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  • Summer Travel Season!

    • Date May 31, 2017
    • Posted by IETS

    It’s summer travel season! Here are two helpful articles articles from The New York Times and Wired magazine regarding how students can protect their digital security while going through Customs at airports.

    The New York Times: What Are Your Rights if Border Agents Want to Search Your Phone? https://www.nytimes.com/…/border-enforcement-airport-phones…

    Wired:
    A Guide to Getting Past Customs With Your Digital Privacy Intact
    https://www.wired.com/…/guide-getting-past-customs-digital…/

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    • Reviews

      • Date May 10, 2017
      • Posted by IETS

      “I just wanted to write to you to share that I found out on Monday I have been accepted into the NAFSA Trainer Corps program! I am so excited about this opportunity and just wanted to write you a note to thank you so much for helping me launch my career in international education four years ago. Your training services really provided me with a solid background to become knowledgeable and confident in practicing in this field. Thank you for your support and help over the years – I surely would not have been able to make it without you! ” – Valerie Monaco (Mercy College)

       

      “June’s method of instruction is unparalleled! Her personality/humor made these 2 days engaging, interesting and outstanding. A must-do for all who work with international students.  Jesse also presented with congruence and outstanding instructional methods, enjoy him as well. I learned so much in 2 days.”-Charles Frank (College of Mount Saint Vincent)

       

       

      “The presenter’s vast knowledge paired with numerous examples and stories of actual students made the importance of International student issues come alive.” – Caroline Brown (Cairn University).

       

      “Wonderful!  Thank you so very much!  I can say the same to both you and Ward that you’re just delightful to work with. You engender trust and your communication is so clear.” -Anne Mongillo (Hofstra University)

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      • TABS/NAIS Global Symposium

        • Date May 3, 2017
        • Posted by IETS

        IETS exhibited at the TABS/NAIS Global Symposium in Miami for the first time May 1!  Katharine McBride, Director of our K-12 Program, was glad to see so many of you there.

         

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        • Spring 2017

          • Date May 3, 2017
          • Posted by IETS

          Congratulations to IETS’s Spring 2017 F-1 SEVIS Essentials Program graduates!

           

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          • More reflections on 2014-2015

            • Date June 11, 2015
            • Posted by IETS

            One To World – an organization which has had my heart since it began 25 years ago. Devoted to serving international students in NYC. Its annual Fulbright Awards Dinner was held May 19th at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

            2015-06-11_17-57-30

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            • Looking back at 2014-2015

              • Date June 11, 2015
              • Posted by IETS

              Reflections on 2014-15. The major highlight of this year was receiving NAFSA Region X‘s James O’Driscoll Distinguished Service Award. The recognition and appreciation from my peers was truly overwhelming and inspire me to keep going!
              2015-06-11_17-47-28

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              • SEVIS 2015 Roadmap

                • Date March 27, 2015
                • Posted by IETS

                On February 20th, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and the U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program conducted a webinar that gave an overview of planned enhancements to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for 2015.  A monthly summary of what may lie ahead for schools follows below.

                The full webinar and supporting materials may be accessed at http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/stakeholder-webinars

                SEVIS 2015 ROADMAP WEBINAR

                 MARCH

                Batch

                • Address validation functionality
                • Batch Users’ Conference Call for usability questions
                • J-1 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) Functionality completed (webinar in early June)

                 APRIL

                SEVIS Help Hub

                • Central access point for all F/M SEVIS related information
                • Interactive – Demos of SEVIS Functionality
                • Find all help from Study in the States regardless of where it is located
                • Will begin to debut in April with limited changes but will be updating as content updates become available.

                Employment Information Page

                • New SEVIS page
                • F-1 Employment history regardless of school
                  • Type of employment
                  • Authorization period
                • Pre-release webinar

                OPT Dates Bug Fix

                • SEVIS had been improperly overwriting DSO-recommended dates with USCIS dates for Pending OPT applications
                • Bug fixed going forward. Can’t fix past.

                JUNE

                Major Release

                • Name and address standards will be implemented. Email secondary.
                  • Names will be changed to conform to standards
                  • Addresses validated
                • New Form I-20 released
                  • There will be a phase-in period for schools to transition to the new version of the form
                  • The required I-20 data collected will not change. Implementation of name standards adds names.
                  • The look will be redesigned
                  • Instructions will be updated and moved to page 3
                  • DSO name will no longer pre-print
                • Bulk printing of Forms I-20 and DS-2019s
                  • Schools may ask for multiple records that meet specific criteria
                  • Submit request
                  • Will get a page to download for printing
                • Major changes in Search functionality due to new names
                • J-1 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP)
                • Interface Updates
                • Student/EV header “Look” changed
                • Major change to Landing/Main Page

                FALL/WINTER

                OPT Employment Information

                • Additional fields
                • Ability to add employers vs. overwriting information
                • More detailed history

                Last Day of Valid Stay Indicator

                • Adds grace period on to program/OPT end date
                • Adjusts when end date is

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                • “In Search of the Elusive I-94,” by the Law Offices of Eugene Goldstein & Associates, New York City

                  • Date November 11, 2013
                  • Posted by IETS

                  The minutes of an AILA/USCIS meeting on October 23, 2013 discussed problems with obtaining a paper copy of the electronic I-94 for use with USCIS applications. AILA made the following suggestions for retrieving a paper copy:

                  • Enter the first and middle name in the First Name field;
                  • Switch the order of the first and last names;
                  • Enter multiple first names or multiple last names without spaces;
                  • Check for multiple passport numbers;
                  • Refrain from entering the year if the year is included in the passport number;• Check and compare the designated classification on the visa with the designated classification on the admission stamp;
                  • Call or visit a CBP Deferred Inspection office for assistance in obtaining a paper copy of Form I-94.

                  The minutes noted that USCIS would be issuing no further guidance about the electronic I-94. However, if the USCBP record cannot be located … “A photocopy of the biographical page(s) of the passport, the visa (if applicable), and the admission stamp would be acceptable in most cases as an alternative to a print-out of the I-94 information from the CBP website. USCIS may request additional evidence if necessary.”

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                  • Your feedback is needed re: SEVP Draft Policy Guidance for Adjudicators 1306-07: TEMPORARY ABSENCE by November 16!

                    • Date November 10, 2013
                    • Posted by IETS

                    SEVP has published proposed policies regarding F-1 temporary absence that would affect your school and students.  It is urgent that you submit your feedback by November 16, 2013. The draft guidance and instructions for submitting feedback are available at Study in the States. SEVP’s broadcast message alerting SEVIS users to this comment opportunity indicated that to comment on the guidance, “e-mail SEVPFeedback@ice.dhs.gov with the title of the guidance in the subject line. Comments for each guidance document must be in a separate e-mail.”

                    Following is IETS’s assessment of the impact such policies could have on your school and students:

                    Regulation:  8 CFR 214.2(f)(4):  “An F-1 student returning to the U.S. from a temporary absence of 5 months or less may be readmitted for attendance at a Service-approved educational institution, if the student presents:

                    (i) A current SEVIS Form I-20…., properly endorsed by the DSO for reentry if there has been no substantive change to the most recent Form I-20 information; or

                    (ii) A new SEVIS Form I-20…, if there has been a substantive change in the information on the student’s most recent Form I-20 information, such as in the case of a student who has changed the major area of study, who intends to transfer to another Service approve institution or who has advanced to a higher level of study.”

                    Impact of SEVP Draft Policy Guidance:

                    Articulates the current SEVP “workaround” for correcting the SEVIS status of a student who is authorized an early withdrawal from school from Terminated to Active upon notification to the school of intent to resume studies in 5 months or less.

                    1.       Students who do not contact the DSO and obtain an Authorized Early Withdrawal Temination are treated differently even if returning within the legally permitted 5 months or less.

                    ·         Why the limitation to Authorized Early Withdrawal Terminations? Regulation allows an F-1 student to be readmitted provided returning to U.S. in less than five months. 

                    ·         Students facing personal emergencies do not always think about getting DSO authorization to “withdraw.”

                    ·         There is no regulatory requirement that a student must request DSO authorization to withdraw from school.  A student may leave school under any circumstances with or without notifying anyone according to regulation.              

                    2.       Requires the F-1 student to “intend to return”

                    ·         The student may have no clear plan at the time of departure.  The regulation does not require any intention to return at the time of departure; it simply requires that the student return in less than five months with the appropriate I-20.

                    3.       Requires the F-1 student to “resume the program of study.”

                    ·         Regulation specifically allows an F-1 student to transfer schools and change education levels/programs.

                    4.       Returning to the United States is based on obtaining an Authorized Early Withdrawal Termination. 

                    ·         A student who was Terminated for “Unauthorized Withdrawal” or “Failure to Enroll” who can demonstrate a timely departure from the U.S. and an absence of less than five months should equally qualify for readmission for attendance in accordance with the Temporary Absence regulation.  This would allow the breadth of applicability to more scenarios when students need or wish to interrupt their studies that the current regulation allows rather than narrow them.

                     

                     

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                    • Your feedback is needed re: SEVP Draft Policy Guidance for Adjudicators 1306-02: ANNUAL VACATION by November 16!

                      • Date November 10, 2013
                      • Posted by IETS

                      SEVP has published proposed policies regarding F-1 annual vacations that would affect your school and students.  It is urgent that you submit your feedback by November 16, 2013. The draft guidance and instructions for submitting feedback are available at Study in the States. SEVP’s broadcast message alerting SEVIS users to this comment opportunity indicated that to comment on the guidance, “e-mail SEVPFeedback@ice.dhs.gov with the title of the guidance in the subject line. Comments for each guidance document must be in a separate e-mail.”

                      Following is IETS’s assessment of the impact such policies could have on your school and students:

                      Regulation:  8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(iii):  Annual vacation . An F-1 student at an academic institution is considered to be in status during the annual (or summer) vacation if the student is eligible and intends to register for the next term. A student attending a school on a quarter or trimester calendar who takes only one vacation a year during any one of the quarters or trimesters instead of during the summer is considered to be in status during that vacation, if the student has completed the equivalent of an academic year prior to taking the vacation.”

                      Impact of SEVP Draft Policy Guidance:

                      1.       The draft policy sets a required minimum time an F-1 must have attended a school to be eligible for the initial vacation. This conflicts with the first sentence of the annual vacation regulation which says all F-1 students are in status during the annual (summer) vacation if they are eligible and intend to register for the next term. 

                      o   The regulation only sets a minimum time a quarter or trimester student must have attended school if the student wants to take off a different term than the summer. It allows such a student to take off the annual/summer after having completed whatever terms precede it.

                      §  The draft policy at 4.1 seems to agree with the regulation but conflicts with the chart at 4.4.

                      o   Quarter/Trimester institutions would be required to provide a full course of study for students in the summer in order to be able to admit them in the winter.

                      §  The policy would treat students at Quarter/Trimester system institutions differently than students at Semester system institutions. [4.4].  This conflicts with the regulation.

                      2.       Students on a medical Reduced Course Load (RCL) may or may not be entitled to an annual vacation depending on whether they are attending school or not. [4.6.1]

                      o   All students authorized an RCL are pursuing a full course of study according to the regulations and are therefore entitled to the same vacation benefits as any other F-1 student [8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(iii)].

                      3.       Students at a Semester system school may take the annual vacation during any term [4.4].

                      4.       An F-1 student with a pending petition for reinstatement would have no annual vacation benefit [4.3].

                      o   This is unclear.  Does it mean that such a student would have to attend school during the annual vacation period?  That would not be possible at all schools.

                      o   Approval of a reinstatement affirms that there was no violation of status.   That would seem to conflict with prior policy that reinstatement is a judgment that “resumption” of F-1 status is warranted [Letter from Jacquelyn Bednarz, Chief, Nonimmigrant Branch, Adjudications, INS, to Lisa Enfield, Esq. HQ 214f-C undated, 1993. Reported in Interpreter Releases Vol.70 no. 23, pp. 1120-1121 (August 23, 1993)]. What reinstatement means should be clarified.

                      5.       An F-1 student returning to school after a temporary absence of less than five months is treated as an “initial” student and must accrue the required term(s) again before being eligible for an annual vacation [4.6.4].

                      o   A student returning after a temporary absence is “readmitted for attendance” and thus resuming F-1 status.  The time outside the U.S. does not count as a period of lawful status but does not begin F-1 status again [8 CFR 214.2(f)(4)].  Thus a temporary absence should not require accrual of the required term(s).   A student returning during the summer in preparation for resuming studies in the fall should be entitled to do so.

                      o   Confusion appears to exist as to what constitutes a temporary absence according to the policy at 4.6.3.  A temporary absence from the U.S. should begin upon the date of departure by its very definition, not when authorized by a DSO.

                       

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