Frequently Asked Questions about the January 27, 2017 Executive Order

Last updated on Thursday, Feb. 9 2017

1. I am from one of the 7 countries directly affected by the Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017 (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen).  Does this mean I will have to leave the U.S.?   

No. If you are currently inside the U.S. then you can continue with your student or scholar activities as normal. There is nothing in the Executive Order that stipulates removal from the United States or a prohibition against continuing studies or authorized work in the U.S. Those who entered the U.S. in legal status, remain in legal U.S. immigration status (regardless of nationality) under the terms and conditions that govern international students and scholars in the U.S. 

2. I am outside the U.S. and have been restricted from returning, or one of my F-2 or J-2 dependents is unable to return, what should I do? 

On February 3, 2017, and again on February 9, 2017, a federal court temporarily halted the enforcement of parts of the executive order on immigration. The court’s decisions suspended the travel ban for those with a valid U.S. entry visa (including those from the 7 countries directly affected).  However, the Department of Justice is challenging the suspension of the travel ban in court and the situation could change quickly.   If the travel ban is reinstated, ISSO will update all international students and scholars.

3. I am from one of the seven countries directly affected by the Executive Order.  Will this prevent me from extending my I-20 or DS-2019, applying for OPT or CPT, or obtaining part-time, on-campus work authorization?  

No, none of these things are impacted by the Executive Order. You may still apply for the usual benefits available to those in legal F or J status. USCIS continues to process applications and petitions filed with them regardless of nationality. Read the USCIS statement here: USCIS statement

4. I am from a "Muslim majority" country that is not one of the 7 countries directly affected by the January 27, 2017, Executive Order.  What should I do?  

As of this time, there are no changes for people from countries other than Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In addition the Department of Homeland Security has clarified on February 3, 2017, “No other countries face such treatment. Nor have any other countries been identified as warranting future inclusion at this time, contrary to false reports." If anything changes, ISSO will contact those directly affected and update the entire international community.

5. I am from a country that is not on the list and is not a "Muslim majority" country (ex. China, India, South Korea, etc.). Do I need to be worried or do anything differently? 

At this point the only change for you is if (1) you travel outside the U.S. and (2) your visa is expired so that you need to renew your F or J visa. If this is the case, then you would be required to go in person to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to complete the visa renewal application process, including an interview.  The Executive Order requires all applicants for visas or visa renewals to attend an interview. You can no longer use a mail-in, drop box, or bank application process. If your visa is still valid, then nothing is different for you. It is recommended that all international students follow the developments closely to ensure that you are aware of any potential changes or new developments. The International Students and Scholars Office will keep students apprised of new developments.

6. I am not a citizen or national of one of the 7 countries directly affected by the January 27, 2017 Executive Order, but I traveled there recently, will this impact me?  


7. I am from an Iowa State University department and we are expecting a J-1 scholar who may be impacted by the January 27, 2017 Executive Order. What should we do? 

Please contact the ISSO Scholar Unit at

8. If faculty travel internationally can they return to the U.S? 

At this time, no travel ban is in effect. On February 3, a federal court in Seattle entered a nationwide injunction banning the enforcement of the executive order on immigration via a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and reaffirmed that decision on February 9, 2017. International faculty traveling overseas should be able to travel to the U.S.  However, because of the fluidity of the situation regarding legal challenges to the Executive Order and the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against it, those from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are advised that the halt in the travel ban could change very suddenly. The safest course of action for those from the 7 affected countries is to delay international travel at this time. However, those from other countries may travel and return to the U.S. 

9. If faculty travel internationally, do they risk being detained abroad and not being able to return? 

If the travel ban is reinstated, travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, as we understand things now, would be barred from returning to the U.S. at least until April 27, 2017. However, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement as follows:  "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."  At this time, only travelers from the 7 countries would be affected if the travel ban is reinstated.

10. Many students, faculty, and staff go home to visit their families during breaks, or for emergencies, or for holidays.  Must they now remain in the U.S. until the completion of their studies or employment contracts?

Please see the question above. The Executive Order stipulates a 30 day period during which the U.S. government will gather information from any country to determine what information is needed from that country to determine the true identity of its citizens and ensure public safety. An additional 60 days are allotted for countries to comply with this request. This information-gathering process was not halted by the judge’s Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)and is currently underway. If the travel ban is reinstated, to be removed from the travel ban will require a country to provide the requested information. Thus, depending on a country's compliance with the U.S. government's request for information, persons from the 7 affected countries may be prevented from returning to the U.S. after international travel for longer than 90 days if the ban is reinstated.  

11. Many students receive funding from their home countries. If that is cut off, will that mean students have wasted their time here, or can they be funded by separate means? 

Students can request their transcript be sent to another university.  Credit earned at Iowa State can be accepted and applied towards a degree program at another university. Each university will determine how credits apply towards progress to earning a degree.

There are limited scholarships available through the International Students and Scholars Office.  In addition, international students who have a U.S. co-signer may qualify for a student loan.  For more information, see

12. For students, faculty, and staff who are supposed to join ISU next year, is their acceptance now revoked because they cannot enter the country? Are they barred from reapplying? 

No. The university has not revoked any student acceptances. All applications continue to be processed. Iowa State does not discriminate on the basis of country of origin. Each undergraduate applicant received a personal email from the director of Admissions encouraging qualified applicants to apply and stating that nationality will not be considered in admission decisions. This statement has been added to the admissions homepage and is linked from all admissions webpages. Any admitted student (graduate or undergraduate) who is prohibited from entering the country may request their entry term be moved forward to any term through August 2018. Impacted students may reapply for consideration for any term beyond August 2018. Please contact the Department of Admissions with questions.

13. Can affected students travel domestically by air?

There is nothing in the Executive Order that prohibits or restricts domestic travel.  

14. What housing options are available for students from affected countries cannot who may not be able to return home during breaks and for students who are now discouraged from traveling abroad.

During the academic year, residence hall and apartment facilities remain open during all breaks except semester (winter) break. Some residence hall and all apartment facilities remain open during semester break. Available University summer housing options have never filled. ISU can and will provide housing to any student from a banned country during any time of the year. Students can complete a housing contract to reserve summer housing. Please contact the Department of Residence for assistance:

15. How is the university assisting students, faculty, and staff to maintain and renew their student or work visas.

On February 3rd, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a statement 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. The ISSO continues to process applications for extension of student status,work permission, and permanent residence as before.

16. What advocacy efforts has Iowa State University taken in response to the recent executive order on immigration?

Outreach was made to all six member offices of the Iowa Congressional delegation sharing the university’s concern regarding the executive order, the potential consequences of this action, and the impact it is already having on individuals connected with Iowa State. The statement made by President Steven Leath on January 30, 2017 and the University updated statement issued on January 31, were shared as a part of this communication.

Iowa State University signed onto the February 3 organized letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly to express concerns about President Trump’s executive order on immigration.  This letter was authored by the American Council on Education (ACE) and signed by 600 colleges and universities. That same day, a federal court temporarily halted the enforcement of parts of the executive order.

Additionally, administrators continue to work on a case-by-case basis with individuals directly affected by this order to help connect them with resources.

Iowa State University feels strongly that a diverse campus enriches the educational experience of our students and helps to prepare them to be thoughtful and capable citizens of a global society.  Our ability to attain the best and brightest students and scholars helps our nation’s ability to be on the forefront of innovation.  To that extent, we will continue to advocate for immigration measures that help safeguard our students, faculty, and staff and also provide security to our nation.

There has been on-going advocacy related to international affairs and immigration. To see a highlight of relevant activity, please visit the ISU Federal Relations webpage.


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