Global Engagement

The University of Mississippi – Office of Global Engagement

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Presidential Proclamations on Immigration

Posted on: June 30th, 2020 by blair

Below please find information and interpretation of the various COVID-19-related Presidential Proclamations issued since March 2020.  Specific immigration questions should be directed to the Office of International Programs at ipdept@olemiss.edu.

 

How does the June 22, 2020 Presidential Proclamation affect the University of Mississippi community?

On June 22, the White House issued a new Presidential Proclamation regarding H-1b visas.  The Proclamation appears to bar the entry of people who are outside of the U.S. and who are seeking, but who do not yet possess, the following visa types: H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1 and L-2.  

The proclamation addresses J visas but does not affect the categories of Exchange Visitors (J-1 – students, scholars, researchers) for which UM issues documents. This Proclamation is valid through December 31, 2020 but should be reviewed within 30 days of the effective date of June 24, 2020, and every 60 days thereafter and adjusted as needed.  The Proclamation also extends the intending immigrant ban issued on April 22 as expected (though note that this did not apply to the UM community when issued).  

E-3s and F-1s, including those on OPT, are not currently affected.

Guidance for Departments and Visa Holders: 

New H-1b applicants without a current, valid H-1b visa who are outside of the United States after June 24, 2020, will not be able to enter the United States until January 1, 2021, unless the Proclamation is rescinded, adjusted, or they meet one of the exceptions listed in the proclamation.

If you have an H-1b visa, you may continue to use it during the dates of validity for entry into the U.S. though it is recommended that you check with the Office of International Programs for specific guidance.  Remember that UM strongly discourages personal international travel at this time due to COVID-19.

H-1b visa holders who have traveled abroad, are outside the U.S. on June 24, 2020, and whose visas have expired, will be covered by the ban and should discuss with the Office of International Programs whether any of the exceptions listed in the proclamation are applicable.

At this time, advice has been given to the one known department potentially affected by the June 22, 2020 proclamation.

Please contact the Office of International Programs at ipdept@olemiss.edu if you have specific immigration questions.

Here are two summaries of the June 22, 2020, proclamation for additional reading:

Q and A from Immigration Experts – What We Know So Far

Klasko Law Article

 

How does the May 29, 2020 Presidential Proclamation regarding Chinese researchers and students affect the UM community?  

  • The Presidential Proclamation of May 29, 2020, directed at Chinese students and researchers, continues to be challenging and unclear.  State Department officials have said that for a student or researcher to be flagged, visa applicants would have to be connected to a Chinese university that supports China’s military-fusion strategy AND be studying or doing research in a sensitive field.  Unfortunately there is no word about which areas are considered sensitive.
  • State Department officials said that applicants subject to the ban should be notified at the time of their visa interview, rather than have their application linger in often-lengthy administrative processing.  Unfortunately, though, the lack of transparency and information about enforcing this order leaves us searching for and awaiting clarity.  Further reading from Siskind Susser on the May 29, 2020, proclamation.

 

How does the April 22, 2020 Presidential Proclamation on immigrant visas affect the UM community?

President Trump tweeted on April 20 about ending immigration temporarily, and many of you may be wondering what this means for international students and scholars at UM. The White House issued a Presidential Proclamation on April 22 that limits the entry for 60 days of some intending immigrants who do not have an approved immigrant visa.

The order does not apply to those who already hold permanent resident status and non-immigrant categories including F-1 and J-1 students, H-1b workers, J-1 scholars, and visitors for business or tourism.

Here are two summaries of the proclamation for additional reading:

Siskind Susser Blog

Klasko Law Blog

 

COVID-19 and the International Community

Posted on: March 8th, 2020 by blair

International Students, Faculty, and Scholars and COVID-19

The below FAQ resource is for international (non U.S. citizen) students, faculty, and staff who are part of the UM community.  Please feel free to contact OGE at oge@olemiss.edu should you have additional questions.

  1. How does COVID-19 affect personal travel plans for the summer? Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present in China and Iran during a 14-day period prior to entry into the U.S. has been suspended by the due to COVID-19.  This means that non-citizens who leave the U.S. for the summer break and travel to China (People’s Republic of China excluding Hong Kong and Macau) and Iran will not be able to re-enter the U.S. at this time if attempting to enter within 14 days of being present in either China or Iran.  Please contact the Office of Global Engagement at oge@olemiss.edu to learn more about how we can support affected students during the summer break.  (Source.)
  2. Does the outbreak of COVID-19 affect visa status? If students are unable to re-enter the U.S. due to being physically present in China or Iran within 14 days of attempted entry into the U.S., they may not be able to enroll for the fall semester.  A leave of absence in enrollment may cause students to lose their F-1 or J-1 status.  Students who lose their status due to a leave of absence may need to reapply for a visa for the next available term of enrollment.  As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we do not know when CDC travel restrictions will be lifted, so we discourage all personal travel to China or Iran until further notice.
  3. If students travel to a country with a CDC alert, regardless of citizenship, during the summer break, what might they expect upon return to the U.S. for the fall semester? The University of Mississippi maintains a web page with guidance on the procedures for any UM community member.

Any University of Mississippi community member who has been in a country under a

  • CDC Alert Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions), or
  • CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel), or
  • S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel), or
  • S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 4 (Do Not Travel)

due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the past 14 days, or who has otherwise come in contact with someone with COVID-19, should notify the Student Health Center or Employee Health in order to receive healthcare monitoring and support.

If you have traveled to one of these areas or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. This measure is in place to assist you and protect the health and safety of our community.

Students – please call Student Health (662-915-7274) for additional evaluation and information.

Faculty and Staff – please call Employee Health (662-915-6550) for additional evaluation and information.

Community members – please call your doctor for additional evaluation and information.

COVID-19 and Study Abroad

Posted on: March 8th, 2020 by blair

Study Abroad FAQ and COVID-19

The below FAQ resource is for students who are currently studying abroad in spring 2020 or plan to study abroad in summer 2020.  Communication to participants and applicants about specific programs will continue to be made via email directly to students.  Please feel free to contact the Study Abroad Office at abroad@olemiss.edu should you have additional questions.

  1. How does the University of Mississippi make decisions about its study abroad programs? In order to evaluate the status of a specific program, UM will weigh criteria that include the following:
    • Department of State travel advisory level
    • Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 advisory level
    • Potential of quarantine policy in the host country to disrupt program activities/impact students (Is there significant potential for U.S. participants to be quarantined?  What is the quality of care provided in quarantine?)
    • U.S. university policies for students in program’s host country (Are U.S. universities with similar in-country partners/presence requiring that their students return from host site or nearby sites? Are they prohibiting travel to the host country or canceling other programs in the host country?)
    • Local university policies and status (Are classes suspended or canceled? Are campuses closed?)
    • Overall quality of medical services available in host country
    • Potential for disruptions in local economy, infrastructure, medical service, markets
    • Potential for travel complications that could prevent departure from host country
  1. What is the current status of study abroad programs for spring and summer 2020? Spring and summer 2020 study abroad programs have been canceled effective March 12, 2020. Students in programs affected by the restriction have been contacted directly.
  2. What happens if a UM study abroad program is suspended or canceled? UM works closely with our academic partners who provide study abroad programs with the goal of mitigating potential impacts on students’ academic progress. For information on a specific program, please email the Study Abroad Office at abroad@olemiss.edu or email your study abroad advisor.  Many programs have already moved to online coursework that can be completed in the United States.
  3. Are refunds available to students whose programs are canceled? We understand that the cancellation of a program is not only disappointing to students but may cause unexpected expenses.  A committee will review refund requests on a case-by-case basis.  You should make arrangements to depart as cost-effectively as possible.  Please keep all receipts for airfare change fees and/or other unexpected costs associated with your early departure so that a refund committee can review them after return to your home country.  Program fee refunds will also depend on the program provider’s refund policy due to COVID-19.  If you wish to seek any reimbursement from the committee, please submit your receipts to abroad@olemiss.edu.
  4. Does the University of Mississippi have any recommendations for students traveling independently while on study abroad? The university strongly recommends that everyone reconsider even personal travel to any country with any of the following advisories due to COVID-19:
    • CDC Alert Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions), or
    • CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel), or
    • U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel), or
    • U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Level 4 (Do Not Travel).

Students who are traveling should, in addition to taking recommended measures to prevent illness, take basic precautions to prepare for potential travel disruptions:

  • Students should register independent travel with their on-site program staff. The program staff’s ability to help in case of difficulty is increased by knowing students’ plans in advance.
  • Students should keep cell phones fully charged and operational, and check their email at least daily.
  • Students should travel with all key documents, including their passport and insurance documents.
  • Students should travel with a full supply of any regular medications, regardless of how long they plan to be away. Prescription medications should be packaged in their original containers.
  1. What changes has the University of Mississippi made to its study abroad programs in light of the COVID-19 outbreak? UM has canceled all University study abroad programs in spring and summer 2020, as have many US higher education institutions. Decisions about fall semester programs and travel will be made as the situation is monitored throughout the spring. We encourage you to visit UM’s dedicated webpage for the latest information: https://provost.olemiss.edu/covid-19update/.
  2. Who will UM contact with updates? UM will directly contact students abroad with updates and changes to their programs, if any. Students may be requested to return to their home countries if the CDC advisory levels trigger a cancellation or suspension.  UM reaches out to students’ designated emergency contacts only in very specific situations, such as when a student has been incapacitated or when we cannot reach the student. All members of the UM community can find updates at https://provost.olemiss.edu/covid-19update/.
  3. I’m on financial aid.  What impact will the spring cancellation have on my aid this semester?  Every student’s financial aid package is different.  We have been in touch with the Financial Aid Office and will evaluate the best course of action for your particular aid package once we know the academic contingency plan for your program.  What we can confirm is that if you do not earn any credit for the semester, any scholarships you have this semester will be available in future semesters.
  4. What is required upon my return to the United States?  As you make preparations to return the U.S. we ask that you do the following:
    • Contact your family and make them aware of your updated travel plans.  Please communicate with your parents!
    • Contact your program (host university, program provider, etc.) and follow any instructions that they give to you.
    • Complete the return information form here: https://go.rebelsabroad.com/return-info.
    • Complete the UM Travel Self-Reporting Form.

    Also, UM guidelines state that any student, faculty or staff member returning to campus from international travel is required to self-quarantine and self-monitor at their home, complete the online Travel Self-Reporting Form, and follow the CDC recommendations for what to do for a minimum of 14 days.

    • Students who traveled internationally should contact Student Health at 662-915-7274.

Resources: