Summer Travel Reminders

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If you plan to re-enter the U.S. in your F-1 or J-1 status, please make sure your documents are ready for travel! Here’s a quick checklist to review before you go:

When you travel internationally you should carry with you (on your person, not in checked luggage):

  • Valid Passport (valid at least 6 months into the future)
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp (may not be required for visits fewer than 30 days to Mexico, Canada or the contiguous islands. Please consult an OIS advisor if you are traveling to those locations with an expired visa.)
  •  *Most recent I-20 or DS-2019 signed for travel within 6 months of your return date.
    • Check for the signature date on the 2nd page of your I-20 or the box in the lower right-hand corner of the DS-2019.
    • I -20s must be in the new format (See Example)
  •  It is also recommended that you carry your funding documentation (bank statement, TA/RA contract, sponsor letter, etc.) and proof of enrollment at NC State.
  • Students on OPT need to carry the EAD card and job offer letter in addition to your passport and visa stamp that meet the requirements listed above.

If you need a new travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019, please bring your documents to the OIS front desk along with the travel endorsement form. Please note that J-1 and J-2 visa holders will need to provide proof of insurance for themselves and any J-2 dependents, even if the dependents are not traveling.  You can drop the request off at your convenience during regular office hours: Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. It will take up to 5 business days to process your travel signature. We generally cannot do same day signatures, so please plan ahead.

Before traveling internationally, particularly if you are applying for a visa, please view this brief video about what to expect at the consulate and the Port of Entry when you return to the United States.

Please note: It is expected that all students will return to campus by August 16th, the first day of classes for the Fall 2017 semester. If you must arrive late, please review our webpage for additional information on documentation you need to carry and/or provide to OIS.

As always, talk to your OIS advisor if you have specific questions or concerns regarding travel. Have a safe and happy trip!

Places of Interest Near NC State’s Campus

  • Museums – free entry. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Rose Garden/Raleigh Little Theater
    • Beautiful gardens. Close to NC State’s campus
  • Lake Raleigh on Centennial Campus
  • Hunt Library on Centennial Campus
    • State of the art library for NC State Students. Located on Centennial Campus.
  • Bell Tower
    • Visit NC State’s iconic Memorial Belltower. Located on NC State’s campus.
  • Pullen Park– free entry. Open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Close to NC State’s campus
  • Hillsborough Street
    • Visit the many restaurants and shops on Hillsborough street. Located on NC State’s campus.

New Timing & Format of OPT Application Reviews – Starting August 21st!

Due to a large number of students applying for the post-completion OPT, OIS is changing the format of the OPT application review process. Starting August 21st, OIS will be conducting OPT application review sessions twice a week: on Monday and Thursday at 1 pm. During the session, an OIS advisor will go through the application checklist and answer your questions pertaining to the application. You may also request an individual review of your application at the end of this session.

 

Starting August 21st, if you would like to attend an OPT application review session, please follow these steps:

1. Assemble your OPT application package.
2. Bring your application package to OIS on Monday or Thursday at 1 pm
3. Select “OPT Final Application Review” as the reason for your visit when you sign in on the computer.

Thank you.

OIS

“Travel Ban” (Executive Order 13780, issued March 6, 2017) Update

Students and Scholars –

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court (the Court) issued an opinion which allowed part of Executive Order 13780 (the revised “travel ban”) to go into effect on Thursday, June 29.  

The Court’s decision limited the impact of the ban, which attempts to bar visa issuance and entry to the United States for foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  In its decision, anyone who has a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” is exempted.  As long as an individual from those six countries can prove a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity that is “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course” [rather than a relationship being formed specifically for the purpose of qualifying for this exemption], the ban will not apply to them.  

In its ruling, the Court specifically stated that students from the designated countries who have been admitted to a University are considered to have this ‘bona fide relationship’ with an American entity. So too would a worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company (for those of you on J-1 Research Scholar status, Post-Completion OPT, or who are pending a change of status to H-1B).

Remember that even prior to this court decision, a national of one of the six restricted countries was already exempt from the travel ban (per the express terms of the March 6 Executive Order) if he/she falls into one of the following categories: 

  • U.S. lawful permanent resident (green card holder);
  • Dual national traveling on a passport from a non-restricted country; (Canadian permanent residents are not exempt); 
  • Possesses a valid, multiple-entry U.S. visa and is otherwise admissible to the United States;
  • Applicant for adjustment of status with valid advance parole;
  • Granted asylum in the United States; or
  • Admitted as a refugee or is a refugee whose travel was already formally scheduled by the U.S. State Department.

How this Supreme Court Opinion Impacts NC State:

  • There is no change on travel guidance to our international campus community. Due to the continuing uncertainty regarding the travel ban and how these ‘bona fide relationships’ will be reviewed (The Court will hear oral arguments on the full Executive Order in October 2017) we still recommend that impacted individuals refrain from travel if at all possible.
  • Individuals from any of the six countries who are currently outside the U.S. and need a visa to enter should still be granted a visa and admitted, with clear evidence of a bona fide relationship. According to the Court, examples of a bona fide relationship include:
  • Close familial relationships (DHS and DOS have issued FAQs on the definition of a close familial relationship.  The state of Hawaii already challenged this definition in District Court, so this may change);
  • Students at U.S. universities or individuals who have already been admitted or are attending a U.S. university;
  • Employees of U.S. entities or individuals that have already accepted employment or are working with a U.S. entity; or
  • Foreign nationals invited to lecture to an American audience
  • The Department of State has issued an FAQ regarding implementation of the Executive Order.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (which governs Customs and Border Protection) has also issued an FAQ regarding implementation.
  • All international travelers should continue to expect delays during visa appointments and at ports of entry. Consular officers abroad and CBP at all ports of entry will now have to accommodate the Court’s ruling and agency protocol and make additional decisions regarding who to admit into the U.S., which will undoubtedly cause additional delays.   
  • As always, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will continue to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether the individual is admissible to the U.S.  It’s possible CBP will decide to re-review the bona fide relationship to the U.S., even if the person already met this burden and obtained an entry visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy overseas. If travel is necessary, we strongly recommend that individuals from any of the six countries carry extensive documentation showing their bona fide ties to the United States.  Please work closely with OIS if you must travel to prepare this documentation.
  • The executive order also authorizes the DHS and DOS to grant discretionary waivers of the entry ban where the denial of entry would cause hardship or the foreign national’s entry is in the national interest and entry would not pose a threat to national security. However, the stringent criteria and lack of a clear application process suggest that waivers may be difficult to obtain.

If you decide to travel, please make an appointment with an advisor at OIS so that we can advise you on what documentation to travel with and what to do should you encounter difficulty in getting a visa in time to return for classes or if you encounter difficulty at the Port of Entry.

The Office of International Services, International Employment, and the Office of General Counsel are closely monitoring the government’s implementation of the Supreme Court decision and the executive order, and will provide further information as developments occur. 

New Fraud Alert: Department of Homeland Security Hotline

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline Telephone Number has been used in scam to obtain personally identifiable information. The DHS OIG has issued a fraud alert to warn individuals of reports that the DHS OIG Hotline telephone number has been used recently as part of a telephone spoofing scam targeting individuals throughout the country.The perpetrators of the scam represent themselves as employees with “U.S. Immigration” and can alter caller ID systems to make it appear that the call is coming from the DHS OIG Hotline telephone number (1-800-323-8603). The scammers demand to obtain or verify personally identifiable information from their victims through various tactics, including by telling individuals that they are the victims of identity theft. Many of the scammers reportedly have pronounced accents.

The DHS OIG is taking this matter very seriously and is investigating the situation. As a reminder, DHS OIG never uses its Hotline number to make outgoing calls — the phone line is only used to receive information from the public. Individuals should not answer calls purporting to be from 1-800-323-8603, and should never provide personal information during calls purporting to be from the DHS OIG Hotline. It continues to be perfectly safe to use the DHS OIG Hotline to report fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement within DHS components or programs. Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this telephone spoofing scam is urged to call the Hotline or file a complaint online via the DHS OIG website www.oig.dhs.gov. You may also contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and/or report identity theft.

For additional information on common scams and tips on what to do if you are contacted by a scammer, please review the Scam Alert information on the OIS website.

2017 Scam Alert

Dear Students and Scholars,

OIS has been informed that international students and scholars continue to be subjected to scams involving calls appearing to be someone from a government agency including the FBI, USCIS, IRS, the Wake County Detention Center, and even 911. The caller may demand personally identifiable information or payment with a specific method such as wire transfer or gift cards to resolve an error with your record. These calls are completely false.

In some cases, the caller claims you did something wrong regarding your immigration status or taxes, and that you are going to be deported. They claim that you are under surveillance, and that you cannot contact any other individual or go to any website to confirm this issue. They state that you must wire money to them to start an investigation, or to pay a fine, etc. and they ask you to provide other sensitive personal and financial information in the process including your Social Security Number, bank account information, and other identity documents. Even if the caller already has a lot of information about you, do not share any additional personal or financial information such as your SSN, bank account, or debit/card information. 

If you receive a similar call, understand the following:

  • No government agency or agent will call you to demand payment over the phone. Even in cases where legitimate money is owed (such as taxes) the government will communicate with you in writing, not over the phone.
  •  911 is not a number that you will receive a call from. The only time that 911 may legitimately show up as a number in your caller ID is in the case of a “Reverse 911” call (which will give safety information advising a threat in your area, and is usually a recorded message. Very similar to the Wolf Alert system).
  • The government will not demand a particular method of payment (such as wire transfer, gift cards, etc.). There will be multiple methods of payment available.
  • The government will not ask for your personal or financial information such as your SSN, bank account information, credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • The government will not threaten arrest or deportation over non-payment.
  • A government agent cannot remain anonymous- they must disclose badge information.

What should you do if you get such a call?

  1. Do NOT transfer any money or share any personal or financial details, even if the caller already has a lot of information about you.
  2. Try to get the name and contact number for whomever is calling, along with a badge number.
  3. HANG UP!!! Do not answer any additional calls from that number.
  4. Report it to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ If you receive an email are not sure if it is a scam, forward the suspicious email to the USCIS Webmaster at uscis.webmaster@uscis.dhs.gov. USCIS will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies as appropriate.
  5. Call NC State University Police at 919-515-3000 immediately to report it to the university. Then call OIS at 919-515-2961 or email ois@ncsu.edu.

What should I do if I already gave them personal information or transferred money?

  1. Call NCSU Police at 919-515-3000 to file a report. The police will most likely not be able to get you back your money if the money was already picked up after being wired. However the police report can be helpful in making other credit protection reports.
  2. Please also notify OIS so that we can keep abreast of new aspects to any fraud scam to further alert students and scholars.
  3. If you gave someone your Social Security Number, report that to the SSA. Also read this publication for additional information.
  4. Monitor your credit. The Federal Trade Commission has developed an extensive guide to managing identity theft. Some of this you may not need if you are not noticing any fraudulent activity on your credit report, but you must check your credit report to be sure. You are entitled to a free report every year.

How did they figure out I was here on a visa? How did they get my phone number?

OIS and NC State University strictly protects your status as an international student or scholar. Most often, identifying you as someone on a visa is an informed guess based on information that you have made public.

  1. Check your Linkedin and other job search accounts. Remove your phone number and address from any posted resume or summary of your work history. Leave only email.
  2. Check all other social media accounts, particularly if they are public. Remove your phone number for those accounts, and be careful with the personal information you post.
  3. Check your Directory information on the NC State website. You can choose what you want listed on the Directory such as only listing email, and students can also choose to not be listed at all.

Other types of scams to be aware of:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline Scam

Employment Scam Targeting College Students

Email Phishing Scams

Learn more about common scams and frauds at https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds

February 2017 Staff Spotlight

Eric Syty, International Services Assistant

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Eric Syty (pronounced just like city), and I am originally from Buffalo, NY, and now reside in Cary, NC with my fiance Kaitlyn and our cat, Luna. I grew up with two brothers, a twin (we do not look a like) and an older brother. My childhood consisted of many sports (soccer, basketball, track (indoor and outdoor), volleyball and numerous others just for fun).  After high school I went to Saint Francis University (PA.) where I earned my Bachelor’s in English Literature and Communications, while playing division I volleyball.

After Saint Francis I attended The University of Akron (Oh.) where I earned my Masters in Higher Education Administration and was a graduate assistant in the athletic academic offices. Following my time at Akron I moved back to Buffalo and worked as a Mortgage Specialist with a bank for two years, before making the move to warmer weather. The rumors are true, I am 6’8″ and out of fear, I duck through doorways and the tunnels on campus.

What do you do at OIS? What are your primary responsibilities?
My title with OIS is “International Services Assistant”, and you can find me on the front lines. I man the front desk, while welcoming all students who come through the door and call in. Additionally I help respond to e-mails, and provide assistance when and where ever needed.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to hike, camp, be adventurous, exercise, and play any and all sports. During my “lazy” days I like to watch TV (shows about food, tiny houses, and a wide array of others), as well as watch movies. When the TV just does not cut it, I like to play N64 (Mario Kart and Mario Party), as well as work on designing a tiny house that one day I could live in. I also enjoy taking pictures (IG: ericsyty), cooking and trying new food.

Where are a few places you have traveled?
When I was young I traveled to Germany and Luxembourg, and frequently made trips to Canada, since it was only a short drive from Buffalo. Within the US I have been as far West as California, and south to Florida, as well as numerous states in the North East. I hope to one day make my way to the North Western states and to do some camping and hiking.