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Dear International Students, Faculty, Staff, and Department Representatives,
As you may know, a new Executive Order has been signed yesterday restricting visas and immigration from certain countries, again raising concerns for many members of the Penn Community. I write to provide details about the current situation and to reiterate our committed support of all international students, scholars, faculty and staff at Penn. We recognize the uncertainty posed by unexpected restrictions on US immigration, and we will not allow these new policies to compromise our commitment to educational equality and diversity.
President Trump signed the new executive order yesterday, Monday, March 6, 2017 with an effective date of March 16, 2017. This order reinstates a travel ban for nationals of six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and is in effect for 90 days. The ban could be extended and countries could be added or taken off the list at a later time.
While the Executive Order does allow for some case by case waivers, under the order nonimmigrants from the six countries cannot in the normal course obtain a US entry visa to initially come to the US, nor can they renew a US entry visa to return after a trip abroad if a new visa is needed. The new executive order also reinstitutes the 120-day pause on refugee programs but no longer imposes an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.
The new Executive Order DOES NOT APPLY to:
• Iraq: Iraq has been removed from the list of banned countries, however, travelers from Iraq may experience longer delays in visa issuance;
• Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States (“green card” holders);
• Any foreign national who had a valid visa at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on January 27, 2017, or those who have a valid visa on the effective date of March 16, 2017;
• Any foreign national who has a document OTHER than a visa, valid on March 16, 2017 (or issued thereafter), that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission (e.g., an Advance Parole document);
• Green card holders and dual nationals presenting the passport of a country that is not listed are not prohibited from entering the United States under the revised travel ban;
• Any dual national of a designated country when traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
• Any foreign national traveling on designated diplomatic visas; OR
• Any foreign national who has been granted asylum, any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States, or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
We continue to encourage all foreign passport holders to carefully assess the risk of traveling outside of the United States for the immediate period due to the possibility of further policy changes. Please contact us as follows with any further questions.
• F-1 students – contact your ISSS assigned advisor as shown in iPenn
• J-1 students and scholars – contact Frank Calabrese, ISSS Associate Director
• H-1B and other employment based status – contact the ISSS advisor who worked your most recent petition
You can also visit our office during walk-in advising hours Monday-Friday, 1pm - 4pm or by appointment (http://global.upenn.edu/isss/advising).
If you do travel abroad, we encourage international members of the Penn community to consider using Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) as the primary port of entry to the United States. Given Penn’s proximity to the airport, we will be able to respond to stranded travelers at Philadelphia International Airport in a more timely fashion.
There is a lot of uncertainty at this time, and we are closely monitoring the current and future Executive Orders and other changes affecting our international students, scholars, faculty and staff, and will communicate any updates as they develop. New information will be posted to this website.
Rodolfo R. Altamirano, Ph.D.
Director, International Student and Scholar Services
University of Pennsylvania
3701 Chestnut St, Suite 1W
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-3199