Urgent Information from International Student Services

Posted on Friday, Jun 19, 2015

Global visa delays caused by technical problems
The Department of State’s computer system for issuing visas is suffering from a severe “technical glitch” and they have not been able to issue any visas lately.  This means that anyone applying for a new or a renewal of their visa will have problems and will be delayed.  The Department of State hopes the system will be working again next week.  However, it is not guaranteed.  For more information, please visit http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english/news/technological-systems-issue.html
If you are delayed by the visa issues, please inform ISS and your academic department. 
Possible Port of Entry delays from Friday, June 26, 2015 through Sunday, June 28, 2015
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be upgrading the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) from June 26 to June 28.  Because of the magnitude of the upgrade, SEVIS will be unavailable.  ISS will not be able to access SEVIS during this time period.  This also means that the Port of Entry officials will not have access to SEVIS.  If you are travelling back to the United States during this time period, make sure that you have your original immigration paperwork and passport with you. For example, make sure your I-20 has been signed for travel and you have a copy of your past I-20s if possible.  I recommend that you have a copy of your transcript as well.  Do not panic if you are taken to secondary inspection.  Expect delays that weekend.  If you have problems at the Port of Entry and the officers need to speak to someone from ISS to confirm that you are a student, please call our office at 979-845-1824.  For information regarding the upgrade, visit http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sevis.   ISS will be provide additional information once the upgrade is completed. 
I-20s and DS-2019s will look different after the SEVIS upgrade
The I-20s and DS-2019s will also be upgraded with SEVIS.  ISS will be sending out information about how to get the new version of the I-20 and DS-2019.  Please be aware that the current versions are valid for until July 1, 2016. 
Here is the DHS Fact Sheet about the new I-20, http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/Redesigned%20Form%20I-20%20Fact%20Sheet_0.pdf.  Here is a sample of the new DS-2019, http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/EVandDep-Initial%20status.pdf
Good News!  F-2 dependents may study part-time
The Department of Homeland Security has changed the rules that have prevented an F-2 dependent from attending higher education.  An F-2 dependent may now pursue a degree or non-degree program part-time without changing visa categories.  Please note, that F-2 dependents CANNOT be employed.   For more information, please visit http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2015/06/dependents-offered-part-time-study-opportunities.