May 10, 2013
New SEVIS status verification at ports of entry for J, F, and M visa holders
In response to the recent events in Boston, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has implemented new interim arrival procedures for all individuals entering the U.S. in J, F, or M visa status.
Effective immediately, all J, F, and M visa holders arriving in the United States will be sent to secondary inspection for a review of their SEVIS record. It is our understanding that once real-time SEVIS access is available at primary inspection the referrals to Secondary Inspection will stop.
We recommend that international scholars and family members in J and F status take the following into consideration when making travel plans:
- Secondary inspection is not a new creation. Some of you may already have experienced a referral to secondary inspection during one of your prior entries to the United States. There is a brief description of secondary inspection on the Study in the States website.
- An individual referred to secondary inspection should be prepared for the admission process to take significantly longer, and should take this into account when arranging connecting flights and airport pickups.
- Being prepared with the right documentation can help the process go more smoothly. For example, before leaving and reentering the United States, travelers should make sure that the visa stamp in their passport is valid, their SEVIS record is in "Active" status, and that their visa eligiblity documents (e.g. DS-2019 for J-1, I-20 for F-1) have been properly endorsed with a travel signature. They may also wish to travel with other documentation showing that they are in good academic and SEVIS status. Arrival Procedures for Students or Exchange Visitors on the CBP website provides some helpful information, although it has not yet been updated to reflect these new procedures.
- Anyone reentering the United States who may have had a SEVIS record terminated in the past should be prepared with current documentation and reasoning that establishes their ability to resume their program in the United States.
As always, the ISchO recommends that you stop by our office before you travel with your passport and immigration documents so we can make sure they are in order and give you an updated copy of our travel advisory if needed.
Do not hesitate to come to our office or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-253-2851 if you have any questions or concerns.
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May 2, 2013
New arrival procedure at U.S. air and sea ports of entry
Starting in late April/early May 2013, arrival procedures at U.S. air and sea ports of entry will change:
- In most cases, international travelers will no longer be given a paper Form I-94 upon arrival to the United States. Instead, they will be given an admission stamp in their passports by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and will be instructed to print a copy of their electronic Form I-94 admission record and number from CBP.gov/I94.
- More information is available on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website:
CBP Fact Sheet on I-94 "Automation"
CBP Instructional Video - How to access electronic I-94 admission record/number from CBP.gov/I94.
- CBP is widely publicizing the new process and providing guidance to other government agencies. The admission stamp in the passport notated with immigration status will serve of valid proof of entry and visa status for many purposes. However, there may initially be confusion at government agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the Registry of Motor Vehicles, and other places where the paper I-94 card was previously required.
- The ISchO is therefore recommending that international scholars and family members print an electronic I-94 admission record every time they return from a trip outside the U.S. and keep it with their passport/immigration documents. The usual documents, including the printout of the electronic I-94 admission record, can then be presented to government agencies and to MIT payroll, the International Scholars Office, and other campus offices, as needed.
- Scholars and family members with paper I-94 cards currently stapled into passports do not need to do anything at the present time. Paper I-94 cards will continue to serve as valid proof of status. However, the next time the scholar and/or family members travel, the old I-94 cards will be removed upon departure from the U.S., and the new process will be applied to them upon their return.
- Scholars with I-94s issued as part of a USCIS approval notice(after receiving approval of a petition for change of status to H-1B, O-1, etc.) should staple the I-94 portion of the notice into their passports. These scholars do not need to do anything at the present time. They will be treated as stated above.
- Arrival procedures at U.S. land ports of entry are not expected to change. International travelers making an initial entry to the U.S. through a land port of entry will continue to be given a paper Form I-94.
- Under limited circumstances, some scholars may still receive a paper Form I-94 at an air or sea port of entry, which should be kept in the passport until the next trip abroad unless other special instructions are given by the CBP officer at the port of entry.
- All international scholars planning to travel should continue to read the ISchO's Travel Advisory and contact the ISchO with questions.
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May 1, 2013
Newcomer's Almanac: A Newsletter for Newcomers to
the United States
The Newcomer's Almanac is a publication of the Interchange
Institute and is brought to you each month compliments of the
International Scholars Office. You must have an MIT
certificate to access the newsletter.
topics include Memorial Day, Mother's Day, and a birthday biography of Robert Lyman, inventor of the can opener.
topics include the U.S. Supreme Court, the rules of baseball, paying U.S. taxes, and same-sex marriage.
topics include a birthday biography of Robert Frost; the upcoming Easter, Passover, and St. Patrick's Day holidays; Spring Cleaning; and Summer Camps.
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July 23, 2012
Warning - Immigration Scam
Beware of a Scam Where Someone Pretending to be an Immigration Officer Calls You
The ISchO has received notice about a new scam potentially victimizing foreign nationals and we wanted to alert you to it. According to one report, the individual will receive a call from someone claiming to be a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer, who will have certain correct information on the individual, including the person’s name and address. The caller will state that there is some discrepancy in the USCIS records, and ask for confirmation of data, such as an I-94 number, an “A” number, or a visa control number. The caller will then tell the individual that there is a penalty for not clearing up the discrepancy, and that the individual is to send a sum of money via Western Union, to an address the caller provides.
Be on alert if you or any one you know receives such calls and report them to appropriate law enforcement authorities, which may include the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, whose Consumer Sentinel database is accessed by criminal and civil law enforcement authorities worldwide.
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