Immigration Updates, and FAQs

 

 

Immigration Updates and FAQs

 

 

As changes to immigration policy, visa processing, and travel restrictions continue to develop, UO acknowledges how particularly stressful the current environment of uncertainty must feel for our highly-valued international students, scholars, faculty, and staff. We know that the current state of immigration policy and ever-changing procedures related to COVID-19 may cause confusion, concern, and questions. Please know that we want you here as part of our community, and the Division of Global Engagement is here to do everything possible to help you overcome every obstacle to your academic success and have full membership in our community.

The most current updates are as follows:

  • Effective December 6, 2021, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new requirements for travel to the United States. International travelers will be required to have a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours of departure for the United States. The result can be from a PCR or antigen test. In addition to presenting a negative test result when boarding, travelers will be asked to complete a form attesting to their vaccination status. The CDC also now recommends that international travelers to the US be tested 3-5 days after traveling, and to isolate for 10 days if a positive test result is returned. Details about the new requirements can be found on the CDC page here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html.
     
  • Proclamation 10315 of November 26, 2021 suspends entry after recent presence in certain countries in southern Africa. Citing the appearance of the COVID Omicron variant, Presidential Proclamation 10315 of November 26, 2021Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019, provides:

"The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation."

The proclamation is effective on November 29, 2021, and operates in addition to the November 8, 2021 vaccination requirement. A November 28, 2021 CBP Carrier Liaison Program bulletin clarifies that: "Any National Interest Exception granted to a noncitizen under previous proclamations are void with respect the Proclamation of November 26, 2021."

  • Air Travel to the United States - Proof of COVID-19 Vaccine Required for All Air Passengers 
    Effective November 8, 2021, the U.S. will lift the four current geographic travel ban restrictions, and replace them with a global requirement that "noncitizens who are nonimmigrants" traveling to the United States by air from any part of the world establish that they are fully vaccinated, with some limited exceptions. 

  • Land Travel to the U.S. from Canada and Mexico
    Announced on October 12, 2021: between November 8, 2021 and early January, 2022 an unvaccinated student could still enter the United States through a land port of entry, as that purpose will continue to be recognized as "essential travel." Starting sometime in January, though, the "essential travel" exception at land POEs will lapse, and all nonimmigrants, including "Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions" and "Individuals traveling to work in the United States," will have to show proof of being fully vaccinated in order to enter the United States through a land POE.

  • Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test Required for All Air Passengers 
    Updated October 25, 2021, students traveling to the U.S. will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status) before you travel by air to the U.S. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight. If you are fully vaccinated, the viral test must be conducted no more than 3 days before the flight's departure from a foreign country if you show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not fully vaccinated, the viral test must be conducted no more than 1 day before the flight's departure from a foreign country if you do not show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
     
  • DOS Allowing Waiver of F, M, J Visa Interviews
    Effective immediately and to the end of 2021, the Department of State (DOS) will allow consular officers to waive the visa interview requirement for certain F, M, and academic J (students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists) visa applicants. Applicants whose visas may be waived are:
    • Applicants who were previously issued any type of visa, and who have never been refused a visa (unless such refusal was overcome or waived), and who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility; or
    • First-time F, M, and academic J visa applicants who are citizens or nationals of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), provided they have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility.

Note that the U.S. Secretary of State previously found F, M, and academic J visa applicants eligible for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs). New F or M visa applicants who are found to be qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel. J visa students and academics must contact their nearest embassy or consulate for an NIE ahead of traveling to the U.S.

  • USCIS No Longer Requiring Bridge Applications for F-1 Change of Status Applications 
    USCIS announced that it will no longer require persons applying to adjust status to that of F-1 to continuously apply for and maintain nonimmigrant status for up to 30 days before the program start listed on the Form I-20. USCIS will now only require that an applicant's nonimmigrant status be valid and expired at the time they submit their initial Form I-539 for change of status. For approvable change of status applications, USCIS will grant F-1 status to be effective on the date of approval. If such time is more than 30 days before the program start date listed on the Form I-20, the student must not engage in activities that may be considered a violation of F-1 status, such as engaging in unauthorized employment or attending classes.
  • U.S. State Department Announces Exemption to Pandemic-Related Travel Restrictions for International Students 
    On April 26, 2021, the Department of State updated its National Interest Exception (NIE) page to expand certain NIE eligibilities to all countries subject to a geographic COVID-19 entry ban. Students and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs, who are subject to pandemic-related travel restrictions due to their presence in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, and India, might now qualify for an NIE. Students and academics may qualify for an NIE only if their academic program begins August 1, 2021 or later.

    • F-1 Students
      • Students with valid F-1 visa intending to begin or continue an academic program, including OPT, starting August 1, 2021 or later do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to travel. They may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic program. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 visa should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel.
    • J-1 Students
      • Students and visiting scholars with a valid J-1 visa should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling, if they believe they may qualify for a National Interest Exception. If a National Interest Exception is approved, they may travel on a valid J-1 visa. 
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Required Beginning Fall 2021 
    The UO will require students to be fully vaccinated prior to the start of fall term. Students may be eligible to request an exemption. We strongly recommend you a) get vaccinated for COVID-19 in your home country prior to arrival to the U.S., and b) receive your last vaccine dose at least two weeks prior to your arrival to the U.S.

    Review all FAQs on the UO website at https://coronavirus.uoregon.edu/vaccine including those below!

    • What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated”? You are considered fully vaccinated after two weeks have passed since you received all recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (the number of does varies by manufacturer).
       
    • Will the UO accept vaccines other than those approved for use in the US? The UO will accept any COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). In keeping with the CDC’s clinical considerations guidance, those who’ve received a vaccine that has not been approved by the WHO will be offered a U.S. approved vaccine.
       
    • If international students got a vaccine out of the US, how should they show proof? UO will allow international students to upload to the myUOHealth portal evidence of any COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). This is the same portal international students already use to upload other immunization records. Please note that these immunization records must be submitted in English. 
       
    • If international students received the first dose of a WHO-approved, two-dose vaccine outside the US, what should they do upon arrival in the US? Students who have received one dose of a WHO-approved, two-dose vaccine will need to wait 28 days after arrival to the U.S. and then begin the two-dose sequence of a US-approved vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or the single dose of a US-approved one-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). This option is NOT recommended because your student visa only allows you to arrive up to 30 days prior to the start of the term. We strongly recommend you a) get vaccinated for COVID-19 in your home country prior to arrival to the U.S., and b) receive your last vaccine dose at least two weeks prior to your arrival to the U.S.
       
    • How can international students get a vaccine after arrival in Eugene? Students will be able to receive a vaccination upon arrival in Eugene via Lane County Public Health, private clinics, or pharmacies. However, starting your COVID vaccination in the U.S. may require you to arrive 4-5 weeks before the start of fall term. This option is NOT recommended because you are limited to arriving only 30 days prior to the start of the term. We strongly recommend you a) get vaccinated for COVID-19 in your home country prior to arrival to the U.S., and b) receive your last vaccine dose at least two weeks prior to your arrival to the U.S.
       
    • What are UO’s expectations/requirements with regard to quarantine on arrival as students await local vaccination? The UO recommends that travelers entering the US follow US Centers for Disease Control Guidelines for self-isolation depending on vaccination status.  Plan to arrive in the US early enough to follow these guidelines. 
       
    • Can international students move into UO residence halls if they have not been vaccinated? Yes. The vaccination requirement for living in the residence halls is the same for UO students on campus: The UO will require students to be fully vaccinated prior to the start of fall term and students may be eligible to request an exemption
       
    • What if I cannot get a COVID vaccine prior to arrival to the U.S.? Students who cannot obtain a WHO-approved vaccine before arrival in the US may qualify for a temporary vaccine exemption. Those students must complete an exemption request, should indicate their intent to become vaccinated as soon as possible after arrival, and should comply with isolation/quarantine, timelines, and other requirements identified by the CDC and state and local authorities. The vaccine exemption process will be made available soon, and will be shared very broadly with all students, including incoming/returning international students. 
       
  • President Biden Ends Trump’s Discriminatory Travel Ban: Executive Order signed on January 21 revokes the travel ban on foreign nationals from more than a dozen countries seeking legal immigration to the U.S. including Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Eritrea, Yemen, Venezuela, Nigeria, Sudan. 42,000 people were unable to enter the US since 2017 due to these bans.
     
  • DHS Proposed Rule Change: February 2021 - there is a freeze on any pending rule change to review and remedy under the Biden Administration. Background - on October 26, the University of Oregon and the Oregon State University jointly submitted a letter to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau (ICEB) forcefully opposing the proposed restriction on time an international student can remain in the US on a student visa. UO and OSU are steadfast in our commitment to the importance of global engagement, to recruiting top talent from around the world, to global scale research, and to the significant contribution international students make to campus diversity. Read the full letter here.
     
  • We are here for you. At the Division of Global Engagement and International Student and Scholar Servies, we reiterate our stance in solidarity with our international students and stand against all forms of xenophobia and racism. We denounce any acts of discrimination and violence targeted against Asian and Asian American communities locally and nationally. Please take a moment to read our messages to students on March 2 and March 17 or the message from President Schill and Provost Phillips.
     
  • DGE Response to Executive Order on New Chinese Graduate Students and Researchers. Here is what we now know and where we stand.
     
  • Restricted Travel to Canada and Mexico (U.S. Department of Homeland Security): In order to limit the further spread of coronavirus, the U.S. has reached agreements with both Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Speak with an Advisor

Phone: 541-346-3206

Call and provide your phone number to our front desk staff. An ISSS advisor will call you back.

Students: intl@uoregon.edu

Scholars, Faculty or Staff: ischolar@uoregon.edu

Send questions, and we will respond to your email as quickly as possible.

Microsoft Teams Chat

Visit teams.microsoft.com and login with your DuckID to begin a remote session. All UO students have a Microsoft Teams account associated with their DuckID.

Additional Resources

ISSS Newsletters:

Biweekly newsletters to UO students
https://isss.uoregon.edu/frequently-asked-questions-faqs-students#newsl…

Websites for Up-to-Date Information about U.S. Visas and Travel:

International Student Fall 2020 Considerations
TheBestSchools: https://thebestschools.org/magazine/international-students-covid19-ques…

U.S. Department of State
COVID-19 Country Specific Information: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Co…

White House 
Presidential Actions: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/

Centers for Disease Control 
Travel/COVID-19 Page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
News Alerts: https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts

NAFSA: Association of International Educators Pages
Coronavirus Critical Resources: https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/coronavirus-critical-resou…
Tracking COVID-19 Restrictions on US Visas and Entry: https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/covid-19-restrictions-us-v…

Immigration Resources
U.S. Consulates Worldwide: http://www.usembassy.gov/
Getting to the United States: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/getting-to-the-united-states

Counseling Assistance for the UO Campus Community:

UO Counseling Center Services for Students: Call the Counseling Center at 541-346-3227 to discuss your options for mental health support. They will have the next available counselor return your call to discuss your options and to answer your questions.

UO Employee Assistance Program: Cascade Centers, Inc. provides comprehensive employee assistance at no cost for eligible employees, their dependents, and eligible household members. Call Cascade directly at 1-800-433-2320 to schedule an appointment.