UW Graduate School

US Government Updates

Last updated: June 24, 2020

This page is maintained by Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS), the Graduate School unit that oversees graduate school admissions and enrollment policy. GEMS also includes Designated School Officials authorized to assist new F-1 and J-1 students, per the Student Exchange Visitor Program. U.S. government updates that may impact our incoming F-1/J-1 graduate students will be posted here.

UW Leadership and Policy|UW International Student Services|June 22 Proclamation on Immigrants to the U.S.|“Travel Ban” Proclamation| COVID-19 Admissions FAQ | Presidential Proclamation on Visas for P.R.C. |Deferrals for Impacted Students

UW Leadership and Policy

Graduate School admission requirements and application procedures are the same for all applicants regardless of citizenship and visa status. We welcome applications from all in accordance with UW Executive Order No. 31 on Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action. UW Graduate Programs are encouraged by University leadership to continue to fully consider all qualified applicants.

Joint Global Affairs/Research/Graduate School Statement on May 29th Presidential Proclamation regarding PRC

June 8, 2020 UW Statement: “We will continue to admit and welcome Chinese students and scholars, and we will use the resources at our disposal to support our community members in obtaining appropriate and necessary documentation to enter the country and study on our campus.”

UW President Ana Mari Cauce's Statements


February 2020 statement on COVID-19: “We must remain the same welcoming, diverse and global community that we have always been.”
Supporting our international scholars and students: “The University of Washington will continue to do everything in its power to support all members of our community. We are proud to be home to students, faculty and staff from around the world, and we believe strongly in the world as a global community, in the benefits of cultural exchange and the opportunity to learn from people with different backgrounds.”

Graduate School Dean Joy Williamson-Lott on Admissions and COVID-19

Blog post: As the situation with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to unfold, some of you have expressed concern about admissions applications, especially in light of temporary US embassy closures and the Presidential Proclamation suspending entry into the U.S. from affected areas.The Graduate School strongly recommends that you continue to give all applicants full consideration, just as you would have in prior admissions cycles.

Former Graduate School Dean David Eaton on Presidential Travel Ban


Blog Post: With the recent Executive Order potentially impacting student entry into the US, many of you have asked how you should handle admission applications specifically from the seven countries identified in the Executive Order. The Graduate School strongly recommends that you continue to give these students full consideration, just as you would have prior to the Executive Order.”

UW International Student Services (ISS)

ISS is a campus partner with GEMS. While GEMS assists incoming students, ISS assists currently registered students with immigration issues, and “closely monitors immigration-related news coming from the U.S. government and the White House that may have an impact on our international student community at the UW.” Visit the ISS U.S. Government Updates page for news.

June 22 Presidential Proclamation on Immigrants to the U.S.

On June 22, the President signed a Proclamation that extends the suspension of entry to the U.S. for new permanent residents and individuals who present a risk to the U.S. labor market due to COVID-19. This proclamation does not apply to F or J academic visas who will enter the U.S. for the purpose of study. Additionally, J-1 academic exchange categories such as college or university students are excluded from this proclamation.
More information

  • This proclamation does not apply to F-1 students authorized for OPT. OPT was excluded from this proclamation and no changes have been made to the current OPT benefits.
  • Admitted graduate students are encouraged to follow the usual post-offer process of completing their UW I-20 Request Forms for the F-1 student visa applications.
  • Students who are invited to attend in J-1 Exchange Visitor Status should review DS-2019 Request Form information. Qualifying students will receive a DS-2019 with the Exchange Visitor category of “Student Masters” or “Student Doctoral.”
  • Students may also review ISS visa tips to prepare for interviews.
  • The proclamation suspends and limits entry through the end of December 2020 of new immigrants seeking permanent residency to the U.S. The proclamation also suspends entry to the U.S. of new H, J (non academic categories), and L visa categories through the end of December. This does not apply to anyone already in the U.S. under these visa categories or anyone who already holds one of these valid visas. For individuals applying for U.S. permanent residency or an H, J (non academic category), or L visa and who are currently outside the U.S., consult an immigration attorney for advice and options.

Presidential Proclamation on Visas for P.R.C.

May 29 Proclamation issued suspending the entry of certain students and researchers from China

On May 29th, the U.S. President issued a proclamation that suspends the entry into the U.S. of Chinese nationals who either receives/received funding from, currently is or was employed by, studies/studied at, or conducts/conducted research at on behalf of an entity in the PRC that supports the PRC’s military-civil fusion strategy and is seeking entry under an F or J visa to study or conduct research in the U.S.; visit ISS’ 2020 Government Updates for further information.

  • The immediate impact will be on visa applications for Chinese nationals seeking an F or J visa for graduate level studies in the U.S. Students planning to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa, either renewing or for the first time, should be prepared to answer potential related questions.
  • Exceptions to the visa suspension include “Any graduate student or researcher who does not currently have or previously had funding, employment, study, or research connections with an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s military-civil fusion strategy.
  • Additionally, the US Department of State (the agency which operates US embassies and consulates, who interview F-1 and J-1 prospective students) released a statement on June 1 which reads “Our concern is with the malign actions of the Chinese Communist Party and specific individuals, not with the Chinese people. The graduate students and researchers who are targeted, co-opted, and exploited by the PRC government for its military gain represent a small subset of Chinese student and researcher visa applicants coming to the United States.”
  • Admitted Chinese graduate students are encouraged to follow the usual post-offer process of completing their UW I-20 Request Forms for the F-1 student visa applications.
  • Students may also review ISS visa tips to prepare for interviews.
  • The UW Office of Global Affairs is monitoring this situation closely, and asks that official US government communications be shared with them for advocacy purposes. Please review the details on their June 8, 2020 post.

COVID-19 Admissions FAQ

International students may have many additional concerns related to COVID-19 and visas. Please visit our COVID-19 Admissions FAQ resource page. Additionally, we discuss specific US government policies and exceptions related to COVID-19 and international students.

“Travel Ban” Proclamation

The U.S. President’s Proclamation 9645 and 9983 (commonly known as the “Travel Ban”) affects the nationals of thirteen countries. Review the US Department of State Bulletin for the country-specific restrictions.

Impact of Travel Ban on UW Graduate Students:

  • The ban currently places restrictions on immigrant and diversity visas for the listed thirteen countries, but the order makes some allowances for “non-immigrant visas” (F-1 / J-1 student visas) for some of the listed countries, per the Department of State Bulletin.
  • UW Office of Global Affairs Statement: “It imposes restrictions on the issuance of visas to, and travel to the U.S. by citizens of the named countries. This order makes some allowances for the issuance of visas for students and researchers from some of the listed countries. However, travelers from all of the listed countries will likely encounter enhanced screening and vetting by U.S. Customs and Border Protection when entering the U.S.”
  • UW ISS has additional information about the travel ban and various court challenges.
  • The UW remains “dedicated to our mission as a global university and to all members of our community, no matter where they call home” and we welcome applicants from every country.
  • Throughout the travel ban, GEMS has continued to issue UW I-20s for F-1 visa applicants from listed countries. Most of our incoming students have been successful with their visa interviews, although some students face extra administrative review and processing at U.S. embassies.
  • Admitted graduate students from the listed countries are encouraged to follow the usual post-offer process of completing their UW I-20 Request Forms for the F-1 student visa applications.
  • Students may also review ISS visa tips to prepare for interviews.

Deferrals for Impacted Students

GEMS is glad to assist any admitted graduate student who experiences visa delay, lengthy administrative review, or visa denial. Most of our UW students experience success in receiving their F-1 student visas from US embassies and consulates, but occasionally it is necessary for an incoming student to “defer” (delay) their academic start. GEMS can help.
I will not receive my student visa in time to enter the U.S. for my program's start. What next?

  • Graduate students need to enter the U.S. in time for the start of classes and also to meet F-1 requirements; review Planning your Entry Date into the U.S.
  • GEMS recommends that students who are delayed due to visa issues receive a deferral. The deferral must be approved by the admitting program. Please contact your program to request a deferral.
  • An approved deferral means that a student’s offer of admission, enrollment confirmation deposit, I-20 (or DS-2019) and SEVIS I-901 fee are preserved and moved to a later academic quarter and year.

I am a program advisor. My student won't be able to enter the U.S. for Autumn 2020 due to visa processing time. What next?

  • GEMS recommends that students who are delayed due to visa issues receive a deferral. Typically a one quarter deferral is sufficient time (example: defer an Autumn 2020 delayed student to Winter 2021.)
  • Please see the GEMS Graduate Advisor Guide for deferral instructions.