News

USCIS Resumes H-1B Premium Processing Service

On July 24, 2017, USCIS announced that it has resumed premium processing (15-day expedite) service for certain cap-exempt petitions. UCSF, an institution of higher education, is cap-exempt and eligible to use premium processing service again.
 
UCSF Departments and Scholars that wish to utilize premium processing should work with their H-1B adviser in the ISSO to make the request. A check for $1,225 payable to Department of Homeland Security will be needed to expedite an H-1B case that is either currently in preparation or pending with USCIS.
 
The announcement can be found online:

 

QUESTIONS?

We encourage international students, scholars and faculty to email ISSO with general questions or concerns. For case specific questions, please contact the following H-1B advisers:

 

 

UC President's Office Guidance on Supreme Court Decision on Executive Order 13780 “Travel Ban.”

On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, The University of California's Office of the President  published guidance on the recent United States Supreme Court decision and implementation of Executive Order 13780. The new guidance may be read on the University of California's immigration webpage.

Supreme Court Decision on Executive Order 13780 “Travel Ban.”

On Monday, June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States granted the U.S. government’s request for a stay of the previous lower court preliminary injunctions to the Executive Order 13780 “Travel Ban. This order bars nationals of Libya, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen from entry into the US for a period of ninety days. The Supreme Court’s decision allows the implementation of the Order with the exception that nationals of the designated countries may enter the United States if they can demonstrate a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Learn more about the Supreme Court’s decision.


New Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration

On March 6, 2017 the President of the United States revoked his prior Executive Order 13769, which had been issued January 27, 2017, and issued a new Executive Order that temporarily suspends visa issuance and U.S. entry for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for a period of 90-days. ISSO has designated a web page specifically about the new executive order.


ISSO Limited Services, May 30-June 2, 2017

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will be operating on minimal staffing May 30-June 2, due to attendance at an off-site immigration conference.

During the off-site conference:

  • ISSO will not be able to process requests or sign documents for travel
  • ISSO office hours will be 9 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–4 p.m.
  • Students and scholars will be able to pick up and drop off documents; however, visa advising will not be available

Be sure to reach out to your ISSO adviser prior to May 30 if you have advising inquiries.

If you have an emergency during the conference, please email your ISSO adviser and add “Emergency” to the email subject line.


Updated Visa Recharge Fees, Effective July 1, 2017

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will update its visa recharge fees, effective July 1, 2017. The updated recharge rates will be effective July 1, 2017-June 30, 2019.

If you have questions, please contact ISSO Director, Brian Groves at brian.groves@ucsf.edu

 

Visa Type

Rates

J1 Short-term

$610

J1 Initial (1yr)

$640

J1 2yr

$840

J1 3-5yr

$1,150

J1 Ext, Amendment, Other Changes (Short-Term)

$440

J1 Ext, Amendment, Other Changes (1yr)

$500

J1 Ext, Amendment, Other Changes (2yr)

$640

J1 Ext, Amendment, Other Changes (3-5yr)

$1,290

J1 ECFMG

$890

H1B Initial

$2,000

H1B Ext, Amendment, Other Changes

$1,750

E-3 Initial

$1,660

E-3 Ext.

$1,610

TN Letter

$660

TN Application

$1,690

O Outside Counsel

$2,610

O Internal Ext.

$3,760

PR Outside Counsel

$3,260

B-1 Visitors, SOM Clinical Electives

$560

*Recharge fees for J-1 and B-1 visitors can be paid by the principal investigator, scholar or from Department funds.

*Recharge fees for H-1B, TN, E-3, O-1 and PR can only be paid by the principal investigator or paid from Department funds. The recharge fees for these employment-based visas cannot be paid by the scholar.

 

Yellow Fever Vaccine Shortage

*Notification issued by UCSF's Student Health & Counseling Services

On April 12, 2017, UCSF's Student Health & Counseling Services announced that all available U.S. supplies of the Yellow Fever vaccine are expected to be exhausted within four to six weeks. The vaccine is not expected to be available in the U.S. again until June 2018. The vaccine will remain largely available most of Europe, South America, India, Australia, New Zealand and other nations under the trade name “Stamaril."

UCSF students who are either visiting or matriculating from countries where Stamaril is offered might consider obtaining the vaccine and the accompanying International Certificate of Vaccination in that country if they anticipate travel to or through sub-Saharan Africa, South America or Panama during the 2017-2018 academic calendar year.

Email UCSF's Student Health & Counseling Services with questions.


USCIS Temporarily Suspends H-1B Premium Processing

Effective April 3, 2017, United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) will temporarily suspend premium processing service for all H-1B petitions. Premium processing is a USCIS program that provides for an expedited 15-day initial review for an additional $1,225 fee. USCIS has indicated that this suspension may last up to six months.

Please note that ISSO will host a session TONIGHT, March 8 to discuss the details of the USCIS suspension. Please see details at the end of this notification.

 

WHAT THE SUSPENSION MEANS:

  • USCIS will continue to premium process H-1B petitions if the request is properly filed before April 3, 2017
  • If an H-1B petition is received April 3, 2017 or after, the petition will undergo regular processing, which is currently taking eight to ten months to process
  • Current UCSF H-1B scholars needing an extension of status will continue to be eligible for employment up to 240-days beyond their current expiration date, as long as a timely filing was submitted even without expedited service. Departments should plan in advance with HR to mitigate delays.
  • H-1B scholars transferring from another H-1B employer to UCSF will also continue to be eligible to begin employment based on the timely filing

 

HOW ISSO IS PRIORITIZING PREMIUM PROCESSING REQUESTS:

ISSO is prioritizing H-1B initial requests that have been submitted through the SRS ticketing system to HR by March 7, 2017. Unfortunately, due to the short notice from USCIS, ISSO will not be able to process H-1B initial requests with premium processing service if submitted after March 7, 2017.

Please note that other types of non-H-1B petitions eligible for premium processing may continue to utilize the expedited service.

 

POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCE OF NOT RECEIVING A VALID H-1B APPROVAL NOTICE:

  • Inability to start or continue employment at UCSF (for initial H-1B applicants)
  • Inability to travel abroad and enter the U.S.
  • Inability to apply for- or renew- a California driver license

 

WHY IS USCIS SUSPENDING H-1B PREMIUM PROCESSING?:

According to USCIS, premium processing suspension is needed to help reduce overall H-1B processing times, which are currently running close to eight months. By suspending premium processing, USCIS indicates that the agency will be able to focus on processing long-pending petitions that have gone unprocessed because of the large number of premium processing requests. While petitioners may request expedited processing if they meet certain exceptional criteria, such requests are rarely granted.

QUESTIONS?:

We encourage international students, scholars and faculty to email ISSO with general questions or concerns. For case specific questions, please contact the following H-1B advisers:

Updates will be posted to this site as they become available.


ISSO Holiday Hours, Dec 23, 2016 - Jan 2, 2017

Happy holidays from the ISSO! In preparation for the winter holiday, we are sharing important information regarding office closures and travel guidance.

  • Office Closure: Dec 23, Dec 26, Dec 30, Jan 2
  • Office Open By Appointment Only: Dec 27-29. Contact your ISSO adviser to set-up an appointment in advance.

Prior to traveling, please review the following travel guidelines:

  • Travel Outside the U.S.
  • Travel within the United States: Travel with your passport, H-1B I-797 / J-1 DS-2019/ F-1 I-20 and I-94 printout

 


Increase in Department of Homeland Security Immigration Filing Fees Coming Dec 2016

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has just published a new rule that raises immigration filing fees. Below are the relevant fee changes for employment-related petitions and benefits. Effective November 18, 2016, all H-1B requests submitted by Departments to HR must include checks written with the new DHS fee amounts. H-1B checks submitted on or after November 18, 2016 with the old fees will be returned. This deadline will help ensure that HR and ISSO are sending requests to the government with the correct fees.

For questions regarding immigration filing fees, please contact Chris Flores at chris.flores@ucsf.edu.

Type of Benefit (Form Number)

Visa Categories Affected

New Fee

Current Fee

Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (I-129)

H-1B, TN, E-3, O-1

$460

$325

Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (I-539)

H-1B, H-4, J-1, J-2, F-1, F-2

$370

$290

 


ISSO Limited Services - Oct 31 - Nov 4, 2016

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will be operating on minimal staffing October 31-November 4, 2016, due to attendance at an off-site immigration conference. During this time:

  • ISSO will not be able to process requests
  • ISSO office hours will be 9am–12pm and 1–4pm
  • Students and scholars will be able to pick up and drop off documents; however, visa advising and travel signatures will not be available

Please be sure to meet with your ISSO adviser prior to October 31 for immediate assistance. If you have an immigration related emergency during this time, please email visa@ucsf.edu and list "Immigration Emergency" in the subject heading.

 


India - Extended Wait Times for H-1B Visa Appointments

The ISSO was recently notified of extended wait times to schedule H-1B visa interviews at U.S. embassies/consulates in India, ranging from 60-100 days. Please note that this does not account for administrative processing time. Unfortunately, the Department of State is unable to anticipate when wait times will decrease.

If H-1B scholars need to renew their visa in India in the coming months, they should complete the following steps prior to scheduling a visa appointment and booking travel plans abroad:

  • Check the current embassy/consulate interview and processing wait times at the Department of State website;
  • Talk with their PI about the extended visa wait times, and tentatively discuss arrangements if they are not able to return on the date that they anticipate. Notify their Department HR liaison and HR, as appropriate.

For questions about the extended wait times for H-1B visa interviews, please contact H-1B advisers Russell Guajardo (russell.guajardo@ucsf.edu) for Postdoctoral Scholar appointments and Chris Flores (chris.flores@ucsf.edu) for Specialist, Researcher, Faculty and all other appointments.

*The ISSO has notified H-1B international scholars of these delays.

 


ISSO Limited Services, May 31 - June 3, 2016

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will be operating on minimal staffing May 31 - June 3, 2016, due to attendance at an off-site immigration conference. During this time:

  • ISSO will not be able to process requests or sign documents for travel
  • ISSO office hours May 31 - June 3, 2016 will be 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and 2–4 p.m.
  • Students and scholars will be able to pick up and drop off documents; however, visa advising will not be available.

If you have an emergency during this time, please email your ISSO adviser and add “Emergency” to the email subject line.

 


New STEM OPT Regulations, effective May 10, 2016

As you may be aware, on occasion, UCSF hires international students who have been in valid F-1 status and are in their Optional Practical Training (OPT) year. These international students are sponsored by UCSF and other educational institutions, depending on where the F-1 student’s degree was awarded.

Effective May 10, 2016, there are new regulations that may allow for international students who have been granted a degree in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields to extend their F-1 OPT status if they meet certain criteria.

This notification provides guidance for Departments who are currently employing (or who will employ) F-1 OPT STEM students. For more information about F-1 OPT, please refer to the F-1 employment section of our website.

What is STEM OPT?

STEM OPT allows international students with a U.S. Bachelors, Masters, or Doctoral degree in certain Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) fields to work beyond the initial 12-month OPT period.

What are the important changes?

  • Duration: STEM OPT period will increase from 17-months to 24-months (for a total of 36 eligible months of employment)
  • Training Plan, Form I-983: Students and employers must complete and submit a training plan to their international student adviser before an application can be sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)
  • Training Plan Modifications: Material changes to employment require that students and employers update and submit the training plan to their international student adviser
  • Evaluations: Requires annual and final supervisor evaluation
  • Employment Requirements: Must work a minimum of 20-hours per week and be paid employment; without salary appointments are not eligible for OPT STEM
  • Termination: Terminations prior to the authorized employment end date must be reported to the sponsoring F-1 school within 5-business days.

 

How will UCSF hiring Departments be impacted?

The new rule will allow a longer duration of employment authorization.

  • It will require the employer and employee to create a training plan using DHS form I-983. Guidance for completing the I-983 can be found at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security webpage.
  • The employee’s supervisor will need to evaluate the student on an annual basis and complete a final evaluation.
  • Termination of employment prior to the end date of authorized employment will need to be reported to the sponsoring school within 5-business days. The supervisor completing the training plan will be required to notify the sponsoring institution’s international office.

Questions?

  • If you are employing a UCSF-sponsored F-1 OPT STEM student, please contact kevin.long@ucsf.edu. An F-1 “UCSF-sponsored student” is an international student who has been awarded a degree from UCSF.
  • If you are employing a non-UCSF sponsored F-1 OPT STEM student, the student must contact the international adviser at the institution that granted their degree for additional guidance.
  • If you are a UCSF department representative who has questions about employing a STEM OPT student, please contact the ISSO at visa@ucsf.edu.

Resources

 


H-1B Processing Slowdown with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Jan 21, 2016

Posted by: International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), Academic Human Resources Shared Services Team and Postdoctoral Scholar Shared Services Team

SUMMARY: We are writing to advise you that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is backlogged in processing all H-1B petitions. It is taking approximately 8 months for the USCIS to approve an H-1B petition. This does not include the time required for HR and ISSO internal processing, which is 4 months. This is an unprecedented delay for the USCIS. Unfortunately, there has not been USCIS guidance or an explanation regarding the slowdown.

As a result, we strongly recommend that UCSF Departments submit SRS tickets for H-1B requests at least 9 months in advance of the start date. This will allow us to submit H-1B petitions to the USCIS around 6-months prior to the program start date, the earliest that the government will accept H-1B applications.

In addition, because regular processing is subject to many factors outside our control, we cannot guarantee that the H-1B will be approved even with early submission. Therefore we strongly recommend submitting applications with premium processing service. Premium processing is the only way to ensure timely USCIS processing, and should be used if an appointment has a time sensitive start date. With premium processing, the USCIS will adjudicate or provide an update to the petition within 15 calendar days from the date that USCIS receives UCSF’s H-1B petition filing. Premium processing does not include HR and ISSO 4 months internal processing prior to the USCIS filing date. The fee for premium processing is $1,225, payable to the Department of Homeland Security. For requests that have already been submitted (or that are in process), the ISSO may recommend upgrading the case to USCIS premium processing to expedite service.

For details regarding for specific H-1B requests, please read below.

What is USCIS Premium Processing?

USCIS premium processing requires the USCIS to render a decision or request further evidence within 15 calendar days. It also allows the ISSO to contact the processing center directly for case inquiries. Premium processing does not include HR and ISSO 4 months internal processing prior to the USCIS filing date. The 15-day clock starts from the point that a complete application is submitted and received by USCIS. It is possible to upgrade a filed H-1B regular processing case to premium processing at a later date. A check for $1,225 needs to be requested in Bear Buy, payable to Department of Homeland Security and forwarded to the ISSO to request premium processing service.

What types of H-1B applications are affected?

*All initial, renewal and transfer H-1B applications are affected.

INITIAL H-1B PETITIONS

All initial H-1B applications currently require premium processing service due to the USCIS slowdown. A foreign national cannot start work at UCSF on the H-1B visa until the change of status application is approved by USCIS. A foreign national who is abroad cannot apply for an entry visa at the US Embassy until the initial H-1B application is approved by the USCIS. In these situations, premium processing is necessary in order to secure the H-1B in a timely manner.

For requests that have already been submitted (or that are in process),- the ISSO may recommend using USCIS premium processing to expedite adjudication. A few cases where this would be necessary is if the scholar requires UCSF work authorization, needs to travel abroad or needs to apply for a drivers license.

RENEWAL H-1B PETITIONS

For renewals, amendments and transfers H-1B applications, a foreign national may continue work at UCSF based on the additional 240-day grace period upon the application submission. However, the individual cannot travel abroad or apply for a driver license with the California DMV until they receive USCIS approval of the extension of status application.

TRANSFER H-1B PETITIONS

H-1B transfers (change of employer) are treated as renewals, meaning the 240-day grace period applies. They can start work with UCSF shortly after submitting the application to the USCIS, however, there may still be issues with traveling abroad, applying for a driver license, etc.

For both renewals and transfers, USCIS processing is now approaching the end of the 240-day grace period. The ISSO is monitoring these cases and will recommend premium processing as required for continued work authorization beyond the 240-day grace period.

*For questions regarding H-1B timing, please contact H-1B advisers Russell Guajardo (russell.guajardo@ucsf.edu) for Postdoctoral Scholar appointments and Chris Flores (chris.flores@ucsf.edu) for Specialist, Researcher, Faculty and all other appointments.

 


ISSO Limited Services, Oct 1, 2015

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will be operating on minimal staffing October 26-30, 2015, due to attendance at an off-site immigration conference. During this time:

  • ISSO will not be able to process requests or sign documents for travel
  • ISSO office hours Oct 26-28 and 30 will be 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and 2–4 p.m.
  • ISSO office hours Oct 29 will be 9-10 a.m. and 2–4 p.m.
  • Students and scholars will be able to pick up and drop off documents; however, visa advising will not be available.

If you have an emergency during this time, please email your ISSO adviser and add “Emergency” to the email subject line.

 


U.S. District Court Ruling on OPT STEM, Aug 12, 2015

On Wednesday, August 12, a US District Court issued a decision affecting the work authorization of F-1 students extending their Optional Practical Training (OPT) beyond 12 months based on a STEM degree. The US District Court decision,

  • found that the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to implement the STEM OPT rule legally, and
  • discontinues the ability to apply for (or continue employment on) OPT STEM extension after February 16, 2016

The Court recommended that DHS implement the OPT STEM rule properly in order to continue the program past February 16, 2016. It is expected that DHS will re-implement the rule properly, thereby allowing F-1 students to participate in OPT STEM without a break in service beyond February 16, 2016.

The Court’s decision is currently under review by their legal counsel and we anticipate that they will post guidance in the next few weeks. Until we receive further guidance from DHS, the ISSO will continue to process OPT STEM applications as normal. We will also post any developments regarding DHS guidance as soon as we receive it.

 


New Policy for Shortening J-1 Programs, April 22, 2015

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has issued a guidance directive notifying institutions of new procedures for J-1 exchange visitors who complete their programs early.

Effective immediately, J-1s who complete their program more than 15 calendar days prior to the end date listed on their DS-2019 are now eligible for a 30-day grace period. Exchange visitors who complete their program on-time or less than 15 calendar days prior to the end date listed on their DS-2019 form are also eligible for their 30-day grace period, which begins the day after the end date listed on the exchange visitor’s DS-2019 form. During the 30-day grace period, exchange visitors can travel within the United States and/or prepare for their final departure. Exchange visitors are not eligible to participate in their program objective during their grace period, whether paid or unpaid.

The procedure for notifying the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) of a J-1 exchange visitor completing their program early remains the same:

  1. Departments notify their Academic HR gGeneralist of the new J-1 end date via an HR Service Request System (SRS) “separation” ticket.
  2. Academic HR Generalist processes the separation of the scholar’s UCSF academic appointment.
  3. Academic HR Generalist submits an ISSO Program Completion form to the ISSO.
  4. ISSO shortens the program end date in the government system for J-1 exchange visitors who complete their program more than 15 days prior to the end date listed on their DS-2019 form. Based on the DOS Guidance Directive, the ISSO will not shorten exchange visitor programs in the government database for J-1s who complete their program less than 15 calendar days prior to the program end date listed on their DS-2019. No further action is needed when exchange visitors complete their program less than 15 calendar days prior to the J-1’s program end date.

 


Launching ISD for H-1B Requests, effective April 06, 2015

The ISSO is pleased to announce that the online visa request system- International Scholar Dossier (ISD) – will go live with processing H-1B requests April 6, 2015.

To assist with this transition, ISSO has developed ISD Manuals that will guide HR and scholars through the request process. The ISSO has also updated all H-1B forms to be submitted with visa requests. To access these documents, please clear your web browser cache and click on the Manuals & Forms section of our website.

Please note that the ISSO is unable to process requests that are submitted with outdated H-1B forms.

Also effective April 6, 2015:

  • ISSO Fee Form: The ISSO will no longer accept fee forms for J-1 and H-1B requests. Rather, HR will select the appropriate type of request from a dropdown menu in the ISD Appointment Tab.
  • Profile Status & Type: Prior to submitting requests, HR must select the appropriate Profile Status and Profile Type in ISD. These fields are located in the ISD Tasks tab, within ‘Review and Submit Visitor’s Information.’ For guidance, please refer to the HR ISD Manual (‘Review and Submit Process’).
  • Duplicate Record Reminder: If you receive a duplicate record notice when you “Add Visitor” in ISD, please contact Russell Guajardo with the required information (p 10 in HR ISD Manual). Russell provide you with instructions on how to proceed.

We would like to thank the HR Academic Manager work group and HR Academic Generalists for their collaboration and feedback. Our hope is that the system will improve the tracking and accuracy of H-1B visa requests.

Please disseminate this information to HR Academic Generalists, additional HR members and administrators as appropriate.

 


Regulatory Changes for J-Exchange Visitors, Nov 20, 2014

In October, the United States Department of State published a substantial change to J-regulations with the intention of better protecting program participants.  These changes will be implemented in two phases, starting on January 5, 2015. It is very important that exchange visitors understand these changes, especially the new insurance coverage amounts. A summary of the changes that directly affect J-1 and J-2 holders and their hosts is below. For questions regarding the new regulatory requirements, please contact your International Adviser.

New Reporting Requirements Starting on January 5, 2015

J-1 Students and Scholars must now report the following information (and update ISSO within 10 days of any change):

  1. Primary e-mail address
  2. Primary telephone number

The ISSO will update our current online address update system to include phone numbers and e-mails.

J-1 Students and Scholars must now report report the following information for J-2 Dependents (and update ISSO  within 10 days of any change):

  1. Primary e-mail address
  2. Departure from the US if leaving prior to the final departure of their J-1 spouse or parent

If the J-2 dependent is a child without a personal e-mail address, it’s acceptable to use a parent’s email address. J-2 dependents can report their email addresses at http://tinyurl.com/J2Email.

New Insurance Coverage Amounts Starting on May 15, 2015

By May 15, 2015 all J-1 and J-2 visa holders must have health insurance that meets these minimums:

Medical Benefits:                                $100,000 per accident or illness

Repatriation of Remains:                 $25,000

Medical Evacuation                            $50,000

Deductible                                            not to exceed $500

Coverage must begin no later than “Program Begin Date” as noted on their DS-2019 form and must not end before the effective “Program End Date.”

Program sponsors are also required to notify J-1 visa holders that they and their J-2 dependents may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Details regarding the ACA can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/index.html, and penalties for lack of coverage can be found at https://www.healthcare.gov/fees-exemptions/fee-for-not-being-covered/.

UCSF Benefits & DOS Insurance Requirements

The ISSO has reached out to the UCSF Benefits Office, and we are happy to provide the following information to exchange visitors who hold academic appointments with UCSF insurance plans.

For additional questions regarding coverage, exchange visitors are required to independently contact their insurance provider at the phone numbers listed below.

If an exchange visitor has a UCSF insurance plan that does not meet the medical evacuation and repatriation (MER) requirements listed in the chart below, they are required to purchase supplemental MER coverage before May 15, 2015. A-G Administrators offers a plan that currently meets MER requirements. Please complete the form and submit it to A-G Administrators, Inc. P.O. Box 979 Valley Forge, PA. 19482. A-G Administrators has assured UCSF that on May 15, 2015, they will increase their current coverage to meet the new regulatory requirements. They will contact affected members at that time if there will be a change to the cost of their coverage. For questions regarding A-G MER coverage, call (800) 634-8628.

If you are an employee currently enrolled in the CORE medical plan or the Blue Shield HSA plan, please contact the Benefits Office – 415-476-1400 to discuss your options.

Insurance Plan

Meets Primary Medical Insurance Requirements?

Meets Medical Evacuation & Repatriation Requirements?

Contact Information

Postdoctoral Insurance Plan

Yes

Yes

1-800-254-1758

Western Health Advantage

Yes

No

1-888-563-2250

UC Care

Yes

No

1-855-201-2087

Kaiser Permanente-California

Yes

No

1-800-464-4000

Health Net Blue & Gold

Yes

No

1-800-539-4072

Blue Shield Health Savings Plan

No. Does not meet $500 maximum deductible requirement

No

1-855-201-8375

Core

No. Does not meet $500 maximum deductible requirement

No

1-855-201-8375

Exchange visitors are independently responsible for making sure that the insurance that they have meets Subpart A requirements by May 15, 2015.

Objective Measurement English Language Proficiency for New J-1 Exchange Visitors Starting on January 5, 2015

Any DS-2019 form issued on or after January 5, 2015 will require the student or scholar beginning a new J-1 program to demonstrate English language proficiency in one of three ways:

  1. A recognized English language test;
  2. Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school;
  3. A documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option

The ISSO created a form for department hosts to use in assessing English proficiency that is compliant with the new requirement.  Human Resources will make sure to include the new form in any J-1 application for DS-2019 forms issued on or after January 5, 2015.

The ISSO is working with the Department of State, NAFSA and other UC international offices to ensure smooth implementation of these new rules.  We will keep you updated of any new changes as they occur.

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) operates based on the fees it charges for its visa services.  The rates are established every two years based on a review from the Budget and Resource Management Office and approval from the ISSO Advisory Committee.

The Budget and Resource Management Office recently reviewed and approved the ISSO's budget for 2014-2015. Although the ISSO has not increased staffing or its operating budget, the 2014-2015 represents a significant increase from the 2012-2013 recharge fees. This is due to a loss of income over the last recharge period, primarily because of a decrease in H-1B applications from the projected amount and J-1 visa fees that were too low to recover the actual costs.

We understand that our increased fees come at a time of tight budgets across UCSF. We appreciate your support as we recover our operations costs and are grateful for your continued support of UCSF's international students and scholars.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Brian Groves

Director, ISSO

 The U.S. State Department’s consular database experienced technical issues last week. As a result, U.S. embassies and consulates were unable to issue renewal visas. The consular database is slowly returning to normal operating capacity. Until the database is fully functioning, consulates may reschedule and/or limit visa appointments. The State Department is communicating directly with visa applicants by email about rescheduled visa appointments and have posted service level updates on respective consulate and embassy websites. If scholars are currently experiencing a visa delay, they should contact their consulate or embassy directly for status updates. If scholars have not been notified by their consulate or embassy, they should attend their scheduled visa interview as agreed upon

The U.S. State Department has notified stakeholders that they are currently only delayed 1 week in issuing visas (unless a student/scholar is subject to administrative processing).

 


Fee Form Update, Aug 14, 2014

The International Students and Scholars Office needs to update its fee form to accurately reflect its recharge costs.  This new form reflects a ten dollar increase in some visa fees due to a revision in the ISSO budget.  The new fee form will be in effect starting September 1, 2014 and will also be available on ISSO's website at that time.

 
If you have questions, please contact ISSO Director, Brian Groves at brian.groves@ucsf.edu
 
Visa Type
2014-15
Recharge Fee*

J1 Short-term

$650

J1 Initial (1yr)

$650

J1 2yr

$1,300

J1 3-5yr

$1,730

J1 Ext, Amendment, Other Changes (Short-Term)

$440

J1 Ext, Amendment, Other Changes (1yr)

$440

J1 Ext, Amendment, Other Changes (2yr)

$650

J1 Ext, Amendment, Other Changes (3-5yr)

$1,740

J1 ECFMG

$870

H1B Initial

$2,170

H1B Ext, Amendment, Other Changes

$1,950

E-3 Initial

$1,730

E-3 Ext.

$1,730

TN Initial

$1,520

TN Ext, Amendment, Other Changes

$1,520

O Outside Counsel

$2,600

O Internal Ext.

$3,890

PR Outside Counsel

$3,460

B-1 Visitors, SOM Clinical Electives

$550

*Recharge fees for J-1 and B-1 visitors can be paid by the principal investigator, scholar or from Department funds.

*Recharge fees for H-1B, TN, E-3, O-1 and PR can only be paid by the principal investigator or paid from Department funds. The recharge fees for these employment-based visas cannot be paid by the scholar.

 


Potential Visa Delays, Aug 13, 2014

The State Department's database is not fully operational, but hopes that it will be soon. Unfortunately, the State Department currently does not have a timeline for when the database will be fully operation again. ISSO will continue to monitor updates regarding this issue and will notify Service Centers and international scholars as information becomes available.

If scholars are delayed in their initial arrival or their return to the United States, they should contact their Principal Investigator. If scholars are new to UCSF, they should also contact their Human Resources representative and ISSO at visa@ucsf.edu

 


Online Application System for J-1 Scholar Requests, March 11, 2014

Starting March 17, 2014, the International Students and Scholars Office is implementing International Scholar Dossier (ISD), an online visa application system that will improve the tracking and accuracy of J-1 visa applications.  In implementing ISD, UCSF joins Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley and many other schools in accepting online applications for J-1 visa processing.

This new system allows HR Academic Generalists to submit J-1 visa applications electronically to the ISSO and eliminates the obsolete paper process.  This new system will be an improvement on the paper based process in several ways:

Most of these changes will only impact the ISSO and HR, but there will be some changes for departments.  Most notably, the ISSO now requires that ISSO recharge fees (for all visa types, J, H, TN, E-3) be paid through the Department’s speedtypeor chartstring.  We will no longer accept checks.   

Employment visas such H-1B’s, TN and E-3’s will continue to be processed with the paper application, but ISSO processing fees must be paid with the new speedtype or chartstring. ISSO will be working toward making the employment visa requests electronic in the near future.

Thank you for your patience during this transition and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions,

Brian Groves, Director

 


Tax Scams Target Internationals, Jan 22, 2014

Due to an increasing number of internet scams targeting international students and scholars during tax season, we urge you to be very careful before answering any unsolicited e-mail regarding taxes or visas.  Both the  Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service offers advice on common tax and visa scams.  For information on tax scams, please visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Suspicious-e-Mails-and-Identity-Theft.  For information on immigration scams http://www.uscis.gov/avoid-scams/common-scams.

 


Customs & Border Protection Updates 'Family' Definition, Dec 18, 2013

CBP’s updated definition of family for the purposes of customs declaration, effective Jan. 17, 2014. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-18/pdf/2013-30075.pdf