Over the past month, there has been the continued development of visa issuance bans via both executive order and diplomatic relation issues. The executive order that has been commonly referred to as the ‘travel ban’ now includes Chad, North Korea, and certain individuals from Venezuela, in addition to countries from previous versions of the order which include Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Iran. In addition, visa processing has been suspended in Turkey with Turkish citizens currently unable to obtain new nonimmigrant entry visas.
If you are a citizen of any of the aforementioned countries, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) strongly recommends caution if you are considering travel. If you do not have a currently valid entry visa, you would need one to return to the US which may not be possible depending on your country of citizenship. Furthermore, though current entry visas remain valid and should allow for entry to the US, it is reasonable to expect citizens of these countries may experience delays and potentially more serious issues when attempting to enter. ISSS emphasizes that all these issues affect entry to the US only and have no bearing on your ongoing legal nonimmigrant status within the US.
Throughout 2017, we have seen the effect of these bans on our international population. We have seen how it hurts you, especially those of you from the affected countries. We have heard that you feel you are not welcome in the US, and we want you to know that this is not true. The University of Illinois and ISSS are delighted that you are here and proud you chose our campus. We have seen the campus come together in support of international education throughout this year, and that commitment will continue regardless of what bans are placed or revoked.
The university has made a number of statements regarding these issues that can be found here, including an FAQ. The Counseling Center are available for one-on-one counseling if you wish to talk about this or any other issues affecting your mental health. The Graduate College also has statements and resources on this issue, and of course ISSS is always available for one-on-one in person appointments and phone calls: http://www.isss.illinois.edu/