The ISSO provides information about immigration policy updates and what it means to our foreign students and scholars.
Finding an Immigration Lawyer
Helpful hints and resources for finding an immigration lawyer/attorney
Helpful hints and resources for finding an immigration lawyer/attorney
CARRY YOUR IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS AT ALL TIMES. For F-1 students take your original I-20, a copy of your passport, your student ID and your I-94 print off with you. For all other non-citizens, if available, please carry proof of your legal status in the U.S. such as Legal Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), I-797 approval receipt notice, Employment Authorization Document (EAD card), etc. Keep your original passport in a safe place.
On 11/1/19, pending lawsuit challending TPS cancellation, DHS secretary extends TPS for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan to Jan 4, 2021. USCIS information.
OPT processing taking longer than before.
USCIS Processing times - Form I-765 --> Potomac Service Center
Inside Higher Education - Foreign Students Face Delays in Work Authorizations
New York Times - Visa Delays at Backlogged Immigration Service Strand International Students
SEVIS Fee will increae to $350 for J-1 students and $220 for J-1 exchange visitors on June 24. Study in the States announcement.
Effective 5/3/19, nation-wide injunction prevents enforcement of unlawful presence rule. Original 8/9/18. USCIS begins counting unlawful presence for those in F, J and M status. Unlawful presence will now begin from the time that a student is terminated or grace period finishes. USCIS Notice.
Attention change of status and reinstatement applicants. New version of I-539 will be published on the USCIS website on March 8. All applicants must use new form. Old version of the form will not be accepted. New biometric requirement for all applicants. USCIS notice
DHS has posted new rule instituting a reverse selection order for those with master's degree or higher from U.S. This new ruling will affect Fiscal Year 2020 filing. April 1 & later filing date with October 1st or later starting date. USCIS Notice
USCIS now accepting premium processing requests for fiscal year 2019 H-1B applications (October 2018-September 2019).
After 9/18/18 USCIS will only accept I-765 form with edition date of 5/18/2018. Applications with old versions will be rejected.
Change of Status, OPT applications and other applications that are denied by USCIS could lead to applicants receiving an NTA (Notice to Appear) in immigration court. USCIS Notice
Travel Ban 3.0 now in effect for Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia Additional information about the ban is available at NAFSA.
Students and faculty who are citizens of the affected countries or dual citizens of one of the affected countries and a country not on the list should seek legal advice before making a decision about traveling outside the United States.
On December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) stayed the preliminary injunctions issued by U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland that had partially blocked travel ban 3.0 for citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who could demonstrate they had a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. The SCOTUS decision allows the government to fully enforce Travel Ban 3.0 on all 8 countries within the original scope of Proclamation 9645 while appeals are pending. It also means that for now, whether a citizen of one of the 8 countries has a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States is no longer relevant in determining if he or she is subject to the travel ban. (from NAFSA)
On 10/17/2017 U.S. District Court of Hawai'i issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)(PDF) barring enforcement of the travel ban on citizens from Chad, Ira, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. North Korea and Venezuela (specific citizens) are not included in the TRO.
On 10/17/2017 U.S. District Court of Maryland issued a Preliminary Injunction of the travel ban.
The countries subject to the Proclamation are:
5 countries from the original EO are still on the list and three new countires have been. Each country has it's own specific exemptions, exceptions and waivers. Please read the White House FAQ, DHS Fact Sheet and Department fo State Travel Alert for more information about each country's requirements.
This executive order does not affection the immigration status of those who have already entered the U.S. Change to immigration and other U.S. law takes time. The ISSO will be closely developments will let students know of upcoming changes.
Executive orders such as the one recently issued on January 27, can be signed by the U.S. president at any time. We will let students know through our website, email, etc. of any sudden changes. Please be sure to read emails sent by the ISSO.
At this time of immigration uncertainty, we recommend that noncitizen and non-permanent resident students and others carefully consider travel outside the United States. If you need to travel and/or renew your visa, please meet with an ISSO advisor to any issues or questions you may have.
At this time of immigration uncertainty, we recommend that non-citizen and non-permanent resident students and others carefully consider travel outside the U.S. If you need to travel and/or renew your visa, please meet with an ISSO advisor to review any issues or questions you may have.
While there have been many rumors and some possible new proposed legislation, at this time, nothing has changed. We encourage students and employers to apply/file on time for immigration benefits. We will update students if there are any changes.
Visit the ISSO with any immigration concerns or questions you may have. For more difficult questions that our advisors cannot answer, we can and will refer you to an immigration attorney. Our advisors have all lived abroad and understand the pressure of maintaining your legal status in another country.
Our Counseling Center is ready to assist. TU students can access resources through the TU Counseling Center, including individual confidential counseling appointments, groups, self-help tools, and more. TU employees and Visiting Scholars should also contact the Counseling Center or the ISSO.
If you have witnessed or experienced intimidation, harassment, or violence against individuals and targeted groups you can file a Hate Crimes & Bias Incident Report Form. with the Office of Inclusion or Campus Police These crimes are taken very seriously by Towson. #NotatTU “Hate has no place on our campus”.
It is important to maintain your F-1 status or other status that you currently hold in the U.S. We strongly recommend that you not break any federal (US), state (Maryland, Virginia, etc) or local (Baltimore City and County, etc) laws. Even being accused may have repercussions.
Many people across the U.S. are participating in demonstrations on university campuses and other locations. Please be aware that being arrested and/or convicted for any crime that involves violence, drugs, or alcohol can have very serious and long-lasting impacts on current and future immigration status. While some states now permit the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana, it is still an illegal controlled substance at the federal level. Moreover, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs can result in fines, jail time, visa cancellation, or deportation.
If you are arrested or have any legal concerns, please contact ISSO immediately. Do not sign anything until you are able to speak with a lawyer. We urge you to seek advice from a qualified immigration attorney.
SCOTUS states that those with "a credible claim of bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States", are exempt from the 90-day ban:
Department of State frequently asked questions (FAQs) on implementation of EO 13780 after SCOTUS ruling.
Department of Homeland Security frequently asked questions (FAQs) on implementation of EO 13780 after SCOTUS ruling.
Temporary restraining order (valid for only 14 days) now converted to preliminary injunction which continues to block enforcement of 90 day entry bar and 120 day refugee entry bar.
Temporary order from Maryland and Hawaii still overrides ruling and TRO is still in affect.
injunction affects 90-day entry bar only.
TRO affects 90-day entry bar and 120-day refugee entry. Other parts of EO are still intact.
The new Executive Order is effective for 90 days starting on March 16, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. eastern time (10 days after the Executive Order was signed). This calculates until June 13 or 14, 2017, depending on whether you count the first and last days of the 90-day period.
The new Executive Order affects citizens of six of the seven countries that had been selected in the prior 90-day bar. Iraq has been removed from the list of countries in the new executive order.
An Executive Order FAQ states,
"Per the Executive Order, foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, who are outside the United States and who did not have a valid visa at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 27, 2017, and do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order are not eligible to enter the United States while the temporary suspension remains in effect. Thus any individual who had a valid visa either on January 27, 2017 (prior to 5:00 PM) or holds a valid visa on the effective date of the Executive Order is not barred from entry."
The new Executive Order entry bar does NOT apply to the following individuals who are citizens of one of the 6 countries:
Individuals who are citizens of one of the 6 countries who do not fall within one of the above-listed exceptions, would be subject to the new entry bar.
Temporary Restraining Order issued by U.S. District Court. Those with valid visas may enter the U.S. and refugees will also be allowed to enter. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been ordered to process entry for citizens from the seven affected countries with valid visas; United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue processing applications submitted to the office. The restraining order did not cover other sections of the order pertaining to required visa interviews for certain groups and requirements for foreign governments to provide information to DHS.
Summary of 01/27/2017 Executive Order President Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order temporarily bans entry into the United States of foreign nationals from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen, including those with valid visas or green cards (lawful permanent residents). Its key provisions include the following:
The January 27, 2017 Executive Order has no direct impact on citizens of those countries who are currently in the United States and do not plan to travel outside the country. But those who do plan to leave the United States may face one of the following scenarios:
Department of Homeland Security issues statement that the "entry of lawful permanent residents [is] in the national interest"
President Schatzel's statement reaffirms Towson University's commitment to a welcoming and diverse campus community.
On Friday January 27, 2017, President Trump announced new restrictions on immigration to the United States by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Executive Order has been both confusing and disturbing and created much concern for our students and the TU community.
Students should know that the International Student and Scholar Office (ISSO) is committed to embracing and serving all members of our community, ...(Read More (PDF))
USCIS posted a reminder about OPT automatic termination when students transfer or begin a new educational level. USCIS Notice.
On 05/18/18, SEVP sent a message to all students on OPT about Volunteering during OPT and about the 90 day unemployment rule.
USCIS will be phasing in the use of USPS secure mail delivery to send Permanent Resident cards, EAD (Employment Authorization) cards and travel Documents. Applicants will need to present photo ID to receive cards.. USCIS Notice.
USCIS is taking amore severe interpretation of STEM OPT employer-employee relationship and third party placements. Students completing I-983 should review new requirements. USCIS Notice.
USCIS announced on 4/2/18 that all Permanent Resident cards, EAD (Employment Authorization) cards and travel Documents returned to USCIS for being undeliverable will be destroyed in 60 business days. USCIS notice.
Students on OPT and STEM OPT may now update some of their employment and contact information online through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Portal. Towson students on OPT and STEM OPT will receive an email with additional information. SEVP has created a help center to assistant students. The Portal will go live on Friday March 23.
Special Student Relief for F-1 students from Syria has been extended to September 30, 2019. DHS announcement
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) information about applying for DACA.
Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew DACA. DACA operate on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017
DHS has issued an memorandum rescinding (canceling) DACA. Please read the memorandum for more information about those currently on DACA and those with applications pending.
|-Those whose DACA permits expire by March 5, 2018, may apply for two-year DACA extensions if they apply for the extension by October 5, 2017|
|-Those whose DACA permits expire on and after March 6, 2018 will not be eligible to file DACA extension applications.|
|-DHS will continue to adjudicate DACA extension applications properly filed and received by USCIS on and before September5, 2017, even if the current DACA approval of the applicant expires after March 5, 2018.|
Bi-partisan Dream Act of 2017 introduced to Senate on July 20. 2017.
S. 1615: Dream Act of 2017 - Section by Section by American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 06/15/2017 memorandum rescinds 11/20/14 memorandum that would have expanded work authorization for DACA recipients from two to three years. Current policy of two-year Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is still in effect.
BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act- bipartisan bill introduced to the Senate. Proposed Act would prevent the removal of DACA recipients and continue employment authorization. Still pending. AILA layperson description of BRIDGE.
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) website includes detailed information about the history, criteria and government updates about DACA.
USCIS will only accept I-765 form with edition date of 7/17/2017. Applications with old versions will be rejected.
Department of Homeland Security has updated the list of information that can appear in an immigrant and nonimmigrant's immigration file. Public has until 10/18/2017 to comment on this change.
Internal Revenue Service tax fraud continue this year. Scammers identify themselves as IRS agents and may have some of your personal information. The caller ID may look like the IRS. Please read IRS fraud notice.
The Maryland Attorney General's Office has provided the following guidance regarding
state and local law enforcement officers' interactions with federal immigration authorities.
Press Release (PDF)
Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Law: Legal Guidance for Maryland State and Local Law Enforcement Officials (PDF)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a immigration fraud alert (PDF). Scammers have identified themselves as “U.S. Immigration” employees and have altered their caller ID to seem like the call is coming from the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) hotline (1-800-323-8603).
USCIS implemented new fees for many services. Also published were updated forms. Services that increased include Optional Practical Training authorization (Form I-765) and Reinstatement and Change of Status (Form I-539). Please make sure to submit the correct fee and the most up to date form.
Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador TPS still in effect injunction to end still in effect. On 3/1/19 DHS auto-extended these countries TPS EAD cards to Jan 2, 2020.
On 5/10/19,USCIS issued a notice extending the validity ofTPS EAD cards for recipients from Nepal to 03/24/2020. New cards will not issued. This notice will remain in place pending the resolution of current TPS lawsuits, DHS has extended validity period for Nepal EAD card to 03/24/2020. USCIS Notice.
US District Court of Northern California halts DHS from terminating TPS. USCIS Notice
Nepal TPS still set to expire in June 2019.
DHS has terminated TPS designation for Honduras. End date will be 01/05/2020. Current Honduran TPS holders should prepare to adjust to a new immigration status or prepare documents to return home. Full DHS notice.
DHS has terminated TPS designation for Nepal. End date will be 06/24/2019. Current Nepali TPS holders should prepare to adjust to a new immigration status, if eligible return to previous status (e.g. F-1) or prepare documents to return home. Full DHS notice.
DHS has terminated TPS designation for Haiti. End date will be 7/22/2019. Current Haitian TPS holders should prepare to adjust to a new immigration status or prepare documents to return home. Full DHS notice.
DHS Delayed Effective date TPS will end officially on 1/5/2019. Current Nicaraguan TPS holders should prepare to adjust to a new immigration status or prepare documents to return home. Full DHS notice.
DHS has extended TPS for a limited six month period. DHS Secretary will review by end of 2017. Current Haitian TPS holders must re-register by July 24 and prepare to adjust to a new immigration status or prepare documents to return to Haiti. Full DHS notice. Register as soon as possible.
Visa processing not affected. USCIS services are operating as usual. E-verify system is not available.
DHS announced on October 26, 2016 that TPS for Nepal has been extended for 18 months. On December 27, 2016, Special Student Relief was also extended til June 2018. For more information about registering please visit the USCIS website.
Students on OPT who graduated with a degree in the STEM field are now eligible for 24 month STEM OPT extension. Apply for STEM.