Presidential Proclamation Travel Ban - December 2017

IMPORTANT MESSAGE regarding the Presidential Proclamation Travel Ban & travel advisory for international students traveling during winter break

Published December 12, 2017

Travel Advisory for International Students

If you are planning to travel outside the U.S. during winter break, please read this travel advisory so you will be less likely to have problems during your trip and when you return to the U.S.  This advice should also help you return to the U.S. on time as it is not reasonable to expect exemption from assignments and exams due to your late return to the U.S.
 
The topics addressed in this advisory include:

- Domestic and International Travel Documents

- Important Reminder about Your Passport

- Things to Consider about Renewing your U.S. Visa

- Re-Entry to the U.S.

- Presidential Proclamation Travel Ban

- Important Advice about Bringing Money into the U.S.

Domestic and International Travel Documents
 
If you will travel outside Buffalo, we advise you to carry the following documents with you.  If you will travel outside the U.S., you must carry these documents with you.

- Valid passport
- Valid U.S. visa stamp with at least one remaining entry (for travel outside the U.S.)  (Exception: travel to Canada, Mexico and, for F-1 students and J-1 Exchange Visitors, Caribbean islands as explained here.)

In addition, you will need to carry the following:

For F-1 Students
-
Valid I-20 with unexpired signature of Designated School Official on Page 2 AND all previous I-20's.  (Notes: Please be sure to confirm that you have a DSO signature on Page 2 of your I-20.  If you joined UB in Fall 2016, Spring 2017 and Fall 2017, you may not have one.  If that is your situation, you must come to ISSS, Talbert Hall 210 for a signature or you will not be able to re-enter the U.S.  Each DSO signature is valid for one year.  If the signature will be less than one year old on the day you return to the U.S., you do not need a new signature.  Also, if you have multiple I-20’s, bring all of them but only present your current I-20 initially.)
- Financial Documents showing ability to cover the costs of a U.S. education
- UB Card + Proof of Full-time Enrollment (e.g. course schedule print-out with name on it)

For J-1 Students
-
Valid DS-2019 with unexpired signature of (Alternate) Responsible Officer in the Travel Designation box on Page 1 AND all previous DS-2019’s
- Financial Documents showing ability to cover the costs of a U.S. education
- UB Card + Proof of Full-time Enrollment (e.g. course schedule print-out with name on it)

For Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training (AT)
- Valid I-20 with unexpired signature (not more than six months old) of Designated School Official on Page 2 AND all previous I-20's + written job offer* + valid EAD card (for F-1 students on OPT)  OR
- Valid DS-2019 with unexpired signature of (Alternate) Responsible Officer in the Travel Designation box on Page 1 AND all previous DS-2019’s + Letter Authorizing Academic Training
(for J-1 students on AT)
* A letter from your employer confirming your employment, your job description and the dates of your employment

Important Reminder about Your Passport
 
As you know, your passport must be valid at all times while you are in the U.S.  In addition, your passport must be valid for six months beyond the period of your intended stay in the U.S. unless your country of citizenship is one of the Six-Month Club countries.                         

Please check the “Six-Month Club” list here.  If your country of citizenship is not on this list, then check the expiration date on your passport.  If you do not have six months beyond the period of your intended stay on your passport, you should renew it before you return to the U.S.  If you don’t renew your passport, you will likely be denied re-entry to the U.S.

Things to Consider about Renewing Your U.S. Visa
 
If you are planning to renew your U.S. visa during winter break, we recommend that you read “Applying for a Non-Immigrant U.S. Visa” here.

You should apply to renew your U.S. visa in your home country as it is easier for Consular Officers to verify your information there.  Note: Applying for a U.S. visa in a third country (including Canada) is always riskier than applying for one in your home country.

You should also consider whether or not you will have sufficient time to renew your U.S. visa during winter break.  Due to background checks, mandatory visa interviews and the scrutiny of individuals studying or doing research in “sensitive fields”, you may encounter delays in the processing of your visa application.  Note:  Each semester, at least one UB student is not able to return to Buffalo to resume his/her studies because of visa processing delays due to background checks.  Therefore, you should think carefully before you decide to return to your home country with an expired U.S. visa.
 
If you are a graduate student and your field of study or research may be considered sensitive (e.g. electrical engineering, computer science, biological science, physiology and biophysics, urban planning, etc.), you should obtain a letter from your professor explaining in detail the nature of your studies or research.  This letter should be written in simple language so it can be easily understood by non-specialists.

Re-Entry to the U.S.

The procedures at Ports of Entry are much tighter now than in the recent past.  You should expect to spend much longer being cleared at Ports of Entry.  Among others, Customs & Border Protection officers may check your cell phone, including email, social media, websites, etc.

Presidential Proclamation Travel Ban

On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a temporary hold on the Presidential Proclamation issued by President Trump on September 24, 2017.  This action allows the Trump Administration to enforce its travel restrictions on certain nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.  The travel restrictions will therefore be implemented while the Fourth and Ninth Circuits continue to hear challenges to the Presidential Proclamation.

This Presidential Proclamation:

1)  Only applies to nationals of the eight countries who are outside the U.S. since it only applies to U.S. visa applications and entry to the U.S. 

2) With the exception of nationals of North Korea and Syria, F students and J Exchange Visitors are exempt from the ban.

Nationals of the eight countries are subject to the following U.S. travel restrictions, unless otherwise exempt:

• Chad:  No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas

• Iran:  No nonimmigrant visas except F and M student visas and J Exchange Visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas

• Libya:  No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas

• North Korea:  No nonimmigrant, immigrant or diversity lottery visas

• Somalia:  Nonimmigrant visa applicants subject to heightened scrutiny; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas

• Syria:  No nonimmigrant, immigrant or diversity lottery visas

• Venezuela:  No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas for officials of designated Venezuelan government agencies; other nonimmigrant visa applicants subject to heightened scrutiny  

• Yemen:  No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas

Individuals who are currently in the U.S., hold a passport from a restricted country (other than exempt dual nationals) and would need to apply for a visa to re-enter the U.S. should carefully consider the risks of international travel.

Exemptions and Waivers

In addition to individuals who are already in the U.S., U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, dual nationals traveling on a passport from a non-restricted country, and individuals who have been granted asylum by the U.S. or who have already been admitted to the U.S. as refugees are  exempt from the travel restrictions.  Note: There are a few other exceptions.  For a complete list, visit Section 3(b) here.

Those who are not exempt may request a waiver when applying for a U.S. visa.  To be eligible for a waiver, an individual must demonstrate that he or she would suffer undue hardship if denied entry, and that his or her entry would not pose a threat to U.S. national security or public safety, and would be in U.S. national interest.

Important Advice about Bringing Money into the U.S.

If you plan to bring money (e.g. cash, money order, certified check, travelers’ checks, letter of credit) into the U.S., please note the following from the Customs & Border Protection (CBP) website:

“Travelers leaving or entering the U.S. are required to report monetary instruments (e.g. currency or checks) valued at $10,000 or more on a "Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments" form FinCEN 105” (available here or from a CBP officer).  “Failure to declare currency in amounts over $10,000 can result in its seizure.”

Please Note:

- Do not assume that you can multiply $10,000 by the number of people in your group and bring that amount of money.  The border officer will try to determine to whom the money really belongs.  If s/he determines that it belongs to one person, s/he will seize it if the total amount exceeds $10,000.

- Never make false statements to a border officer about money or anything else.  The penalty for making false statements to border officers is very severe, including a fine and up to two years of imprisonment.