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Federal immigration policies and their impact

July 14, 2020

The University of Washington is very concerned about recent federal proclamations and proposed policies relating to immigration. President Cauce has sharply criticized these actions and reaffirmed our support for UW international students, scholars and faculty. 

We are preparing for every possible scenario in terms of public health and immigration policy. These efforts are led by the UW teams: Academic Personnel, Federal Relations, Global Affairs, Graduate School, International Student Services (ISS), CIRCLE, and Research.

Overview of recent proclamations and proposed policies

Federal Immigration Policies

  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has rescinded the order that would have required international students to take in-person courses in order to maintain their visa status and stay in the U.S.
  • The UW will continue to monitor this situation closely in recognition that today’s victory is no guarantee against future policies that threaten our international student community.
  • This proposed policy modifications from the SEVP only applies to F1 visa holders. 
  • The UW is planning for a hybrid education model of education for autumn quarter that includes remote and in-person course offerings. We will meet the August 1 federal deadline to certify that in-person offerings will be available. 
  • We are exploring options to safely expand degree-relevant in-person offerings in order to meet the needs of our international students. 
  • Our hybrid education model is predicated on the UW’s Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses being in Phase 3 of the COVID-19 recovery, in accordance with Washington’s Safe Start plan.
  • We recognize the possibility that King and Pierce counties may not reach the threshold for entry to Phase 3 by the start of autumn quarter. We are partnering with county and state agencies to consider options to safely provide some in-person instruction even if the counties in which our campuses are located are not in Phase 3. 
  • We are working to identify the international students who will be most impacted by this policy and provide options that will meet your specific needs.

  • This is an extension of Proclamation 10014 from April 2020.
  • It is our understanding that this proclamation will not impact new entries/visas of F and J visa students enrolling in degree programs.
  • We do not expect that it will impact J visa researchers, professors, short term scholars, physicians or specialists.
  • The proclamation prohibits entry by trainees and interns. It could impact students, scholars and researchers planning to enter the U.S. with a J visa to participate in research or internships without enrolling in a degree program.
  • It also affects new visa applicants coming from abroad in an H visa category (employment). This could impact UW employees.
  • No entry from abroad on an immigrant visa will be permitted through the end of 2020. This suspension should not affect applications for U.S. permanent residence (also called “adjustments of status”) inside the U.S.
  • Even students and employees who are technically unaffected by this proclamation may still experience difficulty returning to the U.S. due to the ongoing suspension of visa processing at U.S. consulates abroad and/or various country- and region-specific travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Full text of the proclamation
  • Additional summary from NAFSA: Association of International Educators

    • UW students or scholars with current or previous affiliation to Chinese institutions identified as high risk by the U.S. Department of State could be denied entry to the U.S. or flagged for additional screening as part of their application for an F or J visa.
    • No information has thus far been provided about which institutions are or will be deemed high risk, or how this determination will be made.
    • It is our understanding that the determination will be made at the consulate/embassy level when an individual applies for a visa, and therefore institutions will not need to consider, review, or attempt to determine who meets the unknown criteria for this category.
    • It is expected that these decisions will impact new visa applications only. However, the proclamation may provide additional discretion to cancel/revoke visas already issued for students in the U.S.
    • Additional summary from NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Our commitment to the UW community

  • The UW is committed to continuing our mission as a global university and to supporting all members of our community, no matter where they call home. 
  • We will continue to admit and welcome international students and scholars, and we will use the resources at our disposal to support our community members in obtaining appropriate and necessary documentation to enter the country and study on our campus.

Next steps

  • We will update the UW community as more information becomes available. 
  • International students and scholars should remain in open communication with us. 
  • Please share any official written or email communications received from the U.S. Department of State or Department of Homeland Security relating to this matter with the UW Office of Global Affairs at AND International Student Services or Office of Academic Personnel. This will allow us to monitor trends and understand the implementation of this proclamation so that we can better assist and advocate on behalf of our community members.

Additional notices and information

Accessible Accordion

The Trump administration has added additional countries to the “travel ban” (Proclamation 9645) enacted in 2017. The six new countries affected include: Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, and Kyrgyzstan. The total number of countries on the restricted travel list now stands at 13.

On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling which upholds the third version of President Trump’s “travel ban” (Proclamation 9645).

The provisions of the “travel ban” are in full effect. It imposes restrictions on the issuance of visas to, and travel to the U.S. by, citizens of Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Venezuela, and North Korea. It also states that nationals of Iraq who seek to enter the U.S. will be subject to additional scrutiny. Additional information is available here.

This order makes some allowances for the issuance of visas for students and researchers from some of the listed countries. However, travelers from all of the listed countries will likely encounter enhanced screening and vetting by U.S. Customs and Border Protection when entering the U.S.

We encourage visa holders from affected countries to plan ahead carefully if traveling outside the U.S., as U.S. Customs and Border Protection may hold you for additional screening and/or deny re-entry upon your return. It is essential that you bring appropriate documentation, and you should adjust your plans to allow extra transit time.

This will impact the UW community as we engage in study, research and other University activities abroad. However, we remain dedicated to our mission as a global university and to all members of our community, no matter where they call home. President Cauce is committed to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of our community.