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U.S. Immigration News

Check this page often for information and updates about U.S. federal immigration policy that may affect international students and scholars on F-1 and J-1 visas.


new update November 1, 2021

End of Pandemic 'Travel Bans' / New Vaccination Requirement for Travel into the US

On October 25, President Biden announced a Presidential Proclamation titled “A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”  This proclamation, which takes effect at 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time on November 8, 2021, will end the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations (P.P.) 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199 as they relate to the suspension of entry into the United States of persons physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.  In place of these restrictions, the President announced a global vaccination requirement for all adult foreign national travelers.   This proclamation applies to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departs after 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on November 8, 2021. Please click here for more information.


May 3, 2021

Update to National Interest Exceptions

The U.S. Secretary of State has now updated the National Interest Exception (NIE) page to expand certain NIE eligibilities to all countries subject to a geographic travel ban, including India. Students and scholars with a valid F-1 or J-1 visa who are traveling from one of the countries impacted by the geographic travel bans are eligible for a National Interest Exception, which will allow for these individuals to enter the U.S. if their program will begin or continue on August 1, 2021 or later. Please click here for more information.


April 30, 2021

National Interest Exceptions

During the week of April 26-30, the U.S. Secretary of State made updates to National Interest Exceptions for individuals subject to the three COVID-19 related presidential proclamations limiting travel to the United States by individuals who were physically present in a covered country during the 14-day period prior to their planned entry or attempted entry to the United States. Click here for more information.


new update April 26, 2021

March 2020 Guidance Continues for 2021-2022

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed the continuation of the March 2020 COVID-19 guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year. Click here for more details.


March 12, 2021

Secretary Mayorkas Designates Myanmar for Temporary Protected Status

On March 12, 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas designated Myanmar for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.  Click here to read more.

january 21, 2021

President Biden Revokes Travel Bans 4.0 and 3.0

On January 20th, President Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation revoking Travel Bans 4.0 and 3.0 which restricted travel from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, North Korea, and Tanzania. Click here to read more.

December 3, 2020

Updates on WashTech Litigation Against OPT

The case Washington Alliance of Technology Workers Union v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“WashTech”) was filed in 2016. The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers Union filed this lawsuit against The U.S. Department of Homeland Security claiming that DHS did not have the proper authority to enact and implement the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, as well as DHS’s 2016 rule to allow for STEM OPT Extensions. The plaintiffs (WashTech) asked the court to deem the OPT program, and the STEM OPT Extension, unlawful for F-1 students.

On November 30, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment in favor of DHS’s 2016 STEM OPT program rule, thereby upholding DHS’s legal statutory authority over the OPT program and DHS’s 2016 rule to allow for a STEM OPT Extension.

Next steps in this process: The court will issue a final judgement, which is expected to go against WashTech and rule in favor of DHS. At that point WashTech could choose to appeal the decision by filing a notice of appeal, which must be done within 60 days of the issuance of the final judgement. 

For now, this is good news for F-1 students who would like to pursue OPT. Further information on this case can be found on NAFSA’s webpage which highlights the litigation, and also Forbes has an article on the recent ruling from the courts. 

ISSS will continue to do update our U.S. Immigration News webpage about U.S. federal immigration policies that may affect international students. If you have questions or concerns on this please contact ISSS.  

September 22, 2020

New Executive Order Attempts to Ban WeChat

President Trump signed an Executive Order on August 6, 2020 to impose restrictions on WeChat and Tik Tok starting midnight on September 20. These actions would prevent consumers located in the U.S. from downloading or updating WeChat, or use it to send or receive money. However, a U.S. Federal Judge in California issued a preliminary injunction which temporarily blocks the U.S. Government’s ban of WeChat. Judge Laurel Beeler said that she has granted the motion because the plaintiffs, WeChat User Alliance, raised serious questions about whether the order would threaten users’ First Amendment rights, as stated in the U.S. Constitution. There is now a nationwide injunction against the implementation of the Executive Order. This means that you may continue to download, update, and use WeChat while in the United States. A letter was sent to impacted students on Monday, September 21st and more information can be found here


JULY 13, 2020

Updates: Fall 2020 SEVP Guidance

We understand that the new guidance and directives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued on July 6, 2020, has caused much anxiety for many of you. We share your frustrations and concerns and are making continued efforts to support you in every way that we can. We would like to share what actions ISSS and the University of Utah are currently taking to advocate for our international students: click here for more information and updates on what the University of Utah is doing to join the national effort to support international students and how you can join these advocacy efforts as well.

July 6, 2020

Fall 2020 SEVP Guidance

We understand that the SEVP-COVID-19 Guidance for Fall 2020 has come out and that international students have many questions regarding enrollment and online courses. Please rest assured that ISSS is currently reviewing these guidelines and the impact it will have on our students for the Fall semester. ISSS is compiling all relevant information and will update our website and notify students by e-mail as soon as possible.   

JUNE 22, 2020

President Trump signs new Presidential Proclomation

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a new Presidential Proclamation that suspends the issuance of certain visas by consulates outside of the United States for certain work visa types from June 24, 2020 until December 31, 2020. Click here for more information.

June 2, 2020

President Trump signs new Executive Order

On May 29, 2020, President Trump signed a new Executive Order titled, “Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China.” The language in the President’s new Executive Order states that he is suspending entry of Chinese citizens into the U.S. pursuant to F or J visas for students and scholars who are seeking to study or conduct research at the graduate level, only if the individual either currently or in the past: receives funding from; is employed by; studies at; or conducts research for an entity in China that implements or supports the People’s Republic of China’s “military-civil fusion” strategy. The Proclamation will become effective June 1, 2020, at 12:00 PM EDT and will remain in effect until terminated by the President. Please click here for more information.

April 1, 2020

2020 Census Information

2020 is a census year. This means that the United States Census Bureau (a division of the Federal Government) is running a census to try to get an accurate number of the population of the United States. You should have received emails, notices in the mail, or other notifications to report your residence and the number of people who live in your household on the Census.  International students and scholars are also required to provide this information. Please click here for more information about the 2020 Census process.

march 12, 2020

COVID-19 FAQ for International Students & Scholars

  • Please click here for information and answers to frequently asked questions about the University of Utah's recent response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how these changes may affect your status as an international student or scholar.
  • This FAQ webpage is being updated regularly, and we encourage you to check it frequently for important updates. Please note that this information is constantly evolving and we do not have all the answers at this time. 

February 3, 2020

Coronavirus Central @TheU

The University of Utah has put together a coronavirus working group to track the risk of this disease to our campus community. The group is working in concert with the Salt Lake County Health Department and the Utah Department of Health to make plans on how to respond if and when coronavirus is detected in Utah. To date, the virus has not been confirmed in Utah. For more information about key points and frequently asked questions, please see Coronavirus Central @TheU.

January 31, 2020

Information on "2019 novel Coronavirus"

Cold and flu viruses are very common at this time of the year. However, if you, or someone close to you, has recently traveled to the Chinese city of Wuhan, please take extra care to ensure that you are not sick. If you have any symptoms similar to a cold or the flu, please contact your medical provider and let them know that you may have been exposed to the coronavirus. As you have likely seen on the news, this new virus originated in Wuhan but has been spreading to other countries. At this time, very few cases have been reported in the United States, but we want to ensure that the virus remains contained. Click here to read more.

 JUNE 21, 2019

Increases to the I-901 Fee

On May 23, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule to adjust the fees charged to international students, exchange visitors, and Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified (SEVP) schools. At 12 a.m. EDT on June 24, 2019, all students will be required to pay the new and increased fees.  Click here to read more.

OCTOBER 16, 2018

Change in Policy on "Notice to Appear"

On October 1, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began implementing a new policy on Notices to Appear (NTA). An NTA is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge on a specific date. This may lead to deportation or other types of removal from the United States. Beginning October 1, 2018, USCIS will issue NTAs when certain immigration applications are denied and the applicant has no other underlying legal status in the United States. Click here to read more.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

USCIS Policy Update: RFEs and NOIDs

On September 11, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) enacted Policy Memorandum 602-0163, which addresses how adjudicators handle applications, petitions, and requests. The new policy gives adjudicators more discretion in when to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) and/or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). Click here to read more.

AUGUST 31, 2018


Government Processing Delays - General Advisory

The ISSS office recommends that all students allow for additional processing time when submitting immigration related requests to USCIS or other U.S. agencies. We have observed  long processing times and delays in approvals  with regards to visa applications, OPT and STEM OPT requests, and change of status applications.  Please note these delays pertain to requests adjudicated by government offices, such as USCIS, embassies, and consulates. Processing times for requests submitted to the ISSS office remain the same. Click here to read more.

 AUGUST 22, 2018

Unlawful Presence Announcement

Effective August 9, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has put into place a major change in policy regarding unlawful presence for F, J, or M visa holders and their dependents. DHS will begin to track “unlawful presence” for F, J or M visa holders who have violated their status. Those who accrue unlawful presence can be subject to “bars,” or restrictions on returning to the U.S., for three years, ten years, or even permanentlyClick here to read more.

JUNE 26, 2018

Information on Recent Executive Order

As of June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court has upheld the most recent Executive order/Presidential Proclamation regarding restricted travel from certain countries. The following countries continue to be impacted: Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela. For details on the current travel situation, click here to read more.   


Last Updated: 3/22/23