DHS Proposal to eliminate D/S
On September 25, 2020, a proposed rule was published to the Federal Register that would, if finalized, impact students and scholars on F and J visa status. The proposed rule seeks to eliminate D/S (duration of status) for these visa types, and instead implement date-specific admission. This impacts many aspects of international student and exchange visitor programs, including: limitations on how long a student can study, reduction of the F-1 grace period, required extension applications, and impacts on employment authorization, to name a few.
It is important to note that the proposed rule isnot finalized. A period of public comment recently closed on October 26th. Members of the Chatham community, including OIA, submitted comments opposing the proposed rule change.
Additional information on the proposed rule change, as well as current updates, can be found on the NAFSA interest site.
USCIS Fee Rule injunction (important for those filing OPT applications)
On September 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction and stay on implementation of the 2020 final USCIS fee rulein its entirety. New fees and form versions associated with that rule that were to be required on October 2, 2020, as well as all other aspects of the rule, are now on hold while the injunction is in place. Read the court’s order.
Based on the court injunction, USCIS is blocked from implementing the fee increase and new forms. As you are preparing to file an OPT application, or STEM-extension application, you will be able to use the current fees ($410) and the current form (issued 8/25/20) for your I-765 application.
OIA will keep you updated on the outcomes of these items. If you have any questions, please contact us at InternationalAffairs@Chatham.edu
Starting in Fall 2019, OIA will require all international students, new and returning, to complete an online check-in. The online check-in form takes about 5-minutes to complete, and asks for information about your immigration documents, address and contact information, and program of study. This is to keep OIA informed about your Program and to streamline SEVIS reporting.
New students are still required to attend the mandatory new international student orientation, but the online form will allow them to supply information in advance of the orientation.
Your I-20 is a ‘living document’- meaning that it must be kept up-to-date, and any changes must be entered into your SEVIS record. As an example, students are required to report changes of address and contact information to OIA within 10-days. This is required by regulation. By submitting the online form at the start of each semester, this will act as a reminder of the regulations and what you need to do to maintain student status.
OIA sends monthly reminders on how to maintain status, and information on upcoming activities and workshops.
If you have questions on how to maintain status, or are looking for general information on F-1 regulations, please visit the Study in the States website located here: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/
The office of international affairs is open Monday through Friday from 9am- 5pm. Please make an appointment by emailing InternationalAffairs@cahtham.edu or calling 412.365.1388.
Study in the States, the official website for international students in the US has released their tips for students planning to travel over winter break. This information is helpful for international travel, regardless on when you go.
Meet with your designated school official (DSO).
The DSO will confirm your student status and sign your I-20 for Travel authorization. They will confirm your current address, contact information, and enrollment.
Don’t forget all the required documents for travel!
Remember to take your passport, valid student visa, and your form I-20 when you travel. Make sure these documents are kept close at hand, and not put in checked baggage. It may also be a good idea to bring a copy of your enrollment verification- which you can print from your MyChatham account.
What if you receive a Form I-515A?
First, don’t panic! The Form I-515A is issued by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) if you are missing required documentation. It allows you to entire the US for 30-days in order to obtain and submit the missing documentation. If you receive a Form I-515A, contact your DSO immediately.
While summer may be a slower time for many, the Office of International Affairs was in full motion with 14 intensive courses from the English Language Program, a four-week program for 10 students from Wenzhou Medical University, immigration recertification, and international visits for partnership development, to name a few activities.
Fall 2018 brings fewer new international students than last fall, but plans have been made for a productive semester with a host of activities for the Global Focus Year of Ireland; exciting opportunities to study abroad, including scholarship opportunities; and a robust cultural program to celebrate languages, cultures, and international education. Read through our eNewsletter for information on these programs.
Here are a few highlights of the summer.
With thirty-three students, 70 hours of weekly instruction, three full-tuition scholarships offered to local students, the ELP celebrated the success of the semester with a guest speech from Natalia Castillejo, Product Manager at Duolingo; student speeches by Fadia Azzani and Gabriela Gomez; and music performances from Ayaka Fushino, Ai Fudano, Hong Zhao, and Hong’s husband. It was a wonderful celebration of language and culture!
Opportunities for students for social interactions and cultural discovery include a Conversation Partner Program, Waterfront Battle of Homestead Tour, Mexico War Street Tour, trips to outstanding museums Pittsburgh has to offer, a potluck with education students, BBQ parties at Dr. Phung’s and Mr. Musick’s houses, among others. Students also traveled to so many cities and attractions in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Cuba. What an adventurous bunch!
Ten students majoring in psychiatry at Wenzhou Medical University participated in a four-week program organized and led by AVP Chris Musick. The students participated in workshops taught by faculty from the Psychology Department, cultural explorations led by AVP Musick, and selected lessons in some ELP’s courses. Many of the workshops had experiential components taking the students to museums, the zoo, and the Allegany Cemetery. The students learned many new concepts which they had not encountered before in their studies in China.
After over 18 months, the Pittsburgh Pathways was finally approved by SEVP. The approval was needed in order for Chatham to issue immigration documents for students to apply for a visa to enter the U.S. and attend the program. Following the approval was intensive work to apply for a SEVP recertification to allow Chatham to continue to enroll international students and host international scholars in its programs.
On the study abroad side, Chatham undergraduate students participated in summer study and internship opportunities in Costa Rica, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. Graduate students studying Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy participated in a summer field experience in Ecuador.
AVP Musick visited China with Dean Downey in May to build institutional partnerships. There is now interest from Wenzhou’s College of Nursing, College of Psychology, School of Foreign Languages in building sustainable student and faculty exchanges.
In addition, the staff in the Office of International Affairs attended the NAFSA conference in Philadelphia with about 9,500 other attendees all over the world. We caught up with existing partners and connected with potential new ones. In July, Dr. Linh Phung visited long-lasting university partners in Japan, which together have sent over 100 students to Chatham since 2011. Partnership work is intense and intensive, but also rewarding.
With the summer semester behind, we are looking forward to an exciting academic year ahead!
While studying in the United States, it is important to follow the rules and regulations for your visa category.
Your student status aligns with your primary purpose in the United States: to study. If you do not follow the regulations for your student status, you risk losing your student status in the United States (termination).
Actions that may lead to termination include, but are not limited to,
working without authorization;
taking less than full-time course load without authorization;
failing to make academic progress;
and failure to report a change of address;
Failure to maintain status can lead to serious consequences, such as accruing “unlawful presence.” The accrual of unlawful presence may lead to deportation, and a 3-10-year or lifetime ban on entering the United States.
On August 9, 2018, USCIS updated their policy regarding when “unlawful presence” begins to be counted. If you fail to maintain your student or exchange visitor status, you will begin to accrue unlawful presence immediately.
If you are an F-1 student, you have 60 days after the program end date on your Form I-20, to leave the United States. Failure to depart within this grace period could adversely impact your ability to re-enter the United States.
Always remember to talk with your designated school official (DSO) if you have any questions about maintaining status while studying in the United States. The Office of International Affairs sends monthly reminders on maintaining status.
For more information, visit the Maintaining Status page on Study in the States website (https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/) for information and tips to help you maintain your status.
The Department of Homeland Security launched the “Study in the States” website over a year ago. The goal of the site is to provide innovated information for the many different shareholders for international students in the United States. This includes updates and information from: the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The main site can be found at: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/
The Office of International Affairs encourages prospective, current, and former Chatham University students to visit the site frequently to keep updated on immigration matters.
Recently, Study in the States updated their blog with some good information for Chatham Students:
Students: Passing Final Exams Helps You Maintain Status
November 23, 2016
With winter break approaching and academic terms ending, many students are preparing for their final exams. As an international student, it’s important to understand that studying for and passing your final exams helps you maintain your status.
Maintaining status means following the rules and regulations that govern studying in the United States, and these rules require that you enroll in a full course of study and pass all your classes. Since your performance on a final exam contributes to your overall grade in a course, it’s important to do well on the exams to pass your classes. Following these study tips can help you prepare:
Do not simply re-read your notes. Focus on the meaning of what you’ve written.
Ask yourself a lot of questions.
Connect new information to something you already know.
Draw out information in a visual form (e.g., diagrams and illustrations).
Use flashcards to help you memorize information.
Do not wait until the last minute to study.
If you have questions about maintaining status or concerns about passing your classes, talk with your designated school official (DSO) immediately. Your DSO is the best person to help you navigate your options while ensuring you properly maintain your status.
(At Chatham University, the Primary Designated School Official is Ms. Kate Emory. She can be contacted at K.Emory@chatham.edu or by phone at 412-365-1267)
The original blog post can be found at: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2016/11/students-passing-final-exams-helps-you-maintain-status
Office of International Affairs, Chatham University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.chatham.edu/academics/international