Reminder to International Community That Marijuana Remains an Illegal Drug Under Federal Law
5/8/2019 International students, scholars, exchange visitors, dependents, permanent residents, or anyone with immigrant or nonimmigrant status should avoid marijuana use, possession and all association with it because despite laws in Michigan, it remains illegal as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under U.S. Federal Law and may lead to negative immigration consequences. Even using marijuana medically, growing marijuana, and working in the marijuana industry may lead to negative immigration consequences.
Violations of federal law, such as marijuana use and possession, can adversely affect your immigration status, your ability to obtain or renew a visa, your ability to enter or re-enter the United States, and your ability to apply for U.S. permanent residency or citizenship.
Please also be reminded that marijuana in all its forms is prohibited on Western Michigan University's campus.
Related policies for students can be found in the Student Code of Conduct, Section B.6.
Related policies for faculty and staff can be found in the Employee Handbook, Section 8.
Additional links and information can be found here:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services link: USCIS Policy Guidance
U.S. Customs and Border Protection link: CBP Statement
Inadmissibility bar: 8 USC 1182: Inadmissibility
USCIS Temporarily Blocked from Enforcing New Unlawful Presence Rules for Students and Exchange Visitors
5/6/2019 USCIS has been temporarily blocked from enforcing a new policy that penalizes F, J, and M visaholders who violate the terms of their nonimmigrant status.
On Friday, May 3, 2019, a federal court order temporarily blocked USCIS from enforcing the unlawful presence memo dated August 9, 2018 which had imposed unlawful presence and bars on F and J students and exchanges visitors who had status violations.
For further information, please visit the Fragomen Website to read the full article.
USCIS Revises Unlawful Presence rule for Students and Exchange Visitors
8/8/2018 Reminder! Starting August 9, USCIS will revise how it calculates the accrual of unlawful presence for students and exchange students who fail to maintain their F, J, or M nonimmigrant status in the United States. Students and their dependents will automatically accrue unlawful presence upon certain triggering events: on the day after completion of their course of study and applicable grace period; the day after their SEVIS record is terminated. Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence and then depart will be subject to a three-year bar from returning to the United States. Those who have accrued more than 365 days are subject to a ten-year bar. Remember, if you have successfully completed your program and earned your grace period, the starting date for this will begin the day after your grace period ends. If your record is terminated, be sure to see your immigration advisor immediately to discuss your options as your unlawful presence begins on the day after your record is terminated. For more information and further clarification, please read the legal summary from Fragomen Worldwide Immigration Website. The USCIS policy memorandum dated August 9, 2018 regarding unlawful presence can be read here.
Practical Training Advisory for CPT and OPT
08/06/2018 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) advisor: Please be advised that the current interpretation under the current administration is that Curricular Practical Training is curricular, required by everyone in the program, or for credit integral to the curriculum. Also, Homeland Security states that cooperative agreements are required to be in place to support CPT between the school and the training sites.
Further, Homeland Security is requesting to see evidence that CPT is curricular and integral to the curriculum. This can by shown by the curriculum description, Registrar records, or course descriptions showing that the course has a training or practicum component. In any case, CPT is training that is required for the degree program, or for credit integral to the program curriculum.
The current CPT application reflects this interpretation. Most departments and colleges at WMU already have some type of internship or practicum course(s) as part of the curriculum which support CPT for international students. It is advised that departments which do not have any training or internship component to their programs may want to consider creating courses for credit to support a practical training experience as an integral part of the curriculum for credit towards graduation.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) advisory: For students who are in programs which offer no training or internship component integral to the curriculum, a different option is Optional Practical Training which is optional. Students may apply for OPT either pre-completion (before graduation) or post-completion (after graduation). Students are still required to maintain full-time enrollment during mandatory semesters, per the federal regulations. Use of pre-completion OPT will deduct against the total 12-month limit of post-completion OPT. If pre-completion OPT is done during a mandatory semester, students are limited to 20 hours training per week. Also, the government filing fee for OPT applications is currently $410 and takes about 90 days for adjudication by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
New Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765
07/18/2018 USCIS announced that the new I-765 (effective 5/31/2018) must be used for any employment authorization filings. If you are using the I-765, be sure to use the correct form by looking for the 5/31/2018 date on the bottom left of the application. Failure to use this updated form, will result in your application being denied. You can find the new form on the USCIS website.
New Visa Service Fee Structure
07/1/2018 Effective July 1, 2018, a new fee structure will be implemented for the below referenced services provided by the WMU Haenicke Institute for Global Education Immigration Services office. These fees will help provide continuation of service and support. For more information, visit our Visa Service Fee Structure webpage.
Travel Restrictions Remain for Certain Countries
06/29/2018 In U.S. immigration news this week, the Supreme Court held that President Trump acted within his authority when he imposed travel restrictions on certain nationals of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Nationals of the restricted countries remain subject to travel limitations, unless otherwise exempt or granted a waiver. For more information and further clarification, please read the legal summary from Fragomen Worldwide Immigration Website.
USCIS Revises Unlawful Presence rule for Students and Exchange Visitors
05/11/2018 Starting August 9, 2018, USCIS will revise how it calculates the accrual of unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors who fail to maintain their F, J or M nonimmigrant status in the United States. Students and their dependents will automatically accrue unlawful presence upon certain triggering events such as failure to complete their course of study or engaging in unauthorized activities. Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence and then depart are subject to a three-year bar to returning to the U.S. and those who have accrued more than 365 days are subject to a ten-year bar. For more information and further clarification, please read the legal summary from Fragomen Worldwide Immigration Website.
Travel Restrictions Lifted for Nationals of Chad
04/23/2018 On April 10, 2018, The White House issued Presidential Proclamation 9723 stating that effective April 13, 2018, Chad would no longer be subject to the restrictions and limitations of Presidential Proclamation 9645.
Introducing a new SEVP Portal for Post-Completion OPT Reporting
03/21/2018 On March 23, 2018, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will launch the SEVP Portal. The portal is a tool that F-1 students on post-completion optional practical training (OPT). If you are currently on OPT, you will receive an email with instructions on creating a portal account on the evening of March 23, 2018. This email will come from email@example.com. If you do not see the email, check your spam or junk mail folder. If you still do not see it, contact your designated school official (DSO) to have the email sent again. If you have a future OPT start date, you will receive that email on your OPT start date.
For students on OPT, you may submit your employer information through the SEVP portal or through the paper Data Validation form, as normal. For students on STEM OPT, you must still complete a paper Data Validation form for updates to your employment record. A comprehensive SEVP Portal Help Hub is available on the Study in the States website.
Income Tax Assistance for International Students and Scholars
2/12/2018 To assist international students, scholars, researchers, trainees, and their dependents in filing United States income tax returns, the WMU Haenicke Institute for Global Education purchases a limited number of licenses for a tax preparation software program called Sprintax. The deadline to file 2017 federal tax returns is April 17, 2018. Learn more information on the International Admissions and Services website.
Beware of Tax Scams
1/12/2018 Some students have reported that they have received a call someone impersonating the IRS claiming that they owe money are then threatened with arrest or deportation. The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. You may always contact our office if you are unsure of a call. Please read more information about this specific scam, and others, directly on the IRS Consumer Alert website.
Resources for DACA Students
09/25/2017 - Although WMU Immigration Services cannot advise DACA students on their personal immigration matters, as it is outside our scope, there are outside resources in the community. You may find the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) website to be helpful.