NOTE: The information below was last updated on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.
A message from Peggy Jarvie, Associate Provost, Co-operative & Experiential Education
On January 27, the U.S. President issued an Executive Order (EO) that temporarily blocks citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States. On February 4, the order was temporarily suspended, and all U.S. points of entry are currently prohibited from enforcing these portions of the EO. Despite this suspension, U.S. authorities are seeking to reinstate the travel ban and the situation may change at any time.
Many of our students have work terms outside of Canada, including the U.S. This EO may have an impact on some of our co-op students, and we are seeking answers for those who find themselves faced with uncertainty. This is an unsettling time for many people and we feel much empathy for co-op students affected or concerned about future opportunities.
The University has issued a statement that outlines the steps we are taking to understand more completely the impact for our community. As this situation continues to evolve and we seek greater clarity, we will keep our students and industry partners updated.
Given that the EO might evolve, please review it directly, and see how it applies to you. Immigration status is an individual’s responsibility and CECA staff cannot advise on eligibility nor can we guarantee any outcomes. Seek independent legal immigration advice from a qualified U.S. immigration lawyer if you have any questions regarding eligibility and outcome. For specific inquiries about co-op work terms in the U.S. please reach out to the International Employment Specialist – USA on our international co-op team.
Associate Provost, Co-operative & Experiential Education
University of Waterloo
NOTE: As of February 4, 2017, the travel ban referenced in this article has been temporarily suspended. Despite this suspension, U.S. authorities are seeking to reinstate the travel ban and the situation may change at any time. We do encourage the travel precautions referenced below.
Who does the Executive Order apply to (if reinstated)?
- All refugee admissions are suspended for 120 days
- Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely
- Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are blocked from entering the U.S. for 90 days currently
Who does the Executive Order not apply to?
- Citizens of other countries than those listed in the previous section.
- Canadian citizens, regardless of country of origin
- Dual nationals, as long as they have Canadian citizenship, regardless of country of origin, provided they enter the U.S. with a valid Canadian passport and a valid U.S. visa (subject to the travel precautions below).
- Permanent Canadian residents, provided that they have a valid passport and valid permanent resident card (subject to the travel precautions below).
- U.S. green card holders, who have not abandoned their green card, and who can demonstrate their ties with the U.S.
Travel precautions and border-crossing etiquette are important
- We recommend being prudent and travelling with the appropriate paperwork; final decisions to allow / disallow entry and stay are made by U.S. immigration officials.
- It will be important to monitor the legal immigration landscape in the U.S. frequently through travel advisories from your home country and the U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
- The U.S. Customs Border Patrol (CBP) website also offers guidance through FAQs. Its content will reflect the official U.S. Government Policy and a stringent interpretation of the U.S. Executive Order and Immigration Laws. (Note: The CBP FAQs have not been updated since February 2, 2017.)
- Allow plenty of time for longer immigration processes at points of application and entry. Even Canadian dual nationals might face heavy questioning, especially if they have travelled in the listed countries.
- Immigration officials may have extended questioning for you for any reason they deem necessary. You must co-operate professionally; this is not the time for sarcasm, witty remarks, opinions or backtalk. Don’t play with your phone; pay attention to what is going on, and answer any questions officials may have truthfully.
- There is no sense in arguing with an official, although you may wish to pay undivided attention to the concerns of the official (or the reasons you are being denied entry) if they are disclosed to you.
- Preparedness and understanding the risks are key before undertaking any travels to the U.S. Take these risks into consideration as you determine whether to cancel or keep your travel plans. At the time of drafting these general guidelines, it is difficult to foresee the legal immigration landscape in the United States, and the law may change as you disembark the plane, rendering you ineligible to enter / stay in the United States.
- The Trump immigration reforms will permeate any and all decisions for immigrant, and nonimmigrant visas. Being allowed entry to the U.S. does not mean one is allowed to work there legally.
- You may wish to consult with a U.S. attorney before you commit to any travel plans.
- Further general best practices on international travel are located in the ‘Work Abroad’ section of the co-op website.
Information for students currently on a work term in the U.S.
- Any co-op students currently in the U.S, including those planning to travel with Canadian dual citizenship, Canadian Permanent Residents, or international students with a valid study permit and co-op work permit in Canada are cautioned on travel outside of the U.S. during their work term. You might be denied re-entry into the U.S, even if the travel ban is lifted permanently.
Information for students applying for a work term in the U.S. for spring or fall 2017
- There are legal requirements for working outside Canada; it will be important that you're aware of how they apply to you, and that you prepare in advance. If your citizenship is with one of the restricted countries listed in the U.S. Executive Order - which could be reinstated at any point in time - a visa application might take longer than usual to be processed, or might even be denied. You may wish to discuss with your U.S. attorney or the U.S. Consulate or Embassy the opportunity and suitability to obtain a pre-clearance, waiver, or any other legal options.
- We cannot predict whether your nationality will affect the likelihood of a job offer. We expect that employers will make their decision on whether to extend an offer to you based on the information they have, including their assessment of the impact of the Executive Order on a successful entry to the U.S. for you.
- If you wish to inform employers of your citizenship for jobs in the U.S., mentioning your citizenship in cover letters or résumés may be your most effective approach.
A reminder for international students
- In any event, our international students are advised to contact our international student advisors at the Student Success Office to ensure they maintain their status / renew their study permit, or co-op work permit, so as to avoid any issues upon re-entry in Canada.