Policy Updates

Used for immigration and visa policy changes as well as Executive Order updates. 

U.S. Travel Restrictions Announced for Canada & Mexico

March 20, 2020

A Federal Register notice announces the decision to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Canada into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Canada border to “essential travel.” “Essential travel” includes “Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions; Individuals traveling to work in...

Suspension of Routine Visa Services At U.S. Embassies and Consulates

March 20, 2020

In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. They will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this...

Travel Policy Updates

This page collects updates on U.S. Government policy changes regarding travel and visas.

For the near future, Berkeley International Office recommends minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration's policies on visas and U.S. entry. Should you have concerns about immediate or essential international travel or visa renewal, contact BIO to consult an advisor.

Jan 31, 2020 Presidential Proclamation "Travel Ban" Does Not Impact Student Visa Category

January 31, 2020
On January 31, 2020 President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation entitled Proclamation on Improving Enhanced Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry to take effect on February 21, 2020. This Presidential Proclamation restricts entry on immigrant visas for citizens and nationals of Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria and entry as Diversity Immigrants for citizens and nationals of Sudan and Tanzania. Note that this DOES NOT include F or J student or scholar visa categories.

Public Charge Rule Implementation Date Feb 24, 2020

January 31, 2020

USCIS announced that it will implement the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule on Feb. 24, 2020, except in Illinois, where the rule remains enjoined by a federal court as of Jan. 30, 2020. The final rule will apply only to applications postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after Feb.24, 2020. When determining whether an individual is likely to become a public charge at any time in the future, DHS will not consider application for, certification or approval to receive, or receipt of certain...

Public Charge

November 21, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) recently published new federal regulations regarding “public charge,” which is an evaluation of whether a foreign national is likely to need financial support from the U.S. or state government while they are in the U.S. The rules may impact students and scholars who apply for admission to the U.S. for a U.S. visa, for a change of immigration status within the U.S., adjustment of status to Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card), or for an extension of status for certain other nonimmigrant categories....

Judge Temporarily Blocks Enforcement of USCIS F, M, and J Unlawful Presence Policy

May 3, 2019
On May 3, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that temporarily prevents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from enforcing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) August 8, 2018 policy memo that changed how days of unlawful presence are counted following F or J non-immigrant status violations. Due to the prelimiary injunction, DHS is temporaily restricted from enforcing the new unlawful presence policy while the case is being resolved. The Court has set an expedited briefing schedule to file briefs and cross-motions for summary judgment by the end of May 2019. For more detailed information, see NAFSA's summary of the Unlawful Presence policy and ongoing litigation

Final H1-B Cap Filing & Processing Rule Published

February 7, 2019

The US Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule titled "Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking To File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens" which becomes effective April 1, 2019 which is the first day of the 2020 cap-filing season. Part of the rule which related to a pre-registration requirement for employers has been suspended for the 2020 filing season, but is...

Government Shutdown 2019

January 7, 2019

The US government shutdown may impact certain government services until a resolution is reached. NAFSA's Government Shutdown Updates page has updated links to services which might impact student, scholar, or employment-based status holders.

Berkeley International Office is aware that Customs and Border Protection Deferred Inspections office in San Francisco has been impacted by the shutdown, and appointments for Deferred Inspection are currently unavailable.


4/18/17 - Executive Order: Buy American and Hire American

April 18, 2017
President Trump issued an Executive Order titled Buy America and Hire American, of which the "Hire American" provisions call on the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security to "propose new rules and issue new guidance", and "suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries." **However, the EO provided no specific changes to any existing regulations, rules and policies.**