Immigration Updates

The ISSO is monitoring immigration policy and regulations and will post information about any potential changes that may have an impact on international students and scholars at Iowa State University on this site.

As always, it is important to maintain your legal nonimmigrant status in the United States and to avoid committing serious crimes, which includes drunk driving.  Please be certain to pay extra attention to communications from the ISSO regarding your status.  Have questions?   Please contact us via email ( or phone (515-294-1120). 

Iowa State University welcomes applications from all qualified prospective students. Full consideration will be given to all applicants, regardless of nationality.  Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran.


Frequently Asked Questions about the January 27, 2017, and March 6, 2017, Executive Orders


June 26, 2017 Supreme Court Decision

On June 26, 2017, the US Supreme Court issued a decision on the Executive Order (EO) containing a travel advisory for nationals of the six countries named in the EO (Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia). This decision stays the injunctions that have prevented the 90-day travel ban from going into effect with an important exception. The decision upholds the injunction for individuals “who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” meaning the travel ban will not apply to these individuals. Examples of relationships that may qualify as bona fide and thus exempt the individual from the travel ban include:

  • people with a close family relationship to a person in the US,
  • students who have been admitted to a US school,
  • workers who have accepted an offer of employment with a US employer,
  • lecturers coming to speak to a US audience.

The complete decision can be found here: Supreme Court Decision

Based on this information, the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) anticipates that most ISU international students and international scholars from the six affected countries will be exempt from the travel ban. This will become clearer as international students and international scholars enter the U.S. ISSO is in regular contact with colleagues nationally about this issue to ensure we are receiving the most current information. ISSO will continue to share updates as appropriate.

This is an evolving situation; ISSO and ISU will continue to monitor it closely. International students and scholars with questions or concerns are encouraged to reach out to ISSO staff members for assistance.


May 26, 2017  Court Upholds Block of Travel Ban

On May 25, 2017, a Court of Appeals upheld the preliminary injunction against section 2(c) of Executive Order 13780, the travel ban.  The Court of Appeals ruled that the ban against visa issuance and entry into the United States for those from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen will not go into effect.  Also on May 25, 2017, the Attorney General of the United States announced that the government intends to ask the Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals' ruling.  It is not yet know when or if the Supreme Court will consider this case.   


March 30, 2017  Block of March 6, 2017 Executive Order Extended -- Trump Administration Appeals the Decision

On March 29, 2017, the District Court in Hawaii changed its temporary restraining order against the travel ban into a preliminary injunction.  This means that the Executive Order's ban against visa issuance and entry to the U.S. for those from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and the ban against entry of refugees to the U.S. cannot be enforced without further action by the court.   In order to reinstate the ban, the government must appeal the preliminary injunction.   The Trump Administration filed that appeal with the court on March 30, 2017.  Visa issuance and travel to the U.S. are not affected unless and until the court rules in favor of the administration.    


March 16, 2017  Court Blocks New Executive Order

The U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland have issued orders that prevent the enforcement of the travel restrictions contained in the March 6, 2017, Executive Order.  The travel and visa restrictions that were scheduled to take effect on March 16, 2017, are blocked for the time being. 


March 6, 2017   New Executive Order Signed to Take Effect March 16, 2017.  January 27, 2017 Order to be Revoked  (See Update March 15, 2017)

A new Executive Order was signed on March 6, 2017, that revokes the January 27, 2017 order and puts in place new provisions effective March 16, 2017.   Read the text of the new Executive Order here:  March 6, 2017 Executive Order  The new order applies to citizens and nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (note that Iraq has been removed) and temporarily suspends visa issuance for a period of 90 days from the effective date of March 16, 2017.  Note also that those who have valid visas as of March 16, 2017, may continue to use them until they expire or the number of entries has been met.  Permanent residents of the U.S. are not subject to the ban nor are dual nationals traveling on a passport from a country other than Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  For additional information, please refer to the Q&A posted on the Department of Homeland Security Website here:  Executive Order Q&A


February 9, 2017  Travel Rights Upheld Temporarily   (See UPDATE March 6, 2017)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the government's request to restore the 90-day travel ban contained in the January 27, 2017 Executive Order.   The District Court's temporary restraining order (TRO) remains in place and prevents the government from enforcing the 90-day ban on entry to the United States of refugees and persons from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. However, challenges to the TRO continue in court and the situation could change suddenly and without warning.   Persons from the 7 affected countries are advised to carefully consider international travel plans accordingly.


February 4, 2017  Travel Rights Restored at Least Temporarily  (See UPDATE March 6, 2017)

A federal court in Seattle entered a nationwide injunction banning the enforcement of the executive order on immigration.  It is widely reported that US Customs and Border Protection officials have notified airlines to allow travel in the same manner as before the order was issued.  The White House indicates that the injunction will be appealed.  However, for the time being the travel ban will temporarily, at least, not be enforced.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a statement as follows:  "In accordance with the judge's ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." This includes actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travelers for operational action subject to the Executive Order. DHS personnel will resume inspection of travelers in accordance with standard policy and procedure. At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the President's Executive Order, which is lawful and appropriate. The Order is intended to protect the homeland and the American people, and the President has no higher duty and responsibility than to do so." DHS Statement

Individual travelers should contact their airline directly to inquire about any adjustment to the airline's boarding policy as a result of the judge's order.  Please remember that the situation is very fluid, and travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen must remain aware that the situation could change rapidly for them.  The DHS has confimed, "Importantly, these seven countries are the only countries to which the pause on entry applies. No other countries face such treatment. Nor have any other countries been identified as warranting future inclusion at this time, contrary to false reports."


February 4, 2017 No Changes to Immigration Benefits Update

USCIS Acting Director Lori Scialabba issued a memo stating that President Trump's January 27, 2017 order does not affect USCIS adjudication of applications and petitions filed for or on behalf of individuals within the United States.  The memo specifically notes that it will continue to "adjudicate applications and petitions filed for or on behalf of individuals in the United States regardless of their country of origin."  Applications and petitions filed with USCIS include change of status, OPT, H-1B, Immigrant Petitions, and Adjustment of Status (green card) applications.  Read the USCIS memo here:  USCIS Statement


February 3, 2017  No Changes to Travel Ban   (SEE UPDATE February 4, 2017)

In response to rumors of plans to expand the travel ban to other countries, the Department of State (DOS) has informed the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)  that there is no addendum, annex, or amendment now being worked on to expand visa revocations or the travel ban to countries other than Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  The travel ban does not include Colombia and Venezuela which have been widely rumored to be under consideration. DOS confirmed that there is no information that supports such a rumor.


February 1, 2017  No Changes to Immigration Benefits  (SEE UPDATE February 4, 2017)

At this time, there have been no changes or restrictions made to immigration benefits such as CPT, OPT, H1B, or permanent resident (green card) applications filed by anyone from any country.  ISSO is following the advice of our professional organization, NAFSA:  Association of International Educators, which states the following:

"NAFSA has received no information from any agency regarding a "hold" on their adjudication of benefits in connection with the Executive Order. On January 31, 2017, NAFSA inquired directly with USCIS headquarters, and is also inquiring with SEVP and the Department of State's Office of Private Sector Exchange. Until we hear otherwise from the agencies, we suggest that schools, students, and scholars continue to apply for benefits, comply with all filing deadlines and eligibility windows, and respond to any RFE (Request for Evidence) received from an agency as usual. Schools and their responsible officials (DSOs, ROs, individuals with signature authority for employment-based petitions) should continue to grant, certify, or recommend benefits that are within their regulatory authority to grant or recommend, and to report, respond, and update systems such as SEVIS as usual."

ISSO is watching the situation very closely and will inform you promptly by e-mail if any changes occur in the way that USCIS handles or processes applications. 


January 30, 2017 Update

Read the letter sent by ISSO Interim Director Deb Vance to students from the countries affected by the executive order signed by President Trump on January 27th here: Letter to Students

Also please read the statement Iowa State University President Steven Leath issued regarding the executive order here:


January 27, 2017  Executive Order   On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order prohibiting for 90 days the issurance of visas or entry to the United States of persons from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  The order also restricts the entry of refugees.   The stated purpose for this action is to allow the U.S. government time to evaluate its current visa processes.  At the end of the evaluation period, the government will make a decision to continue or lift the provisions of this Order.   Read the text of the Executive Order here: Executive Order January 27, 2017


January 24, 2017   Executive Orders  On January 24, 2017, President Trump issued two executive orders.  Although these orders address issues related to immigration, they do not directly affect individuals maintaining legal nonimmigrant status in the United States.  To read the text of these orders, visit:   



There are no changes in immigration law or regulations affecting those maintaining legal nonimmigrant status at this time.  If you are waiting for the government to decide on an application or petition that you have already submitted such as OPT, OPT STEM Extension, H-1B, or a green card, nothing has changed.  Please see the message from USCIS below:

November 21, 2016   Message from USCIS to the Public:

Many USCIS customers have been contacting us with questions regarding current immigration programs and possible future immigration policies. We continue to process all applications, petitions, and requests consistent with current statutory laws, regulations, and policies. USCIS cannot comment on what sort of policies the incoming Administration may choose to prioritize or pursue.  We remain focused on our mission to administer U.S. immigration laws and to provide a high level of service to our customers.

We encourage the public to be extra vigilant about immigration scams. Scammers take advantage of times of uncertainty. For information on protecting yourself and your loved ones, visit Remember, the wrong help can hurt!

To check the status of a pending application, petition, or request, go to Case Status Online. You will need a receipt number. You can also call us at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD for deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-767-1833) or make an appointment at a local field office at

If you need general information about immigration benefits or current policies, you can “Ask Emma” at

 logo small



VIDEO OF THE ISSO OPEN FORUM held on November 15, 2016, "The American Election: What's its effect on international students and scholars."



Although you may be hearing that  some immigration rules may change, nothing has changed at this time.  Nothing can change before January 20, 2017, and even then any changes that could affect those who are maintaining legal nonimmigrant status in the U.S. will take time and must go through many processes.  Pennsylvania State University Law School published the following six points that we want to share with you: 

POINT ONE: The main statutory framework for immigration law remains the same today. Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act (The Act) in 1952 and this remains the framework for immigration law. The Act includes temporary (i.e., students, visitors) and permanent (i.e., family, employment) categories through which people may be admitted and specific grounds for removing (deporting) a person. The Act also describes various procedures for how a person is removed. Finally, the Act contains several forms of relief and protection for qualifying individuals, such as for those who fear persecution in their home country, who are victims of crime or who have lived in the United States for a long period of time with family ties. Inherent and contained in the Act is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion (i.e., decision to refrain from bringing immigration charges).

POINT TWO: Even if Congress has the authority to change the statute or fund certain enforcement actions (i.e., deportation, border wall), implementation may take years. To change or repeal a section of the Act would require an act of Congress. Employees of DHS and Department of Justice will continue to process and adjudicate applications and are required to follow these laws unless and until Congress passes new laws. If these laws are not followed, violations may be the subject of litigation in the courts.

POINT THREE: All current regulations for immigration remain the same today. A change or repeal to regulations published during President Obama’s Administration may require new regulations and a time period with written notice and comment from the public. This will take time. If a regulatory change does not require “notice and comment” the timeline could be quicker.

POINT FOUR: A new Administration has the authority to “revoke” or change immigration policies that were originally crafted by the Executive Branch without legislation or a regulation. These can happen more quickly than a change to the statute or regulation and may include DACA 2012 and related work authorization.  (DACA 2012 is the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals special program for certain young people who entered the United States as children without documentation.  It does not pertain to those in legal nonimmigrant status such as F-1, J-1, H-1B, etc.)

POINT FIVE: Though policy documents by a new Administration can be “revoked” the current Administration’s policies are still in effect and may be used by noncitizens until and unless a new President has modified or repealed these memos.

POINT SIX: Every noncitizen in the United States has rights and responsibilities. For more information, see:

Remember that you are a welcome and valued member of the Iowa State University community.   If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us in the ISSO.   Please also be aware of the Student Support Resources available through the link in the left-hand menu.



For a brief summary of how laws and regulations are made in the United States, please visit this site: