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Communications on US Immigration Actions

ISO monitors Recent Immigration Actions related to immigration policy, Executive Orders and other governmental actions that affect our international community. Communications and developments from ISO and University leadership on relevant topics are recorded here. For information related to COVID-19 developments, please see our COVID-19 Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages. 


Statement from President Mangelsdorf on events of January 6, 2021 [1/7/21]

President Sarah Mangelsdorf expressed shock, anger, and sorrow over the events Wednesday at the US Capitol and also shared hope that we can refocus our attention on the issues confronting our nation and community today: the COVID-19 pandemic, economic inequality, and systemic racism. Read her full message message to the University community here.


Previous Announcements & Updates

  • Statement from President Mangelsdorf on events of January 6, 2021 [1/7/2021]

    President Sarah Mangelsdorf expressed shock, anger, and sorrow over the events Wednesday at the US Capitol and also shared hope that we can refocus our attention on the issues confronting our nation and community today: the COVID-19 pandemic, economic inequality, and systemic racism. Read her full message message to the University community here.

  • University applauds ruling on DHS & DOL H-1B rules [12/8/2020]

    On December 3, a federal judge ruled in favor of the University’s October 19 lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL), deciding that both the DHS interim final rule restricting H-1B qualifications, scheduled to take effect December 7, and DOL’s interim final rule, already in effect and dramatically raising wage requirements for H-1B employees, must both be set aside. In October, the University of Rochester joined forces with several leading research universities and national organizations to file a federal lawsuit against the DOL and DHS in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging these “fast tracked” H-1B visa regulations announced on October 8 as unlawful.  Last week’s summary judgment set aside both regulations, acknowledging that they were both issued on an emergency basis without proper notice and comment. Read more ... 

  • Resources on DHS Proposed Rule & Recent Travel Questions [10/21/2020]

    Resources on DHS Proposed Rule
    ISO held a Virtual Town Hall on Friday, October 16th, following the 9/25 proposed rule from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to eliminate Duration of Status (D/S) for F and J visa holders upon admission to the US. The presentation reviewed the proposed rule changes, a summary of the rulemaking process and timing, and ways the UR community can advocate against these regulatory changes. Session materials, including slides and recording with Q&A, are available via ISO Event Archives.

    Note: Public Comment Period remains open through October 26, 2020.
    The University will be submitting an official comment letter, but individuals are welcome and encouraged to do so as well! Comments must be submitted via Be sure to reference DHS Docket No. ICEB-2019-0006.

    For students, scholars, & faculty/staff, please consider including the following topics/concerns:

    • Impact to academic and career goals; Financial burden to file an EOS every 2 to 4 years
    • Potential delays by USCIS in adjudicating the EOS petition or other applications
    • Your contributions to the university’s teaching and research missions
    • Examples of your research/projects with community impact (economic, social, etc.), and how those relate to US national interest, if appropriate (i.e. COVID, cancer, data, optics)
    • General perceptions of US higher education and research, particularly in STEM

    Note: Members of the UR community are submitting public comments as an impacted or interested individual, rather than on behalf of the institution.

    Recent Travel Questions

    At this time, ISO has also received recent inquires about travel. There is a lot of uncertainty around travel issues right now due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, changing government guidance, and continued service reductions worldwide.  For the latest information and institutional resources, please continue to access the UR COVID-19 Resource Center. The University is actively working to monitor and address a variety of issues, including:

    • Travel Guidelines: While official University travel is currently restricted, UR guidelines also address personal travel plans and New York State advisories. The University remains responsive to guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York State requirements, and recommendations of county and local health professionals. If you travel outside of Rochester, you must be prepared to follow all UR and state requirements upon your return. Issues of mandatory quarantines, including timing and location options, are subject to change quickly and frequently.  Find information available on a variety of travel issues here:
    • International Travel: For individuals considering travel internationally, please review the entry requirements of your destination and considerations for your intended return to the US. For instance, some countries now require evidence of a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival, and NY state currently requires a 14-day quarantine for most international travelers (see NYS advisory). If your visa has expired, your return trip could be delayed as many US Consular offices remain closed or with limited services available (look up visa wait times by location). Additionally, travelers from certain areas are subject to US entry restrictions, which can change with little notice (see State Department’s summary of coronavirus travel proclamations and recent national interest exceptions). The decision to travel is a personal choice that always carries some risk, and may be more complex during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please consult the ISO’s Frequently Asked Questions on related travel topics:
    • Campus Services: The University will continue to maintain housing, dining, health, and related services during the remainder of Fall term and the winter recess, although schedules may be adjusted as some students depart campus around planned distance learning and/or break periods. Please consult resources from your school or academic program on any planning and notification needs. During this time, it will be especially important to read and comply with designated procedures related to campus services. Updates will be posted here:

    Reminders: F-1 and J-1 travel signatures are valid for 1 year. If you need a current endorsement, please submit a request via URcompass for the I-20 / DS-2019 Reprint Request form. To speak with an ISO advisor, please contact our office to schedule an appointment, or students may also participate in Virtual Drop-In Advising (see service hours for details).

    The ISO will remain staffed and operational during the semester and break periods. Our team is here to help, but please understand that many of these issues are still being finalized or will simply remain variable and uncertain. We recommend that you evaluate your preferred plans for November through January with some consideration as to how you would handle potential challenges or delays. The government has not yet released any new F/J guidance for Spring 2021, but may likely retain the current adaptations in place for Fall 2020 (see summary). Any important notifications will continue to be sent to your UR email account; please read or forward those communications promptly!

  • University files Federal lawsuit over H-1B rule [10/20/2020]

    On October 19, the University of Rochester joined forces with several other leading research universities to file a federal lawsuit against the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging “fast tracked” H-1B visa regulations announced on October 8 as unlawful.  These rules will make it much more difficult for universities and other employers to hire and retain skilled foreign employees to work in the U.S. under the H-1B visa program and some legal permanent resident status categories. Read more ...

  • Resources and Town Hall regarding Duration of Status (D/S) rule [10/14/2020]

    We hope you saw our previous announcement about the University’s response to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed rule to eliminate admission to the US under Duration of Status (D/S) for F or J visa holders.  ISO has now reviewed the notice in more detail and prepared a summary document of the scope and impact of this proposal. 

    ISO will hold a Virtual Town Hall meeting for UR international students, scholars, and administrative partners to address related topics and concerns. This session will review the proposed rule, discuss the rulemaking process and timing, and ways the UR community can advocate against these regulatory changes. ISO will continue to monitor such developments on our Recent Immigration Actions page.

    Virtual Town Hall details:
    The presentation will be held Friday October 16, 2020, at 11:00 am Eastern Daylight Time.  We hope you are able to participate!
    Please join our Zoom webinar at
    You are invited to submit questions and concerns in advance via our web form: Questions will also be collected during the session, which will be recorded and posted to our website promptly following the event.

    Additionally, we recognize that many of us are deeply concerned with this potential policy change.  Public comments must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal on or before October 26, 2020. The university will be submitting its comment letter, as will many higher education associations with whom we collaborate.   If you wish to submit your own comments to the rule, you may do so via this link.  NAFSA, our professional organization, has created a summary page of the regulations that may serve as a quick reference.  Your comments must be written in your personal capacity and not as a representative of the university, although you may submit comments anonymously if desired. In consultation with UR’s Government Relations team, please find suggested points to consider when providing comments:

    • What impact will this regulation have on your academic and career goals?
    • What is the financial impact to you if you have to file an extension of stay every two/four years?
    • The impact of delays by USCIS in adjudicating Extension of Stay (EOS)
    • Your contribution to the university’s teaching and research mission
    • Provide examples of your research, projects that have made a difference to the community:  economic/social impact, e.g., and, if appropriate, how it relates to  U.S. national interest, e.g., COVID 19 research; cancer research; or other examples
    • How would this regulation diminish the U.S. eminence in higher education and research, particularly in STEM?

    ISO team

  • University response to proposed regulatory change to Duration of Status (D/S) rules [9/30/2020]

    As you may be aware, on September 25, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security published a proposed regulatory change to the Duration of Status (D/S) rules for students and scholars in F-1 and J-1 categories. The D/S is stamped on your I-94 card, which you receive upon admission to the United States.

    The proposed changes replace the current D/S with a specific period of stay. If the proposed rule is enacted, it will require all international students and scholars to obtain an Extension of Stay (EOS) beyond the fixed period of stay granted at the time of admission to the United States. This will be handled through application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) or by subsequent travel and authorized re-entry under US Customs and Border Protection. A brief summary of the proposed rules follows at the end of this message. ISO is engaged in a thorough review of the 200-plus pages of the regulations and will provide a more detailed summary soon. Town hall meetings are also being planned so that ISO can provide more details and an opportunity for you to ask questions. In the meantime, we wanted to share some key points with you and let you know the steps we are taking to advocate against the proposed regulations.

    ISO, Office of Global Engagement, and the Office of Government and Community Relations are working to provide comments to DHS that strongly opposes the rules that unnecessarily burdens students and scholars who are already heavily regulated through the existing reporting responsibilities. The regulations further intrude upon the flexibility of our students to make academic decisions based on their interests, goals, learning pace and style, and various internal and external situations that may interrupt a course of study. Further, we will join professional associations to bring collective pressure on DHS in an attempt to rescind these measures.

    The topline summary of the proposed rules:

    • Limits admission to F/J students and J scholars/physicians for a fixed period up to the reported program completion date on the I-20 or DS-2019, but not to exceed a two- or four-year period.
    • Requires students and scholars to request an Extension of Stay (EOS) before their current authorized stay expires, as indicated on the I-94 Admission Record. Such requests will be required to pursue continued academic/program objectives and/or for eligible work activities (i.e. OPT). This provision takes away the ability for ISO advisors to simply extend your I-20 or DS-2019 in SEVIS, without further action by the US government.
    • Establishes enhanced review of academic progress and reasons for delayed completion, when an EOS is filed to extend beyond the initial I-20 or DS-2019 program end date.
    • Allows F-1 students an automatic extension of status, study permissions, on-campus employment, and/or STEM activities for a period of 180 days while a timely filed EOS is pending. Engagement in CPT or OPT will be prohibited until the EOS is approved.
    • Allows J-1 exchange visitors an automatic extension of status permissions for study, research, and/or work for a period of 240 days while a timely filed EOS is pending. J-2 dependents may not work beyond the timeframe authorized by a valid EAD.
    • Sets lifetime limits on the number of times an F-1 student may begin a new program of study at the same or lower educational level, compared to previous program completions.
    • Reduces the F-1 grace period from sixty (60) days to thirty (30) days in preparation to depart the United States after program completion or authorized OPT/STEM period.
    • Outlines the transition for students and scholars who are present in the US under current admission as Duration of Status to a fixed period of authorized stay.
    • Requires routine biometrics collection in conjunction with an EOS application.

    We know that this situation is very unsettling. The University of Rochester is committed to supporting the needs of our international population affected by this and any regulations that create obstacles in fulfilling your academic and career goals. We want to state unequivocally to all our international students and scholars: you are welcome here. And we are doing everything in our power to advocate against these changes.


    Jane Gatewood, PhD
    Vice Provost for Global Engagement

    Ravi Shankar
    Assistant Vice Provost for International Services