Updated International Visitor Program Dates - May 27, 2020

May 27, 2020
  1. The Exchange Visitor (EV) Program of the U.S. Department of State (DOS) (J-1 status only) is now saying that all programs funded by the Department of State have been paused “until further notice,” which translates as guidance for other program sponsors such as ISU. Please watch for updates here.
  2. The Iowa Board of Regents has not lifted the international travel ban which also applies to all incoming international visitors (paid or unpaid), currently in effect until July 1st. Click here for Board of Regents updates. 
  3. The Federal government is adding Brazil (effective 11:59 PM, 5/26/2020) to the list of countries with travel bans in place for foreign nationals who have been to them in the 14 days immediately prior to their arrival in the U.S.  
  4. The Bureau of Consular Affairs, DOS has suspended non-immigrant visa services in most countries “until further notice.” Click here for further updates.
  5. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1 and employment-based green card applications. Click here for the full announcement.
  6. The USCIS has now extended the suspension of in-person services until at least June 4th. Click here for updates.

When can my international visitor/employee arrive on campus?

  1. If individuals are outside the U.S. and need a visa to enter or re-enter the U.S.
    1. Our guess is that a September or later date would be more likely. 
    2. It depends on when U.S. consulates reopen for visa appointments and the size of the appointment backlog when they do reopen. 
  2. If individuals are currently in the U.S. and do not require action by the USCIS, consider ISU guidance on bringing new people to campus. For example:
    1.  J-1 scholars transferring from other U.S. institutions who have time left in their program category (a few exceptions exist)
    2. J-1 students applying for or currently authorized for academic training who have remaining time in their academic training period
    3. F-1 “students” currently authorized for OPT who have remaining OPT time
    4. F-1 “students” on OPT with a pending application to extend OPT status as a STEM graduate.  These individuals may work for up to 180 days while their STEM OPT application is pending with USCIS.
  3. If individuals are in the U.S., require action on the part of USCIS, and their application or petition is submitted to USCIS by the end of May 2020 to:
    1. change nonimmigrant status from F-1 to J-1, their most likely start date would fall in September 2020 or later as the current estimated change of status processing time is 2.5-4.5 months.  
    2. change to H-1B nonimmigrant status, the most likely start date would fall in September 2020 as the processing time is currently around 3 - 3.5 months and USCIS’s premium processing service is temporarily suspended.  
    3. apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) as an F-1 “student,” the most likely start date would fall in August 2020 or later as the estimated OPT processing time is 5 weeks to 5 months
    4. extend their current OPT status, consider current ISU guidance on bringing new employees to campus.  These individuals may work for up to 180 days while their OPT application is pending with USCIS.
    5. extend their current H-1B nonimmigrant status and/or change their employer, consider ISU guidance on bringing new employees to campus.  These individuals may work for up to 240 days while their H-1B petition is pending with USCIS.

This is a time of great uncertainty and, unfortunately, as much as we would like to, we can’t provide a guaranteed start date for many of your new visiting scholars or new international employees. If you have a specific question about bringing a visitor to campus, please email Nicole Hurlburt at nicolerh@iastate.edu.