Top Issues from July 2019 – January 2020

Travel Issues

  • Multiple reports of students arriving at CBP, having their visas revoked, and being sent home either via withdraw of their application for admission or via  expedited removal. These cases included the following scenarios:
    • Chinese students accused of status violations (unauthorized employment, academic fraud) after the officers looked through their phones. There are certain reports that these students are able to reapply for F-1 visas to return to school.
    • Iranian students denied admissibility based on suspicion of immigrant intent.
  • Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus):
    • U.S. consular services in China are temporarily suspended
    • The Trump Administration announced travel restrictions on non U.S individuals coming from China
    • Challenging situation for Chinese nationals in the U.S. at the end of their program (especially those in J-1 status who cannot extend their stay and are subject to INA 212(e))
    • NAFSA has a Coronavirus Critical Resources Page
  • Travel Ban 4.0 was announced under Proclamation 9983 of January 31, 2020 to include six countries (Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, Tanzania). The new travel ban relates mostly to immigrant categories, therefore nonimmigrant visas and travel should not be affected. More information available on NAFSA's Travel Ban page.

H-1B/FLAG Issues

  • Form ETA 9035 Labor Condition Application (LCA) was added to the Department of Labor's FLAG system in October, resulting in a variety of issues, including:
    • Wage discrepancies between FLAG and FLC and lack of R&D/non R&D codes. These issues appear to be resolved, and OFLC is continuing to upgrade the system to address reported problems.
    • A number of technical issues, including PDF rendering. Many tech-related issues appear to be resolved after a few days and/or inquiries to the Technical Help Desk.

Practical Training Issues

  • Ongoing reports about EAD errors, including date of birth, country of birth, OPT dates, and USCIS authorizing employment for longer periods of time than allowed under the practical training regulations.
  • OPT applications receipted as withdrawn and still receiving approvals well past the withdraw date
  • SEVP Portal generating emails to students that do not need the emails
  • Numerous reports of auto-completed or auto-terminated SEVIS records when students request Consular Processing to H-1B (as opposed to Change of Status)

Strength in Reporting

Please respond to a short NAFSA survey about Exchange Visitors from China affected by the Coronavirus/COVID-19. Please submit your information! Your responses will assist NAFSA's liaison efforts with the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Additional Resources

Don't forget that all Quarterly Summaries are posted on the NAFSA IssueNet Quarterly Summary page so you can review past trends. Please continue to report issues you are experiencing on IssueNet at Together, we have Strength In Reporting.