ADVISORY: By law, all non-citizens are required to carry their documents at all times (I-94 for non-immigrants or I-551 card for permanent residents). While this has rarely been enforced, recent policies have been more strictly interpreted. OISS recommends that internationals students and scholars carry their immigration documents rather than risk non-compliance. Also, see the bottom of this page for ways to protect your status.
We know that many members of the University of California community are concerned about immigration enforcement actions occurring across the country and have asked about the possibility that enforcement actions could occur at UC. This FAQ responds to your questions and provides information about how to respond in such a situation. Please keep in mind that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policies are in transition; we may update this guidance as warranted.
UPDATE: A new Executive Order was signed on March 6. This order has also been suspended by a temporary injunction and is not yet in effect:
On January 27, an Executive Order was signed by the President
- requires an IN-PERSON INTERVIEW for anyone, from any country, seeking a non-immigrant visa. Waivers for the in-person interview requirement will no longer be granted.
- removes Iraq from the list of countries. Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen remain on the list.
- exempts Green Card holders and those with current, valid visas
- replaces the previous order and goes into effect on March 16, 2017 [currently ON HOLD because of injunction]
. It will seriously impact people from Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. People with dual citizenship (citizens of one of the seven listed countries and also another country) may also be impacted.
UPDATE: The Executive Order has been suspended at this time. While travelers should be able to enter the U.S. normally at this time, we continue to discourage discretionary travel while the Order is in dispute. From the Department of Homeland Security on February 4, 2017:
In accordance with the judge's ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States."
This includes actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travelers for operational action subject to the Executive Order.
DHS personnel will resume inspection of travelers in accordance with standard policy and procedure.
At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the president's Executive Order, which is lawful and appropriate. The order is intended to protect the homeland and the American people, and the president has no higher duty and responsibility than to do so.
**UPDATE: Department of Homeland Security released a fact sheet on January 29, 2017 invoking an exception to the entry ban for Lawful Permanent Residents (AKA: green card holders) of the United States travelling on a valid I-551 (commonly called green card). Lawful Permanent Residents will be assessed at arrival ports of entry, and will be permitted entry subject to security checks.
*** UPDATE: Dual passport holders and dual nationals choosing to travel should consult a BIO advisor an experienced immigration attorney before traveling. Customs & Border Protection indicates the EO does apply to dual national, but that they will be "treated according to the travel document they present."
Additionally, the Executive Order increased screening procedures which may have an impact on travel and possible decisions regarding USCIS policies, beyond citizens of countries mentioned above.
Recommendations for All International Students & Scholars
For the near future, OISS recommends that all international students and scholars avoid or minimize international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration’s policies on visas and U.S. entry.
In addition, the Executive Order effects:
- Overseas Visa Renewals: The Executive Order currently stops the Visa Interview Waiver Program (VIWP), which allowed individuals to apply for visas or visa renewal without an in-person interview. An in-person interview will be required for visa renewals.
- More Changes to Come: The Executive Order calls for a review of all countries seeking U.S. visas, as well as visa reciprocity provisions. These continuing adjustments and reviews may result in countries being added to or removed from the visa/entry suspension list, changes in fees, or visa lengths.
- Increased Screenings, Possible Travel and USCIS Processing Delays: Due to the Executive Order’s suspension of VIWP and call for increased scrutiny at the Port of Entry and at consulates and embassies abroad, expect increased travel delays when applying for a new U.S. visa or when entering the U.S. This may also affect USCIS processing times.
OISS, UCSB, and the UC system stand with our international community during this challenging time. We know that uncertainty is stressful and we are committed to supporting you in any way we can.
REMINDER: During these fluid times, it is important to avoid any violations of your F-1 or J-1 status. In addition to enrollment requirements, address reporting, or employment restrictions individuals in non-immigrant status are expected to refrain from breaking any U.S. state or federal laws. Please think carefully before engaging in protest activities, as arrests can seriously impact immigration status or future visa applications. Arrests or convictions that involve violence, drugs or alcohol can have serious or long-lasting impact on current or future immigration status.
Also be aware that marijuana use remains illegal at the federal level (and illegal on the UCSB campus and student housing) and use constitutes a violation of federal law. Use of marijuana, or alcohol/drug-related DUI arrests or convictions can lead to severe immigration consequences ranging from fines, visa cancellation to deportation.
If you are arrested or have any legal concerns, please contact OISS immediately. In such cases, we urge you to retain legal advice as to your next steps and possible consequences.
Legal Representation: Attorneys and fellows at UC Davis School of Law are able to provide legal advice to students and their families at UC Davis, UCLA, UC Merced, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, and UC Riverside here:
Vivek Mittal, Managing Attorney
University of California Undocumented Legal Services Center
Tel: (530) 219-7256
Fax: (530) 752-3034
For scholars, Immigration specialists Adam Green and Bernard Wolfsdorf are two attorneys who have given immigration presentations at UCSB in the past. (OISS does not endorse any specific legal firm, and provides this information as a convenience only).
If you have specific questions or concerns, OISS Student Advisors are available for Walk-In Advising on Wednesday mornings and afternoons from 10 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm. You can also call, come in, or email OISS to schedule an appointment to speak with an advisor. Our email is: OISS@sa.ucsb.edu. Our phone contact is (805) 893-2929.
Advising for J-1 Visiting Scholars or Student Interns is available by appointment only. To schedule an appointment you can visit the OISS office, call, or email OISS@sa.ucsb.edu.