Travel Alerts

Know how changes in the immigration environment may affect you if you’re traveling.

UB Reviewing US Department of Homeland Security's Fall 2020 Guidance

On July 6th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued Broadcast Message 2007-01 - COVID-19 and Fall 2020 providing policy guidance for the Fall 2020 semester.

We understand that you will have questions, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to evaluate the guidance and await further clarification from DHS. Please continue to check the ISS COVID Response and Resources page regularly for updates.

ISS is working closely with campus partners to determine how this will affect each of our international students. We will communicate with students very soon about what this means for you and how you can continue planning for the fall semester. Please continue to check your emails regularly for information from isss@buffalo.edu. 

Suspension of Passenger Flights by Chinese Airlines to and from the United States

Amended Version Effective June 15

The U.S. Department of Transportation updated the decision reached in Order 2020-6-1 to only allow Chinese carriers to operate a total of four weekly round-trip scheduled passenger flights to and from the United States. This is an increase from the previous 2 weekly round-trip passenger flights.

For details please review the Transportation.Gov documentation.

June 3, 2020 Department of Transportation order set to automatically go into effect on June 16, 2020 (unless President Trump approves the order earlier), will "suspend scheduled passenger operations of all Chinese carriers to and from the United States." 

On June 15, 2020, Department of Transportation issued an updated Order 2020-6-6, "to permit Chinese carriers to operate, in the aggregate, a total of four weekly round-trip scheduled passenger flights to and from the United States, an aggregate level of scheduled passenger services that would be equivalent to that permitted by Chinese aviation authorities for U.S. carriers."

The carrier(s) the CAAC selects to run the weekly flights will be from among the following list:

  1. Air China Limited (doing business as Air China)
  2. Beijing Capital Airlines Co., Ltd.
  3. China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited
  4. Hainan Airlines Holding Co. Ltd.
  5. Sichuan Airlines Co., Ltd.
  6. China Southern Airlines Company Limited
  7. Xiamen Airlines

For additional details please refer to NAFSA's page on the issue.

Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Some Chinese Graduate Students and Visiting scholars

On Friday, May 29, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation restricting entry to the United States on F or J visas for some students and researchers from China, effective June 1, 2020. The proclamation will remain in effect until terminated by the president.

The proclamation states that students or researchers from China who have connections to organizations in China that, in the judgment of the U.S. Department of State, implement or support that country’s “military-civil fusion strategy”, will not be issued F-1 or J-1 visas and will not be allowed to enter the U.S. in F or J status. “Military-civil fusion strategy” is defined as actions by or at the behest of China to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance China’s military capabilities.

Students and researchers will be considered to have a connection to one of these organizations if they currently receive funding from or are employed by, study at, or conduct research at the organization, or have done so in the past.

Since the proclamation does not include a list of restricted organizations, it is not clear specifically who might be subject to the entry ban, at this time.

The entry ban does not apply to:

  • New and continuing undergraduate students, including transfer students
  • Anyone studying or conducting research in a field involving information that would not contribute to China’s "military-civil fusion strategy". These fields are not identified in the proclamation.
  • F-1 and J-1 students and researchers who are currently in the U.S. It is not yet known if the State Department will cancel or revoke visas of individuals who are currently in the U.S. so that they cannot re-enter.
  • The proclamation also lists some additional exceptions, including permanent residents, spouses of US citizens or permanent residents, or anyone whose entry would be in the US national interest.

The potential impact of this proclamation on UB ‘s international population will not be clear until additional information from the Departments of State and Homeland Security is available, and until routine visa issuance, which is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 crisis, resumes. It is important to note that COVID based travel restrictions that disallow the entry of foreign nationals who have been physically present in China during the previous 14 days are also still in effect and may have an impact on students not otherwise banned by this new proclamation.

Note that the proclamation only applies to visa issuance and entry into the U.S. and not to other immigration benefits. International Student Services will continue to process requests for non-immigrant benefits such as OPT or CPT for all students as usual and the University will continue to issue initial I-20s for newly admitted incoming students.

The University at Buffalo is actively monitoring the situation. ISS will post additional information as soon as more specific details from official sources are available. 

The University at Buffalo and International Student Services welcome and support all members of our international community. We will continue to advocate for policies that do not diminish the quality of our academic community, and will work to ensure that educational opportunities are available for all students regardless of nationality.

Presidential Proclamation Suspending European Schengen Area Travel to the United States- UPDATED

Update: Waivers of Presidential Proclamations 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland) for Academics and Students.

Students with valid F-1 and M-1 visas, and their F-2 and M-2 dependents traveling from or otherwise physically present in the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, or Ireland during the preceding 14 days may travel to the United States while these Proclamations are in effect.

F and M visa holders subject to these Proclamations have been granted a national interest exception to travel and can be boarded without contacting CBP as long as all admissibility and document requirements are met. For details refer to the CBP Bulletin below.

Initial Proclamation Details:

On March 11, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation restricting entry to the United States entry for those who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, effective March 13, 2020. The proclamation will remain in effect until terminated by the president. 

The European Schengen area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Presidential Proclamation 9645 (aka the Travel Ban)

Presidential Travel Ban Expanded- Students Not Impacted

On Friday, January 31, 2020 an Executive Order was issued by the U.S. President, expanding on existing travel bans already in place for Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. 

This new order relates to visa issuance from the following additional countries: Myanmar (Burma), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.  This proclamation will take effect on February 22, 2020.

The ban contains restrictions on immigrants but not on nonimmigrants, so it will not impact acquisition of nonimmigrant visas like F-1 student, J-1 exchange visitor, H-1B worker, etc., or of admission to the United States in those categories.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide additional details and information as it becomes available. You have our full support. More information on the travel ban 3.0 & 4.0 can be found on the NAFSA website.

Presidential Proclamation Travel Ban In Effect

On June 26, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision to uphold Presidential Proclamation 9645, referred to as the Travel Ban.

The countries affected by the ban are Iran, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Venezuela, and North Korea.

Presidential Proclamation 9645; Countries Specifically Impacted

Iran

  • No immigrant visas
  • Entry of Iranian nationals "under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals should be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements."
  • Entry under all other nonimmigrant categories is suspended

Libya

  • No immigrant visas
  • Entry as B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 is suspended
  • No impact on F-1 and J-1 students or scholars

North Korea

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for all nonimmigrant visa categories

Syria

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry is suspended for all nonimmigrant visa categories

Venezuela

  • Entry is suspended for Venezuelan nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, but only for officials of government agencies of Venezuela involved in screening and vetting procedures - including the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations - and their immediate family members.
  • Nationals of Venezuela not subject to the above suspension should nevertheless "be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current."

Yemen

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Entry as a B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 is suspended
  • No impact on F-1 or J-1 students or scholars

Somalia

  • Entry as an immigrant is suspended
  • Visas for nonimmigrants are subject to additional scrutiny

Iraq is not listed as one of the countries, but the Proclamation states that DHS recommended "that nationals of Iraq who seek to enter the United States be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the United States."

International Travel for International Students

If you are a citizen of one of the listed banned countries, we advise you to not travel at this time. If you still intend to travel, please consult with an international student advisor before departure.

If you have dual citizenship of one of the listed banned countries, we advise that if you travel, plan to enter the US with your documents from the country not included on the list. Please note that you will likely face extra scrutiny.

If you are an international student from a country that is not on the banned list, you should continue to follow our recommendations on travel. While we have always advised students to follow these recommendations, it is especially prudent now.

Travel within the US

We advise each person in the US who does not hold US citizenship to carry photocopies of documentation of their valid status and to continue to follow all laws of the United States - criminal and civil.

If you plan to travel within the US outside of the city you live within, we suggest carrying all original identification and travel documents with you.

Visas for Non-US Citizens

This proclamation also indicates that all international students and scholars who need a new visa will be required to apply for one in person. There will no longer be any kind of mail-in or drop-off service available to get or renew US visas.

We cannot predict what the wait times to get a new visa will now be, so we advise that you plan ahead as much as possible and check the consulate where you intend to get your visa on current wait times.

Who is NOT directly affected by Presidential Proclamation 9645?

The Executive Order does not cancel currently valid visas, and does not apply to:

  • U.S. Lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
  • People admitted or paroled into the U.S. on or after the effective date of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (September 24, 2017);
  • People with a document other than a visa that allows them to travel to the U.S., if the document is dated on or after the effective date of the Proclamation;
  • Dual-nationals traveling on a passport from a non-designated country;
  • Foreign nationals traveling on a diplomatic visa, NATO visas, C-2/U.N. visas, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visas;
  • People who have been granted asylum by the U.S.;
  • Refugees already admitted to the U.S.; or
  • Individuals granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention against Torture.

This decision does not allow for an exception for “Bona Fide Relationships” (for example, close family ties such as a parent, spouse, child, sister, brother, or fiancé(e))

In addition, student status and eligibility for benefits of students who are already here is not directly affected.

COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions

Detailed information on the travel restrictions related to COVID-19 can be found on NAFSA's Coronavirus Critial Resource page.

Before planning any travel, please review the U.S. State Department Travel Advisories and the ISS COVID-19 Frequently asked Questions page. Be sure to also read the CDC Domestic Travel warnings.

DHS issued instructions for inbound flights with individuals who have been in China. Please review the details in you are returning from abroad.

Latest updates on UB specific information is available on the UB Coronavirus page.