On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the government’s motions for emergency stays of preliminary injunctions issued by U.S. District Courts in the Districts of Hawaii and Maryland. The preliminary injunctions had prohibited the government from fully enforcing or implementing the entry restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (P.P.) titled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats” to nationals of six countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. Per the Supreme Court’s orders, those restrictions will be implemented fully, in accordance with the Presidential Proclamation, around the world, beginning December 8 at open of business, local time.
The District Court injunctions did not affect implementation of entry restrictions against nationals from North Korea and Venezuela. Those individuals remain subject to the restrictions and limitations listed in the Presidential Proclamation, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. eastern time on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, with respect to nationals of those countries.
Additional Background: The President issued Presidential Proclamation 9645 on September 24, 2017. Per Section 2 of Executive Order 13780 of March 6, 2017 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States), a global review was conducted to determine what additional information is needed from each foreign country to assess whether foreign nationals who seek to enter the United States pose a security or safety threat. As part of that review, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) developed a comprehensive set of criteria to evaluate the information-sharing practices, policies, and capabilities of foreign governments on a worldwide basis. At the end of that review, which included a 50-day period of engagement with foreign governments aimed at improving their information sharing practices, there were seven countries whose information sharing practices were determined to be “inadequate” and for which the President deemed it necessary to impose certain restrictions on the entry of nonimmigrants and immigrants who are nationals of these countries. The President also deemed it necessary to impose restrictions on one country due to the “special concerns” it presented. These restrictions are considered important to addressing the threat these existing information-sharing deficiencies, among other things, present to the security and welfare of the United States and pressuring host governments to remedy these deficiencies.
Nationals of the eight countries are subject to various travel restrictions contained in the Proclamation, as outlined in the following table, subject to exceptions and waivers set forth in the Proclamation.
We will not cancel previously scheduled visa application appointments. In accordance with the Presidential Proclamation, for nationals of the eight designated countries, a consular officer will make a determination whether an applicant otherwise eligible for a visa is exempt from the Proclamation or, if not, may be eligible for a waiver under the Proclamation and therefore issued a visa.
No visas will be revoked pursuant to the Proclamation. Individuals subject to the Proclamation who possess a valid visa or valid travel document generally will be permitted to travel to the United States, irrespective of when the visa was issued.
We will keep those traveling to the United States and our partners in the travel industry informed as we implement the order in a professional, organized, and timely way.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the exceptions in the Proclamation?
The following exceptions apply to nationals from all eight countries and will not be subject to any travel restrictions listed in the Proclamation:
a) Any national who was in the United States on the applicable effective date described in Section 7 of the Proclamation for that national, regardless of immigration status;
b) Any national who had a valid visa on the applicable effective date in Section 7 of the Proclamation for that national;
c) Any national who qualifies for a visa or other valid travel document under section 6(d) of the Proclamation;
d) Any lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States;
e) Any national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date in Section 7 of the Proclamation for that national;
f) Any applicant who has a document other than a visa, valid on the applicable effective date in Section 7 of the Proclamation for that applicant or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission, such as advance parole;
g) Any dual national of a country designated under the Proclamation when traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
h) Any applicant traveling on a diplomatic (A-1 or A-2) or diplomatic-type visa (of any classification), NATO-1 -6 visas, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; except certain Venezuelan government officials and their family members traveling on a diplomatic-type B-1, B-2, or B1/B2 visas
i) Any applicant who has been granted asylum; admitted to the United States as a refugee; or has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
Exceptions and waivers listed in the Proclamation are applicable for qualified applicants. In all visa adjudications, consular officers may seek additional information, as warranted, to determine whether an exception or a waiver is available.
If a principal visa applicant qualifies for an exception or a waiver under the Proclamation, does a derivative also get the benefit of the exception or waiver?
Each applicant, who is otherwise eligible, can only benefit from an exception or a waiver if he or she individually meets the conditions of the exception or waiver.
Does the Proclamation apply to dual nationals?
This Proclamation does not restrict the travel of dual nationals, so long as they are traveling on the passport of a non-designated country.
Our embassies and consulates around the world will process visa applications and issue nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to otherwise eligible visa applicants who apply with a passport from a non-designated country, even if they hold dual nationality from one of the eight restricted countries.
Does this apply to U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents?
No. As stated in the Proclamation, lawful permanent residents of the United States are not affected by the Proclamation
Are there special rules for permanent residents of Canada?
Waivers may not be granted categorically to any group of nationals of the eight countries who are subject to visa restrictions pursuant to the Proclamation, but waivers may be appropriate in individual circumstances, on a case-by-case basis. The Proclamation lists several circumstances in which case-by-case waivers may be appropriate. That list includes foreign nationals who are Canadian permanent residents who apply for visas at a U.S. consular section in Canada. Canadian permanent residents should bring proof of their status to a consular officer.
A consular officer will carefully review each case to determine whether the applicant is affected by the Proclamation during each phase of the implementation and, if so, whether the applicant qualifies for an exception or a waiver.
Will you process waivers for those affected by the Proclamation? How do I qualify for a waiver to be issued a visa?
As specified in the Proclamation, consular officers may issue a visa based on a listed waiver category to nationals of countries identified in the PP on a case-by-case basis, when they determine: that issuance is in the national interest, the applicant poses no national security or public safety threat to the United States, and denial of the visa would cause undue hardship. There is no separate application for a waiver. An individual who seeks to travel to the United States should apply for a visa and disclose during the visa interview any information that might demonstrate that he or she is eligible for a waiver.
What is a “close family member” for the purposes of determining if someone is eligible for a waiver?
Section 201(b) of the INA provides a definition of immediate relative, which is used to interpret the term “close family member” as used in the waiver category. This limits the relationship to spouses, children under the age of 21, and parents. While the INA definition includes only children, spouses, and parents of a U.S. citizen, in the context of the Presidential Proclamation it also includes these relationships with LPRs and aliens lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa in addition to U.S. citizens.
Can those needing urgent medical care in the United States still qualify for a visa?
Applicants who are otherwise qualified and seeking urgent medical care in the United States may be eligible for an exception or a waiver. Any individual who seeks to travel to the United States should apply for a visa and disclose during the visa interview any information that might qualify the individual for an exception or waiver. A consular officer will carefully review each case to determine whether the applicant is affected by the Proclamation, and if so, whether the case qualifies for an exception or a waiver.
The Proclamation provides several examples of categories of cases that may be appropriate for consideration for a waiver, on a case-by-case basis, when in the national interest, when entry would not threaten national security or public safety, and denial would cause undue hardship. Among the examples provided, a foreign national who seeks to enter the United States for urgent medical care may be considered for a waiver.
I’m a student or short-term employee that was temporarily outside of the United States when the Proclamation went into effect. Can I return to school/work?
If you have a valid, unexpired visa and are outside the United States, you can return to school or work per the exception noted in the Proclamation.
If you do not have a valid, unexpired visa and do not qualify for an exception you will need to qualify for the visa and a waiver. An individual who wishes to apply for a nonimmigrant visa should apply for a visa and disclose during the visa interview any information that might demonstrate that he or she is eligible for a waiver per the Proclamation. A consular officer will carefully review each case to determine whether the applicant is affected by the Proclamation and, if so, whether the case qualifies for a waiver.
I received my immigrant visa but I haven’t yet entered the United States. Can I still travel there using my immigrant visa?
The Proclamation provides specifically that no visas issued before the effective date of the Proclamation will be revoked pursuant to the Proclamation, and it does not apply to nationals of affected countries who have valid visas on the date it becomes effective.
I recently had my immigrant visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas, but my case is still being considered. What will happen now?
If your visa application was refused under Section 221(g) pending updated supporting documents or administrative processing, you should proceed to submit your documentation. After receiving any required missing documentation or completion of any administrative processing, the U.S. embassy or consulate where you were interviewed will contact you with more information.
I am currently working on my case with NVC. Can I continue?
Yes. You should continue to pay fees, complete your Form DS-260 immigrant visa applications, and submit your financial and civil supporting documents to NVC. NVC will continue reviewing cases and scheduling visa interviews overseas. During the interview, a consular officer will carefully review the case to determine whether the applicant is affected by the Proclamation and, if so, whether the case qualifies for an exception or may qualify for a waiver.
What immigrant visa classes are subject to the Proclamation?
All immigrant visa classifications for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia are subject to the Proclamation and restricted. All immigrant visa classifications for nationals of Venezuela are unrestricted. An individual who wishes to apply for an immigrant visa should apply for a visa and disclose during the visa interview any information that might demonstrate that he or she is eligible for an exception or waiver per the Proclamation. A consular officer will carefully review each case to determine whether the applicant is affected by the Proclamation and, if so, whether the case qualifies for an exception or a waiver.
I sponsored my family member for an immigrant visa, and his interview appointment is after the effective date of the Proclamation. Will he still be able to receive a visa?
All immigrant visa classifications for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia are subject to the Presidential Proclamation and suspended. An individual who wishes to apply for an immigrant visa should apply for a visa and disclose during the visa interview any information that might demonstrate that he or she is eligible for an exception or waiver per the Proclamation. A consular officer will carefully review each case to determine whether the applicant is affected by the Proclamation and, if so, whether the applicant qualifies for an exception or a waiver.
I am applying for a K (fiancé) visa. My approved I-129 petition is only valid for four months. Can you expedite my case?
The National Visa Center already expedites all Form I-129F petitions to embassies and consulates overseas. Upon receipt of the petition and case file, the embassy or consulate will contact you with instructions on scheduling your interview appointment.
I received my Diversity Visa but I haven’t yet entered the United States. Can I still travel there using my Diversity Visa?
The Proclamation provides specifically that no visas issued before the effective date of the Proclamation will be revoked pursuant to the Proclamation, and it does not apply to nationals of affected countries who have valid visas on the date it becomes effective.
I recently had my Diversity Visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas, but my case is still being considered. What will happen now?
If your visa application was refused under Section 221(g) pending updated supporting documents or administrative processing, please provide the requested information. The U.S. embassy or consulate where you were interviewed will contact you with more information.
Will my case move to the back of the line for an appointment?
No. KCC schedules appointments by Lottery Rank Number. When KCC is able to schedule your visa interview, you will receive an appointment before cases with higher Lottery Rank Numbers.
I am currently working on my case with KCC. Can I continue?
Yes. You should continue to complete your Form DS-260 immigrant visa application. KCC will continue reviewing cases and can qualify your case for an appointment. You will be notified about the scheduling of a visa interview.
What if my spouse or child is a national of one of the countries listed, but I am not?
KCC will continue to schedule new DV interview appointments for nationals of the affected countries. A national of any of those countries applying as a principal or derivative DV applicant should disclose during the visa interview any information that might qualify the individual for a waiver/exception. Note that DV 2018 visas, including derivative visas, can only be issued during the program year, which ends September 30, 2018, and only if visa numbers remain available. There is no guarantee a visa will be available in the future for your derivative spouse or child.
What if I am a dual national or permanent resident of Canada?
This Proclamation does not restrict the travel of dual nationals, so long as they are traveling on the passport of a non-designated country. You may apply for a DV using the passport of a non-designated country even if you selected the nationality of a designated country when you entered the lottery. Also, permanent residents of Canada applying for DVs in Montreal may be eligible for a waiver per the Proclamation, but will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you believe one of these exceptions, or a waiver included in the Proclamation, applies to you and your otherwise current DV case has not been scheduled for interview, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate where your interview will take place/KCC at KCCDV@state.gov.
Does this Proclamation affect follow-to-join asylees?
The Proclamation does not affect V92 applicants, follow-to-join asylees.
Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats
Below are "highlights" taken from the Presidential Proclamation:
Sec. 2. Suspension of Entry for Nationals of Countries of Identified Concern.
The entry into the United States of nationals of the following countries is hereby suspended and limited, as follows, subject to categorical exceptions and case by-case waivers, as described in sections 3 and 6 of this proclamation:
(a) Chad (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
(b) Iran (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Iran as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is hereby suspended, except that entry by such nationals under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals should be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
(c) Libya (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
(d) North Korea (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is hereby suspended.
(e) Syria (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is hereby suspended.
(f) Venezuela (ii) Notwithstanding section 3(b)(v) of this proclamation, the entry into the United States of officials of government agencies of Venezuela involved in screening and vetting procedures -- including the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations -- and their immediate family members, as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended. Further, nationals of Venezuela who are visa holders should be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current.
(g) Yemen (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Yemen as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
(h) Somalia (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is hereby suspended. Additionally, visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as nonimmigrants should be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants are connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States.
(b) Exceptions. The suspension of entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall not apply to:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation;
(iii) any foreign national who has a document other than a visa -- such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document -- valid on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission;
(iv) any dual national of a country designated under section 2 of this proclamation when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
(v) any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; or
(vi) any foreign national who has been granted asylum by the United States; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
Sec. 7. Effective Dates.
Executive Order 13780 ordered a temporary pause on the entry of foreign nationals from certain foreign countries. In two cases, however, Federal courts have enjoined those restrictions. The Supreme Court has stayed those injunctions as to foreign nationals who lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, pending its review of the decisions of the lower courts.
(a) The restrictions and limitations established in section 2 of this proclamation are effective at 3:30 p.m. eastern daylight time on September 24, 2017, for foreign nationals who:
(i) were subject to entry restrictions under section 2 of Executive Order 13780, or would have been subject to the restrictions but for section 3 of that Executive Order, and
(ii) lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.
(b) The restrictions and limitations established in section 2 of this proclamation are effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on October 18, 2017, for all other persons subject to this proclamation, including nationals of:
(i) Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States; and
(ii) Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela.
Sec. 5. Reports on Screening and Vetting Procedures.
(a) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, and other appropriate heads of agencies shall submit periodic reports to the President, through appropriate Assistants to the President, that:
(i) describe the steps the United States Government has taken to improve vetting for nationals of all foreign countries, including through improved collection of biometric and biographic data;
(ii) describe the scope and magnitude of fraud, errors, false information, and unverifiable claims, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security on the basis of a validation study, made in applications for immigration benefits under the immigration laws; and
(iii) evaluate the procedures related to screening and vetting established by the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs in order to enhance the safety and security of the United States and to ensure sufficient review of applications for immigration benefits.
On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided two-year renewable employment authorization cards and protection from deportation for 800,000 undocumented youth who came to the U.S. as children. If you are a DACA beneficiary, family member or friend, here's what you need to know about the end of the program:
- RENEWALS. If you already have DACA, and it expires ON OR BEFORE 03/05/2018, you can still renew your DACA for a two-year period if the renewal is filed before 10/05/2017. Contact a qualified immigration attorney as soon as possible to make sure your renewal is filed on time.
- VALID UNTIL EXPIRATION. If you have valid DACA status right now, it will remain valid until its expiration date. See the face of your employment authorization card or the I-795 approval notice to determine the expiration date.
- NOT ACCEPTING NEW DACAs. USCIS will not accept any initial DACA applications filed after 09/05/2017. USCIS will continue to process initial and renewal applications that were pending as of 09/05/2017.
- NO ADVANCE PAROLE. Previously, DACA recipients had been eligible to apply for advance parole, or permission to depart from and return to the U.S. for educational or humanitarian reasons. USCIS will no longer grant advance parole for DACA recipients. In contrast to pending DACA applications, USCIS will not process pending advance parole applications and will be returning any filing fees.
If you are a DACA beneficiary, please contact a qualified immigration attorney for advice.
The University of South Alabama announcement regarding DACA:
As I know many are aware, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
is currently set to end in six months.
Congress may act before then to allow young undocumented immigrants to remain in the country, but the future for immigrants who were approved for a two-year deferred deportation, and those who were eligible for the program, remains uncertain.
The University of South Alabama prides itself on being a welcoming institution supportive of all its students. We believe in a diverse community whose academic, research and health care initiatives and ambitions requires global outreach and engagement.
The uncertainty surrounding DACA does not change those principles nor the support for our students, faculty and staff. I would encourage those with questions about how the possible termination of DACA affects them to consult an immigration attorney.
Catholic Social Services has an immigration specialist who can discuss concerns and make recommendations. Stella Knight can be reached at (251) 947-3878.
Campus resources are also available by calling the Office of Counseling and Testing Services at (251) 460-7051, the Office of Student Affairs at (251) 460-6172 or the Office of Academic Affairs at (251) 460-6261.
Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama
On Monday, June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) agreed to hear the appeal over President Donald Trump's revised travel ban against nationals from six Muslim-majority countries this fall, and granted the government's requests to reinstate part of the ban in the meantime. The latest immigration ban executive order, which the president signed on March 6, seeks to block nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. "In practical terms, this means that §2(c) may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of EO–2," the Court wrote.
It seems that anyone with a university-sponsored F, J, H, O visa should not be affected by this reinstatement. However, we continue to caution against any travel outside the U.S. for current international students and scholars at the University of South Alabama from those six countries until SCOTUS has made a decision. We will continue to monitor this as it unfolds and update you with any information we may receive.
Again, we are proud to have you at our institution and glad you have chosen to study, work, and/or research at our institution. #We Are South #You Are Welcome Here!
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) info sheet can be found by visiting the Department of Homeland Security.
Updates to actions on this Executive Order can be found at NAFSA Association of International Educators.
A cap-gap extension automatically extends an eligible F-1 student’s status to bridge the gap between the end of OPT (F-1 status) and start of H-1B status. This extension allows a student to remain in the US and continue working during the “gap.”
The cap-gap extension is available to students who, as of April 1, were either on approved OPT or in their 60-day grace period and have a pending or approved change-of-status H-1B petition with USCIS with an October 1 start date.
This cap-gap extension will produce one of two outcomes depending on your individual situation:
• Scenario 1: Extension of your OPT work authorization to September 30. This happens if your approved OPT end date (on your EAD card) is April 1 or later.
• Scenario 2: Extension of your F-1 “duration of status.” If your OPT employment authorization expires before April 1 but your 60-day grace period ends after April 1, you are allowed to stay in the U.S., if you otherwise maintain your F-1 status. Please note: this is just an extension of your status, but you are not authorized to work until the H-1B petition is approved and goes into effect October 1.
Who is eligible for the extension?
Students in all fields of study are eligible for the cap-gap extension as long as the student has not violated the terms or conditions of their F-1 status. To qualify for the extension, the student must be the beneficiary of an H-1B petition that:
1. Has been timely filed (within the acceptance period – after April 1, but before
either the OPT period or 60-day grace period expires)
2. Requests an employment start date of October 1
3. Requests a change-of-status (rather than consular processing)
How do I apply for the cap-gap Extension?
There is no application process for the cap-gap extension. If your H-1B petition has been approved by USCIS, your SEVIS record will automatically be updated to reflect the cap-gap extension and your work authorization will be extended to September 30. However, because of the huge number of applications USCIS receives, it is not likely that a case will be either receipted or adjudicated quickly after April 1.
The Office of Immigration and International Admissions can prepare cap-gap extensions at three different steps as allowed by USCIS and SEVP:
1. When your H-1B case has been filed and you can provide Immigration and International
Admissions with proof of the submission (i.e. delivery confirmation), we can update
the SEVIS system to extend your OPT only to June 1. (Please note that if your OPT
already is valid through June 1, there is nothing to be done at this stage).
2. When you get wait-listed by USCIS and you can provide Immigration and International Admissions with evidence of the wait-listing, we can then extend under cap-gap rules again to July 28. (Please note that if your OPT already is valid through July 28 or later, there is nothing to be done at this stage).
3. Finally, when you get an official receipt notice for your H-1B case, we can process the full cap-gap extension until September 30.
To obtain a cap-gap I-20 from the Office of Immigration and International Admissions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Cap-Gap Extension” in the subject line. Include the following in the email:
• Full Name
• SEVIS number
• Jag ID number
• Employment start and end date as indicated on your current EAD Card
• Proof of filing (for an extension to June 1), or proof of wait-listing (for an extension to July 28), or scanned copy of I-797 H-1B approval and/or receipt notice (for an extension until September 30)
• Indicate whether you would like to pick up your document or have it mailed to you. We can ship documents to you through an express mail service provided by University Express Mail Services (UEMS) to deliver documents through DHL or FedEx in 3-5 days. Requesting your document delivery through UEMS is at your expense. Your credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover cards only) will be charged when requesting the service from UEMS. Otherwise, documents will be sent through regular US Postal Services "snail" mail.
What happens if my H-1B is denied after receiving the cap-gap extension?
If the student’s H-1B sponsorship is denied or withdrawn, the student will have the standard 60-day grace period from the date of the rejection notice to depart the U.S. However, if a denial is based on a discovered status violation, no such grace period exists and the student should leave the U.S. immediately.
What if my OPT expires before April 1st? Will the cap-gap extension extend my OPT?
If your OPT employment authorization expires before April 1, but your 60-day grace period extends beyond April 1, your F-1 status will be extended. Although your F-1 status would be extended, your OPT employment period is expired, and the cap-gap does not serve to reinstate or retroactively grant employment authorization.
You would be required to stop working until October 1. Also, keep in mind that the 90-day unemployment rule remains in full effect during your automatically extended work authorization (if you qualify for extension of work authorization.)
On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States by Foreign Nationals. Under Section 3(c) of that Executive Order, entry into the United States of "immigrants and nonimmigrants" from 7 countries has been suspended for 90 days from the date the Executive Order was signed, "except for those traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas." The countries listed in the Executive Order are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This order relates to visa issuance, screening procedures, entry into the U.S., and refugees from these countries.
With this Executive Order, we strongly advise all nonimmigrants (F-1, J-1, H-1B, etc.) and immigrants (Permanent Resident “green card” holders) from these countries to avoid travel outside the U.S. at this time. If you are from one of these countries and must exit the U.S., we encourage you to seek legal guidance before travel. There is currently no indication that your visa status is being questioned while you remain in the United States. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide additional details and information as it becomes available. In the meantime, please contact our office with specific inquiries or urgent travel issues.
You are a valued member of the University of South Alabama community and family. South Alabama remains committed to supporting your success. We advise that you continue your studies and employment at USA with the same dedication you have always shown. You are welcome here. We are South!
For more information, we recommend the following sources:
Special Student Relief For Syrian F-1 Students
Special Student Relief (SSR) benefits are available until September 30, 2019, to certain F-1 students from Syria who are “experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of civil unrest in Syria since March 2011.” Students with benefits expiring on March 31, 2018 under the prior notice will have to take action to extend those SSR benefits. Students interested in these benefits should visit www.uscis.com or contact an immigration attorney.