On June 26, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the case of Trump v Hawaii, which sought to contest the most recent iteration of the administration’s travel ban on certain countries. The 5-4 Supreme Court decision ruled in favor of the current policy on the grounds that the President of the United States has the authority to enact such a policy. This Supreme Court ruling does not change or amend the current policy that has been in existence since September, 2017.
The following general guidance is issued for students and scholars from the affected countries currently on UMass F (student) or J (student or scholar) visa sponsorship. IPO will also be contacting all affected international members of our community on visa sponsorship with specific, targeted advice.
In the most recent and currently enforced travel regulation, citizens from the following countries have these particular limitations:
• Iran: No nonimmigrant visas except F and 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.
It is particularly important to reiterate that travel remains restricted for Iranian citizens except for current holders, or applicants, of F, M and J visas (see above). Existing F and J visas for Iranian citizens remain valid and travel is not banned for holders of valid F and J visas. Current Iranians students or exchange visitors may apply for F and J visa renewals at US consulate abroad if necessary.
UMass Amherst continues to advise that those in our community who are citizens from the aforementioned countries to consider carefully the risks of any personal and professional international travel at this time.
Because everyone’s situation at UMass is different, we recommend that if you have any upcoming international travel plans, and you are a citizen of one of the aforementioned countries, please contact Ken Reade of the International Programs Office (IPO) at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your travel options. The IPO can provide you with additional information and a thorough review of your UMass-sponsored immigration status, as well as advising services for those affected.
If your upcoming plans involve domestic U.S. travel, and you are a citizen from one of the aforementioned countries, there are absolutely no restrictions or limitations on domestic U.S. travel, though it is always prudent to carry your passport and all other UMass-sponsored immigration documents, especially for air, train, bus and sea transportation.
Finally, with this latest Supreme Court ruling, it is important to reiterate that there are currently no new changes that impact existing immigration benefits for citizens of any country. Examples of such U.S. immigration benefits include applications for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training (J-1 AT), or applications to change to any other immigration status from within the United States.