Guidance on International Travel and U.S. Immigration Changes

Guidance on International Travel and U.S. Immigration Changes
February 10, 2017

Notice on U.S. Immigration Policy Changes

On Friday, January 27, the new administration issued an executive order that restricts entry, including re-entry, into the U.S. by citizens and nationals on non-immigrant visas from seven designated countries. The countries include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Along with the Harvard International Office (HIO), we've been working with offices across the University to understand these changes and advise and support our affiliates. It's an extremely fluid situation with significant judicial activity. Another University-wide information session is scheduled for Monday, February 13 from 6:30-8 pm at the Harvard-Yenching Auditorium.

Key Points of the Executive Order

  • Entry into the U.S. by citizens and nationals of the seven designated countries is temporarily restricted for 90 days.
  • Foreign nationals from the seven designated countries will most likely not be readmitted into the U.S. if they travel abroad.
  • Additional countries could be added to the designated list at any time.

Guidance for Harvard Affiliates

A temporary restraining order, which halted the enforcement of certain provisions of the executive order banning foreign nationals from the seven countries from entering the U.S., remains in effect after a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Despite this ruling, and given the possibility of a change in government policy that could go into effect immediately, Harvard continues to advise foreign nationals to exercise caution if considering travel outside the U.S. We'll update our guidance as the situation continues to evolve. 

  • Foreign nationals from the seven designated countries: Carefully assess whether it is worth the risk to travel outside the U.S., and discuss any travel plans with your HIO advisor. If you choose to leave the U.S. and the court rules to reinstate the ban, you will likely not be readmitted. See HIO's travel advisory and executive order update for more information. You can also review the information session presentation from the February 1 event. HIO can also provide you with contact information for immigration attorneys.
  • All other foreign nationals: Due to the uncertainty of other countries being added to the executive order if and when it is reinstated by the court, we encourage you to exercise caution and carefully assess whether it is worth the risk to travel outside the U.S. You can review HIO's travel advisory and executive order update, as well as the information session presentation from the February event. You should discuss any travel plans outside the U.S. with your HIO advisor. HIO can provide contact information for immigration attorneys, if needed.
  • U.S. citizens or foreign nationals planning to travel to one or more of the seven designated countries: Although the executive order does not prohibit travel to the seven designated countries, we recommend that you carefully assess whether it is worth the risk to travel to the designated countries at this time. The potential exists for reciprocal measures to be taken by the seven designated countries, meaning that they may deny entry to U.S. travelers or other travelers. If you choose to travel, you should confirm with the embassy or consulate that issued your visa to determine if you will be permitted to enter that country. Additionally, upon attempted re-entry to the U.S., you may face increased scrutiny and delays.

Register International Travel

Regardless of your international destination, we strongly encourage you to enter your itinerary and contact information in the Harvard Travel Registry. Doing so enables us to expedite assistance if you need help while abroad. In light of the current immigration policy changes, it will also enable us to advise you prior to departure if immigration policy changes may affect your trip.

Travel Tips

  • Check with your airline prior to departure to ensure you'll be able to board.
  • Expect security and customs delays, and leave yourself additional time.
  • Carry your passport, valid visa document, valid visa stamp, a letter from Harvard attesting to your status, your resume/CV, and the Harvard Travel Assist contact information.

24/7 Emergency Assistance While Abroad

If you travel abroad and you are not permitted to return to the U.S., contact Harvard Travel Assist, our 24/7 international emergency response program at +1-617-998-000 or Case managers will advise you accordingly and notify us immediately so that we can work with the appropriate departments to help you.

A Message for the Harvard Community

To the Harvard community from all parts of the world who have long demonstrated their dedication to educational advancement and the pursuit of knowledge, we share your concerns about the executive order on immigration, and we’re here to support you.

Mental Health Resources

We recognize the emotional strain that these events and the weight of uncertainty are placing on all of us. If you'd like to speak with a counselor or a mental health professional, contact one of the departments listed below.

  • For students: Counseling and Mental Health Services, which is provided through Harvard University Health Services
  • For employees: Employee Assistance Program, which includes free, expert, confidential consultations and referrals to professionals near your work or home
  • For students and employees traveling abroad: Harvard Travel Assist, which provides access to English-speaking mental health professionals and connection to Harvard-specific and U.S.-based counseling resources