Updates on Immigration Policy Changes

Unlawful Presence and F, J and M Nonimmigrants

On May 3, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that temporarily prevents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from enforcing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) August 8, 2018 policy memo that sought to change how days of unlawful presence are counted following a violation of F, M, or J nonimmigrant status.

For more detailed information, please refer to NAFSA's summary of the Unlawful Presence policy.

Travel Ban 3.0

On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court announced that it upheld The Presidential Proclamation 9645, which provides country-specific entry restrictions for citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. As of June 26, 2018, this Proclamation and travel restrictions remain in effect indefinitely.

What does this mean and who is impacted?

The Proclamation cites country-specific entry restrictions for nationals of the different impacted countries. Individuals from all impacted countries should expect increased scrutiny and screening no matter which visa categories are suspended.

  • North Korea, Syria and Somalia- Entry is indefinitely suspended for all immigrant and non-immigrant visa categories.
  • Chad, Libya and Yemen- Entry in B-1, B-2 and B-1/B-2 visas and diversity/immigrant visas is suspended.
  • Iran- Entry in all non-immigrant categories is suspended– except F,M, and J exchange visitor visas. F,M, and J visa exchange visitors will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements. Entry for diversity/immigrant visas is also suspended.
  • Venezuela- All Venezuelan nationals who are visa holders may face increased screening and scrutiny. Entry is specifically suspended only for B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas for officials of the following government agencies Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Immigration; the Corps of Scientific Investigations, Judicial and Criminal; the Bolivarian Intelligence Service; and the People’s Power Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and their immediate family members.

Are visas revoked for individuals from the 8 designated countries? The order does NOT revoke existing visas for nationals or citizens of the designated countries.

Are there impacts for individuals from all countries?

ISSS recommends minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration’s policies on visas and U.S. entry.

  • Increased screenings and potential travel delays- The Proclamation specifically indicates increased scrutiny for Iraqi citizens or nationals. Due to the P.P’s call for increased scrutiny at the Port of Entry and at consulates and embassies abroad, all travelers, immigrant and non-immigrant should expect increased travel delays when applying for a new U.S. visa or when entering the U.S.
  • Future changes in visa Issuance for additional countries- Provisions of the Proclamation order call for ongoing review of U.S. visa issuance procedures for all countries. These continuing revisions and reviews may result in countries being continued on, added to or removed from the visa/entry suspension list, changes in fees, or visa lengths.

For more detailed information, please refer to NAFSA’s website devoted to this topic.

Please know that all of us at ISSS understand that these changes can be stressful. However, we reassure you that we are here to provide you with guidance and support and will inform you with updates through email and on our website. In the meantime, please contact our office if we can be of any assistance.