Immigration News

The ISSO releases a monthly newsletter to keep you informed of relevant immigration changes from USCIS and the International Center. (* = latest updates)


  • Travel Ban Remains Suspended *


A U.S. court decision on 2/9/2017 temporarily prevents the U.S. government from enforcing some sections of Executive Order 13769 including the ban on entry of immigrants and non-immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Additional court proceedings will continue in the coming weeks regarding this Executive Order.

  • Certain Nationals Urged to Apply or OPT/STEM OPT As Soon as Possible*


If you are an F-1 student from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and you are currently eligible to apply for OPT or STEM OPT work authorization, the ISSO recommends that you submit your application to USCIS as soon as possible. For more information, contact an advisor.

  • Immigration Benefit Processing *


US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is now accepting and deciding applications, including Optional Practical Training (OPT), STEM OPT, and Change of Status (COS), regardless of the country of origin of applicants.
The ISSO recommends that eligible students and alumni continue to apply for these immigrant benefits, comply with all filing deadlines, and respond to any Requests for Evidence as usual.

  • Travel *


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has suspended the recent travel restrictions outlined in Executive Order 13769. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials will resume inspection and admission of travelers to the United States in accordance with standard policies and procedures in effect prior to the Order.

  • Visa Issuance and Revocation *


The Department of State has lifted the suspension of visa processing for nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.
All visas previously revoked are now valid for travel to the United States, if the traveler is otherwise eligible.

  • U.S. Administration Changes


The International Center understands that some members of the UTD community may be concerned about the possible changes to immigration laws and benefits. Immigration News will be updated as official information is released, and potential impacts have been determined. We also encourage staff, faculty and students to seek advice from an experienced immigration attorney if they have questions about whether their status or travel plans may be affected by changes to immigration laws and executive orders. Specific updates from recent Executive Orders follow below.


  • Citizens from countries other Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya are not currently affected by visa denials nor are they facing challenges to re-entry that are outside of normal circumstances.
  • Individuals from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya who are considering travel abroad should be cautious about non-essential travel outside the U.S. Citizens of these countries will not be issued with visas or admitted to the U.S. until at least Apr. 29, 2017.

Immigration Benefit Processing (i.e., OPT, STEM OPT, Change of Status, etc.)

  • The executive order contains language that suggests that USCIS benefit processing for individuals from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya may be suspended for 90 days.
  • Until more specific guidance is issued, the ISSO will continue to issue I-20s for OPT and STEM OPT for all eligible students and alumni.
  • The ISSO recommends that eligible students and alumni continue to apply for these immigrant benefits, comply with all filing deadlines, and respond to any Requests for Evidence as usual.
  • Contact ISSO if your application is rejected or returned.
  • ISSO Immigration Workshops Available in February


The ISSO puts on many workshops for students during the Spring. See below for opportunities that might interest you.

      1. OPT Workshops for F-1 Students
        Learn about the OPT application process, reporting requirements, employment, and travel considerations on Thursday, Feb. 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. in SSB 3.107.


      1. Changing to F-1 Status Workshop
        Learn about the application process to change your immigration status to F-1 on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Continuing international students can meet their International Orientation requirement by attending an F-1 COS Workshop.


    1. Journey From F-1 to H-1B and Beyond
      Use the immigration process to your advantage! On Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. in the SU Galaxy Rooms A&B, learn about the secrets and strategies for U.S. full-time employment for international students: Extension of F-1 status under cap-gap regulations, transition from OPT to H-1B and Permanent Residency, and how to explain the benefits of sponsorship to your potential employer.
  • Spring Graduation OPT Dates


If completing your academic program this semester and plan to apply for post-completion OPT, the ISSO will begin accepting OPT applications for Spring 2017 graduates on Feb. 7, 2017. The last day USCIS can receive your OPT application is Jul 7, 2017. F-1 students applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) are required to complete either the in-person OPT workshop or the OPT eLearning workshop before applying for post-completion OPT. Only students who have applied for Spring 2017 graduation will have access to the OPT eLearning workshop.

  • Update to USCIS Form I-765


USCIS recently updated Form I-765 which is commonly used by F-1 students when applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or other work authorizations. USCIS has stated that as of Feb. 21, 2017 they will no longer accept previous versions of Form I-765. Please use the most recent version of Form I-765 when applying for OPT or other employment authorizations.

  • Galaxy Access for Alumni on OPT and STEM OPT


For alumni on OPT and STEM OPT, access to Galaxy will be extended for the duration of your work authorization. You will be able to access your UT Dallas email and update your address in Galaxy. If you are unable to access Galaxy, and you are currently in a valid period of OPT or STEM OPT, please contact Another option for troubleshooting is to reset your password, however for any other questions regarding your NetID, please contact the UT Dallas Help Desk at or 972-883-2911.

  • QLess Disclaimer for Advising Request


Please be aware that when joining the QLess line service, you are agreeing to receive text messages regarding your position in line. You do have the option to opt-out of receiving these text messages if desired.

  • Pre-Recorded Calls from ISSO in February


If your SEVIS immigration record is in jeopardy due to your enrollment or address, you can expect to receive pre-recorded phone messages from the ISSO regarding the maintenance of your immigration status. Please follow the instructions in the message to maintain your status.

  • Taxes


All people who resided in the United States between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of 2016 must file a U.S. tax form. Refer to Intercultural Programs Taxes website for further information on filing and upcoming workshop opportunities.

  • The Good Neighbor Scholarship Program


The Good Neighbor Scholarship Program applications will be available beginning Feb. 8, 2017 and will be accepted up to Mar. 1, 2017. This program encourages academically talented students from the countries of the Western (American) hemisphere to pursue higher education in the State of Texas. Visit the Good Neighbor Scholarship webpage for more information, including eligibility criteria and the application form.

  • Special Student Relief for Nepal


The Department of Homeland Security has extended the special student relief (SSR) action for Nepali F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship from Dec. 24, 2016 to Jun. 24, 2018. For more information, visit Study In The States.

  • Winter Storms Season


While severe winter storms are rare in Texas, the International Center would like you to be prepared.  Review the Winter Storms information on the UT Dallas Emergency Preparedness Information webpage for detailed information.  In the event that International Center staff are unavailable due to an emergency, call the UT Dallas Police Department at 972-883-2222. If the UT Dallas Police are unavailable, and you need critical immigration assistance or evacuation, contact the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at, or call 703-603-3400.

  • Scam Alert


Be aware of scams on and off campus. Common scams involve receiving an email or call from someone claiming to be from a trusted source such as a bank, sweepstakes company, or even a government agency such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Do not respond to any demands made by phone or email. Do not deposit money in unknown accounts or provide your credit information to persons unknown to you. If you receive such a call, contact UT Dallas Police at 972-883-2222 to report any suspicious activity. Learn more about how to avoid scams on the DHS website.