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The U.S. is a country based partly on a foundation of written laws with the understanding that no one is above the law and that laws should apply to everyone (or a certain group) impartially. Federal regulations pertaining to immigration matters are published periodically by one of various federal agencies (normally one of the bureaus in the Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Department of State) in the Federal Register. They are generally intended to carry out and implement any applicable laws passed by the U.S. Congress as well as carry out agency initiatives or presidential directives.

These regulations are supplemented from time to time by interpretations and “operating instructions” by the sponsoring agency. University international offices all follow the same laws and federal regulations, but university policies and state law sometimes require additional actions or restrictions to carry out local requirements or maintain compliance with institutional objectives and mandates. All universities have a number of “supra-regulatory” requirements, but these differ among different institutions.

Furthermore, the school’s Designated School Officials (DSOs) and (Alternate) Responsible Officers (AROs) are given some statutory discretion in certain cases where the university representative must make a good faith judgment call when the regulations appear to be in conflict or are silent. OIS advisors will always follow the letter and spirit of the law (or regulation), while striving to do whatever we lawfully and ethically can for the benefit of the student/scholar and the University. OIS advisors do not have the authority or freedom to ignore the regulations, to make exceptions to regulations, or to “pull strings” and authorize something for someone if not all of the conditions are met.  Learn more about immigration agencies, immigration documents, and important requirements for international students and scholars by navigating this page.