F 1Update College Station


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F-1 Update: 

F-1 Update NAFSA Texas State Meeting Laura Hammons, Texas A&M University Maka Hutson, University of Texas at Austin

Driver’s License Eligibility: 

Driver’s License Eligibility February 10, 2006 - list of approved documents for driver’s licenses was changed DPS was unable to issue driver’s licenses to F, J and H visa holders who do not have a Texas ID or EAD This did not affect renewals of driver’s licenses Thanks to NAFSA’s advocacy, DPS will now accept a foreign passport with a valid visa/ I-94 card (exception subject to change)

USCIS Fee Increases: 

USCIS Fee Increases USCIS increased fees on most petition and application types effective October 26, 2005. Most increases are $5 to $10. The new fee schedule can be found at http://uscis.gov/graphics/newforms.htm. A few highlights of new fees for typical forms we file: I-539 $200 I-765 $180 I-102 $160

USCIS New Forms: 

USCIS New Forms With increased fees, USCIS posted an array of new forms on its website on October 26, 2005. The new forms can be found at http://uscis.gov/graphics/newforms.htm. For I-765, versions dated October 26, 2005 and January 31, 2005 are still acceptable, but earlier versions are not

Appeal/Motion to Re-Open/Reconsider: 

Appeal/Motion to Re-Open/Reconsider Effective 9/28/2005, USCIS raised the fee to file appeal/motion to reopen/reconsider from $110 to $385 See links to information on this fee increase on the NAFSA website under Regulatory Information

USCIS website: 

USCIS website Check status of application online Application receipt number required Check normal processing times Set up a Case Status Portfolio with email updates Website address https://egov.immigration.gov/cris/jsps/index.jsp

Texas Service Center: 

Texas Service Center Region III Website Regulatory Updates: http://www.nafsa3.org/regupdates/regupdates.asp Inquiry Procedures Fax Inquiry Form Fax Inquiry #: (214) 962-1450 Email Inquiry: tsc.schools@dhs.gov

Texas Service Center: 

Texas Service Center TSC recommends paying I-765 Fee with a Money Order It ensures that personal check will not bounce Caution: Money orders are more difficult to track and you may not be able to get the receipt # as you can from the back side of cleared checks. Make payments payable to "Department of Homeland Security“, do not abbreviate

Texas Service Center: 

Texas Service Center TSC noted that some I-765 applications are being filed too early - these applications may be returned, requiring re-filing TSC won't approve an EAD more than 120 days prior to start date, recommend filing 60 days in advance If receipt notices do not arrive within 1 month, DSO should make NAFSA inquiry

Texas Service Center: 

Texas Service Center To replace lost EADs, you must re-file a new I-765, noting “replacement” (a new fee is required) To avoid lost EADs, you may want to consider using your office address on the I-765

SEVI Hits at Consular Posts: 

SEVI Hits at Consular Posts Notes “Possible SEVIS Violator” SEVI hit is triggered at Consular Posts for “Terminated” records (including those with data fix pending) SEVI hits also appear to be triggered for non-status violations such as Authorized Early Withdrawal Absent More Than 5 Months COS Approved May wish to provide documentation regarding circumstances

SEVI Hits: 

SEVI Hits No way for DSO to clear SEVI hit prior to visa issuance If student experiences repeated problems with re-entry, DSO can e-mail toolbox.sevis@dhs.gov to remove the hit (detailed explanation recommended)

New visa policies and procedures for TCNs in Mexico : 

New visa policies and procedures for TCNs in Mexico Beginning October 17, 2005, a Third Country National (TCN) applying for a visa in MEXICO must make the interview appointment on-line via a new website Specific eligibility criteria for TCN processing in Mexico Information available at http://www.visa-usa.com.mx/default.aspx

New visa policies and procedures for TCNs in Mexico : 

New visa policies and procedures for TCNs in Mexico Who can apply: F-1/J-1 students may apply in Mexico for visa renewal if the initial visa was issued in the applicant's home country or at one of the border posts in the past few years. Change of status from B visa only if visa issued in their home country that is annotated “Prospective Student".  http://www.visa-usa.com.mx/DetermineTCN.aspx

New visa policies and procedures for TCNs in Mexico : 

New visa policies and procedures for TCNs in Mexico Who cannot apply TCNs who changed status from B to F-1/J-1 but did not have the “Prospective Student” notation on their B visa. TCNs who have been out of status in the U.S. because of a violation of the terms of your visa or overstayed the validity indicated on your I-94. Citizens of Iran, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, North Korea, Cuba and Syria.

I-515A New Address: 

I-515A New Address Correct Address (effective 12/12/2005) SEVP/I-515A Processing Team 425 I Street N.W., Room 6034 Washington, DC 20536 Caution: express mail to old address may be returned rather than forwarded SEVP will consider (w/documentation timely mailed) if returned to sender due to incorrect address

FEMA assistance to Katrina Victims (from Open Door): 

FEMA assistance to Katrina Victims (from Open Door) FEMA regulations limit the assistance to “qualified aliens”, which does not include non-immigrants F-1 and J-1 students who accepted such funds should return them to FEMA at the following address: FEMA LOCKBOX – (Bank Processing Center), Bank of America, P.O. Box 198355, Atlanta, GA 30384-8355. If the check has not yet been cashed, the check should be returned to the Department of Treasury, P.O. Box 149058, Austin, TX 78741-9058 Failure to do so could result in possible accusations of fraud by the Department of Homeland Security, or allegations that the nonimmigrant has become dependant on the government for support, i.e. a “public charge”. Either issue could cause problems in obtaining student reinstatement, reentry to the US, new visas, or permanent residence.

Student Visas and Immigrant Intent : 

Student Visas and Immigrant Intent September 28, 2005 DOS cable Guidance on how to interpret immigrant intent for student visa applications. Typically students stay longer in U.S. Officers should look at present intent; not what might happen in the future Residence abroad requirement should be considered in a broader light; “ties” is relatively less useful Intended course of study should not be deemed a negative factor

Student Visas and Immigrant Intent: 

Student Visas and Immigrant Intent Returning student applications should generally be reissued “Posts should facilitate reissuance of student visas so that these students can travel freely back and forth” Community colleges & lesser-known schools “All legitimate schools must be accorded the same weight under the law… There is no difference between community colleges, English language schools and four-year institutions.” http://www.nafsa.org/_/Document/_/september_28_2005_dos.html

I-94 corrections by CBP: 

I-94 corrections by CBP New hours at San Antonio Airport : 12 noon - 4 pm, Monday through Friday Austin Airport contact info: Officer Leonor Aguilar (512) 530-3053 (main line) (512) 530-3056 (direct line) Terminal East, International Arrivals, Carousel #5, Office sign "Department of Homeland Security"Office Hours: 8 am - 4 pm, no lunch break

Validity of F visas after break in study: 

Validity of F visas after break in study If reinstatement is approved, F-1 visa remains valid (assuming that the visa has not expired). If reinstatement is denied, F-1visa is considered to be automatically cancelled under INA 222(g). This student not only would need to apply for a new F or M visa, but under INA 222(g) can apply for a visa only at a U.S. consulate in his or her country of citizenship or last permanent residence.

Validity of F visas after break in study: 

Validity of F visas after break in study If a student takes a break from studies and is outside the U.S. for more than 5 months, DOS states "that student's F-1 visa is subject to cancellation and should not be used, even though it remains valid on its face." To resume study in the United States, the student would have to obtain a new visa.

Validity of F visas after break in study: 

Validity of F visas after break in study For students who depart the U.S. for more than five months for activities related to their course of study, such as field research or study abroad, schools should maintain those students in active SEVIS status. DOS states that "Since these students continue to maintain their student status while overseas, their F-1 visas are not considered to be invalid after an absence of more than five months."

Anticipated changes from Rice-Chertoff Joint Vision statement: 

Anticipated changes from Rice-Chertoff Joint Vision statement Student visas will be issued up to 120 days before classes begin, as compared to 90 days under previous regulations (effective as of February 9, 2006) Students will be allowed to enter the country 45 days in advance of their studies, as compared to 30 days at present - NAFSA is in the process of confirming when the new entry limits will become effective.

Upcoming SEVIS Releases: 

Upcoming SEVIS Releases Release 5.3 – Scheduled for 2nd quarter of FY2006. This is a system maintenance release (no user impact). Release 5.4 – tentatively scheduled for Fall 2006. Includes additional SEVIS Alerts and Lists, as well as functionality to support the latest professor and J scholar program regulations.

School Certification (information from SEVP): 

School Certification (information from SEVP) Currently there are 8319 schools certified to use SEVIS and host foreign students. Recertification review to begin within the next 12 months Compliance reviews ongoing A Lesson Learned from Hurricane Katrina: please take the time to review your institution’s contact information for accuracy and currency: Keep your I-17 program information up to date. Consider using at least two DSOs.

Regulation and Policy Update (information from SEVP): 

Regulation and Policy Update (information from SEVP) Policy Initiatives School Recertification Rule Current SEVIS Operating Instructions SEVIS I-901 Fee Travel School Certification Employment Hurricane Katrina/Rita Planned SEVIS Operating Instructions Employment: OPT and CPT Social Security and Tax Information Updated Travel How to Stay in Status Transfers

NAFSA Resources: 

NAFSA Resources http://nafsa.org iManual Government-NAFSA Liaison Summaries Practice Resources Preparing for F-1 Visa Interview SEVIS Fee SSNs Regulatory Information NAFSA.news Regional Websites International Student Advising Network (sign up at www.nafsa.org/ISTA forums) NAFSA Knowledge Communities IssueNet: www.nafsa.org/IssueNet

Subscribe to Regional Listserv: 

Subscribe to Regional Listserv Go to: http://www.nafsa3.org/AddDeleteEmail.asp Choose “Add” Enter your email address

SEVIS-NAFSA Liaison Calls: 

SEVIS-NAFSA Liaison Calls December and January calls now available at NAFSA web site: www.nafsa.org click on “Regulatory Information” click on “Read SEVIS liaison call summaries”

Texas Service Center liaison meeting: 

Texas Service Center liaison meeting Submit questions during this session E-mail questions to maka@austin.utexas.edu

NAFSA Region III Conference: 

NAFSA Region III Conference November 6-9, 2006 Little Rock, Arkansas The Peabody Hotel Special event at Clinton Library

Pre-submitted question: 

Pre-submitted question I have an F-1 student whose SEVIS record still indicates "OPT Pending Approval", although she received her Employment Authorization card in July 2005. In the meantime, she is coming up as an alert in SEVIS for "registration" because her program end date is 05/30/2008. She came to our university as a transfer student, but our Admissions Office set her program for 48 months. However, she completed her degree requirements last May and her program was not shortened to reflect an accurate end date. I'm not sure how to handle her SEVIS record at this point.

Pre-submitted question: 

Pre-submitted question We have a PhD student who originally thought he would finish by the end of Fall 2005, but didn't. During fall SEVIS registrations, we marked his record "in last semester". Unfortunately, he didn't finish and now needs one more semester. Technically, this is fine since he's a PhD candidate and was considered full time last semester. His record was extended before the end of Fall 2005. His record is not showing as needing registration this semester. Will that be a problem?

Follow-up question: 

Follow-up question Are we required to use that check mark whenever someone believes they are in their last semester? We always have quite a few students who will not finish as expected.

Contact Info: 

Contact Info Maka Hutson Region III Regulatory Ombudsperson for student issues (CIPP-RR) University of Texas at Austin maka@austin.utexas.edu



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