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Volume 11 Number 11, November 2008


SEVIS Fee Increase

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has announced that effective October 27, 2008, fees for the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) will increase for F, M and J Students and Exchange Visitors. The new SEVIS I-907 fee for F-1 students will increase from $100 to $200 per student and for J-1 Students and Scholars, the fee will increase from $100 to 180. The new fees will be in effect for those applying for their initial F, M or J visa. For more information contact OISS or go to www.fmjfee.com.

Visa Processing Delays

OISS has noticed an increase in the number of international students and scholars experiencing delays in the issuance of their U.S. visas. These delays are due to security clearances (or administrative processing) or name check screenings and often take from 4-8 weeks to clear. The security clearances are most frequently conducted on individuals from certain countries (not every country) who are “engaged in technology-related … study.” For Yale graduate students and scholars this seems to include individuals in the biomedical and physical sciences, as well as electrical engineering and computer science. As scholars and students make their travel plans, they should review the procedures at the website of the U.S. Embassy where they will apply for a U.S. visa: http://www.usembassy.gov/. These plans need to include sufficient time for a security clearance screening, should that be part of the visa application. Applying in a third country, including Canada or Mexico, may not reduce the risk of a security clearance. It is recommended that the scholar discuss his/her travel plans with an OISS adviser and his/her supervisor prior to departing the U.S. Unfortunately, once the administrative processing has been requested, there is nothing OISS or Yale can do to expedite the process.

TN Status Increases to 3 Years for Citizens of Canada and Mexico

The Department of Homeland Security has increased the initial period of stay for TN non-immigrants from one year to three years. The revised rule applies to citizens of Canada and Mexico, who work in the U.S. in a professional occupation under the NAFTA agreement. Extensions of stay may also be requested in increments of up to three years, depending on the length of employment. For information on the application process for TN status, please click on the link to the Department of State website here.

International Scholar Terminations and Changes

The OISS must be notified when J-1 or H-1B scholars complete or terminate their affiliation with the University. The OISS must also be notified of any changes in the scholar’s initial appointment, i.e., promotions, changing labs, full time to part time, etc., before those changes become effective. Government regulations require that J and H visa documentation accurately reflect the scholar’s position.