Rutgers Global Alerts: COVID-19
The information included here is intended to provide guidance and resources to all members of the Rutgers community regarding issues related to the coronavirus, including travel advisories, immigration policies, and other regulatory updates that impact international students and scholars, as well as domestic students and faculty traveling abroad.
Presidential Proclamation Temporarily Suspends Entry of H-1B and Certain J Nonimmigrants to the U.S. – No Immediate Effect on Those Presently in the U.S., 6/25/20 +
On June 22, 2020, the President Trump issued a presidential proclamation suspending entry to the United States of certain foreign nationals in certain temporary visa categories. This proclamation goes into effect on June 24, 2020 and will be valid until December 31, 2020. We wanted to let you know how the proclamation will affect Rutgers University’s ability to sponsor and employ certain foreign nationals.
The proclamation extends the effective dates of Proclamation 10014 of April 22, 2020 titled Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak. This proclamation suspended entry of certain new immigrants who do not already have an approved immigrant visa. It was originally valid for 60 days, until June 22, 2020. The new proclamation extends the period for an additional six (6) months, until December 31, 2020.
WHO IS AFFECTED?
- H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers (and associated dependents)
- H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers (and associated dependents)
- L-1 Intracompany Transferees (and associated dependents)
- J-1 Exchange Visitor categories for academic institutions (including their dependent family members) and J Exchange Visitors (and associated dependents), including: Interns, Trainees, Teachers, Camp Counselors, Au Pairs
Note: Rutgers does not sponsor these J-1 categories.
WHO IS NOT AFFECTED?
- Individuals seeking to Change their Status (COS)—for example, from F-1 to H-1B or J-1 or those seeking an extension of H-1B status within the U.S.—since they are not required to have a valid visa foil in their passports.
- Key J-1 Exchange Visitor categories for academic institutions (including their dependent family members), including: Research Scholar, Professor, Short-Term Scholar, Student (degree & non-degree seeking students)
- Those who are inside of the United States in H-1B or J-1 and all other listed statuses as of June 24, 2020;
- Those who are outside of the U.S. but already have a nonimmigrant visa (H-1B, H-4, J-1, etc) that is valid as of June 24, 2020; or
- Those who have another type of official travel document other than a visa (i.e., advance parole) that is valid as of June 24, 2020 or issued any date thereafter that permits them to the United States and seek entry or admission.
- Green card holders (lawful permanent residents)
- The spouse or minor child of a US citizen
- Anyone “whose entry would be in the national interest” as determined by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security
- The Proclamation does not affect any students in F-1 or J-1 status.
See text of the presidential proclamation for the full list of exceptions (including possible waivers for those who are involved with the provision of COVID-19 medical care and those performing medical research to combat COVID-19).
While we are grateful that the vast majority of our J-1 visitors will be unaffected, this proclamation will have an impact on our incoming H-1B positions and it is therefore important to note that the J-1 category cannot be used for tenure/tenure track positions and should not be used in place of the H-1B status.
Visa Exempt Canadians Are Not Subject to the Proclamation:
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Headquarters has confirmed that Canadian citizens entering in H, J, or L status are exempt from the Presidential Proclamation issued on 6/22/2020 and that guidance has been provided to local Port Of Entries (POEs). Please note TN status was not affected by the Proclamation therefore individuals seeking to enter the U.S. on this status may still do so.
Rutgers Global will continue to monitor the situation and provide any new updates as needed.
Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China, 5/29/20 +
We understand that President Trump’s May 29th Proclamation has raised concerns for many within our international Rutgers community. Rutgers greatly values and stands in support of our international students and scholars. While we do not yet have many answers as to how this Proclamation will affect Rutgers people, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and share information as it becomes available.
Please see the highlights of this Proclamation below:
Effective at 12:00 p.m. EDT on June 1, 2020, and will stay in effect until terminated by the President.
Suspends entry into the United States certain Chinese nationals with F or J visas to study or conduct research in the U.S. The suspension applies to individuals who are affiliated with an entity in China that implements or supports the PRC’s “military fusion” strategy through funding, employment, studies, or research.
Definition of “military-civil fusion” strategy: "actions by or at the behest of the PRC to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance the PRC's military capabilities." The “entities” that implement or support this strategy are not defined in the proclamation.
The proclamation does not apply to the following:
Section 1 of the proclamation exempts undergraduate students
Section 2 provides the following additional exceptions to the order:
- Lawful permanent residents of the U.S.
- The spouse of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident
- Individuals currently in the U.S. studying or conducting research that are not affiliated with the PRC’s military‑civil fusion strategy (as determined by the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies)
- Members of the United States Armed Forces and their spouse and children
- Individuals "whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement or who would otherwise be allowed entry into the United States pursuant to United States obligations under applicable international agreements"
- Individuals "whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee"
- Individuals "whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees."
The Secretary of State has the discretion to determine whether Chinese nationals on F and J visas currently in the U.S. who meet the criteria outlined in the order should face visa revocation.
There is no guidance to institutions yet on the implementation of this Proclamation. The Secretary of State will identify individuals covered by this proclamation as well as those that may be excluded based on criteria outlined in the proclamation. The policies and guidelines for implementation will be determined by the Secretary of State for visas and the Secretary of Homeland Security for the purposes of entry into the United States.
At this time, this order does not apply to immigrant visas, or other classifications of non-immigrant visas. However, the proclamation directs the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, within 60 days, to review non-immigrant and immigrant programs and recommend to the President any other measures that "would mitigate the risk posed by the PRC's acquisition of sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property."
Useful resource for a detailed summary of the Presidential Proclamation:
Association of International Educators (NAFSA)’s summary of the Proclamation
USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Certain Petitions, 5/29/20 +
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will resume premium processing for Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in phases over the next month. Please click this link for more information.
FAQs for International Students on F-1 and J-1 Visas Re: COVID-19, 5/26/20 +
We realize our international and exchange students have many questions about the impact of the coronavirus. Please click on the link below for a PDF with more information.
Erroneous Receipt of CARES Act Stimulus Checks, 5/20/20 +
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government introduced the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act. As a benefit of this act, some international students and scholars may have received stimulus checks in the amount of $1200 (including $500 for dependents if applicable) from the Internal Revenue Service. These funds are meant to be claimed by US citizens, permanent residents and residents for tax purposes. We understand that a small number of F-1 and J-1 students and scholars at Rutgers may have received the stimulus check in error. Please review the information below in case you have mistakenly received a payment. More detailed information and guidance is available on this link to the IRS website.
As a reminder, students and scholars who do not meet the IRS definition of "resident alien" are not eligible to receive these funds.
• J-1 scholars are required to have resided in the United States for at least two-years before they are considered “resident aliens" for tax purposes.
• F-1 and J-1 students are normally considered nonresidents for federal tax purposes during the first five calendar years inside the United States (and this includes previous visa statuses inside the United States). Calculations should include any part of a calendar year. After five years, F-1 and J-1 students are presumed to be residents for federal tax purposes by the IRS.
International students and scholars who have been in the US for shorter periods of time would not be considered resident aliens and should not have received a rebate.
The Internal Revenue Service has provided updated instructions for returning funds that have been received in error.
If you have received a payment in error, following are updated instructions for returning the funds:
If the payment was received as a paper check in the mail:
1. Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
2. Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
3. Don't staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
4. Include a note stating the reason for returning the check.
If the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit:
1. Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
2. Write on the check/money order made payable to "U.S. Treasury" and write 2020EIP, and the taxpayer identification number (social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient of the check.
3. Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.
Following are the IRS mailing addresses to use based on the state you live in:
Kansas City Refund Inquiry Unit
Brookhaven Refund Inquiry Unit
Philadelphia Refund Inquiry Unit
333 W Pershing Rd
5000 Corporate Ct.
2970 Market St
Mail Stop 6800, N-2
Mail Stop 547
Kansas City, MO 64108
Holtsville, NY 11742
Philadelphia, PA 19104
If you need to return a payment, be sure to keep copies of everything you send to the IRS. It is also advisable to submit the payment with delivery tracking, such as with UPS, FedEx, or US Postal Service Certified Mail.
We have provided the above information for informational purposes only. ISSS advisors are not tax experts and are not authorized to provide advice on tax matters.
Exchange Visitor Program: Embassy Contacts During COVID-19, 5/11/20 +
The Office of Private Sector Exchange Program Administration (OPA) announces that country specific repatriation information will be posted on: https://j1visa.state.gov/covid-19/. Please make sure to check the 'EMBASSY CONTACTS' section regularly as it is being updated almost daily.
This web page contains a frequently updated list of foreign embassies and consulates, including possible repatriation flights. This information may be helpful to exchange visitors who may experience difficulties returning to their home country due to lack of commercially available flights or travel restrictions.
To our exchange visitors: please keep us apprised of your travel plans and proactively reach out to your respective embassy or nearest consulate prior to planning and embarking on international travel.
Please continue to report all incidents to OPA via the Incident Report Form and submit it to AGalert@state.gov, as well as any travel difficulties you experience.
Update on Executive Order, 4/24/20 +
Executive Order Temporarily Suspends Entry of Certain Immigrants to the U.S. – No Immediate Effect on Those Presently in the U.S. or Those Seeking Entry under a Nonimmigrant Visa
On April 23, 2020, President Trump signed and announced a new Executive Order temporarily suspending, for 60 days, the entry of certain individuals seeking immigrant visas (green cards) from outside of the United States.
This executive order does NOT apply to: (1) those who are seeking a green card and are presently in the U.S. ; (2) those who are seeking a nonimmigrant visa (i.e., H-1B, J-1, O-1, F-1, etc.); or (3) spouses and children (under 21 years old) of U.S. citizens. In short, we do not expect any impact at Rutgers as a result of this Executive Order.
The new executive order only applies to those who are outside of the U.S. waiting for a green card (immigrant visa) through application at a local U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The executive order is expected to primarily impact parents and adult children (over the age of 21) of U.S. citizens and green card holders who are currently abroad and being sponsored under a family-based immigrant visa category.
Given that the Department of State has already suspended most consular services, this executive order is not expected to have much immediate impact unless the order is extended after the consular posts resume normal operations.
Virtual Counseling Services Offered by CAPS, 4/22/20 +
The Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) at Rutgers University has developed several virtual programs and workshops that international students may find helpful during this time. Please note, these virtual workshops are NOT therapy or psychological treatment. They are held via Webex and led by CAPS staff. Rutgers students need a phone or internet connection for video. Please email Annmarie Wacha-Montes at email@example.com in advanced with questions or for accommodations. For more on workshops and services offered by CAPS, please visit their website.
While the CAPS physical offices are closed, Let’s Talk will be offered remotely via phone and video appointments. Conversations with CAPS counselors are private and confidential.
- To schedule an appointment, call 848-932-7884, and leave a voicemail with your full name, phone number, and RU ID.
- Please speak slowly and clearly into the phone. Your message will be returned within 1 hour during regular business hours.
- Please note: CAPS will return your call from a blocked number, so please set your phone to allow blocked numbers and set up your voicemail to allow for messages.
- All other CAPS services are also available remotely. Please leave a message at 848-932-7884 to schedule an appointment
- Tips for International Students and Scholars during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Video on how to respond effectively to the crisis
Updates for Faculty & Scholars: USCIS Temporary Changes, Mail Service, 4/7/20 +
USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing for All Petitions Filed on Forms I-129 and I-140
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily suspended premium processing service for all Form I-129 petitions (including H-1B and O-1 petitions) and I-140 petitions (immigrant/permanent residence petitions) until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Premium processing provides expedited processing for eligible immigration petitions. When available, premium processing guarantees a response from USCIS within 15 calendar days from the date the petition is receipted. Under regular processing, USCIS generally takes several months to adjudicate a petition. For more information, visit this webpage.
This new development will have the greatest impact on (1) new hires coming from abroad; (2) those seeking a change of visa status within the U.S.; and (3) those transferring to Rutgers from another employer on an O-1 visa. In these cases, it may be necessary to adjust the targeted start date to accommodate the longer processing time. Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the suspension of premium processing and how it will impact a particular matter.
USCIS Announces Flexibility in Submitting Required Signatures During COVID-19 National Emergency
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 National Emergency, USCIS will temporarily accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures. This means that a document may be scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced provided that the copy must be of an original document containing an original handwritten signature. Please note USCIS will not accept electronic signatures (only copies of hand-written signatures) and reserves the right to request the original documents at a later date. For more information, please see this webpage.
Any documents that require department signatures can be scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced. Rutgers Global – ISSS will continue to require hard copy filing fee checks.
Rutgers Global – ISSS Faculty & Scholar Services Team Continues to Operate and Accept Mail
Please be reassured that the Rutgers Global – ISSS’s Faculty & Scholar Services Team continues to operate and is available to assist with your requests. However, in light of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107 (Stay at Home Order), our staff will be primarily working remotely. We recommend contacting us via email if you require assistance or by phone at 848-932-7800.
We will also continue to monitor and pick up mail deliveries. However, we anticipate that there may be some service disruptions on the part of USPS, UPS, etc. If you have sent any packages by mail, please allow some additional time for us to receive them. If you intend to deliver H-1B packets or any other documents, please email or call us at 848-932-7800 in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements.
If you have any questions regarding this update or any particular case you are working on, please contact Rutgers Global – ISSS at 848-932-7800. You may also reach a faculty and scholar adviser directly by email or by sending an email to our general e-mailboxes (Rutgers Legacy: firstname.lastname@example.org / RBHS: email@example.com).
Update on Tax Filing Extension and Safety Tips, 4/3/20 +
Federal Tax Filing Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020
Based on an announcement by the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal tax filing deadline for 2019 has been extended to July 15, 2020. Please review the information on our website for more detail.
Safety Tips from the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD)
The Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) has shared some safety tips for students. Please know that RUPD is here to assist in any way they can, please feel free to reach out to them if you need any assistance.