7/26/2020

Broadcast Message: Follow-up: ICE continues March Guidance for Fall School Term (Released July 24, 2020)

Clarifying Questions for Fall 2020 Based On March 9 Spring Guidance Broadcast (Last Updated July 24, 2020)

Frequently Asked Questions for SEVP Stakeholders about COVID-19 (Last Updated July 15, 2020)


7/24/2020

National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

Updates (in bold) - these are the relevant points for students:

  1. Students physically present in this region who have an F-1 visa and valid I-20 can travel to the US. You do not need to check with the embassy.
  2. Students physically present in this region who need to apply for the F-1 visa should check the status of visa services at their nearest consulate or embassy. If the visa is approved, you will most likely be able to enter the US from this region.
  3. Note: students from this region who travelled outside of this region to a location with no travel ban are not included in this exemption. You still need to wait 14 days to enter the US.

Last Updated on DOS website: July 22, 2020

"Certain business travelers, investors, treaty traders, academics, and students may qualify for national interest exceptions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland). Qualified business and student travelers who are applying for or have valid visas or ESTA authorization may travel to the United States even as PPs 9993 and 9996 remain in effect following the procedures below.

Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual national interest exception to travel.Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for a national interest exception to travel.

Business travelers, investors, academics, J-1 students, and treaty traders who have a valid visa or ESTA authorization that was issued prior to PP 9993 or 9996’s effective date or who are seeking to apply for a visa, and believe they may qualify for a national interest exception should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling. If a national interest exception is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate...."


7/21/2020

Canada-Mexico “Essential Travel” Restrictions extended to August 20, 2020.

Two Federal Register notices published on March 24, 2020 announced the decision to temporarily allow entry to the United States through land ports of entry along the U.S.-Canada and U.S. Mexico borders "essential travel" only. 

The Canada and Mexico land port of entry restrictions include “individuals traveling to attend educational institutions” as essential travel.   However, it is unclear whether “traveling to attend” also covers students who are studying online under their school's COVID-19 policy and who wish to travel through land ports of entry.


7/17/2020

The Travel bans are all still in effect.  The below only applies to those F-1 students physically present in the Schengen Area, U.K and Ireland during the 14-day period preceding their arrival/application for admission into the U.S.  

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is not 100% on board with this yet.  We'll update you as this progresses.  Check with your consulate or embassy prior to booking a flight. If you decide to return to the US, print out the announcement posted on the Department of State website.

June 16, 2020

National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

The US Department of State posted promising news today on travel.state gov. It seems that F-1 and M-1 students who would otherwise be subject to the travel ban for foreign nations who have been in the Schengen Area, the U.K., and Ireland within the past 14 days, may now enter the US.  Students with J-1 visas may initiate a travel waiver at the nearest consulate.  As we know things can change very quickly so please check with your consulate for confirmation prior to making any travel plans.

"Certain business travelers, investors, treaty traders, academics, and students may qualify for National Interest Exceptions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland). Qualified business and student travelers who are applying for or have valid visas or ESTA authorization may travel to the United States even as PPs 9993 and 9996 remain in effect.

Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel. Students from those areas who are traveling on a J-1 may contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request."   


July 15, 2020

The SEVP Fall guidance was retracted and we are back the guidance from last March.  The University is working on a document that will help explains what this means for you.  In the meantime, here is the SEVP FAQ.


July 14, 2020

TRAVEL UPDATE

US embassies and consulates are beginning the phased resumption of routine visa services. The dates for each embassy or consulate will depend on local conditions. The US Department of State is unable to provide details for each location. Please monitor the embassy or consulate website in your country for updates regarding the status of its services.

To find embassy or consulate websites, go to https://www.usembassy.gov/. The embassy links get you to the right embassy website, but you will have to do some clicking to find relevant COVID-19 information, as each embassy website is structured a bit differently.

There are no travel ban updates at this time. (They remain in effect)

New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory (June 25, 2020)

The list of states included in the Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 205, issued June 25, 2020 continues to grow. If you have travelled outside of NY State, prior to returning to NY, check the website to see the list of states. This advisory applies to everyone, not just international students.

All out-of-state travelers from designated states must complete a health traveler form prior to leaving the airport. Failure to do so will result in a $2000 fine and a possible court appearance.

Travelers coming to New York from designated states through other means of transport, including trains and cars, must fill out the form online.


July 13, 2020

Litigation on SEVP Fall 2020 COVID-19 Guidance continues

States and Universities have begun filing lawsuits in federal District Court against DHS and ICE over SEVP's Fall 2020 COVID-19 Guidance. The suits ask for declaratory relief and temporary and permanent injunctive relief.  

Regents of the University of California suit (July 10, 2020), Case # 3:20-cv-04621
State of Washington suit (July 10, 2020), Case # 2:20-cv-01070
Johns Hopkins University suit (July 10, 2020), Case # 1:20-cv-01873
State of California suit (July 9, 2010), Case # 3:20-cv-04592
Harvard and M.I.T. suit (July 8, 2020), Case # 1:20-cv-11283, Judge Allison D Burroughs presiding

  • Harvard and M.I.T. suit hearing set for 7/14/2020 03:00 PM in Courtroom 17 before Judge Allison D. Burroughs. This hearing will be conducted by video conference... Access to the hearing will be made available to the media and public. In order to gain access to the hearing, you must sign up at the following address: [LINK: https://public.mad.uscourts.gov/seating-signup.html] ."
  • Amicus Brief filed on July 10, 2020 by the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, representing 180 higher education institutions in support of Harvard and M.I.T.'s motion for a temporary restraining order. Download the brief, list of signatories, and the Alliance's statement.

July 10, 2020

Lawsuit Update:

  • A status conference was held at 10:00 a.m. on July 10, 2020. At the status conference, the judge set a hearing on the TRO and Preliminary Injunction for 3:00 p.m. on July 14, 2020. Responses and briefs are due on a schedule before the hearing.
  • A status conference was held at 10:00 a.m. on July 9, 2020. "Colloquy re: TRO and response time for govt. Hearing will reconvene tomorrow."

Harvard and M.I.T. sue DHS over Fall guidance:


July 7, 2020

SEVP Publishes Fall 2020 COVID-19 FAQs (July 7, 2020)

SEVP Issues Fall 2020 COVID-19 Guidance. (July 6, 2020) SEVP communicated its long-awaited Fall 2020 Guidance in a July 6, 2020 Broadcast Message. Briefly, some flexibility will continue for schools that adopt an in-person or hybrid model for Fall 2020, but will not continue for students in the United States studying at schools operating entirely online for Fall 2020. Schools are also directed to reissue Forms I-20 by August 4, 2020. Additional information is forthcoming.


July 2, 2020

Visas Processing

This is reminder that routine U. S. visa services remain suspended worldwide.  Dept. of State continues to refer to the March 20 announcement of the suspension and as recently a last week verified on its official Twitter feed that routine visa services remain suspended and stated that "We do not have a tentative date for the resumption of routine visa services at this time."

Despite providing an exception for prospective applicants with "an urgent matter and need to travel immediately," DOS appears to have granted very few exceptions granted and none for students and faculty facing the quickly approaching fall school term. The few exceptions we've learned about were for medical personnel who were issued visas.

Visa interview appointments are being scheduled, cancelled, rescheduled, etc.  If you learn of student visas being issued, please contact oiss@yu.edu.


July 2, 2020

USCIS Flexibility for Responding to Agency Requests During COVID-19

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending the flexibilities it announced on March 30, 2020 to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to certain:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers; and
  • Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

Notice/Request/Decision Issuance Date:

This flexibility applies to the above documents if the issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1 and Sept. 11, 2020, inclusive.

Response Due Date: 

USCIS will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking any action. We will consider a Form N-336 or Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before we take any action.

We are adopting several measures to protect our workforce and community and to minimize the immigration consequences for those seeking immigration benefits during this time. 

USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow CDC guidance. Education and precautions are the strongest tools against COVID-19 infection. Please visit for USCIS updates.


July 1, 2020

Additional States have been added to the Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel

Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah

June 30, 2019

Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel

In response to increased rates of COVID-19 transmission in certain states within the United States, and to protect New York’s successful containment of COVID-19, New York State has joined with New Jersey and Connecticut in jointly issuing a travel advisory for anyone returning from travel to states that have a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19.

Based upon Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 205, issued June 25, 2020, the following states meet the criteria for required quarantine: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. This list may change. It is based upon a seven day rolling average, of positive tests in excess of 10%, or number of positive cases exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents. Check the NYS website for updates.

If you have traveled from within one of the designated states with significant community spread, you must quarantine when you enter New York for 14 days from the last travel within such designated state, provided on the date you enter into New York State that such state met the criteria for requiring such quarantine.

The requirements of the travel advisory do not apply to any individual passing through designated states for a limited duration (i.e., less than 24 hours) through the course of travel.  Complete Guidance


June 29, 2020

Future Exchange Visitor (J) Participation: On June 25 the Dept. of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs updated the ECA COVID-19 page with the following new FAQ on the limits of online coursework and teaching policy for Fall 2020.

In summary: EAC published guidance for institutions to wait to sponsor Initial (new) exchange visitors until partial to full-time classroom participation resumes.  At YU this would apply to new J exchange students, visiting professors, visiting research scholars and short-term scholars.  How each YU school will function in the fall will be a determining factor.  (e.g., virtual, face to face, hybrid)  Participation will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

While this is disappointing news it is not unexpected.  There is still no update from SEVP on fall 2020 guidance for F-1s.


June 23, 2020

Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain H, J, and L Nonimmigrants

Section 1 of the proclamation extends the effective dates of Proclamation 10014 of April 22, 2020 titled Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak. This proclamation suspended entry of certain new immigrants who do not already have an approved immigrant visa. It was originally valid for 60 days, until June 22, 2020. The new proclamation extends the period for an additional 4 months, until December 31, 2020.

This proclamation does not impact F-1 students or J exchange visitors in the Student, Professor, Research Scholar ot Short-Term Scholar categories. It also does not impact individuals inside the U.S. or outside the U.S. with a valid visa. 

Read the Proclamation
Read a related White House Fact Sheet


June 22, 2020

Canada-Mexico Essential Travel Restrictions Extended. (June 22, 2020) COVID-19 restrictions that restrict entry to the United States through land ports of entry along the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders to “essential travel*” only, will be extended through July 21, 2020.

* The Canada and Mexico land port of entry restrictions include as coming for essential travel "Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions." It is unclear whether "traveling to attend" also covers students who are studying online under their school's COVID-19 policy and who wish to travel through land ports of entry.


June 12, 2020

Many students are understandably asking how fall 2020 will look. The University is currently planning different scenarios which should be announced within the next few weeks. An immigration is included in the following letter.  Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.

Fall 2020 Update Letter from the Director


 

May 26, 2020

Update: A new travel ban proclamation for foreign nations who were in Brazil during the past 14 days will take effect on 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020.

May 25, 2020

Travel Ban Updates

A new travel ban proclamation for foreign nations who were in Brazil during the past 14 days will take effect on 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 28, 2020.

Canada-Mexico "essential travel" restrictions extended through June 22, 2020.  According to the notices, during the effective dates of the restrictions:

"... travel through the land ports of entry and ferry terminals along the [... United States-Canada and United States-Mexico borders] ... shall be limited to "essential travel," which includes, but is not limited to....individuals traveling to attend educational institutions; *...."

* The Canada and Mexico land port of entry restrictions include as coming for essential travel "Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions." It is unclear whether "traveling to attend" also covers students who are studying online under their school's COVID-19 policy and who wish to travel through land ports of entry.


May 14, 2020

Electronic Form I-20 Issuance SEVP FAQ

5. Has SEVP worked with both the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in developing the policy to accept the use of electronic signatures during the COVID-19 emergency?

A. SEVP coordinated with both the Department of State and CBP regarding the policy to allow electronic issuance and signing of Forms I-20 for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Both agencies are in support of this action. SEVP continues to respond to any issues raised or questions from both agencies about this policy and will provide clarity as needed.


April 27, 2020

The U.S. Department of State is accepting an a printout of an electronic version of a Form I-20 as long as emergency SEVP guidance remains in place.

April 23, 2020 Email Exchange with DOS. An official from the Department of State Visa Office confirmed in an April 23, 2020 email exchange with NAFSA that consular officers at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide will accept for the purpose of adjudicating an F or M visa application a printout of an electronic version of a Form I-20 prepared and sent pursuant to ICE/SEVP's Electronic Form I-20 Issuance Guidance, as long as that guidance is in place. NAFSA also asked DOS to post this on the Department of State website or otherwise officially communicate it.


April 23, 2020

On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation that suspends entry for 60 days of certain new immigrants who do not already have an approved immigrant visa. The proclamation does not currently impact applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence, or nonimmigrants (such as students, exchange visitors, H-1B workers, visitors for business or pleasure, etc.).  Read the Proclamation


 

April 13, 2020

Read the SEVP COVID-19 Update from April 6, 2020

On-Campus Employment. Many students' on-campus employment opportunities are now being conducted remotely while campuses are closed or students are able to perform their work duties from home. Can F students engage in remote work for on-campus employment? A. If the current on-campus employment opportunity has transitioned to remote work or the employment can be done through remote means, students may continue to engage in on-campus employment remotely. Schools should be able to explain how the students are providing services associated with the employment while not at the location of the employer."

Unemployment. Can F and M students who were previously employed and are now unemployed due to COVID-19 apply for unemployment benefits? A. Students who are unemployed due to COVID-19 should contact their local or state employment agency for more information. NY State


March 31, 2020

On March 27, 2020, SEVP updated its COVID-19 FAQ with a "status quo" update on this question: "Due to COVID-19, what is SEVP’s advice to students who want to apply for OPT? Is there any chance that students would be able to apply for post-completion OPT from outside the United States?" "DHS is evaluating these issues and may issue additional guidance. USCIS adjudicates OPT employment authorization and status requests for F and M students and has yet to issue official guidance on these issues. SEVP continuously shares these stakeholders’ concerns with our partners at USCIS to assist them in their deliberations." The FAQ update also includes a variety of other added questions and responses.


March 25, 2020

President Berman announced that virtual learning for our graduate and undergraduate programs will continue for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Yeshiva University COVID-19 Updates


 

March 24, 2020

Dear members of the Yeshiva University international community,

Over the past several weeks our world has changed, but the fundamental values shared by the Yeshiva University community are stronger than ever. While many of us may have temporarily dispersed to different parts of the world, YU remains a united community.

The following addresses continuity of service followed by a COVID-19 resource list tailored to the YU international community.

Advising

The OISS staff including myself, Tia Younginger, Lizeth Bruce and Betty Kam are working remotely.  Advising will be provided by phone or computer. In order to make an appointment send an email to oiss@yu.edu.
     -  In the subject line write: appointment request for (write the topic)
     -  Make sure to write your legal first and last name in the body of the email so we can easily find your record.

Travel

At this time, there is some discussion at DHS about waiving the required travel signature for Active students returning to the U.S. to resume their on-campus education next term. However, at this time the waiver is not approved and the need for a signature stands. If you must depart urgently, considering the rapid developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, please proceed with your plans for your departure. If you need a travel signature consider purchasing a shipping label through Eship Global if it will ease your concern.

While not mandatory, we request that all students and research scholars in F or J status complete the OISS Travel Registry This will help us keep in touch.

OPT Application Review and Preparation

Effectively immediately and until further notice, all OPT and STEM Extension applications must be filed remotely. You will find instructions and access to the appropriate application for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or STEM Extension on our website.

Shift to Distance Learning

We want to assure you that we do not anticipate any negative impact on your immigration status due to the shift to a distance learning model recently mandated by the University.  SEVP Memo

Implications and Risks if You Choose to Leave the U.S.

Should you decide to leave New York to return to your home country and plan to return to New York when in person instruction resumes, please be aware of the following implications and risks:

  • There are, and might be further, bans for reentry into the U.S. for all non-immigrants.
  • Your plan to return to the U.S. could be significantly delayed if you need to renew your visa as result of long delays in getting visa appointments at various U.S. consulates.
  • You may risk losing your current active SEVIS record status if you are unable to return for the Fall 2020 term.
  • In order to be eligible for CPT and OPT:
    • You must be lawfully enrolled for two consecutive terms.
    • As of 3/24/2020, it is unclear whether DHS will allow students to submit an OPT application abroad. However, current regulations and processes maintain that an F-1 student must be present in the U.S. upon the submission of their OPT/STEM Extension application.
    • If you are completing your program in May 2020, and you are considering leaving the U.S., we strongly recommend that you apply for your OPT and submit your application to USCIS while in the U.S. before you leave.
  • If you do leave the U.S. and successfully re-enter the country, you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days and you may not be permitted to come back to classes until after the 14 days of quarantine expires. Please keep your academic advisor or program director and the OISS informed of your travel plans.
  • Complete the OISS Travel Registry and update it as needed should your plans change.
  • For all YU housing-related inquiries, please contact the appropriate residence life office at Wilf or Beren.

Lastly, there have been some wild immigration rumors circulating.  Below is compilation of reliable, up to date websites where you can go for information.

Stay well,

Jennifer Golden, Director
Office of International Services
Yeshiva University

 


OISS Travel Registry


COVID-19 RESOURCES

NAFSA COVID-19 Summary
The is a compilation of most all information pertaining to the international community.  Start here for daily updates.

New York State COVID-19 Information and Instructions

New Jersey State COVID-19 Information and Instructions

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

J Exchange Visitor Program Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
DOS ECA Exchange Visitor Program has posted a COVID-19 page that links to the latest guidance for Exchange Visitor Program sponsors and participants, and includes a Frequently Asked Questions section as well.

U.S. Department of State: Travel and visa application updates

U.S. Department of Labor FAQ

DHS announces flexibility in requirements related to Form I-9 compliance

Yeshiva University COVID-19 Updates

Yeshiva University COVID-19 General FAQ