Archive | F-1 and SEVIS News RSS for this section

Information on Consulates’ use of 221(g) refusals

Section 221(g) of the INA allows consular officers to issue a temporary refusal of a visa petition in cases where an otherwise eligible visa applicant is missing a specific document, or in case where a consular officer concludes that additional security clearance measures are warranted. Consular officers utilize 221(g) to allow applicants the opportunity to supplement their applications to overcome a visa denial.  Once the deficiency is satisfied, or the concern resolved, 221(g) refusal is “overcome” and the visa may be issued.  
In practice, the following are some situations that often give rise to a 221(g) refusal: 
1. Additional support documents are required, such as proof of local employment; 
2. An applicant is employed in a field listed on the Technology Alert List and the consular officer requests a Visas Mantis Security Advisory 
Opinion (“SAO”). (Common in India, China and elsewhere where applicants are advised that their applications require “administrative processing.”) 
3. The consular officer requests an Advisory Opinion from the Visa Office on the applicability of one of the statutory grounds of inadmissibility. 
4. There are no empty visa pages in the applicant’s passport, or the applicant’s photograph is of bad quality.
5. Applicant’s PIMS profile has not been updated.
A consular officer, upon refusing an application under 221(g), will commonly provide the applicant with a refusal letter.  However, it is possible that an applicant may be temporarily refused under 221(g) and not know it.  
The use of 221(g) is growing extremely common; the US Department of State has suggested that such refusals are overused by consular officers.  According to the Report of the Visa Office, in FY 2008 a staggering 589,000 221(g) refusals were issued against nonimmigrant visa applications.  About 87% of these were eventually overcome and visas were issued.
221(g) impacts subsequent visa applications because a client must indicate yes to the DS form question, “Have you ever been refused a US Visa?”.  Even a 221(g) that was caused by something as insignificant as a PIMS database issue is still considered, technically, a refusal.

DOS indicates no changes in student visa policy or adjudication with regards to Indian students

Despite some educational initiatives carried out recently between India and the U.S., State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland indicated this week that there will be no changes in student visa policy or adjudication with regards to Indian students.

Q & A: Extension of Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 Status for Eligible Students under the H-1B Cap-Gap Regulations

VIA USCIS

Introduction

These Questions & Answers address the automatic extension of F-1 student status in the United States for certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions (indicating a request for change of status from F-1 to H-1B) for an employment start date of October 1, 2012 under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 H-1B cap.

Questions & Answers

Q1. What is “Cap-Gap”?

A1. Current regulations allow certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in F-1 status during the period of time when an F-1 student’s status and work authorization would otherwise expire through the start date of their approved H-1B employment period.  This is referred to as filling the “cap-gap,” meaning the regulations provide a way of filling the “gap” between the end of F-1 status and the beginning of H-1B status that might otherwise occur if F-1 status is not extended for qualifying students. 

Q2. How does “Cap-Gap” Occur?

A2. An employer may not file, and USCIS may not accept, an H-1B petition submitted more than six months in advance of the date of actual need for the beneficiary’s services or training.  As a result, the earliest date that an employer can file an FY 2013 H-1B cap-subject petition is April 2, 2012 for employment starting not before October 1, 2012.  If USCIS approves the H-1B petition and the accompanying change of status request, the earliest date that the student may start the approved H-1B employment is October 1, 2012.  Consequently, F-1 students whose periods of authorized stay expire before October 1, 2012, and who do not qualify for a cap-gap extension, are required to leave the United States, apply for an H-1B visa at a consular post abroad, and then seek readmission to the United States in H-1B status, for the dates reflected on the approved H-1B petition. 

Q3. Which petitions and beneficiaries qualify for a cap-gap extension?  

A3. H-1B petitions that are timely filed on behalf of an eligible F-1 student and request a change of status to H-1B on October 1, 2012 qualify for a cap-gap extension. 

Timely filed means that the H-1B petition (indicating change of status rather than consular processing) was filed during the H-1B acceptance period, which begins Monday April 2, 2012, while the student’s authorized F-1 duration of status (D/S) admission was still in effect (including any period of time during the academic course of study, any authorized periods of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), and the 60-day departure preparation period, commonly known as the “grace period”).

Once a timely filed request to change status to H-1B on October 1, 2012 has been made, the automatic cap-gap extension will begin and will continue until the H-1B petition adjudication process has been completed.  If the student’s H-1B petition is selected and approved, the student’s extension will continue through September 30, 2012 unless the petition is denied, withdrawn, or revoked.  If the student’s H-1B petition is not selected, the student will have the standard 60-day grace period from the date of the rejection notice or their program end date, whichever is later, to prepare for and depart the United States. 

Students are strongly encouraged to stay in close communication with their petitioning employer during the cap-gap extension period for status updates on the H-1B petition processing. 

Q4. How does a student covered under the cap-gap extension obtain proof of continuing status? 

A4. The student should go to their Designated School Official (DSO) with evidence of a timely filed H-1B petition (indicating a request for change of status rather than for consular processing), such as a copy of the petition and a FedEx, UPS, or USPS Express/certified mail receipt.  The student’s DSO will issue a preliminary cap-gap I-20 showing an extension until June 1, 2012. 

If the H-1B petition is selected for adjudication, the student should return to his or her DSO with a copy of the petitioning employer’s Form I-797, Notice of Action, with a valid receipt number, indicating that the petition was filed and accepted.  The student’s DSO will issue a new cap-gap I-20 indicating the continued extension of F-1 status.  

Q5. Is a student who becomes eligible for an automatic cap-gap extension of status and employment authorization, but whose H-1B petition is subsequently rejected, denied or revoked, still allowed the 60-day grace period?

A5. If USCIS denies, rejects, or revokes an H-1B petition filed on behalf of an F-1 student covered by the automatic cap-gap extension
of status, the student will have the standard 60-day grace period (from the date of the notification of the denial, rejection, or revocation of the petition) before he or she is required to depart the United States.

For denied cases, it should be noted that the 60-day grace period does not apply to an F-1 student whose accompanying change of status request is denied due to the discovery of a status violation.  The student in this situation is not eligible for the automatic cap-gap extension of status or the 60-day grace period.  Similarly, the 60-day grace period and automatic cap-gap extension of status would not apply to the case of a student whose petition was revoked based on a finding of fraud or misrepresentation discovered following approval.  In both of these instances, the student would be required to leave the United States immediately.

Q6. May students travel outside the United States during a cap-gap extension period and return in F-1 status? 

A6. No. A student granted a cap-gap extension who elects to travel outside the United States during the cap-gap extension period will not be able to return in F-1 status.  The student will need to apply for an H-1B visa at a consular post abroad prior to returning.  As the H-1B petition is for an October 1, 2012 start date, the student should be prepared to adjust his or her travel plans, accordingly.

Q7. What if a student’s post-completion OPT has expired and the student is in a valid grace period when an H-1B cap-subject petition is filed on their behalf?  It appears that F-1 status would be extended, but would OPT also be extended? 

A7. F-1 students who have entered the 60-day grace period are not employment-authorized.  Consequently, if an H-1B cap-subject petition is filed on the behalf of a student who has entered the 60-day grace period, the student will receive the automatic cap-gap extension of his or her F-1 status, but will not become employment-authorized (since the student was not employment-authorized at the time H-1B petition was filed, there is no employment authorization to be extended).   

Q8. Do the limits on unemployment time apply to students with a cap-gap extension?

A8:  Yes.  The 90-day limitation on unemployment during the initial post-completion OPT authorization continues during the cap-gap extension.

Q9. What is a STEM OPT extension? 

A9. F-1 students who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees included on the STEM Designated Degree Program List, are employed by employers enrolled in E-Verify, and who have received an initial grant of post-completion OPT employment authorization related to such a degree, may apply for a 17-month extension of this authorization.  F-1 students may obtain additional information about STEM OPT extensions on the Student and Exchange Visitor Program website at www.ice.gov/sevis.

Q10. May a student eligible for a cap-gap extension of post-completion OPT employment authorization and F-1 status apply for a STEM OPT extension while he or she is in the cap-gap extension period? 

A10. Yes.  However, such application may not be made once the cap-gap extension period is terminated (e.g., if the H-1B petition is rejected, denied, or revoked), and the student has entered the 60-day departure preparation period.

Q11. In recent years, employers have been able to file H-1B cap-subject petitions after April 1, and have not always requested an October 1 start date.  However, some students’ OPT end dates were nevertheless shortened to September 30, even though their H-1B employment would not begin until a later date.  What should the student do to correct this?

A11. The student should contact their DSO.  The DSO may request a data fix in SEVIS by contacting the SEVIS helpdesk. 

Q12. If the student finds a new H-1B job, can he or she continue working with his/her approved EAD while the data fix in SEVIS is pending?

A12. Yes, if the (former) H-1B employer timely withdrew the H-1B petition and the following conditions are true:

§  the student finds employment appropriate to his or her OPT;

§  the period of OPT is unexpired; and

§  the DSO has requested a data fix in SEVIS. 

Note: If the student had to file Form I-539 to request rei
nstatement to F-1 student status, the student may not work or attend classes until the reinstatement is approved.  

Q13. If the student has an approved H-1B petition and change of status, but is laid off/terminated by the H-1B employer before the effective date, and the student has an unexpired EAD issued for post-completion OPT, can the student retrieve any unused OPT?

A13.Yes.  The student will remain in student status and can continue working OPT using the unexpired EAD until the H-1B change of status goes into effect.  The student also needs to make sure that USCIS receives a withdrawal request from the petitioner before the H-1B change of status effective date.  This will prevent the student from changing to H-1B status.  Once the petition has been revoked, the student must provide their DSO with a copy of the USCIS acknowledgement of withdrawal (i.e., the notice of revocation). The DSO may then request a data fix in SEVIS, to prevent the student from being terminated in SEVIS on the H-1B effective date, by contacting the SEVIS helpdesk.

If USCIS does not receive the withdrawal request prior to the H-1B petition change of status effective date, then the student will need to stop working, file a Form I-539 to request reinstatement, and wait until the reinstatement request is approved before resuming employment.

Q14. In cases where a student is authorized to work OPT past the H-1B change of status effective date, can the student continue working on OPT if a request to revoke/withdraw the H-1B change of status is submitted to USCIS?

A14. If the H-1B revocation occurs before the H-1B change of status effective date, the student may continue working while the data fix remains pending, because the student will still be in valid F-1 status.

If the H-1B revocation occurs on or after the H-1B change of status effective date, the student will need to stop working before the H-1B change of status effective date, apply for reinstatement, and wait until the reinstatement request is approved before resuming employment.

NOTE:  This is NOT a cap-gap situation since the student has an EAD authorizing OPT beyond the H-1B change of status effective date.

Q15. Do students remain in valid F-1 status while the request to change the OPT end date is pending?

A15. If the H-1B revocation occurs before the H-1B change of status effective da te, the student is still deemed to be in F-1 status while the data fix is pending.

If the H-1B revocation occurs after the H-1B change of status effective date, the student will not be in valid F-1 status and will therefore either need to apply for reinstatement or depart the United States. 

 

 



Last updated:03/29/2012

Latest List of ICE Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVIS) Program approved schools.

VIA ICE.gov

Latest List of ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program approved schools, updated 10/2011

Changes to Visa Validity for Iranian Student Applicants in F, J, and M Visa Categories

VIA Department of State


Media Note

Office of the Spokesman

Washington, DC
May 20, 2011


[Also available in Persian]

As of May 20, 2011, qualified Iranian applicants for visas in the F, J, and M categories for non-sensitive, non-technical fields of study and research and their dependents will be eligible to receive two-year, multiple-entry visas. This is an increase in the current visa validity of three months, single entry.

This change will allow Iranian students and exchange visitors to travel more easily, furthering our goal of promoting the free flow of information and ideas. This important decision is being taken as the global community witnesses the Iranian Government’s increasing censorship and isolation of its own people.

Iranians currently in the United States on a three-month, single-entry visa in one of these categories must reapply outside the United States at a consular post in order to obtain two-year, multiple-entry visas. Keep in mind that the validity of a visa refers to the time period the visa holder has to enter the U.S. It has no bearing on the length of stay pe
rmitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the port of entry. Iranian students and exchange visitors in good standing in the United States do not need to apply for a new visa until after they depart the United States.

PRN: 2011/807

ICE updates list of Student and Exchange Visitor Program approved schools

ICE updates list of Student and Exchange Visitor Program approved schools

Updated SEVIS Program Approved School List

VIA ICE.gov


On 2/14/11, ICE updated its list of Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVIS) Program approved schools ICE updated its list of Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVIS) Program approved schools.

Tri-Valley University (TVU) letter written by its President regarding ICE’s decision to withdraw the school’s SEVIS approval.

Below is the text of the Tri-Valley University (TVU) letter written by its President about ICE’s decision to withdraw the school’s SEVIS approval. The letter, which has been redacted, includes responses to the unresolved issues listed in the SEVP Notice of Intent to Withdraw letter. 
– UPDATED 01/17/2012 – EDITED OUT MOST NAMES.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Potomac Center North

500 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20536

 

Susan Su, President

Tri-Valley University

405 Boulder Ct #700 – 800

Pleasanton CA 94566

Dear Ms. Dianna Currie;

 

I am writing to you regarding the Notice of Intent
to Withdraw of the approval for attendance of nonimmigrant students of
Tri-Valley University which was hand delivered to my house on 01/19/2011. Upon
the decision of SEVP to withdraw TVU’s SEVIS approval; we would like to submit
the following written reasons under oath why TVU’s shall not be withdraw from
SEVP approval.

Since its inception in March 2008, Tri-Valley
University is able to implement a cutting-edge technology of instruction model,
which allows the live broadcasting of class with video, audio, desk-top
sharing, chatting, document sharing, chat, recording features.  Since our SEVP approval to enroll
international students a year later in Feb 2009, the University has upgraded to
the most advanced enterprise version which is capable of monitoring every second
a student entering and leaving the classroom. We also reinforce student
classroom attendance by requiring students showing their face in the camera to
check the attendance.  In Fall of 2010,
approximate 90% of TVU 800 or so registered students attending weekly class
meeting. According to the decision made by SEVP Director  (http://www.region12south.nafsa.org/CaliforniaCommunityCollegesSEVPannouncement.pdf
) as shown in Exhibit 1, item 6:

In authorizing this flexibility for schools
in determining the full course of study available, SEVP wishes that schools are
clear on the available parameters of online training available to credit
towards a full course of study
.”
With regarding the on-line class attendance 8 CFR 214.2(f) (6) (G), “ For
F-1 Students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than
the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester,
trimester, or quarter may be counted toward the full course of study
requirement if the class is taken on-line or through distance education and
does not require the student’s physical attendance for classes, examination or
other purposes integral to completion of the class
.”  The decision furthermore
approve: “There is no limit enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours can
be counted toward a full course of study if the school can confirm the physical
presence and participation of students. SEVP encourage schools to make maximum
use of monitored online training as feasible
”.  Item 8 even says: “SEVP is aware that there are
other stated and college systems in the United States facing similar issues.
The Director will consider allowing similar ameliorative standards of contacted
by a state’s department of education or an administrative office of a community
college system
.”  However, TVU’s
instruction is also quite different from the on-line program content which
takes a textbook material and edits into reading and questions and answer
section (on-line classes have no real lectures, just reading and E-mail back
and forth between the students and the instructors). All TVU’s classes are
regular classic classroom instructor content with power point presentation on
each textbook chapter with live class lectures and live classroom interaction
between students and instructors. With the cutting-edge technology to live
broadcasting class meeting at TVU, people at work can attend class and house
wife can also attend class while staying at home.

With this technology, and good quality-content and
practical course, as well as TVU’s referral system ( each single TVU student
project his/her computer screen on the wall to turn his/her home into a TVU
classroom, many family and friend of TVU students join TVU also), the students
enrollments have been exponentially grow . As the quick rising curve occurring
just recent, a strong and effective administration system is in the process of
forming, the University does have issues from the growing pain. We would like
to address the 8 issues pointed out in your letter. Some are misunderstandings;
some are our administrative system ignorance and part of the growing pain and
have been working on to resolve.

 Response to Issue 1:  Failure to Comply with 8 CFR 214.3(g) (1)
without a subpoena.

Since the inception on St. Patrick day on March 17,
2008, Tri-Valley University’s students are mainly US citizens. With the SEVP
approval on 02/17/2009 a year later, TVU does not have student dormitories to
accommodate international students who come to the campus directly. The first
contract TVU signed regarding international students was with ABS consultancy
who originally request for an exclusive contract to represent TVU in India  to take the full responsibility of all TVU’s
international students (but was not approved by the President).  TVU signed a contract with ABS that they will
receive 20% of each international student’s tuition fee as the referral fee,
and their responsibility including recruiting, referring students, VISA
interview consultant, status change consultant, reinstatement consultant as
well as airport pickup and accommodation. TVU’s first hundred of international
students are all taken care of by ABS consultancy. From Application, they are
all input the ABS consultancy’s CA address. When students arrive in California,
they were picked up by ABS consultancy, temperately stay with them for couple
of day. ABS then arranged them to stay at an apt in the same complex which ABS
rent and charge the student for rental fee.

That staff’s ([NAME REMOVED] who actually committed
stealing money and cheated student and was fired) misunderstanding of concealing
the fact that the student who live outside of in California is apparently his limited
knowledge and interpretation. “Conceal a fact” claim is never true (but indeed
a vicious attempt to tear the university down by that fires staff teamed with
another criminal person 
 [NAME REMOVED]).  The University never told any staff in that way.
As a matter of fact TVU’s ADM office wrote numerous DMV verification letters to
many different states of our government agency stating that the student’s
residence at a different state but attending classes over here. TVU later on
hired staff to update student actual physical address, not the consultant
address. With the frequent change of student address and quick growth of
admitted students; the staff never completed the work.  

As regulation 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (i) (iii) states,
we are actually in compliance with this regulation: the University communicated
with all students through ABS address. 
Letters mailed to ABS address at: 555 E El Camino Real APT 415,
Sunnyvale, CA; ABS members will FedEx to student’s address with their own
expense. With this practice, TVU has indeed honored the controlling regulation:
8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (i) (iii), “In the event the student or his or her
dependents cannot receive mail at such physical residence, the school must
provide a mailing address in SEVIS”. The address input in SEVIS is exact
provided by the school, and effective working, and is the school legally
contracted and give the authorization of the responsibility. 

Response to Issue 2:  Failure to comply with 8 CFR 214.3 (g) (2).
See 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (ii), Controlling regulation: 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (ii),
214.3(g) (2), 214.3(h)(3), 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G).  

TVU’s instruction model’s compliance with regulation 8 CFR 214.2 (f)
(6)(i) (G) to fulfill the requirement of student physical attendance have
addressed in the 2nd paragraph.  

TVU honoring regulation CFR 214.3 (g) (i) with the ABS consultancy
address input as the international students contact has been elaborated above
in Response to Issue 1.

On page4 paragraph 4 of your letter, the letter saying that beginning
June 2010, HIS agents has observed the building: 4455 Stonebridge Dr,
Pleasanton for 6 days, but not find a single class going on over there. It has
to be true, because TVU has moved into Pleasanton Unified School District
starting in Sept, 2009, with ADM office, and many classrooms available in need
bases.

However we did fail to report to SEVIS about the
address change within 21 days, mainly because TVU has been considered purchasing
a permanent campus building for quite a long time, and has considered several
buildings including 4455 Stonebridge DR (with bank loan not approved), untill
finally bought 405 Boulder Ct (similar to 4455 Stonebridge Dr but only
one-third of the price and is a brand new building). With every instructor
teaches with TVU instruction system able to live broadcasting class meeting,
TVU’s instructor can be located at all different states of the US, and they are
teaching everyday classes inside TVU’s classrooms. If students come to campus
in Pleasanton, the live class can be projected on the wall for live interaction
with an instructor who is teaching at New York. 
The truth is that ever since the inception, TVU have been offering
quality and practical class instructions with the dual-module of cutting-edge
instructional model.  At the time, when
we applied for SEVP approval, our instructional model published on TVU’s
website since the first day of TVU inception is already a public knowledge. We
advise every student, that they are welcome to come here, if they can not make
it, they do not need to, because they will see exactly the same in their
computer as everyone who come here on campus.

Even since the SEVP approval for enroll
international students, TVU has been strongly reinforcing real classroom
attendance, the President has sent multiple E-mails to both entire TVU students
body, as well as TVU instructors on strictly monitoring and checking student
attendance. However due to the quick growth pain, the administrative team do
not catch up, also some students working as student assistant in the office has
taken advantage of selling I20 or CPT for students money, ask students to give
money to their account, and give students I20 ([NAME REMOVED] and [NAME REMOVED]).
 [NAME REMOVED] is believed to be one
of those students who did not even register a class, but obtain an I20 by the cheating
office student assistant, who later on also feed wrong, threatening and
defamation information (such as ABS address issues is just one) to ICE and many
TVU students. We have fired them, later filed a police report against the two
fraud individual.  Student  
[NAME REMOVED]is one
of the student victims.    

With regarding to student [NAME REMOVED] interview, we reviewed the transcript. Students did attend the classes
remotely, but he is not so sure about the legitimacy of TVU’s instructional
module by hearing something from some anonymous internet law forum discussion,
so he tried to lie that he did come to California to attend the classes to
cover. That is the main reason for his deportation, after we investigate the
situation, we did give him another initial I20 for him to reapply for a student
VISA, with an explanation and verification letter stating that he did resident
in Chicago and attends the class here.

Response to Issue
3:  Willful issuance by a DSO of a false
statement including wrongful certification of a statement by signature, in
connection with a student’s school transfer or application for employment or
practical training.  See 8 CFR 214.4 (a)
(2) (v).

Control
regulation: 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (v), 214.2(f)(9), 214.2 (f) (10)

TVU’s Mission includes quality academic principle, integrated
with practical industry application as well as Christian world view. Tri-Valley
University has very unique academic programs to facility the University’s Mission
and Institutional Purpose. The continuum education nature of integration of academic
and industrious application is reflected from every single course content to
every academic degree program curriculum and requirement. To facility the
objective of each degree program, a TVU student must work in industry to gain
real working and application experiences before they can be awarded a TVU degree.
The class schedule and education model allows the realization of the curriculum
requirement, class meeting are at evenings, and also can be accessed anywhere
remotely, class meeting are recorded. As a continuum education university, TVU’s
CPT also differs from any other universities. Other universities make CPT a
course (or a research course) for student to make tuition payment to enroll.  At TVU, international student just register 3
regular courses to keep the full-time student status, all classes are in the
evening, and all student is encouraged, recommended and helped by the university
to find a job in industry to gain real application experience in order to fulfill
the industry application requirement of the degree curriculum and to have a
TVU’s degree. So at TVU, CPT has no trimester limits. Student registered for
399 research course is also different form CPT, for a research course, a
student will be assigned an individual instructor and  work with him/her toward a research report,
which is separated from CPT, while CPT is part of the entire degree curriculum
requirement of real industry experience. Our CPT normally input is to: “Fulfill
the degree requirement of the curriculum requirement”. Only a few student who
also find a research topic form their work decide to do research and write a
thesis related to his work. 

For CPT approval, a student needs to submit an
offer letter. We can not judge the real job a student does at a company by the
website description of the company in general. For an example, a software
company like CISCO mainly running business in software programming also has
human resource department, accounting department, may hiring people not only from
Computer Science major, but also hiring student with major in business
administration, accounting and mechanical engineering etc field as well.  Our CPT staff is instructed to approve
student’s CPT with regarding to their job offer letter. To authorize a student
to work is exactly fulfill TVU curriculum requirement of industry working
experience.

Response to Issue
4:  Conduct on the part of a DSO that
does not comply with the regulation. See 8 CFR 214.4(a)(2)(vi). Controlling
regulations: 8 CFR 214.4(a)(2)(vi), 214.2(f)(9)(i), 214.3(1)(1)

For any SEVIS approved university, such as UC
Berkeley, students work as Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant is a
common practice in each department. With TVU’s continue education nature, most
TVU’s Ph.D. student are working in industry already (Those international
students are on CPT). TVU has a unique position called Teaching Associated is
for TVU’s graduate student to teach classes, partially also is also a
curriculum requirement of the Ph.D. degree to gain leadership and academic
teaching experience (also reduce their tuition fee).  With TVU’s instructional model, every single
TVU student can simply project his/her computer screen on the wall, and make it
a TVU live classroom, every single TVU student’s computer and home is a small
TVU campus. We do have on-site employments which are student assistant
positions in the administration office, such as in the admission department,
registration department and record department.  

When TVU initially submit I-17 and receive SEVIS
approval, there is no full-time PSDO and DSO at all; we have the President as
the DSO and her sister Sophie Su as the PDSO and her husband Vince Wang as another
DSO (who are all volunteer workers as in TVU’s five-year strategic plan). After
approval, we have advertised for long time for qualified person with SEVIS
experience to join the team. We have added Ms. [NAME REMOVED] as the DSO soon
later, however she was threatened by the real criminal student assistant ([NAME REMOVED] and [NAME REMOVED]) and quit her job due to fear. From beginning both
Sophie Su and Vince Wang with their other full-time job commitment can only
stop by the office part-time and in need basis. For the first year or so, TVU
also does not have many international students, all international students
affairs are performed by Dr. [NAME REMOVED] as a DSO. Later on, as their role also as
an admission officer and registration office responsibility increase with the
admitted students, the President assigns each one of them two student assistants
because they cannot commit full-time to TVU’s international students. However
those student assistant have never be delegated the designation of the DSO and
PDSO.  Every day, they were only given a
computer screen. They are strictly trained and instructed to just typing
previous designed content and word inside the SEVIS window, not allow modifying
anything, not give the password and user name to login at all. The President
holds all the account login information, student assistant is only given the
screen to work on, and they are highly supervised and strictly monitored by the
President in daily basis, their work is also reviewed daily by the President.  

Response to Issue
5:  Failure to provide SEVP paper copies
of the school’s Form I-17 bearing the names, titles and signatures of DSOs as
required by 214.3 (1) (2). See 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (vii)
Controlling regulation:
8 CFR 214.4(a) (2) (viii), 214.3 (1) (2)

Already addressed in response to Issue 4 .

Response to Issue
6:  Failure to submit statements of DSOs
as required by 8 CFR 214.3 (1) (3), See 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (ix). Controlling
regulation: 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (ix), 214.3 (1)(3).

Already addressed in response to Issue 4 .

Response to Issue
7:  Issuance of Forms I-20 to aliens who
will not be enrolled in or carry full courses of study, as defined in 8 CFR
214.2 (f) (6). See 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (xi)

Controlling
regulations: 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (xi), 214.2 (f)(6)

The first paragraph of this
letter has elaborated TVU’s class instruction model, the class attendance
monitoring as well as the attendance rate from the previous term and the
legitimacy of this instructional model. In the early stage of the university, first
year, TVU only have US students who are working full-time taking classes, if
they request class absent, sometimes, the President give them permission, with
the strict requirement that the student has to study the class meeting recorded
video, and complete their homework assignment and have good grade in midterm
and final exam (they are responsible to contact with the instructor to arrange
individual study if needed).   

With the increasing of the
International students’ enrollment, The President has sent multiple E-mails to
all TVU students to make the real life class attendance mandatory, E-mails to
all Instructors to strictly monitor student class attendance. TVU’s majority
students are post-educated adult and individuals, normally all requirements are
done in a willing manner, if the President order everyone to come to class,
majority of them will honor that requirement willingly. As a matter of fact,
our virtual classroom data show that majority of TVU student in the previous
term, close to 90% registered international students are attending weekly class
meeting.  The virtual class room
monitoring has small issues if a student or a faculty is not properly trained,
when a student enter the classroom, if he/she forget to input his own name,
what the system sees is just an “Attendee No”, can not identify who the student
is. Also some student may leave the class in the middle, and relogin in couple
of minutes later. We are also plan to fix all of these issues in the coming
term, by training all TVU students and instructors on how to check in the
attendance in the first 30 minute of each class meeting, with the students showing
face in camera and full name recorded.

Student [NAME REMOVED] and [NAME REMOVED] cases are just two individuals, and one who never attend the
class remains in India, TVU never give him another chance of I20. [NAME REMOVED] who did attend classes was given another chance for VISA interview.

Response to Issue
8:  Failure of a DSO to notify SEVP of
material changes, such as changes to the school’s name, address, or curriculum
changes that represent material changes to the scope of institution offerings
as required by 8 CFR 214.3 (f) (1), See 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2) (xix).  Controlling regulations: 8 CFR 214.4 (a) (2)
(xix), 214.3(f)(1), 214.3(g)(2)(i), 214.3(h)(3).

Tri-Valley University’s  academic program, class content, degree
curriculum are keeping improving and updating almost in daily, weekly bases, so
does the website and Catalog which are modified and improved accordingly. We
did not receive any instruction on report to SEVIS on daily and weekly class
modification and program changes, as well as location changes.  We received E-mail notice form SEVIS, that
every two years the school will need submit I-17 for recertification. This Feb
17th, 2011, is our two year recertification time, we plan to update
all of the change (including academic program change, curriculum changes and
location changes) to SEVIS at that time.

With the recent increasing of
student enrollments, the administration team suffers from grow pain, and in the
process of catching up. There are many places and issues we need to improve. We
feel that we shall be given an opportunity to report our change of address in
Feb. 2011. The intention to terminate all TVU active student SEVIS status and
school’s access is extremely unfair. We all aware that majority of TVU students
are post-educated intellectual, and have done nothing wrong and illegal. In
case the President decides to forsake the school, these students need to
transfer to good University in US to continue their education.

As for now, we would like you to
review the reasons which I submit above for why SEVP shall not withdraw
Tri-Valley University’s approval. 

 

Sincerely;

 

Susan Su, President

Tri-Valley University

 




 

Exhibit 1 Decision by SEVP Director Full Course of Study: California
Community Colleges Crisis.

ICE Notice to Former F-1 Students of Tri-Valley University

VIA ICE.gov

Attention Former Tri-Valley University Students

If you were formerly enrolled as an F-1 student at TVU and have been terminated in SEVIS, please note the following.

SEVP terminated the records of all F-1 students enrolled at TVU as of Jan. 18, 2011. You should call SEVP Response Center (SRC) at 703-603-3400. This number is currently staffed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST), seven days a week. Beginning Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, this number will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST). At other times, you may leave a telephone number at which SEVP will return your call the next day.

Please be prepared to provide the follow information to the SEVP staff when you call:

  • First and last name
  • SEVIS ID#
  • Address
  • Telephone number where you can be reached
  • E-mail address
  • Dates of attendance at TVU
  • Level and Major of study at TVU

When you call, SEVP will provide you with your options including the option to depart from the United States without an otherwise possibly applicable bar to re-admission in the future.

My comments on “Steamboat family hoping for changes to citizenship regulations” – Article by Mike Lawrence of Steamboat Today

09/25/2010


A well written article by Mr. Mike Lawrence of Steamboat Today sheds light on a dilemma faced by all dependent children of E-2 (and other) nonimmigrant visa holders.  Once a nonimmigrant visa holder’s child reaches 21 years of age, the child may no longer retain a dependent visa based on a principle parent’s status and must obtain an independent status or visa within the US, regardless of how long they have lived in the U.S.  The subject of Mr. Lawrence’s article, Mr. Mark Dennis, 19, has lived in the US since he was approximately four months old.  

As indicated above, affected individuals do have the option to change their status/obtain a different visa, F-1 (student) for example, which is a popular option in these situations.  F-1 status would serve as a good option for Mr. Dennis, who presently attends the University of Colorado in Boulder.  Mr. Lawrence does mention the student visa option, but states that “…under current law [Mr. Dennis] would have to return to England…” and that once there, “…current law states he would have to develop strong ties there — through property ownership or employment, for example — before a potential return to CU on an international student visa…” 


To summarize, Mr. Lawrence appears to incorrectly indicate that only two potential solutions exist for Mr. Dennis’ dilemma, 

1. The DREAM Act , which has been kicking around DC for years (only to be dusted off, raised high and carried into the spotlight come election season).  This years incarnation was defeated again recently, and so unfortunately remains only (and literally) a dream, or,
2. Mr. Dennis returns to the UK, a country with which he is “unfamiliar“, and acquire property ownership and/or employment and then possibly return to the US with an F-1 student visa after an interview with a U.S. Consular officer in the UK.  (See my 2005 blog entry about this option – and the dreaded 214(b) of the INA.)

Mr. Lawrence has not included the best option for Mr. Dennis,

3. File an I-539 Change of Status petition – from E-2 dependent to F-1 Student – prior to Mr. Dennis reaching 21 years of age.  There is a $300.00 petition fee payable to the Department of Homeland Security.  Mr. Dennis would have to obtain an I-20 from his University DSO, which could take as little as 20 minutes using the computerized SEVIS system.  His school appears to be SEVIS accredited and able to provide this certification.  He would attach a photocopy of his passport, his latest E-2 dependent paperwork and signed documentation from a financial guarantor.  Finally, he would mail the full package to the applicable USCIS service center and wait a few months for an adjudication.  While there is no guarantee of approval for this or any other petition before USCIS, the chances for approval are generally high, especially if the case is well documented.  Mr. Dennis has approximately two years to file this petition for change of status (until the age of 21).

The central issue raised by the article, i.e., the substantial and positive impact the DREAM Act would have for affected young people (and I think, our society as a whole,) deserves greater prominence in politics and the media.  With respect to Mr. Dennis, and in no way attempting to diminish his problem, it is important to include in my comments a short reference to those 19 year olds with no options, for example, a child of an undocumented immigrant.  While an undocumented parent’s unlawful entry into the U.S. is presently not imputed to the child of said immigrant, if the child is not able to secure University admission and file a petition for a student visa by their 18th birthday (most children would be still attending high school), they will immediately begin accruing unlawful status.  It is extremely difficult to obtain a waiver or an approved change of status if the child has any length of unlawful status.  180+ days of unlawful status and the child is barred from re-entering the U.S. for three years, 365+ days of unlawful status and the child is barred for ten years.  The child now is now a 19+ year old young adult with few options and little hope.  With few exceptions, she may not be change her status nor leave the U.S. for fear of the 3/10 year bar.  The DREAM Act could provide these young people, [along with Mr. Dennis] with a real solution.

Ashwin Sharma
Immigration Attorney

ICE Updates List of SEVP Approved Schools (Updated 6/30/09)

<a href="/files/4941-4844/ApprovedSchools2.pdf”>ICE Updates List of SEVP Approved Schools (Updated 6/30/09)

Questions and Answers: Extension of Post Completion Practical Training and F-1 Status for Eligible Students under the Cap Gap Regulations

VIA USCIS

These Questions & Answers address the automatic extension of F-1
student status in the United States for certain students with pending
or approved H-1B petitions (indicating a request for change of status
from F-1 to H-1B) for an employment start date of October 1, 2009 under
the FY 2010 H-1B cap. 


 What is the H-1B cap?

The
cap is the congressionally-mandated limit on the number of individuals
who may be granted initial H-1B status or visas during each fiscal
year. For FY 2010, the cap is 65,000.
Not all H-1B beneficiaries
are subject to the cap. Congress has provided that the first 20,000
H-1B petitions filed on behalf of aliens who have earned a U.S.
masters’ degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.  H-1B
petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who will work at
institutions of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit
entities, or at nonprofit research organizations or governmental
research organizations are exempt from the fiscal year cap. Generally,
H-1B beneficiaries seeking to extend status and/or add employers are
not subject to the cap.    


 What do Current F-1/H-1B Extension Regulations Allow?

Current
regulations allow certain students with pending or approved H-1B
petitions to remain in F-1 status during the period of time where an
F-1 student’s status and work authorization would otherwise expire, and
up to the start of their approved H-1B employment period. This is
referred to as filling the “cap gap”, meaning the regulations provide a
way of filling the “gap” between F-1 and H-1B status that might
otherwise occur if F-1 status was not extended for qualifying students.
An interim final rule published in the Federal Register last year
authorized a cap gap extension for eligible students.  See  73 FR 18944
(April 8, 2008) “Extending Period of Optional Practical Training by 17
Months for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Expanding
Cap-Gap Relief for All F-1 Students With Pending H-1B Petitions.”

 
How does “Cap-Gap” Occur?

An
employer may not file, and USCIS may not accept, an H-1B petition
submitted earlier than six months in advance of the date of actual need
for the beneficiary’s services or training. As a result, the earliest
date that an employer can file an H-1B petition is April 1, for the
following fiscal year, starting October 1. If USCIS approves the H-1B
petition and the accompanying change-of-status request, the earliest
date that the student may start the approved H-1B employment is October
1. Consequently, F-1 students who do not qualify for a cap gap
extension, and whose periods of authorized stay expires before October
1, are required to leave the United States, apply for an H-1B visa at a
consular post abroad, and then seek readmission to the United States in
H-1B status, for the dates reflected on the approved H-1B petition. 

 

Which petitions and beneficiaries qualify for a cap gap extension?  

H-1B
petitions must be timely filed on behalf of an eligible F-1 student. 
“Timely filed” means that the H-1B petition (indicating change of
status rather than consular processing) was filed during the H-1B
acceptance period, while the student’s authorized duration of status
(D/S) admission was still in effect (including any period of time
during the academic course of study, any authorized periods of
post-completion OPT, and the 60-day departure preparation period,
commonly known as the “grace period.”)

Once a timely filing has
been made, the automatic cap gap extension will begin and will continue
until the H-1B process has been completed.  If the student’s H-1B
petition is selected and approved, the student’s extension will
continue through September 30th unless the petition is denied or
revoked. If the student’s H-1B petition is not selected, the student
will have the standard 60-day grace period from the date of the
rejection notice to prepare for and depart the United States.  
Students are strongly encouraged to stay in close communication with
their petitioning employer during the cap gap extension period for
status updates on the H-1B petition processing. A Form I-797, Notice of
Action, with a valid receipt number, is evidence that the petition was
filed and accepted. 

How does a student covered under the cap gap extension obtain proof of continuing status?

The
student should go to their Designated School Officer (DSO) with
evidence of a timely filed H-1B petition (indicating a request for
change of status rather than for consular processing), such as a copy
of the petition and a FedEx, UPS, or USPS Express/certified mail
receipt.  The student’s DSO will issue a preliminary cap gap I-20
showing an extension until June 1st.  If the student’s petitioning
employer receives a notice of selection from USCIS, the student should
return to his or her DSO with a copy of the receipt notice, if
possible, for issuance of a new cap gap I-20 indicating the continued
extension of status.  

Students can also check the Student and Exchange Visitor Program information from the Related Links section of this page.

What
if the post-completion OPT expired before April 1? It appears that F-1
status would be extended, but would OPT also be extended?

A
student who completed his or her post-completion OPT and who
subsequently was in a valid grace period on April 1, would benefit from
an automatic extension of his or her D/S admission under the cap gap,
if the H-1B petition is filed during the H-1B acceptance period, which
begins on April 1. The employment authorization, however, would not be
extended automatically, because it already expired and the cap gap does
not serve to reinstate or retroactively grant employment authorization.

Is
a student who becomes eligible for an automatic extension of status and
employment authorization, but whose H-1B petition is subsequently
rejected, denied or revoked, still allowed the 60-day grace period?

If
USCIS denies, rejects, or revokes an H-1B petition filed on behalf of
an F-1 student covered by the automatic cap gap extension, the student
will have the standard 60-day grace period (from notification of the
denial, rejection, or revocation of the petition) before he or she is
required to depart the United States..

For denied cases, it
should be noted that the 60-day grace period does not apply to an F-1
student whose accompanying change of status request is denied due to
discovery of a status violation. Such a student in any event is not
eligible for the automatic cap gap extension. Similarly, the 60-day
grace period and automatic cap gap extension would not apply to the
case of a student whose petition was revoked based on a finding of
fraud or misrepresentation discovered following approval. In both of
these instances, the student would be required to leave the United
States immediately.

May students travel outside the United States during a cap gap extension period and return in F-1 status?

The
regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(13) state that a student who has an
unexpired EAD issued for post-completion OPT and who is otherwise
admissible may return to the United States to resume employment after a
temporary absence. By definition, however, the EAD of an F-1 student
covered under a cap gap extension is necessarily expired. As a result,
if the student elects to travel outside the United States during a cap
gap extension, he/she should be prepared to apply for an H-1B visa at a
consular post abroad prior to returning.  As the H-1B petition is
presumably for an October 1 or later start date, the student should be
prepared to adjust his/her travel plans, accordingly.

Do the limits on unemployment time apply to students with a cap gap extension?

Yes.
The 90-day limitation on unemployment during the initial
post-completion OPT authorization continues during the cap gap
extension.

If a student was not in an authorized period of OPT
on the eligibility date for the cap gap extension, can the student work
during the cap gap extension?


No. In order for a student
to have employment authorization during the cap gap extension, the
student must be in an approved period of post-completion OPT on the
eligibility date.

May a student eligible for a cap-gap
extension of status and employment authorization apply for a STEM OPT
extension while he or she is in the cap-gap extension period?

Yes.
However, such application may not be made once the cap-gap extension
period is terminated (e.g., rejection, denial, or revocation of the
H-1B petition), and the student enters the 60-day departure preparation
period.

What is a STEM OPT extension?

F-1 students who
receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
degrees included on the STEM Designated Degree Program List, are
employed by employers enrolled in E-Verify, and who have received an
initial grant of post-completion OPT related to such a degree, may
apply for a 17-month extension.  F-1 students may obtain additional
information about STEM extensions on the Student and Exchange Visitor
Program website from the Related Links section of this page.


ICE Updates List of SEVP Approved Schools (Updated 3/27/09)

<a href="/files/4941-4844/__1ApprovedSchools.pdf”>On 3/24/09 ICE updated its list of Student and Exchange Visitor Program approved schools.