Information regarding Travel Restrictions for International Students and Scholars

A new federal travel ban was put into place on September 24 that restricts almost all travel to the United States from seven countries — Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and North Korea — effective on October 18. Venezuela was added to that list but the ban was less restrictive: it affects certain government officials and their families.

The first White House Executive Order on immigration and travel, first issued on January 27, 2017,  suspended entry into the United States for immigrants and non-immigrants from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. A revised order, signed on March 6, 2017, exempts existing visa holders from travel limits and removes Iraq from the original list of affected countries. Changes also have been announced to premium processing of H-1B visa requests, resuming October 1.

We have among the highest international student population among U.S. universities and we have myriad ways to support our community. We have taken additional steps — and will continue — to protect all students, faculty and staff, regardless of their national origin or religious affiliation.

In a letter to the USC community in August, I stated: “Unfortunately, there is no denying that we live in volatile times. Intense political rhetoric divides our nation, and incidents of bias and discrimination degrade our humanity and erode trust in our community.”

Since then, and as events continue to unfold, we have maintained an aggressive stance to affirm our shared values. I am working throughout the university to ensure that all of our students and scholars can continue to research, study and teach in our vibrant and exciting community.

This page has information and resources for all members of our community and will be updated.

University Communications 

President’s Letter to the USC Community regarding DACA, September 4, 2017. Excerpt:

“As president of one of the most global and diverse university communities in the world, I am deeply concerned about the adverse impact that potential DACA changes might have on our DACA and undocumented students. We are enriched every day by the presence and contributions of our students from all backgrounds in our classrooms, labs, residence halls, and campuses.”

Provost’s Memo to the USC Community regarding DACA, August 28, 2017. Excerpt:

“We will do everything possible to ensure that our students have access to the services and support necessary for them to thrive while at USC and to graduate from their chosen degree programs.”

Travel Restriction Update, memo dated June 26, 2017. Excerpt:

“It is our understanding that USC faculty, staff and students, continuing and incoming, have proof of their connection to our university. These include admissions letters and/or student identification, written job offers and/or appointment letters, and contracts.”

Supporting our International Community, January 29, 2017. Excerpt:

“We are proud to have, and we are better by having, a richly diverse community.  We will do everything we can to ensure all of our academic community can continue to study, research, and teach at USC.”

Provost’s Memo to the USC Community Regarding DACA, November 30, 2016. Excerpt:

“We follow the constitutional mandate against unreasonable searches and seizures and therefore ask that law enforcement acquire the appropriate warrants prior to assisting them in contacting anyone in our community.  Our Department of Public Safety follows the lead of the Los Angeles Police Department, which does not initiate law enforcement activities based solely on immigration status. We likewise follow the protections afforded to our students by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and this means we do not disseminate student records without student consent or a judicial order.”

Post-Election Memo to the USC Community, November 10, 2016. Excerpt:

“As Trojans, we affirm the dignity and self-worth of every member of our university community, and we aspire to live up to the values and ideals preserved in our Principles of Community. No one on our campus should feel in any way compromised on the basis of race, ethnicity, political identity, religious affiliation, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, or ability. Hateful and derogatory speech will not go unchallenged, and we will not tolerate abuse, threats, harassment, intimidation, or violence directed towards any member of our university community.”

Provost’s Welcome Letter, August 22, 2016. Excerpt:

“I look forward to engaging with you over the coming year and doing the work that great universities do: discussing, debating and shining intellectual light upon the important issues of our time.”

USC-Supported Communications

American Council on Education, in conjunction with 50 members of the Association of American Universities sent a letter to President Trump on March 20, 2017 regarding DACA students. Excerpt:

“Unfortunately, many of these young people now live in fear that the program will be rolled back or revoked. In order to lift this cloud of fear, we ask that you commit to allowing these productive and high-achieving individuals to continue to work and study while your administration and Congress arrive at a permanent solution. The higher education community is eager to work with you to find a path forward.”

Association of American Universities issued a statement on the revised Executive Order suspending travel from six countries, March 6, 2017. Excerpt:

“Our universities have worked closely with the federal government to protect the country from those who would harm us. We will continue to do so and want to help the Administration ensure national security in ways that do not undermine our nation’s status as the top destination for global talent.”

Association of American Universities filed an amicus brief in a travel ban case detailing the impact on universities, students and faculty, February 16, 2017. Excerpt:

“The inquiry, innovation, and invention that take place every day within our members’ classrooms, libraries, and laboratories depend on the ability of scholars and students to travel to and from the United States. Without that ability, academic achievement and the many economic and social benefits that such achievement generates are profoundly at risk.”

University and College presidents’ letter to President Trump regarding the Executive Order, February 2, 2017. Excerpt:

“The order specifically prevents talented, law-abiding students and scholars from the affected regions from reaching our campuses. American higher education has benefited tremendously from this country’s long history of embracing immigrants from around the world. Their innovations and scholarship have enhanced American learning, added to our prosperity, and enriched our culture.”

Letter to Homeland Security Secretary from the American Council on Education and 50 other higher education associations on maintaining the U.S. as the destination of choice for the world’s best students, faculty and staff, January 31, 2017. Excerpt:

“Unfortunately, even temporary restrictions can be damaging. President Trump’s executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” has created uncertainty and fear across the country and on our campuses, particularly among students, faculty and scholars from the affected countries, as well as others who worry the restrictions may expand to other countries.”

Association of American Universities’ statement on the White House Executive Order on immigration and travel, January 28, 2017. Excerpt:

“We recognize the importance of a strong visa process to our nation’s security. However, the administration’s new order barring the entry or return of individuals from certain countries is already causing damage and should end as quickly as possible.”

Statement on behalf of university and college presidents on behalf of DACA students, November 21, 2016. Excerpt:

“To our country’s leaders we say that DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded. We are prepared to meet with you to present our case. This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity. ”

Other Communications

Office of International Services letter to students and faculty, January 30, 2017. Excerpt:

“Students and scholars from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who are currently in the United States should postpone any international travel. Until the visa and admission provisions of the executive order are lifted, departing the U.S. could make it impossible to return…Students and scholars intending to enter the U.S. should wait until visa and admission restrictions are lifted. Students who are currently outside of the U.S. should contact their USC advisor to inform them of their situation.”

In Process

We are continuing to monitor events to provide information to our affected population as well as to our entire community. We are working with our peer institutions to take actions, as necessary, to protect our valued and valuable community of scholars.

To that end, we are closely following visa changes from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that has announced it will suspend premium processing for H-1B visa requests, resuming October 1.  Deans, deans of faculty and department chairs anticipating new faculty hires for the 2017-18 academic year who may be affected by these changes are welcome to contact David Haugland in the Office the Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs at:

We are working across the university to finalize and formalize a variety of additional services and programs for students and faculty who could be affected by a travel/visa ban or other possible changes that could affect their ability to study, teach and research. This includes:

Academic Deans

  • to provide possible online and distance learning opportunities for international students who are unable to attend classes on campus
  • online streaming of graduation ceremonies for students whose families are unable to travel to campus events

 Enrollment Services

  • enrollment deferment for international students who may not be able to travel to USC

USC Housing

  •  to provide housing accommodations for international students who might need to live in our facilities during breaks; and working with parents and faculty who have offered their home for affected students

Information Technology Services

  • online streaming of conferences, or other support, for faculty, undergraduates and graduate students who are unable to travel

Upcoming and Recently Held Events

Deans’ Open Forum: What do Trump’s Executive Orders Mean for USC? February 23, 2017, organized by USC Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism

Dornsife Dialogues: Civility in Public Discourse, February 24, 2017, organized by the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Writing as Politics: Making Your Voice Heard in Sacramento and Washington, February 13, 2017, organized by the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Office of International Services open meeting on the travel ban, February 6, 2017, organized by the Office of International Services

Policy Shock: Understanding the Presidential Executive Action on Immigration and the Travel Ban, February 2, 2017, organized by the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration

Teach-In for the Whole USC Community, February 1,2017, organized by the Office of Religious Life and the United University Church

The 2016 Presidential Election Conference, November 29, 2016, organized by the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Science

Other events can be found here:

Campus Resources

Policy and Research Centers

Other Immigration-Related Information

Provost’s Advisory Task Force on Immigration Issues

Niels W. Frenzen, Clinical Professor of Law; Director of USC Gould School of Law Immigration Clinic
Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity; Co-Director, USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration
Jody Agius Vallejo, Associate Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity; Co-Director, USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration
Cindy Pineda, Undergraduate Student Government
Paul Samaha, Undergraduate Student Government
Claudia Chirino, Graduate Student Government
Carlos A. Reyes-Ruiz, Graduate Student Government
Susan I. Biddlecomb, USC Staff Assembly
Lisa Gallegos, USC Staff Assembly

Deans’ Steering Committee on Immigration

Andrew Guzman, USC Gould School of Law (Lead)
Elizabeth Daley, USC School of Cinematic Arts
James Ellis, USC Marshall School of Business
Karen Symms Gallagher, USC Rossier School of Education

If you need assistance from me, please email: