OISS Announcements 2019

Northwestern University Message to Chinese Students

Friday, June 7, 2019

Dear Chinese students, 

In light of the Chinese government’s recent warning about the risks of studying in the United States, we want to reassure our Chinese students and scholars that they are critical to Northwestern University’s mission, and we are committed to assisting them in the visa process. To date, we have seen no visas denied for Chinese students and scholars who are coming to Northwestern, and we will continue to make efforts to help them in the process if they experience problems.

Northwestern is committed to being an inclusive and welcoming place for all international students. We cannot fulfill our mission to produce the highest caliber of research and solve problems of global significance without attracting the best talent in the world. To meet those goals, we envision an increase in the number of Chinese and international students and scholars at Northwestern in the years to come.

In mid-June, the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS, formerly the International Office) will be represented in China -- in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou -- for pre-departure orientations. We look forward to welcoming the next group of Chinese students to Northwestern in September as they begin the next step of their academic journey.

OISS and individual schools and programs will continue to help make our Chinese students feel welcome in an open and collaborative atmosphere. OISS helps simplify and streamline the requirements international students have to meet in order to facilitate realizing their academic goals. OISS also works with students if there are issues in the visa application process, and can assist Chinese and other international students when problems arise.

At Northwestern, knowledge knows no borders, and everyone at the University benefits from the presence of talented international students, faculty and staff. We recognize that these individuals play a powerful role in shaping our community, and we value them deeply.

 

Jonathan Holloway

Provost and Professor

 

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Unlawful Presence Policy

Effective Date: August 9, 2018

New USCIS Policy Creates Much Stricter Penalties for Failure to Maintain Status for International Students and Scholars

The current revision of the “unlawful presence” policy is a major change to the enforcement of visa regulations for F1 and J1 students and J1 scholars. If you fail to comply or report changes on time, and violate your immigration status requirements as a result, you can face deportation and a lengthy bar (3-10 years) on returning to the U.S. under these new enforcement guidelines.

What is the policy?

  • When an international F1 or J1 students or J1 scholars (or their dependent) violates immigration regulations, the number of days from the time you violate your status will be counted, called “unlawful presence.”
  • If you accumulate 180 days of “unlawful presence,” you can be barred from the U.S. for 3 years.
  • If you accumulate 1 year of “unlawful presence,” you can be barred from the U.S. for 10 years.
  • If you violate your F or J student status but subsequently file a timely request for reinstatement, then the unlawful presence day-count can be frozen while the reinstatement determination is being considered.

When will the days start to be counted?

  • The days will start to be counted from August 9, 2018 if it is a newly discovered violation that started in the past.
  • The days will start on the date the violation starts if it is on or after August 9, 2018.
  • If it was a previously discovered violation and you were previously accruing (accumulating days counted toward unlawful presence) unlawful presence, that accrual will continue.

Avoiding Immigration Status Violations:

  • Follow all of the regulations that pertain to your immigration status (see categories and 

      lists below). 

  • Read all of the emails sent out by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services on immigration reminders and updates. 
  • When you graduate and start using F1 OPT or make sure to update your physical addressusing the OPT reporting form AND in the SEVIS portal. 
  • J1 students on academic training should report address changes directly to their Office of International Student and Scholar Services advisor by email. 
  • Ask your international student advisor about any questions or concerns you have about your immigration (visa) status. 

If you think you have violated your status…

  • Contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services to speak with your advisor. Link: https://www.northwestern.edu/international/about/contact-us.html
  • There are many things we can do to help you navigate a status violation once we are aware it has happened; however, there are problems we will not be able to solve if you accrue too much “unlawful presence” time and are subject to enforcement.
  • Depending on the nature of the status violation we may suggest you contact an experienced immigration attorney to be sure you fully understand your rights and obligations moving forward, as well as the possible penalties that could accompany a violation.

This is a policy change. Link to the USCIS policy:

Maintain your Immigration Status!

F1 and J1 Student Regulations:

To maintain legal status in the U.S., F1 and J1 students must follow these federal regulations, state regulations, and Northwestern policies:

  • Check-in at the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (or Orientation) when you first arrive at Northwestern.
  • Always enroll for full-time courses(undergraduates at least 3 units; graduates  

      defined by your degree program.) 

  • If you are considering dropping below full time talk to the Office of International Student and Scholar Servicesbefore you

      drop below full time or take a leave of absence. 

  • If you are considering taking a quarter off or gap quarter, talk to the International

      Office before you  take a leave of absence. 

  • Update your local residential address within 10 days of movingby updating CAESAR. 
  • At least 2 weeksbefore the end date on your I-20 or DS-2019, apply for an extension at

      the Office of International Student and Scholar Services if you need more time. 

  • Keep your passport valid at all times.
  • Contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services before you finishat Northwestern if you plan

      to transfer to another school, go on to another degree program at Northwestern or at another    

      school. You need to complete the appropriate immigration procedures before the end of   

      your grace period (60 days for F; 30 days for J) and before the start of your new

      program. 

  • Never work on campus for more than 20 hours per weekduring the academic year. 
  • Never work off-campus without priorAlways discuss off-campus work

      authorization at the Office of International Student and Scholar Services and get authorization before working

       off-campus. This includes paid and unpaid positions.  

  • Comply with all other U.S. federal and state laws,such as never driving while intoxicated

      and never carrying a weapon. 

  • Comply with all other Northwestern academic and conduct policies.
  • Be sure to carry your required documentswhen traveling and re-entering the U.S. as well

      as when you travel inside the U.S. 

  • When you graduate and are on F1 OPT or F1 STEM OPT, be sure to complete all the

      required reporting on time. 

J1 Scholar Regulations:

To maintain legal status in the U.S., J1 scholars must follow these federal regulations, state regulations, and Northwestern policies:

  • Check-in at the International Office when you first arrive at Northwestern.
  • Update your local residential address within 10 days of movingby emailing your

      Office of International Student and Scholar Services advisor. 

  • At least 2 weeksbefore the end date on your DS-2019, your department must apply for

      an extension with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, if you need more time to complete your

      program objectives.  

  • Maintain the required level of health insurance.
  • Depart the U.S. within the 30-day grace periodfollowing the end of your J1 program. 
  • Contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services if you plan to transfer to another school,change the

      terms of your current J1 at Northwestern, or change to another status.  

  • Do not accept any opportunity for payment (honorarium) or work (paid or unpaid)

      at any other institution without consulting the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.  

  • Maintain program objectives as described in the DS-2019 form.
  • Comply with all other U.S. federal and state laws, such as never driving while

      intoxicated and never carrying a weapon. 

  • Be sure to carry your required documents when traveling and re-entering the U.S. as

      well as when you travel inside the U.S. 

Dependents:

F2 and J2 dependents rely on the F1 or J1 to maintain conditions of status. If the F1 or J1 loses legal status, the F2 or J2 will also lose legal status.

F2 Dependents:

  • May not work in the U.S.
  • Must comply with federal and state laws.

J2 Dependents

  • May not work in the U.S. without valid work authorization from Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • Must comply with federal and state laws.
  • Must (like the J1), be fully covered by health insurance.