Category: Featured

Spring 2022 Student Reminders

January 5th, 2022 in Featured

Please review the reminders below as they contain important reminders about maintaining status for new student and continuing F and J students. Boston University is required to confirm your enrollment to the Department of Homeland Security through the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) at the start of each semester. Please be advised that we have changed how we will gather and report your enrollment during this time.

Returning to campus

If you are returning to campus from outside the US, please review our current travel advisory for the latest US entry requirements and the Back2BU website for COVID protocols as well as testing and vaccination requirements. Please see the latest memo from President Brown about plans to resume in-person instruction on campus for the spring semester on 1/20/2022.

Update your addresses in the StudentLink

It is critical that you understand the different addresses on the Student Link and keep each address updated correctly. Local address is used by the university to know your location while the Foreign-Immigration and the US-immigration address are reported to the US Department of Homeland Security through SEVIS. Immigration regulations require that you update your address within 10 days of a move so you must keep your immigration-related addresses in the student link up to date throughout the duration of your program.

  • Foreign-Immigration address: must reflect your address in your home country
  • US-Immigration address: must reflect your current US address
    • If you are living on campus, this address will automatically reflect your BU housing address.
    • If this is your first semester, you update this address after you enter the US

Initial Check-in ISSO for new students

All international students traveling to the US to begin a new program and F-1 students returning to campus after a leave of absence will be required to complete Initial ISSO check-in remotely through the StudentLink. You will be required to upload copies of your US immigration documents to notify us of your arrival in the US so we can activate your SEVIS record. You should only complete Initial ISSO check-in after you have entered the US. Students beginning a new program of study will receive a separate email message with additional details about Initial ISSO check-in.

SEVIS reporting for continuing Students

Continuing student check-in (previously referred to as Semester Verification) will not be required in Spring 2022 so you do not need to take any additional steps provided you are academically registered. Rather than asking students in check in in-person at the beginning of the semester, the ISSO will rely on your academic registration data to automatically update your SEVIS record for spring.

Enrollment Requirements

Remember that you must be enrolled full-time and making normal academic progress in your degree each academic semester. For most students, full-time is a minimum of 12 credits. Some graduate student programs may have different full-time equivalents, but you must be certified as a full-time student to maintain valid student immigration status. Students are only allowed to take one online course each semester towards the 12 credit enrollment minimum so students seeking to enroll in an online course must enroll in at least 8 credits of in person instruction.

If it is your last semester and you need less than 12 credits to graduate, you should request authorization for a Reduced Course load from your ISSO advisor prior to the start of the semester.

On-Campus Employment

Immigration regulations allow international students to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the regular semester. You can read more about being hired to work on-campus on the ISSO website. If you have not worked on-campus before, you will need to complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility form before you begin work. If you do not have a Social Security Number, you will need to apply for one after you secure a job. Social Security Offices are currently closed to walk-in traffic due to COVID-19, but you can review details of how you can apply for an SSN on our COVID-19 FAQs page.

Off-Campus Employment

Immigration regulations intentionally limit employment option off campus during the academic year so you can concentrate on your full time coursework.

F-1 students may qualify for Curricular Practical Training from the ISSO for academic internship experiences. Alternatively, you may need to apply for employment authorization in advance from USCIS for Optional Practical Training for jobs directly related to your field of study.

J-1 students may qualify for Academic Training authorization from the ISSO for experiences related to your program of study.

You can learn about eligibility requirements and the application process from the ISSO website.Consequences of beginning employment without authorization are severe so, it is critical that you obtain specific authorization BEFORE you begin any employment opportunity.

May Graduates

If you plan to graduate in May 2022 and plan to apply for, please note that you will have a 60-day grace period after your program completion date of May 22, 2022 during which you must:

We wish you a successful spring semester. The ISSO is available in person or virtually to support you. You can visit our Menu of Virtual Services to learn how to contact us. You can also contact your ISSO advisor directly via email if you have specific questions. Given an increased volume of inquiries, it may take your advisor a few days to respond so we appreciate your patience!

Latest country specific COVID travel bans revoked. Vaccination & testing requirements remain.

December 28th, 2021 in Featured

On December 28, 2021, President Biden revoked nonimmigrant travel restrictions to the US through or from 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 effective at 12:01am. Proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours from departure and proof of full COVID vaccination remains in place on all nonimmigrant entry to the US. See details at the CDC website.

On December 6, 2021, all travelers must show a negative COVID test taken no more than 1 day before departing for the US.  This new 1 day testing requirement replaces the previous requirement of 3 days and will be imposed regardless of vaccination status. More details are available on the following CDC website.

On November 26, 2021, President Biden signed a new Presidential Proclamation which bans nonimmigrant travel to the US through or from 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 effective at 12:01am November 29, 2021. These bans are in addition to the requirement that all nonimmigrant travelers be fully vaccinated against COVID with a WHO or US FDA acceptable vaccine and be able to document a negative COVID test before departure. A CBP Carrier Liaison Program bulletin clarified that National Interest Exceptions - NIEs - that were granted under previous proclamations are void or invalid with respect the Proclamation of November 26, 2021. This means F-1 students are not automatically exempt from these travel restrictions and will need to contact their nearest US Embassy to request  an individual NIE to travel to the US.

On October 25, 2021, President Biden signed a Presidential Proclamation which will replace the geographic COVID-related restrictions on travel to the US outlined below, with a requirement that all nonimmigrants be fully vaccinated beginning November 8, 2021 to enter the US. See relevant ISSO news blurb for more details.

On October 15, 2021, the White House announced a new travel policy that will require foreign nationals traveling to the US to demonstrate proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 beginning November 8, 2021. All international travelers will need to show proof of full vaccination prior to boarding U.S.-bound planes. A COVID-19 test will also be required within three days of departure and proof of negative results must be shown. Enhanced contact tracing and masking will also be required, but there will be no quarantine mandate.

The CDC and other agencies are working to develop the orders and guidance documents to implement this new travel policy and the Department of State will provide further information on travel.state.gov as it becomes available.

The four COVID-19-related presidential proclamations outlined below will continue to limit entry to the United States until the proclamations are officially revoked or amended.

On July 7, 2021, the Secretary of State clarified that National Interest Exemptions (NIE) granted to specific individuals either in writing, or by notation on their nonimmigrant visa, will now be valid for 12 months from initial approval rather than 30 days.

On June 24, 2021, the Secretary of State updated the webpage that clarifies eligibility and application procedures for National Interest Exemptions (NIEs) from COVID travel restrictions.

On April 30, 2021, the Secretary of State added F-1 students travelling from India to the list of students eligible for a National Interest Exemption from COVID travel restrictions.

On April 26, 2021, the Secretary of State announced that F-1 students travelling to the US from Brazil, China, Iran and South Africa will automatically qualify for a uniform global National Interest Exception (NIE) to the COVID travel restrictions provided they have a valid F-1 visa and will enter the US on or after August 1, 2021.  These exceptions are in addition to the revised criteria for certain travelers seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure.  Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 visas visa will continue to be automatically considered for an NIE to travel and do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel

On March 2, 2021, the Secretary of State revised criteria for national interest exceptions (NIE) from these COVID-related travel restrictions for certain travelers seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure.  Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 visas visa will continue to be automatically considered for an NIE to travel and do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel. Other types of academics, J-1 students, and journalists who already have a valid visa in the appropriate class, or an ESTA authorization, should contact the nearest US Embassy to request individual consideration for a NIE.

All other nonimmigrant travelers who wish to visit the United States to offer vital support to critical infrastructure sectors, or for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security should contact the nearest US Embassy to request both a new visa and an individual NIE if they believe they qualify for an exception.

On January 25, 2021, President Biden signed Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-Immigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease extending COVID-related restrictions on travel from all countries covered under previous Proclamations (mainland China, Iran, Brazil, 26 Schengen countries, Ireland and the United Kingdom) and restricted travel from South Africa  on January 30, 2021.

On July 22, 2020, the Department of State updated its website to clarify that F-1 nonimmigrants traveling from the 26 Schengen countries, Ireland and the United Kingdom would automatically qualify for a national interest exemption (NIE) from these travel restrictions. All other nonimmigrant travelers must request approval for an individual NIE from a US consular post on a case-by-case basis.

Please be advised that this situation is very fluid and travel bans due to the coronavirus may change at any time. Therefore, we urge you to carefully consider any plans to leave the U.S. during the Spring semester as country travel restrictions are changing daily. If you choose to travel, please refer to our Current Travel Advisory for details regarding documents required for re-entry to the US.

All nonimmigrant travel from mainland China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, India and Europe has been suspended for the 14 days preceding entry to the US since the COVID pandemic spread in 2020. More countries may be added to the list without advance warning. See country specific details below:

Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease suspends entry effective 12:01am on May 4, 2021 of aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present in India during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry to the United States.

Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease suspends entry effective 12:01am on January 30, 2021 of aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present in South Africa during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry to the United States.

Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus suspends entry effective 11:59pm May 26, 2020 into the   U.S. of aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present in Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry to the United States.

Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus  suspends entry effective 11:59pm March 16, 2020 into the U.S. of aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the United Kingdom and Ireland during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry to the United States.

Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus suspends entry effective 11:59pm March 13, 2020 into the U.S. of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the following 26 Schengen Area countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The 26 Schengen area countries include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The United Kingdom is not included at this time.

Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus suspends entry into the U.S. effective February 2, 2020 of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the People's Republic of China, excluding the Special Autonomous Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus suspended entry into the U.S. effective March 2, 2020 of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present in Iran, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

Proclamations clarify that the coronavirus travel bans do not apply to any U.S. citizens nor alien who is:

  1. a lawful permanent resident of the United States
  2. a spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  3. a parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
  4. a sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
  5. a child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
  6. an alien traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
  7. C (transit) or D (air or sea crewmember) nonimmigrants
  8. seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 visa;
  9. an alien whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the CDC Director, or his designee;
  10. an alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; or
  11. an alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.

Proof of Full COVID Vaccination Required to Enter the US

October 25th, 2021 in Featured

On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic which changes COVID-related travel restrictions for nonimmigrants entering the US. Effective 12:01am EST on November 8, 2021, the geographic travel ban restrictions will be replaced with a requirement for all nonimmigrants traveling to the US by air from any part of the world, establish that they are fully vaccinated. All air travelers will also continue to be required to show results of a negative coronavirus test performed within 24 hours preceding their flight's departure.

These restrictions apply to air travelers to the US and does not affect visa issuance. Therefore, it implies that international students and scholars who are not fully vaccinated should still initiate a visa application at a US Consular post and can be approved for a visa with the understanding that they will need to be fully vaccinated to board a plane and travel to the US.

See CDC COVID travel FAQs and the NAFSA page on travel and visas during COVID for updated information.

Exceptions permitted by the Director of CDC articulated in the Presidential Proclamation include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Noncitizens for whom a COVID-19 vaccination is medically contraindicated
  • Noncitizens for whom a COVID-19 vaccination exempt for humanitarian or emergency reasons
  • Any noncitizen or group of noncitizens whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees
  • Noncitizens for whom a COVID-19 vaccination is inappropriate based on age
  • Citizens of a foreign country where the availability of COVID-19 vaccination is limited so they can be vaccinated in the US within 60 days

    In addition, the Proclamation provides a limited exception to the vaccination requirement to citizens of foreign countries where the availability of COVID-19 vaccination is limited, provided they seek to enter the US pursuant to any nonimmigrant visa other than, a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa. The proclamation charges the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Director of the CDC, with maintaining a list of countries where vaccination availability is less than 10 percent of the country's total population or countries otherwise determined by the Director of the CDC to qualify as countries where the availability of COVID-19 vaccination is limited.

    NOTE: According to CDC FAQs, there are no exceptions under the Presidential Proclamation for religious reasons or other moral convictions.

    Acceptable Vaccines and the Meaning of Fully Vaccinated

    The Proclamation charges the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Director of the CDC, with implementing the proclamation as it applies to the public health components of the proclamation which including defining acceptable COVID-19 vaccines or combinations of accepted COVID-19 vaccines, and medical contraindications.

    The CDC is also charged with defining whether an individual is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and for specifying acceptable methods of proving that an individual is fully vaccinated for purposes of this proclamation. In general, a fully vaccinated individual is defined as someone who completed vaccinations at least 2 weeks ago. See the CDC FAQs for specific details.

    Entry to the US through land ports from Canada and Mexico (and all ferry, sea and land ports)

    The Presidential Proclamation of October 25, 2021 applies only to air travel. However, on October 12, 2021, regarding entry through land POEs at the Canadian and Mexican borders, DHS announced that non-essential travelers who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation to enter the United States will resume in two phases over the next few months. First, on November 8, 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin allowing fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico or Canada to enter the US at land and ferry POEs for non-essential reasons. Second, beginning January 21, 2022, CBP will require that all inbound foreign national travelers crossing U.S. land or ferry POEs – whether for essential or non-essential reasons provided they have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation to enter the US. This will have the effect of partially keeping portions of the current restrictions (in place until January 21, 2022) that limit travel through the land ports of entry and ferry terminals along the United States-Canada and United States-Mexico borders to "essential travel," which includes, but is not limited to, individuals travel to work and study in the US.

    Exemptions to these restrictions in the Presidential Proclamation of October 25, 2021 includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents
    • Diplomats, employees of international organizations, and similar

    Links to Government Sources

    Fall 2021 Student Check-In & Enrollment Reminders

    August 20th, 2021 in Featured

    We are excited to welcome students back to campus this fall. Please see instructions below for Fall 2021 check-in procedures. Boston University is required to confirm your enrollment to the Department of Homeland Security through the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) at the start of each semester. We have changed how we will register your SEVIS record this fall so please read this information carefully and contact the ISSO team should you have any questions.

    Initial ISSO Check-in

    All students who are:

    • beginning a new program of study or,
    • returning to campus from a leave of absence or,
    • travelling to the US for the first time after beginning studies remotely from home country

    must complete Initial ISSO check-in remotely through functions on the Student Link. You should only complete Initial ISSO check-in after you have entered the US in F-1 student status. We will review your immigration documents and register your record in SEVIS. Please follow our remote check -in procedures as you are not required to report to the ISSO in-person.

     

    SEVIS Registration for Continuing Students

    SEVIS registration for continuing students (previously referred to as Semester Verification) will be completed based on your academic registration. You are not required to report to the ISSO in person for check-in.

    It is essential that you keep your addresses in Personal Tab on the Student Link up to date throughout the fall semester:

    • Foreign-Immigration address should reflect your address in your home country
    • US-Immigration address should reflect your current US address. If you are living on campus, this address will automatically reflect your BU housing address.

     

    Enrollment

    Student immigration regulations require that you enroll full-time each academic semester. For most students, full-time is a minimum of 12 credits. Some graduate student programs may have different full-time equivalents, but you must be certified as a full-time student to maintain your immigration status. F-1 regulations only allow for you to take one class remote or online class towards your 12-credit minimum enrolment requirement so you must enroll in at least 8 credits of in-person coursework. See more details on maintaining student immigration status.

    If it is your last semester and you need less than 12 credits to graduate, you should request a Reduced Course Load from ISSO at the start of the semester.

     

    On-Campus Employment

    Immigration regulations allow international students to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the regular semester. You can read more about being hired to work on-campus on the ISSO website. If you have not worked on-campus before, you will need to complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Form with ISSO before you begin work.

    ISSO will assist international students in completing I-9s to verify employment eligibility for on-campus employment. In order to complete the process, international students will need to do the following:

    1. Find a job on campus or with a qualified institutional affiliate. On-Campus employment includes service based graduate financial awards (Research Assistantship, Teaching Fellowship, Stipend, or others)
    2. Register for a full course of study.
    3. Know the conditions and hours of employment of your work permission.
    4. Complete section 1 of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form. If you are in F-1 status, please follow the guidance on how to complete section 1 of the I-9 form.
    5. Review additional details below depending on whether you are a new or continuing student.

    New Students:

    • If you are a new student to BU, you will be required to complete Initial ISSO check-in as a new student. Be sure to indicate during the check-in process that you have been offered an on-campus job.
    • If you are a new student to BU and have already completed your new student check-in and have since found a job on-campus, please follow the directions provided below for continuing students.
    • Your I-9 will be processed within 3 business days from the date you complete section 1 based on the documents you submitted via your Initial ISSO check-in.

    Continuing Students:

    • Once you have completed section 1 of the I-9, send an email to issostu1@bu.edu and include the following:
      • Your Name and BUID number
      • Your first day of employment – the day you begun or will begin to work on-campus
      • The first time you entered the US in F-1 status
      • A copy of your most recent I-94 (not the history page). You can retrieve your most recent I-94 from the US Custom and Border Protection website.
      • A copy of your most recent I-20 document if you are in F-1 status
    • Your I-9 will be processed within 3 business days from the date you complete section 1 and we receive your email with the requested dates and I-94 record.
    • If you do not have a Social Security Number, you will need to apply for one after you secure a job. Some Social Security Offices remain closed to walk-in traffic due to COVID-19, but you can review details of how you can apply for an SSN on our interim COVID-19 FAQs page.

     

    Fall 2021 ISSO Services

    Visit our Menu of Services to for the latest ISSO procedures. Zoom with our virtual Advisor-On-Call to ask quick questions or schedule a virtual appointment with your advisor for a more detailed conversation!

    Presidential Proclamation Bans Entry to the US for Small Number of Graduate Students and Researchers from China

    May 20th, 2021 in Executive Order, Featured

    May 20, 2021 - Proclamation 10043 restricting entry to the US for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers remains in effect. See more details about the proclamation as well as categories of students exempted from the ban below. Many BU students have already been approved for new student visas since processing resumed in early May at US Consular posts in China after a 16 month suspension. However, a few BU graduate students indicate they have been denied student visas due to this proclamation. While the US Department of State has not published the criteria they are using to determine who may be affiliated with an entity in the PRC that supports military-civil fusion strategy, these students report that Consular Officers may be basing denials on previous enrollment at certain undergraduate institutions in China. Boston University continues to closely monitor this situation and to advocate through various professional associations for a reversal of this policy and greater transparency. In the meantime, students should continue to proceed with their visa applications and prepare for the fall semester as most of our students should be eligible for a student visa.

    May 29, 2020 - Proclamation 10043 - Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China suspended entry to the US on or after June 1, 2020 of certain Chinese nationals seeking to enter the US with an F or J nonimmigrant visa to study or conduct research.

    • This suspension means that the US Department of State may deny new visa applications from graduate students and researchers affiliated with an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s 'military-civil fusion strategy'.
    • Affiliation has been defined in the proclamation as an individual who currently receives funding from, is employed by, studies at, or conducts research at, or on behalf of, an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s 'military-civil fusion strategy' or, an individual who has been employed by, studied at, or conducted research at, or on behalf of, an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s 'military-civil fusion strategy'.
    • Under the proclamation, "the term “military-civil fusion strategy” means actions by or at the behest of the PRC to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance the PRC’s military capabilities."
    • A US Department of State Fact Sheet indicated that technologies that may be targeted include quantum computing, big data, semiconductors, 5G, advanced nuclear technology, aerospace technology, and artificial intelligence

    Read more for details on exactly how this affects our community. The following individuals are exempt: 

    • undergraduate students from China
    • graduate students and researchers from China who study in disciplines that are not related to ‘military-civil fusion strategy’
    • graduate students and researchers from China who do not hold any affiliation with the described PRC entities

    The US Department of State (DOS) has not yet explained how they will implement the new proclamation or clarified the list of PRC entities that support the PRC’s 'military-civil fusion strategy'. However, DOS routinely evaluates sources of funding and the prospective field of study or research when adjudicating visa applications and has pushed visa applicants through additional security clearances to screen out students who present concerns about the transfer of sensitive technology.

    The ISSO and other University offices will continue to assess how this will impact our international student and scholar community.  We will also seek clarification as to how this may impact the F and J visas of Chinese graduate students and scholars in these limited disciplines that are currently in the US as well as whether there will be any changes to procedures at US ports of entry.

    We will continue to update the community. Please email your ISSO advisor with specific questions.

    The following individuals are specifically exempt from the entry or visa ban:

    • Students pursuing undergraduate study
    • Individuals "studying or conducting research in a field involving information that would not contribute to the PRC’s military‑civil fusion strategy, as determined by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the appropriate executive departments and agencies (agencies)"
    • U.S. lawful permanent residents
    • Spouses of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents
    • Members of the United States Armed Forces and their spouse and children
    • Individuals "whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement or who would otherwise be allowed entry into the United States pursuant to United States obligations under applicable international agreements"
    • Individuals "whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee"
    • Individuals "whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees."

    The Secretary of State will implement the proclamation as it applies to visas "pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may establish in the Secretary of State’s discretion." The Secretary of Homeland Security will implement the proclamation "as it applies to the entry of aliens pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may establish in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s discretion."

    Additional Measures of the proclamation:

    • "The Secretary of State shall consider, in the Secretary’s discretion, whether nationals of the PRC currently in the United States pursuant to F or J visas and who otherwise meet the criteria described in section 1 of this proclamation should have their visas revoked pursuant to section 221(i) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1201(i)."
    • "Within 60 days of the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the heads of appropriate agencies, shall review nonimmigrant and immigrant programs and shall recommend to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, any other measures requiring Presidential action that would mitigate the risk posed by the PRC’s acquisition of sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property."
    • "The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall consider issuing updated regulations and guidance, as appropriate, implementing the inadmissibility provisions in section 212(a)(3)(D) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(D)."

    Travel from India to the US restricted due to COVID

    May 3rd, 2021 in Featured

    President Biden signed a Presidential Proclamation restricting travel to the US from India effective 12:01am on May 4, 2021 for any nonimmigrants physically present in India during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry to the United States.

    The Department of State announced that F-1 students travelling from India on, or August 1, 2021, will automatically qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE) provided they have a valid F-1 visa.

    All other nonimmigrants seeking to enter the US from India will need to demonstrate eligibility for an individual waiver from a US consular post. See ISSO website for more details regarding COVID related travel restriction and waivers.

    USDOS Expands COVID Travel Ban Waivers for F-1 Students

    April 26th, 2021 in Featured

    The US Department of State expanded eligibility for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) from the COVID travel bans to include F-1 students travelling to the US from China, Iran, Brazil, or South Africa, if their academic program begins August 1, 2021 or later. F-1 students travelling to the US from the UK, Ireland and the Schengen countries continue to qualify for waivers from the COVID travel restrictions. This exemption from the 14-day COVID travel ban should be applied automatically to any F-1 student who is in the possession of a valid F-1 visa. See below for more details:

    • F-1 students travelling to the US from China, Iran, Brazil, or South Africa who already have a valid F-1 visa, and are intending to begin, or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 or later, do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel. They may seek to enter the US with a valid passport, F-1 visa and I-20, no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies.
    • F-1 students travelling to the US from China, Iran, Brazil, or South Africa who do not have a valid F-1 visa, should follow instructions from the website of the nearest US Embassy or Consulate to either renew an expired F-1 visa or schedule an appointment to apply for a new F-1 visa.
    • F-1 students travelling to the US from the UK, Ireland and the Schengen countries can continue to seek entry the US with a valid passport, F-1 visa and I-20.
    • It is unclear how this new announcement will impact F-1 students seeking to enter the US during a period of approved OPT or STEM OPT.

    All students are encouraged to refer to the current ISSO travel advisory for more details, check their immigration documentation carefully and contact their ISSO advisor should they have specific questions.

    International Students & Scholars Office: Summer Travel Reminder and Fall 2021 Considerations

    April 12th, 2021 in Featured

    We hope this message finds you well! ISSO would like to provide you with a few important updates and reminders as we look forward to the Fall semester. We appreciate that many of you are already outside of the US, and those of you who have remained in the US might be considering summer travel.

    Travel Advisory – for students currently in the US considering international travel over the summer

    Travel remains very challenging due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Any international travel at this time comes with significant risk. We recommend that you review our Current Travel Advisory for important reminders if you are considering international travel over the summer. If you must travel and your visa has expired, you should be prepared for significant delays and backlogs at US Embassies/Consulates around the world. It is important that you consider all of these factors to ensure that you can return to campus for the Fall semester.

    Travel Considerations – for students studying LfA from outside of the US

    Travel remains very challenging due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We recommend that you review our Current Travel Advisory as you plan your return to campus. As you are likely aware, if your visa has expired, you may face significant delays in scheduling a visa appointment at a US Embassies/Consulates. You should look at the website of the Embassy/Consulate where you plan to apply for your visa for updated instructions regarding visa renewal. Make sure you have appropriate documentation needed to return to the US.

    Fall 2021 Considerations

    With President Brown’s announcement of a return to residential education, you should be making plans to be on campus this Fall. Interim COVID-related SEVP flexibility with SEVIS records ends once BU returns to normal operations. To help you understand how this might affect you as you are considering Summer travel and Fall enrollment options, we encourage you to review the recording of our Q&A Session:

    Watch Now

    ISSO’s Menu of Remote Services and FAQs

    ISSO remains available to assist you with your immigration, employment and travel questions. You can visit our Menu of Remote Services to learn how to contact us. You can also contact your ISSO advisor if you have specific questions, and you can schedule an appointment with your ISSO advisor if you have more detailed questions. ISSO continues to experience a high volume of inquires, so appointments may not be available immediately and it may take your advisor a few days to respond to your e-mail inquires. We appreciate your patience. We also suggest that you review our FAQs and Travel Considerations page, as it will address many common questions we are receiving, including detailed instructions on how to request a Travel Signature.

    The staff of the ISSO hope that you are safe, healthy, and are having a productive semester, and we wish you an enjoyable summer.

    The Staff of the ISSO

    We Must Welcome International Students Again

    March 4th, 2021 in Featured

    BU President Robert Brown and NYU President Andrew Hamilton author an article in INSIDE HIGHER ED urging more support from the Biden administration in welcoming back international students to American campuses.

    Travel from South Africa restricted due to COVID beginning January 30, 2021

    January 26th, 2021 in Featured

    Travel to the US within 14 days from South Africa will be banned effective January 30, 2021 at 12:01am. South Africa is the latest country to be added to the COVID-related travel restrictions that continue to ban travel to the US from China, Brazil, Iran, 26 Schengen countries, Ireland and the United Kingdom. COVID related travel bans were reconfirmed in a Presidential Proclamation on January 25, 2021. Please refer to the ISSO news post for a list of countries, specific language of the bans as well as details regarding limited exceptions.