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Immigration

Read below for important immigration announcements:

August 28, 2014

International Student Services provides international students with essential services, even after a student has completed their program of study.  For example, F-1 students that have graduated may continue to maintain their SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System) status by receiving authorization for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) and 17 month extension of OPT.  International Student Advisors provide verbal and written advice through individual advising and workshops, as well as review and processing of I-20 documents for OPT.  Additionally, examples of our SEVIS reporting for graduates during period(s) of OPT include: employer name and address, start and end dates of employment, and early departure from the United States.

Additional options introduced by the Student Exchange Visitor Program, such as 17 month extension of optional practical training (OPT)* and H-1B Cap Gap Extension of Status**, have been positive for international students, but have simultaneously increased the amount of SEVIS reporting done by our office.  In order for our office to sustain institutional compliance responsibilities and provide quality service, it is necessary to institute case management fees for eligibility review and recommendation of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) and 17 month extension of Optional Practical Training. 

OPT Fee (Post), Price: $75

OPT 17-month Extension, Price: $150

The OPT case management fee will be effective September 1, 2014.  Students requesting pre-completion OPT are not required to pay the case management fee.  Payment will be submitted to International Student Services through a web-based system accessible from the ISS OPT Case Management Fee page.  

Please note, this fee does not replace a separate fee by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) for filing the I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.

We are grateful to continue to provide international students with the highest level of support and service.  Thank you for choosing the University of Arizona!  We wish you the best academic success for the upcoming academic year.

Questions regarding this announcement should be directed to intl-dso@email.arizona.edu.

Sincerely,

Deborah Kuiken
Assistant Director, International Student Services
University of Arizona
http://global.arizona.edu/international-students

* F-1 students who receive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees included on the STEM Designated Degree Program List, engaged in practical training with employers enrolled in E-Verify and who have received an initial grant of post-completion OPT employment authorization related to such a degree may apply for a one-time 17 month extension of this authorization.

** Automatic extension of F-1 student status in the United States for certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions (indicating a request for change of status from F-1 to H-1B) for an employment start date of October 1st under the relevant Fiscal Year H-1B cap.

**

August 5, 2014

Regarding: Delays in visa stamp issuance at U.S. consular offices

Dear International Students,

If you are applying for a visa stamp, you may encounter delays.  The Department of State is experiencing system performance issues with the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD).  This is the database used by U.S. embassies and consulates to process visa stamp applications.

Visa applicants may experience delays of up to one week in addition to normal processing times.  The following is recommended:

  • Submit your visa application well in advance of your expected travel date. 
  • Do not make final travel plans until you have a visa in hand. If you have already purchased your flight to the United States, it is possible you will need to change your arrival date due to visa delays.

Please check with the embassy or consulate where you will apply for additional information.  For detailed information regarding the visa issuance delays, visit the Department of State website:

http://www.travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/news/ccd-performance-issues.html

Contact International Student Services if you are not able to return to the United States until after the start of classes (August 25, 2014).  We have Designated School Officials (F visa) and Alternate Responsible Officers (J visa) that can determine if you can begin your program after the start date on your Form I-20 (F visa) or Form DS 2019 (J visa).  Contact us by sending an email to dso@email.arizona.edu and include the name of your academic advisor.

Sincerely,

Deborah Kuiken

Assistant Director

International Student Services

University of Arizona

915 N. Tyndall Avenue

Tucson, AZ 85721    U.S.A.

http://global.arizona.edu/international-students

Tel: 520.621.4627   Fax: 520.621.4069

**

Updated 9/16/2013

Subject: Important Message about the I-94

Dear International Students,

Please be aware that there is only one United States Government website for downloading an automated I-94.  This is the U.S. Government, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website:

www.cbp.gov/i94

Exercise caution when using internet search engines such as “google.com” or “baidu.com” to locate the CBP website for accessing an automated I-94.  The keywords “I-94” or “I 94” will provide search results for websites that appear to be official, but are not affiliated with the U.S. government.  Unofficial websites may advertise assistance from an attorney or may be titled “USA Immigration forms”.  However, only the CBP website will provide the actual admission number assigned to an individual after entering the United States.

Remember: international students must carry either a printout of the automated form I-94 or the paper I-94 in their personal possession at all times. Form I-94 serves as evidence of a lawful admission that is required by law.  The admission stamp in the passport of an individual admitted with an electronic I-94 also serves as evidence of registration for this purpose, but it may be more convenient to carry an I-94 print-out than the passport.

For detailed information regarding the I-94, visit the CBP website:

http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/newsroom/fact_sheets/travel/i94_factsheet.ctt/i94_factsheet.pdf

If you have any questions regarding this email, please contact International Student Services at dso@email.arizona.edu

 

Sincerely,

Deborah Kuiken

Assistant Director

International Student Services

University of Arizona

915 N. Tyndall Avenue

Tucson, AZ 85721    U.S.A.

http://global.arizona.edu/international-students

Tel: 520.621.4627   Fax: 520.621.4069

**

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a rule to automate the Form I-94.  The Form I-94 is the little white card in your passport.  The CBP is expanding the definition of I-94 to include an electronic Form I-94 based on the information in its databases. You can read more information here: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/i-94_instructions/i94_rollout.xml

Here is what to expect:

1.      Custom and Border Protection (CBP) plans full implementation by the end of May 2013:  Air and Sea Ports of Entry will be implementing the automated I-94 over a 4 week period beginning April 30.  Land Ports of Entry (for example, those who enter by vehicle from Mexico or Canada) will continue to issue the paper Form I-94A.

2.      Arrival to the United States:  Make certain that the CBP officer stamps your passport and annotates the stamp with the class of admission (F-1 or J-1) and D/S (Duration of Status) or “admit to” date.  The stamp in your passport will serve as proof of lawful admission.  CBP will provide a handout with the CBP I-94 website.

3.      After arrival to the United States:  Use the CBP I-94 website provided on the CBP handout to enter data to access your electronic I-94 and print it on paper.

4.      Departure from the United States:  Individuals that entered the U.S. with the automated I-94 will no longer have a paper I-94 to surrender.

Additional information about the Form I-94: The admission of a nonimmigrant student to the United States is evidenced by the CBP immigration officer annotating the nonimmigrant's Form I-94 with the date and class of admission, and the expiration date of the period of authorized stay (for F-1 and J-1 students with proper documentation the expiration date is annotated as D/S, Duration of Status).  I-94 is sometimes called the:  Alien Registration Receipt Card; Registration Document; Admission Number; or Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document. 

International Student Services will continue to post announcements regarding automation of the I-94, as more detailed information becomes available.

**

ALERT: News Flash- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) no longer provides admission stamps on the Form I-20 and Form DS-2019

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for immigration inspections at the Port of Entry. These officers annotate the form I-94 and I-20/DS-2019 with the period of authorized stay and nonimmigrant classification. CBP announces the following:

“As of Aug. 10, 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) no longer provides admission stamps on the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” and Form DS-2019, “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status,” for prospective and returning F, M and J nonimmigrants seeking admission to the United States. This change makes CBP processes consistent with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) recent change to stop stamping the Form I-20 and Form DS-2019.”

The CBP did encounter delays with their notice of not stamping documents reaching the different ports of entry. However, the CBP has now implemented their new policy of not stamping the I-20 or DS-2019.

Since your I-20 or DS-2019 will not be stamped by the CBP, you will need to rely on your properly stamped I-94 card as documentation of your F-1 or J-1 and Duration of Status (D/S). Additionally, the Port of Entry stamps a page inside of your passport with the same information as the I-94 card. If you apply for a driver’s license or non-drivers identification card with the Department of Motor Vehicles and they reject an unstamped Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, then you can take the document to the CBP office at the Tucson International Airport, in order to receive a stamp on the I-20 or DS-2019. However, the stamping of the I-20 and DS-2019 is a transitional step that will end on Nov. 21, 2012.

CBP and USCIS encourages F and J nonimmigrants who encounter issues with their state or federal benefit applications to contact the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at 703-603-3400 or SEVP@dhs.gov.

If you apply or renew your drivers license, or have applied for a Social Security Number, and receive a notice that refers you to your school sponsor, then meet with an International Student Advisor regarding a potential interface system problem.

Continue to check the International Student Services listserv regarding CBP and USCIS plans to automate some of their processes. We will provide new information as it becomes available.