Guidance

The Office of Global Services (OGS) welcomes and supports international students and scholars at Georgetown University. The guidance below provides general advice for students and scholars concerned about the current immigration climate. OGS also provides information on legal resources, including a list of immigration attorneys in the Washington, DC area.

OGS closely monitors all policy and regulatory changes issued by the current Administration. This alert is provided for informational purposes only.

President DeGioia's message to the Georgetown community     NAFSA Resources 

August 8, 2018: USCIS updates their unlawful presence and RFE/notice to deny policies

Beginning August 9, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will change its policy on the consequences for failing to maintain valid student status while in the United States. Please carefully read the guidance from USCIS.

Students and scholars who believe that they may have violated their status in any way should review the OGS legal resources website and consult with an immigration attorney.

Students and scholars submitting applications for benefits from USCIS should be aware that beginning September 11, 2018, new policy guidance gives adjudicators more discretion to deny applications without first requesting additional evidence to cure an application deficiency. Students must always give careful attention to the USCIS instructions for a form. Find form instructions on the USCIS website. Read the USCIS guidance on this updated policy.

June 27, 2018: Travel Ban 3.0 has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and is now in effect indefinitely.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators, provides the following history:

On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued Proclamation 9645 pursuant to Section 2(e) of Executive Order 13780, restricting entry to the United States for the nationals of eight countries. A Presidential Proclamation of April 10, 2018, however, removed Chad from the list of countries subject to Travel Ban 3.0, effective April 13, 2018. On December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) stayed preliminary injunctions that had been issued by U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland, which allows the government to fully enforce Travel Ban 3.0 on all countries still covered by Proclamation 9645. The Proclamation 9645 restrictions are country-specific, and tailored to the situation of each individual country:

Iran

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry of Iranian 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."
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is suspended

Libya

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is not suspended

North Korea

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for all nonimmigrant visa categories

Syria

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for all nonimmigrant visa categories

Venezuela

  • Entry is suspended for Venezuelan nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, but only for 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.
  • Nationals of Venezuela not subject to the above suspension should nevertheless "be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current."

Yemen

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas
  • Entry under other types of nonimmigrant visas is not suspended

Somalia

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • "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."

Make sure to read Exemptions and Exceptions and Waivers for exceptions to these general rules.

Support for Georgetown Community Members Affected by September 2017 Presidential Proclamation (Travel Ban 3.0)

Georgetown faculty, staff, scholars, and students who are citizens of, or were born in Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela, and refugees from any country, who have any questions about how the Presidential Proclamation impacts them should make an appointment to meet with Rachel Rubin, Director of International Student & Scholar Services. Where appropriate, OGS can connect individuals from the impacted countries to a law firm who will provide immigration consultations at no charge to Georgetown faculty, staff, scholars, and students who are directly affected by the Proclamation. 

Q. What are the main components of the March 6, 2017 Executive Order?

Citizens and Nationals from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen will not be able to secure a visa to enter the United States for 90 days beginning on March 16, 2017, unless they first obtain a waiver, discussed below.  In addition, the Visa Interview Waiver Program is suspended so virtually all individuals seeking a non-immigrant visa will have to undergo an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate abroad.  Furthermore, refugees will not be admitted to the U.S. from any country for 120 days. 

More specific information regarding who is covered and exempt under the Executive Order, information regarding the issuance of waivers, and guidance for the Georgetown community can be found below.

Q. Where can I read the entire March 6, 2017 Executive Order?

White House press release.

Q. When does the revised Executive Order go into effect?

The Executive Order was intended to go into effect on March 16, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. However, U.S. District Courts in Hawai'i and Maryland issued a nationwide temporary restraining order as well as an injunction, preventing the Government from enforcing the new executive order's entry ban. The case has gone to the Supreme Court and you may find the Supreme Court ruling FAQs in the expandable section above. 

Q. Who is subject to the revised travel restrictions outlined in the March 6, 2017 Executive Order?

The Executive Order prohibits nationals of the six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from securing a visa to enter the United States for 90 days unless they qualify for an exemption or are granted a waiver.  Iraqi nationals are not subject to these restrictions, though they were covered by the original January 27, 2017 Executive Order.    

Q. Who is exempt from the March 6, 2017 Executive Order’s travel restrictions?

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders).
  • Holders of a valid U.S. visa, even if they have not yet used it. Visas that were provisionally revoked under the January 27, 2017 Executive Order should be valid for travel.  Foreign nationals with a visa that was physically canceled under the January 27, 2017 Executive Order may be entitled to a new travel document for entry to the United States.
  • Dual nationals traveling on a valid passport from a non-restricted country. Dual nationals must hold a valid U.S. visa or be visa-exempt.  Canadian landed immigrants are subject to the restrictions but may be eligible for a discretionary waiver (see below).
  • Foreign nationals holding a valid advance parole document.
  • Most foreign nationals holding a valid A, C-2, G or NATO visa.
  • Foreign nationals granted asylum.
  • Refugees already admitted to the U.S. and those with travel formally scheduled by the State Department.

Please note that the answers to the visa and admissions questions in this section were in relation to the March 6, 2017 Executive Order before parts of the Executive Order were suspended.  To see updated information, read the expandable Supreme Court Rulings FAQ section above.


Q. I was just admitted to Georgetown. I am a citizen of one of the six countries identified in the Executive Order. Can I still apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa to study at Georgetown this summer or this fall?

Until the March 6, 2017 Executive Order takes effect, the State Department indicates that it will continue to process visa applications from nationals of the six restricted countries. However, applicants should be prepared for lengthy security screening and the possibility that they may not be issued a visa before the new restrictions take effect. After Supreme Court decision if the Executive Order takes effect, there will be a 90-day waiting period before the restrictions are lifted, during which time the Executive Order prohibits the issuance of visas (both first-time visas and visa renewals) to citizens and nationals of the six identified countries unless a waiver is granted at the time of the visa interview. During the interview, the Department of State has the right to collect and review social media accounts, phone numbers, and email addresses used in the last 5 years.

The Executive Order permits DHS and State to grant discretionary waivers on a case-by-case basis, when they determine: that issuance is in the national interest, the applicant poses no national security threat to the U.S., and denial of the visa would cause undue hardship. Admitted students who wish to apply for a waiver should make and support the waiver request when they appear for their visa interview. There will not be a separate waiver process. This means that visa applicants seeking a waiver must be fully prepared to provide evidence, including relevant documentation, of their eligibility for a waiver at the time of their interview.  

Students who intend to study in F-1 or J-1 status at Georgetown should request an immigration document from Georgetown as soon as possible. There should be adequate time to apply for a visa to start study in Fall 2017 unless the restrictions are extended. If you plan to arrive for a Summer 2017 program, you should request the waiver at your visa interview.

Q. I am a current student or scholar and a citizen of one of the six countries identified in the March 6, 2017 Executive Order. My current visa is expiring. I hear I can request a waiver to the travel restrictions. How do I request the waiver?

The Executive Order permits the DHS and State to grant discretionary waivers of the entry restrictions. Waiver applicants must show that a denial of entry would cause undue hardship and that their entry is in the national interest and would not pose a threat to national security.

The Executive Order suggests that a waiver may be appropriate for several classes of foreign nationals, including Canadian-landed immigrants applying for a visa in Canada, persons with significant business or professional obligations in the United States, and nonimmigrants previously admitted to the U.S. for a continuous period of work, study or another long-term activity who are seeking to resume that activity. Individuals who wish to apply for a waiver should make and support the waiver request when they appear for their visa interview. There will not be a separate waiver process. This means that visa applicants seeking a waiver must be fully prepared to provide evidence, including relevant documentation, of their eligibility for a waiver at the time of their interview.  

At this time, OGS recommends that students and scholars who are citizens of these countries exercise caution and careful planning before finalizing international travel if their visa will no longer be valid on the desired return date.  

Q: If I request the waiver, but the consular officer determines that I do not qualify for a waiver, will my case be terminated? Can I apply for the visa again after 90 days have passed?

If a consular officer determines that you do not qualify for a waiver, you may reapply for your F-1 or J-1 visa using the same approved petition after the 90-day period in the Executive Order has passed. At that time, you should contact the embassy or consulate directly to schedule a new interview. If your medical exam results have expired by the date of your new interview, you must retake your medical exams.

If you are applying for a Summer 2017 program, please contact both OGS and your academic department immediately upon notification that you do not qualify for a waiver. You will want to discuss the possibility of deferring your admission to the next possible start date of your academic program with your academic department. 

Q. I am not a citizen or national of one of the six countries identified by the revised Executive Order and need to travel abroad this summer. My student visa is expiring. Should I make plans to renew the visa over the summer break?

In addition to the entry restrictions, the President has issued a memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Department and the Justice Department to implement more stringent vetting of applications and petitions for immigration benefits.  Enhanced security screening (including the review of social media accounts, phone numbers, and email addresse used in the last 5 years) could take effect quickly and may delay processing at USCIS and at U.S. consulates. Please allow additional time for visa processing. Apply for the renewal as soon as you return home after the end of the current term. The visa interview waiver option is no longer available to many students. To verify whether you qualify for an exemption from an in-person visa interview, visa applicants should check the website of the relevant U.S. consulate for specific information, which is subject to frequent change.

Q. Where can I find more information about the March 6, 2017 Executive Order?

The following DHS Fact Sheet and Q&A have more information about the implementation of the revised Executive Order:

DHS Fact Sheet

DHS FAQs