International Student Ministry and Services
Welcome to the “Hub” page for the Office of International Student Ministry and Services! Whether you are a current or prospective international student, or even an American student interested in cross-cultural matters, it is our hope that this Hub will be a convenient resource for you during your time here at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Our desire at the International Office is to support you, both legally and spiritually. We want to see God work powerfully in your life, and we want to see you grow in Christ-likeness. That is our heart, and we therefore commit ourselves to serving you to the very best of our ability in enabling you to succeed in your studies, as well as trying to be a place where you can always come for advice, support, encouragement, or prayer.
May the Lord richly bless you as you make great sacrifices in His service. Trust in Him; He will guide your footsteps. Amen.
To serve international students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary through gospel ministry and assistance with government requirements.
March 6, 2017 - Hello Brothers and Sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ!
I have a quick immigration update for you. President Trump’s new immigration executive order, posted today, adjusts the previous “Travel Ban” that was so controversial at the end of last month and resulted in many people from a certain group of countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen), including green card holders from those countries, being initially refused entry into the United States.
The good news is that this order exempts green card holders from the travel ban, and also makes some other adjustments that are fairer and more carefully thought-out for people trying to enter the U.S.
The bad news for international students, however, is that today’s order immediately suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program. Here is the statement from the executive order:
“Sec. 9. Visa Interview Security. (a) The Secretary of State shall immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program and ensure compliance with section 222 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1202, which requires that all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa undergo an in-person interview, subject to specific statutory exceptions.”
What this means for you is that, when and if you return to your country to renew your student visa, you will have to go through another in-person interview at the embassy. There will no longer be an Interview Waiver program, like the “dropbox” program many embassies have implemented. So, if you are planning to travel home to renew your visa, please be aware of this change and plan accordingly.
February 21, 2017 - Hellodear brothers and sisters!
Today, the Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, posted a memorandum dated from yesterday, February 20, 2017, detailing the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) planned implementation of President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders regarding border security and immigration enforcement.
The part that I want to make you all aware of is that DHS is planning to expand what is called “expedited removal.” Expedited removal is removal from the United States without any court proceedings; it happens quickly and is at the sole discretion of the officer making the determination. The expansion of expedited removal that has taken place is this: Instead of only using expedited removal for illegal persons within 100 miles of the border and 14 days of entry, as they have been doing, now they will use it anywhere in the United States, including here in Fort Worth, for anyone here illegally that cannot show they have been here for more than 2 years.
Do not be alarmed! Expedited removal is, as stated above, only for people who are in the Unites States illegally and have been here less than two years. You all, of course, are here legally and have nothing to fear. However, I do want to advise all of our international students that it is even more important now to carry copies of your key immigration documents with you at all times. If you are stopped and asked for proof of your legal status in the U.S., you want to have proof with you.
This is especially important for your spouses and children who may not be as proficient in English as you. If due to language barriers your spouse or child (in situations where you are not present) may not be able to convince an officer that they are here legally as F-2 dependents, or that (if they don’t have proof of their status) they have not been in the U.S. for more than two years, they could be at risk of detention while the immigration officers determine whether to remove them or not.
I’m not saying this is a likely scenario, but we must always be careful and well-prepared. Before enforcing the removal, for example, immigration officers are supposed to use an interpreter if necessary to make sure the detained person understands what is happening. But we want to avoid even having to go through that process in the first place! It becomes very important, then, to make sure they carry copies of their status documents with them as proof of their legal status when they are out doing things, so that if they struggle with English they can simply hand the proof to the officer.
Again, do not be alarmed or afraid; I just wanted to make you aware of new developments in immigration law that either directly or indirectly can impact you. You are here legally; it is wise to carry proof of that with you!
If you have any questions, let me know. We are here to help you. Blessings, and go forth in peace and joy, spreading the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to a world desperately in need.
Location: Fleming Hall, Room 9
Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Closed for chapel Tuesday – Thursday, 9:45 am – 11:15 pm
International Student Ministry and Services
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
P.O. Box 22146
Fort Worth, TX 76122
Phone: 817-923-1921 x3970