Dear UMass International Community,
For the past week there has been tremendous uncertainty and disruption regarding the President’s January 27, 2017 Executive Action. As our Chancellor underscored a few days ago, UMass is absolutely committed to international education and the continued free flow of ideas, culture and people.
This message presents the International Program Office’s (IPO) most up to date understanding and guidance regarding the Executive Action on Immigration signed by the President on January 27, 2017. Information has been changing very rapidly, often every few hours, so for the most updated information on the UMass’s response to this Executive Action please continue to monitor the following website: https://www.umass.edu/federal-actions
The Executive Action most directly pertains to citizens (passport holders), nationals (country of birth) and dual nationals (one or more passports) from the following 7 countries:
Specific implications of the Executive Action for these 7 countries include:
A 90-day travel restriction on entering, or re-entering the United States
A 90-day suspension of all U.S. consular visa applications
- A 90-day suspension of any new or existing immigration applications for certain immigration benefits filed with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) including, but not limited to, Optional Practical Training (OPT), change of status applications, extension of status applications
If you are a national or dual-national of one of these seven countries under UMass immigration sponsorship, please contact the IPO before making any plans to travel outside of the United States (including travel to Mexico and Canada).
Clarifications and Updates:
On February 6, 2017 we can now confirm that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will proceed and not delay any/all immigration applications that have been- or will be- filed, including but not limited to Optional Practical Training (OPT), Change of Status, Extension of Status, etc.: https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-implementation-jan-27-executive-order
On February 4, 2017, a Federal judge in Washington State temporarily blocked the travel ban provisions of the Executive Action and visa holders from these 7 countries are once again, at least temporarily, permitted to enter the U.S. with a valid visa. The initial 7C travel ban is suspended.
Also on February 4, 2017, it was confirmed that the U.S. State Department has reversed its earlier “revocation” of all visas for citizens of the 7C for 90-days. This means that any visa (in a passport) belonging to one of the 7C remains valid through the remaining validity date indicated on the visa. To reiterate, as long as you have a valid I-20 form (F-1), a valid DS-2019 form (J-1) or continuing employment (H-1B), your immigration status remains valid and there is absolutely no disruption to your ability to study, work, etc. at UMass.
- On January 29, 2017 it was confirmed by the White House that nationals or dual-nationals of one of the 7 countries (7C) listed above who are Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) that currently hold Green have since been allowed to re-enter the United States and are no longer necessarily subject to the 90-day travel ban on a “case-by-case” basis. For anyone not directly sponsored by UMass for permanent residency, the IPO cannot legally advise you. The IPO is however able to connect you with trusted outside immigration counsel and other available resources. Please contact the IPO, we are very glad to help.
Other recent developments
Despite some media reports, at the time of this writing there are no additional countries besides the 7 who are subject to the President’s Executive Action.
- There have been other “leaked” or previews of other proposed Executive Action, but at this time, there are no existing or planned actions to change the regulations to Optional Practical Training (OPT) or H-1B visas.
Please try to refrain from relying on “information” that you might see or hear from unconfirmed sources on social media or other friends or family members. The IPO will remain UMass’ official source of information and guidance for any changes to immigration regulations or policies related to F-1, J-1, H-1B or permanent residency for those under UMass immigration sponsorship.
A copy of the text of the current Executive Order (parts of which are currently on hold because of court action) can be found on the White House’s official web site.
Information on how the Customs and Border Protection Agency is interpreting and implementing the order can be found on their website.
Another excellent resource regarding this event can be found at NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
Finally, please know that UMass has many outstanding resources on campus that are here to serve you, and are always available to you:
Student Legal Services Office
(413) 545-1995, 922 Campus Center
Office of Religious and Spiritual Life
(413) 545-9642, 416 Student Union
Center for Counseling and Psychological Health
(413) 545-2337, 127 Hills North 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
(413) 577-5000, After-Hours Medical & Mental Health Advice
Dean of Students Office
(413) 545-2684, 227 Whitmore Administration Building
Faculty and Staff Assistance Program
(413) 545-0350, Ground Floor, 202-205 Middlesex House
Updates will continue to be provided as further developments happen. Please do not hesitate to contact IPO for any questions or clarifications.
Kalpen Trivedi, Executive Director, IPO
Ken Reade, Director, International Student & Scholar Services, IPO