Immigration News

Temporary Exemptions for F-1 Students

Update April 26. 2021:  ICE Continues March 2020 Guidance for the 2021-22 Academic Year.  The March 2020 COVID-19 Guidance is available on

Note: The University of Illinois Springfield will offer a blend of in-person and remote instruction; this is called a hybrid model.

Initial Status Students and Active Status Students after March 2020:  must be enrolled in at least one on-campus or hybrid course.

Active Status Students prior to March 2020:  may adhere to the March 2020 Guidance, which allows continuing international students to take classes in various modes: in-person, hybrid, or fully remote from inside or outside the United States.

All students, regardless of when they began their studies in the US, need to be full-time and Maintain F-1 Visa Status.

COVID-19 Global Concern

Read NAFSA’s COVID-19 Restrictions on U.S. Visas and Entry page for the most up to date US entry restrictions related to COVID-19.

The University of Illinois Springfield has established the UIS COVID-19 Response Team to monitor our university’s preparedness in response to the growing global concern about the novel coronavirus COVID-19. This interdisciplinary team is working in alignment with the UI System Planning and Response Team to ensure coordination with system responses as well as to ensure our university is properly prepared to meet the unique needs of our students, faculty and staff.

The Office of Web Services has created a new website, United in Safety, to keep all UIS stakeholders informed of our preparedness efforts and to address any frequently asked questions we’re hearing from our university community. Additionally, UIS Health Services continues to lead the way in providing advice to aid in the prevention of illness and share recommendations from the CDC, IDPH and other health partners to stay healthy.

Executive Order on Immigration: Travel Bans

The new travel ban becomes effective on February 21, 2020. Travel Ban 4.0 contains restrictions on immigrants but not on nonimmigrants, so it will not impact visas like F-1 student, J-1 exchange visitor, H-1B worker, etc., or of admission to the United States in those categories. Meanwhile, Travel Ban 3.0 continues in effect on certain citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. The Travel Ban 3.0 and 4.0 restrictions are country-specific, and tailored to the situation of each individual country.

For more information regarding the specific conditions of each country:  Travel Ban: NAFSA Resources

Operation OPTical Illusion

SEVP and DHS have continued to battle OPT fraud through an ongoing law enforcement operation called OPTical Illusion, aimed at targeting individuals attempting to exploit the student visa system. By supporting this operation, SEVP helped ensure the continued integrity of the OPT program.

USCIS Issues Policy Guidance Clarifying How Federal Controlled Substances Law Applies to Naturalization Determinations

USCIS is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify that violations of federal controlled substance law, including violations involving marijuana, are generally a bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization, even where that conduct would not be an offense under state law.  The policy guidance also clarifies that an applicant who is involved in certain marijuana-related activities may lack good moral character if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity has been decriminalized under applicable state laws.

Since 1996, some states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to decriminalize the manufacture, possession, distribution, and use of both medical and non-medical (recreational) marijuana in their respective jurisdictions. However, federal law classifies marijuana as a “Schedule I” controlled substance whose manufacture (which includes production, such as planting, cultivation, growing, or harvesting), distribution, dispensing, or possession may lead to immigration consequences.

UIS Statement on Immigration

“The University of Illinois Springfield fosters and celebrates the diversity of its students, faculty, and staff as a foundational aspect of our mission and our service to the public good. We support the safety, well-being, and success of all members of our University community, including those whose families have immigrated to the United States and those who have traveled to UIS and the surrounding community to study, research, teach, or serve as staff and administrators. Creating a campus that is welcoming and inclusive to all is vital to our mission, vision, and values, and is also vital to our goal of creating and sustaining global leaders, scholars, and citizens, through engagement and innovation.”

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