during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited ... This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020.  This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020."
  5. Brazil. May 24-25, 2020. Proclamation 10041 of May 24, 2020. Also published in the Federal Register at 85 FR 31933 (May 28, 2020). Suspends entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The May 24, 2020 proclamation contained a May 28, 2020 effective date, but a May 25, 2020 amendment to the proclamation, also published in the Federal Register at 85 FR 32291 (May 28, 2020) as Proclamation 10042, revised the effective date to May 26, 2020. Section 5 of the May 24, 2020 proclamation has been amended to provide: "This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020."

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FAQs on the Presidential Proclamation Suspends Entry of Certain Chinese F and J Nonimmigrants with Ties to Entities that Support PRC Military Initiatives (05/29/2020)

The 05/29 proclamation, which applies to students at the graduate level, post-doctoral level or conducting research on an F or J visa suspends entry of Chinese citizens into the United States if they have ever received funding from, been employed by, studied at, or conducted research at or on behalf of an entity in the People’s Republic of China that implements or supports China’s “military-civil fusion strategy.” The proclamation does not automatically cancel existing visas of Chinese F and J nonimmigrants in the United States who would otherwise be covered by this ban.

Who Is Affected?

This ban affects nationals of the People's Republic of China (PRC) seeking to enter the United States on F or J visa to study or conduct research in the United States and who has ever been employed by, studied at, or conducted research at or on behalf of an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s “military-civil fusion strategy”

Who is Not Affected?

  • F-1 and J-1 Undergraduate Students
  • U.S. Citizens
  • Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S.
  • A person who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • A person who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and any alien who is a spouse or child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Any alien whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the UN Headquarters Agreement or who would otherwise be allowed entry into the U.S. pursuant to U.S. obligations under applicable international agreements
  • A person who is studying or conducting research in a field involving information that would not contribute to the PRC’s military-civil fusion strategy, as determined by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the appropriate executive departments and agencies
  • A person whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee
  • A person whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees

What is “Military-Civil Fusion Strategy?”

For the purposes of the proclamation, the term “military-civil fusion strategy” means actions by or at the behest of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance the PRC’s military capabilities.

What is the end-date of the Proclamation?

The proclamation will end at the request of the President of the United States.

How will F1/J1 students and researchers be identified as subject to the proclamation?

The implementation of the proclamation is conferred to the Secretary of State as it applies to visas, and to the Secretary of Homeland Security as it applies to entry to the U.S. No further details are available at this time. 

Are F1/J1 students and researchers currently in the U.S. affected by this order?

At this time, the order covers only individuals seeking entry into the U.S., not those 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. pursuant to F or J visas who otherwise meet the criteria should have their visas revoked. A revoked visa is no longer valid for entry or reentry to the U.S., but this does not mean that you are required to depart the U.S.  If you are contacted by the U.S. Government concerning a visa revocation, contact ISSS immediately for advice.  This may require that you work with a personal immigration attorney.

How will this impact international students on OPT, CPT or Academic Training?

The proclamation only applies to visa issuance and entry into the U.S. and not to other immigration benefits. ISSS will continue to process requests for non-immigrant benefits such as OPT, CPT and Academic Training for students. 

Are there impacts on I-20 or DS2019 issuance?

ISSS will continue to issue initial I-20 and DS-2019 forms for newly admitted incoming students.  From the limited information available at this time, it seems that  the screening will be part of the visa application process.

How do I know if my field of study or research field is involved in the Military-Civil Fusion program?

According to the State Department, a specific list of sensitive fields will not be released soon. Thus, we do not yet know which fields are “sensitive” or how restrictions will be implemented for students within these fields. According to the State Department, the restrictions will apply to a very small number of students. As soon as the list is made public, ISSS will share it on this webpage. 

I have secured funding from the China Scholarship Council. Will this pose a problem with my ability to obtain a visa?

This organization has not been singled out as a risk factor for visa restrictions. At this time, there is no definite guidance on this issue. 

According to the China Defense Universities Tracker, my university is deemed “very high risk.” Should I be worried?

We advise waiting for the official list to be released. The China Defense Universities Tracker is not official or actionable at this time.

How likely is it that my visa will be revoked?

The proclamation will likely not apply to most Chinese international students. However, there is a provision which directs the Secretary of State to consider whether nationals of China currently in the U.S. pursuant to F or J visas who otherwise meet the criteria should have their visas revoked. Little is known at this time on visa revocation.  As more information becomes available this page will be updated.

What Might We Expect from the Implementation of the 05/29/20 Presidential Proclamation?

The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security are expected to provide further detail on how the proclamation will be implemented.

ISSS is closely monitoring the implementation of the new proclamation and will provide updates as they are available. 

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FAQs related to Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants (04/22/20)

Who is affected by the 04/22/2020 proclamation issued by the President suspending entry of new immigrants for 60 days?

The proclamation only affects pending immigrant visa applications (applications for U.S. permanent residency) for persons who are outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation (04/23/2020) and have not been issued an immigrant visa or similar U.S. travel document by a U.S. consulate.

Who is NOT impacted by the proclamation?

It does not affect those already holding a valid immigrant visa or similar travel document, or applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence (filed from within the U.S.). Also exempted from the proclamation are F-1 students, J-1 Exchange Visitors, H-1B, TN and O-1 workers, U.S. permanent residents, spouses and children of U.S. citizens and EB-5 immigrants.

As a reminder, routine immigrant visa issuance at U.S. consulates has been suspended since mid-March as part of the State Department’s COVID-19 containment measures. In addition, COVID-related entry bans remain in effect for travel from numerous countries. It is effective for 60 days.

What other changes are included in the proclamation?

The proclamation requires that within 30 days of the effective date of the proclamation, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor are ordered to review nonimmigrant programs and recommend measures to "stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring and employment of United States workers." The results of that report could lead to future restrictions on non immigrant employment categories. ISSS will continue to monitor the developments of this situation closely and will post future updates.

ISSS recognizes that the news of this proclamation is stressful and disruptive to the UMD campus community during this already very uncertain time. ISSS is available to the campus to respond to your questions and concerns. Please see our website for ways to contact us. UMD continues to welcome, value and support its international community. The university has many supportive resources available for you and ISSS can assist you with locating them if you need help.

 

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February 4, 2020: Travel Ban 4.0
In a January 31, 2020 Presidential Proclamation, the Trump administration announced visa and entry restrictions on immigrants from six additional countries (Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania), which will become effective on February 21, 2020. The new ban (Travel Ban 4.0) does not affect nonimmigrant visas like F-1, J-1 and H-1B. Students and scholars should still be able to obtain a new F-1, J-1, or H-1B visa and be admitted to the United States in those categories.

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February 2, 2020:  0 U.S. Restricts Entry from Travelers to China
Effective February 2, 2020 the U.S. government announced that it will deny entry to the U.S. of foreign nationals who have traveled to China within 14 days prior to arriving in the U.S. The end date of this restriction is undefined. Please read the Presidential Proclamation.

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January 31, 2020:  U.S. Expands Travel Ban Impacting Immigrant Visa Applicants
On January 31, 2020, the U.S. government issued an expansion of the current travel ban, to include restrictions on certain immigrant visa applicants from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan and Tanzania.  Read the Presidential Proclamation.

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January 30, 2020: Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule to be Implemented on February 24, 2020 
On January 27, 2020, the Supreme Court lifted a nationwide injunction blocking the implementation of DHS public charge rule (see August 12, 2019 section of the website below). While litigation against this rule continues, on January 30, 2020, USCIS announced that it will implement the public charge rule on February 24, 2020 and will apply the rule to applications postmarked or submitted on or after that date.

Individuals seeking to extend or change their status must demonstrate that they have not received  certain public benefits over the designated threshold since obtaining the nonimmigrant status they seek to extend or change. More information can be found on the DHS website.

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December 17, 2019: New Electronic Registration Process for H-1B Lottery
USCIS has announced that it will implement an H-1B electronic registration process for this year’s H-1B lottery. Employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions will need to complete an initial electronic registration and pay a $10 registration fee for each beneficiary registered. The registration filing period will run from March 1 – March 20, 2020. 

After completion of the registration process, USCIS will conduct its random H-1B lottery selection. USCIS will notify employers of selected beneficiaries, and they will then be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions on behalf of the selected employees. It is expected that USCIS will complete the lottery and be able to notify selected petitions by the end of March. Employers will then have a 90-day window to file the H-1B petition with USCIS. 

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