Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

February 6, 2003

New immigration laws affect faculty, staff, students

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have spawned unprecedented changes in U.S. immigration laws and regulations, which are directly affecting the lives — both academic and personal — of foreign nationals at Pitt, including approximately 1,100 faculty and staff members and their dependents.

A few examples, as described during a Feb. 3 “Immigration Law Update” town meeting sponsored by Pitt’s Office of International Services (OIS):

• New guidelines under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System require males born on or before November 1986, and who are nationals or citizens from a growing list of countries, to register at U.S. ports of entry or Immigration and Naturalization Service offices. (Pittsburgh’s designated office is at 1000 Liberty Ave., Downtown. No appointment is required for registering.) Listed countries currently include Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Registration is not required for U.S. lawful permanent residents and those who have applied for and/or been granted asylum.

• By Aug. 1, all current international students and scholars at Pitt must be registered, through OIS, in the new Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a computerized tracking system. International students and scholars also must submit information about their dependents on separate forms. SEVIS was created to meet requirements of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 and the 2002 USA PATRIOT Act of 2001.

• Beginning March 1, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) will be dissolved and its functions reassigned to two bureaus within the new Department of Homeland Security. The new bureaus will have the authority to reverse visa approvals made by State Department consular officers. Consular officers will be required to record in a database detailed information about every applicant denied a visa.

According to Pitt OIS director David Bryan Clubb, these changes probably will slow processing time for visas and “create an environment where the visa issuance process is no longer concerned with customer service, nor sympathetic to the needs of businesses and/or universities in both obtaining visas quickly for critical personnel or having certainty in the timeframe of the visa issuance process.”

Addressing international students and scholars in the William Pitt Union audience, OIS associate director Linda Gentile said: “If you have any doubts or questions related to your status and what you can or cannot do, please ask. We’d much rather answer the question in advance than tell you later that there’s a problem that we may or may not be able to fix.”

Detailed information on the new laws and regulations is available at:

To receive updates on immigration laws and procedures, sign up for the OIS listserv by e-mailing: Type the following message in the body of the e-mail: “subscribe ois.”

— Bruce Steele

Leave a Reply