Important announcement for all IPSO clients.
Dear AU Clients of the International and Postdoctoral Services Office,

We are writing to you now to clarify some relevant information and to offer encouragement during these challenging times. First, we sincerely hope that you and your family members both here and abroad are staying safe as this virus attacks every country on our planet.
President Trump's June 22, 2020 Executive Order Regarding Nonimmigrant Visas: First, this order does not impact AU F-1 students or J-1 Exchange Visitors. F-1 students are not mentioned in the order. A few of the J-1 Exchange Visitor categories that AU does not sponsor are mentioned in the order. 

Second, H visas are covered by this order, and many of you are employed in H-1B status and have family members in H-4 status. To better understand this situation, please be reminded of the difference between your immigration status (authorized period of stay) and the visa in your passport. A visa is the document in your passport and is primarily necessary to enter the U.S. Indeed, your visa may expire without impacting your status in the U.S. or your employment eligibility. As long as your underlying status document (H-1B I-797 Approval Notice) is valid or extended in a timely manner, you need not worry about the expiration of your corresponding visa.

H-1B employees or H-4 family members who are currently outside the U.S. and need a new visa to enter will, under this order, have to wait until after December 31, 2020 when this order expires. H-1B employees or H-4 family members who are currently outside the U.S. but have valid visas for entry, should be able to return to campus pending the availability of flights, which are limited due to border closures. See FAQs from the U.S. Department of StateSee also below regarding COVID-19 Impact on Borders and Reopening AU Campus.

COVID-19 Impact on U.S. Visa Applications Worldwide: As most of you know, most U.S. embassies and consulates across the world are still closed except to provide some exceptional services. Many of you have been trying to get visas to return to work or school and find it impossible to even schedule an appointment. This circumstance seems unlikely to change in the near future. We recommend that you continue checking the website of the embassy or consulate where your visa application is pending.  

COVID-19 Impact on Borders: Those of you who are currently outside the U.S. with valid visas for entry, should be able to return to campus. Many of you will find that your return will be pending the availability of flights, which are limited due to border closures. This circumstance seems unlikely to change in the near future. U.S. entry restrictions are in place for many countries, currently including: China, Iran, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil.

Travel Advice: Given the current global pandemic and the corresponding border closures and drastic reduction in consular services, IPSO’s standing recommendation to all of our clients is to refrain from any international travel except for the most extreme emergencies. 

Reopening AU Campus in August 2020: President Keel has announced the reopening of the AU campus for classes to commence on August 10, 2020. AU will follow the Centers for Disease Control's Guidelines regarding various health and safety measures. Please note that these guidelines include the requirement that travelers from various locations will need to self-quarantine upon arrival in the U.S. For more information, see the AU Campus Reopening website.

Nationwide Activism for Racial Justice: Following the recent killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police officers, the U.S. has entered into a time of renewed activism for racial justice and equality. We encourage you to further educate yourselves and contribute to campus and community discussions on this topic. Perhaps insights from your home country might lead to change in the U.S. 

IPSO Services: We remain open for business, committed to serving your needs. We strongly encourage you to stay safe by maintaining at least a six-foot distance from those outside your immediate family and to wear a mask when you are out in public. Should you have any questions, please contact us by email or phone. We request that you refrain from “dropping by” the office until further notice.
LD Newman
Beverly Tarver
Jon Harwood
Tiffany Takahashi
Copyright © 2020 Augusta University IPSO, All rights reserved.

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