- Compassion and Support for Students and Employees from Israel and Gaza
- New Premium Processing Option for Applicants Seeking to Change into F or J Status
- Electronic DS-2019 Transmission
- New Premium Processing Option for F-1 Students Applying for OPT and STEM OPT Extensions
- Support for Students, Faculty, and Staff from Turkey and Syria
- Support for students, faculty, and staff with family or friends in Iran
- Electronic I-20 Issuance
- Previous Updates
Compassion and Support for Students and Employees from Israel and Gaza
Message from President Robbins' sent October 9, 2023
"I have been horrified at news of the terrorist attacks in Israel that reached us over the weekend. Terrible and tragic stories have continued to emerge from the region, where innocent civilians have lost their lives and many are now caught in an escalating conflict.
When news first broke, we promptly connected with a faculty member and graduate student we knew to be in the region when fighting began, confirmed their safety, and provided necessary resources for them.
Our hearts are with all those who are suffering in that region as well as all in our community who are concerned for loved ones, friends, and colleagues. If you have loved ones in the areas where hostilities are occurring or are otherwise affected by this conflict, please know the University as an institution and our Wildcat community are here for you.
During this painful time, I ask that everyone remember our core values of compassion and inclusion. The University of Arizona stands against all forms of racism and prejudice, and I urge every member of our community to stand together in upholding our values. Our Wildcat community is strongest when we care for and support one another.
If you are in need of help during what I know must be a stressful and challenging time, please reach out to those around you and make use of the resources available, including CAPS for students and ComPsych for employees. Additionally, UArizona Hillel Foundation has shared that Hillel Arizona adjacent to campus will be open to provide a place for students, faculty, and staff to gather during this difficult period. Support is also available through the Center for Middle Eastern Studies."
Statement from The Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East and North African Studies, Judaic Studies, School of Government and Public Policy, Human Rights Practice and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
"This statement is to express our deep distress regarding the recent explosion of violence in the long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We mourn the suffering of innocent people and pray that the violence will subside as soon as possible. We know, and lament, that members of our campus community are saddened, aggrieved, and otherwise affected.
In addition, we wish to stand together in favor of an approach to conflict that prizes understanding over raw emotion, teaches tools for disciplined research, and moves beyond facile slogans and partisanship.
As scholars engaged in the long-term study of the Middle East, among related subjects, we have personal viewpoints that are sometimes difficult to transcend. Regardless, we endeavor to minimize biases, to model collegiality and cooperation wherever and whenever possible, and to generate nuanced understandings despite our personal convictions and attachments.
We disagree, sometimes vehemently, regarding the Middle East—who is right and who is wrong—yet we work together with mutual respect, as scholars and responsible people, toward maintaining a campus community in which all students, staff, faculty, and visitors may exercise their freedom of speech, and are as safe as possible from bigotry, from incitement to hatred and violence, and of course, from physical violence itself.
Finally, we encourage all students affected by tragic events to avail themselves of campus resources that will allow them to express their distress in constructive ways, and help prevent hostility between members of our campus community. See the links below.
Of course, any and all UA students are welcome to consult with us, and our faculty, regarding the tragic conflict as it unfolds.
Prof. Anne Betteridge
Director, UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Prof. Scott Lucas
Head, UA School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies
Prof. David Graizbord
Director, The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies
Prof. Edella Schlager
Director, UA School of Government and Public Policy
Prof. William Simmons
Director, UA Program in Human Rights Practice
Prof. Lori Poloni-Staudinger
Dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences "
New Premium Processing Option for Applicants Seeking to Change into F or J Status
News Release reposted from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on 06/12/2023:
"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced the expansion of premium processing for applicants filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status. Online filing of Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, will also be available for these applicants.
The premium processing expansion for certain Form I-539 applicants will occur in phases, and nonimmigrants requesting premium processing should not file before these dates:
- Beginning June 13, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed via paper form or online, for applicants seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status, who have a pending Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
- Beginning June 26, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed either via paper form or online, for applicants seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status, when filed together with Form I-539.
This phase of premium processing service is only available for change of status requests. Premium processing is not available for individuals seeking an extension of stay in M-1 or M-2 status.
We will reject premium processing requests for a pending Form I-539 if received before June 13. USCIS will reject premium processing requests when filed together with a Form I-539 if USCIS receives the request before June 26.
Important reminder: You must submit Form I-907 the same way you submit Form I-539.
- If you mail a paper Form I-539 to us, you must mail a paper Form I-907.
- If you submit Form I-539 online, you must submit Form I-907 online.
Applicants must submit their biometrics before premium processing can begin for these specific categories. Even if USCIS accepts an applicant’s Form I-907 and accompanying fees, the time limit for premium processing will not start running until the applicant and all co-applicants included on the Form I-539 submit their biometrics. Please note, USCIS may reject an applicant’s Form I-907 and/or Form I-539 if submitted with another benefit request, including multiple Forms I-907 requests filed together.
To file Form I-907 online, an applicant must first create a USCIS online account, which provides a convenient and secure method to submit forms, pay fees, and track the status of any pending USCIS immigration request throughout the adjudication process. There is no cost to set up a USCIS online account, which offers a variety of features, including the ability to communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox and respond to Requests for Evidence online.
As previously announced, the expansion of premium processing is part of USCIS’ efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall immigration system. USCIS is expanding premium processing in a phased approach to ensure compliance with the with the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, which prohibits the expansion of premium processing if it will increase processing times for the immigration benefit requests."
Electronic DS-2019 Transmission
On March 28, 2023, the U.S. Department of State published a new interim final rule that allows for electronic transmission of DS-2019s. This rule allows Responsible Officers (ROs) and Alternate Responsible Officers (AROs) to email DS-2019s to exchange visitors. Emailed DS-2019s must either be signed with a digital certificate or be a scanned copy of a wet ink signature.
Effective April 27, 2023, we will begin emailing DS-2019s to exchange visitors instead of issuing printed documents. DS-2019s will be emailed directly to your University of Arizona email address (or personal email, if no university account). In the case of exchange visitors under 18, this address may belong to a parent or legal guardian.
If you have questions about your digitally signed DS-2019 or need further assistance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Premium Processing Option for F-1 Students Applying for OPT and STEM OPT Extensions
News Release reposted from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, March 6, 2023:
"WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today the expansion of premium processing for certain F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 students seeking science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) OPT extensions who have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and wish to request a premium processing upgrade.
Online filing of Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, is now also available to F-1 students in these categories. USCIS continues to accept the latest paper version of this form by mail.
'The availability of premium processing for certain F-1 students, in addition to the ease of online filing, will streamline the immigration experience for a great many international students,' said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. 'The ongoing expansion of online filing is a priority for USCIS as we continue to create operational efficiencies and increase access to the immigration system for stakeholders, applicants, petitioners, requestors, and those we serve.'
Premium processing expansion for certain F-1 students will occur in phases, and students requesting premium processing should not file before these dates:
- Beginning March 6, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed either via paper form or online, for certain F-1 students who already have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if they are filing under one of the following categories:
- (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;
- (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT; and
- (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM students.
- Beginning April 3, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed either via paper form or online, for F-1 students in the above categories when filed together with Form I-765.
USCIS will reject premium processing requests for a pending Form I-765 if received before March 6, and will reject any premium processing request for an initial or concurrently filed Form I-765 that is received before April 3.
To file Form I-907 online, an applicant must first create a USCIS online account, which provides a convenient and secure method to submit forms, pay fees, and track the status of any pending
USCIS immigration request throughout the adjudication process. There is no cost to set up a USCIS online account, which offers a variety of features, including the ability to communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox and respond to Requests for Evidence online.
Applicants who previously filed a paper Form I-765 and wish to file Form I-907 online to request premium processing [emphasis added] should reference the USCIS Account Access Notice they received for the Online Access Code and details on how to link their paper-filed cases to their online account, or they will not be able to file Form I-907 online and will need file a paper Form I-907 with the Chicago lockbox.
As previously announced, the expansion of premium processing is part of USCIS’ efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall immigration system, and is being implemented in a phased approach.
The addition of online filing for Form I-907 brings the total number of forms available for online filing to 16. The Forms Available to File Online page has links to file all of these forms. USCIS continues to accept the latest paper versions of all forms by mail. More than 1.8 million applications, petitions and requests were filed online in FY 2022, a 53% increase from the 1.2 million filed in FY 2021."
Support for Students, Faculty, and Staff from Turkey and Syria
"As everyone likely is aware, on Monday, Feb. 6, a major earthquake and several aftershocks struck southern Turkey, near the border with Syria. Tens of thousands of people have died as a result, with many more losing their homes and livelihoods. The stories emerging from the area are heartbreaking, and I know members of our University of Arizona community have been affected, including some who have lost family members.
The Office of International Student Services in Arizona International has reached out to students from Turkey and Syria to ensure their needs are met, and I want to echo their message of support. If you have family, friends, or colleagues in the affected region, I want you to know we are all thinking of you and those you care about, and I urge you to make use of the resources mentioned above. If you are an instructor or supervisor working with someone affected by this tragedy, I ask that you practice compassion as they cope with what is an incredibly difficult situation.
In addition, I know many of you would like to contribute to relief efforts. I encourage you to read about the response from the U.S. State Department, as well as ways to contribute via USAID. In addition, the Wyant College of Optical Sciences has set up a list of relief agencies accepting contributions."
Support for students, faculty, and staff with family or friends in Iran
From President Robbins' University Highlights sent October 28, 2022:
"As many of you might know, protests have taken place throughout Iran following the death of Mahsa Jina Amini, a young woman from the northwestern area of the country, after she had been detained by what has been called the country’s morality police.
Many faculty members, staff, and students have written to my office or commented on the University’s social media accounts and other channels sharing their grief over the Iranian government’s violence in response to the protests. Particularly for those with family and friends in Iran, I want you to know we hear you, and you have our sympathy and support. Thank you for reaching out and speaking up.
I urge you to use the University resources available if you need help. CAPS, which has a counselor embedded within the International Student Services, stands ready to assist students. A free support group will be held on Nov. 4 from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
For faculty and staff, Employee Assistance Counseling is available through ComPsych, accessible 24 hours a day at (877) 327-2362, for in-the-moment support and then receive a referral to a provider in the community. Telehealth counseling is available.
I also ask that instructors, supervisors, and others in positions of authority have compassion for those in our community who have been affected by this situation and find ways to accommodate their needs."
Electronic I-20 Issuance
As of November 1, 2021, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has formally adopted the policy allowing Designated School Officials (DSOs) to digitally sign and electronically send Forms I-20s to students at the e-mail address listed in SEVIS. In the case of minor students, the e-mail address may belong to their parent or legal guardian. Only approved principal designated school officials (PDSOs) and DSOs may physically sign or input their own digital signature to the Form I-20.
ISS will continue issuing digitally signed I-20s to all students with approved requests in MyGlobal, except those who need a printed I-20 with an ink signature for an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (for example, students applying for OPT, reinstatement or change of status).
For students receiving a digitally signed I-20, we will send the document to your university e-mail (for students on OPT, we will email your personal email, if that is what you are using to access the SEVP Portal).
If you have questions about your digitally signed I-20, please contact us at email@example.com.
Use of Electronic Signatures and Transmission for Form I-20 (November 1, 2021)
New Electronic Form I-20 Issuance Guidance on ICE.gov/COVID19 (March 26, 2020)
Fall 2022 Enrollment Requirements (05/02/2022)
Summer 2022 Enrollment Requirements (May 2, 2022)
COVID-19 Proclamation Restricting Entry from Southern Africa Countries (December 2, 2021)
Fall 2021 & Spring 2022 Travel & Enrollment Guidance (August 17, 2021)
Lockbox Delays (July 8, 2021)
COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Exceptions (July 8, 2021)