COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs are intended for current International Students. For information about housing, dining, and other general student concerns, please visit the COVID-19 FAQs page. For general information and/or updates on COVID-19, visit the JSU Coronavirus website.

Please check the website and your JSU email frequently for updates; JSU leadership is monitoring this quickly changing situation and taking appropriate actions to adapt in ways to protect the University community.  

Fall 2020 Guidance for Returning International Students

Since JSU is re-opening in the fall and will be adopting a hybrid model, i.e., a mixture of online and in-person classes, all international students will be required to return to campus in Fall 2020.

You will need to maintain full-time hours and maintain a physical presence on campus. In fall 2020, you must enroll in at least one hybrid course and remaining courses can be online. Note that this exception is allowed only for Fall 2020.

Starting from Spring 2021 regular enrollment requirements will be reinstated. Please refer to the enrollment requirements.

When you purchase your flight ticket to return home in December, we strongly recommend that you select flexible options so that you are able to return home earlier, in case the university must close it’s normal operation in Fall 2020, if there is a resurgence of COVID-19.

You will be issued another I-20 to travel, so that you have no problems entering the United States. Complete the form for issuance of I-20 by August 5th. 

You will need to complete the arrival notification form if you are planning to use airport shuttle services scheduled by JSU. Complete the form by August 5th.  

You will need to maintain full time hours and maintain a physical presence on campus. In fall 2020, you must enroll in at least one hybrid course and remaining courses can be online. Note that this exception is allowed only for Fall 2020.

Starting from Spring 2021 regular enrollment requirements will be reinstated. Please refer to the enrollment requirements

When you purchase your flight ticket to return home in December, we strongly recommend that you select flexible options so that you are able to return home earlier, in case the university must shift to entirely online classes in Fall 2020, if there is a resurgence of COVID-19.

If you are unable to travel back to JSU by the start date of Fall 2020, you may enroll in hybrid and online classes and work with your instructors to see if you can arrive late. You must arrive no later than September 18th, 2020.

You will be issued another I-20 to travel, so that you have no problems entering the United States. Complete the form for issuance of I-20 by August 5th. 

You will need a letter from our office approving your late arrival.  We will need approval by signature from each instructor of your Fall classes, permitting you to arrive late, before we can issue the letter. We will send the late arrival form to your email once we receive your request for I-20. 

If you are unable to arrive by September 18th, 2020, your I-20 will have to be terminated and your option will be to request a new I-20 at that point.

If you are unable to travel back to JSU for in-person classes, you may enroll in online classes. As long as you are maintaining full time course-load of online classes this Fall 2020, your SEVIS (I-20) record will stay active.

Please complete the form to let us know that you will not be returning to campus this Fall 2020.

If you are unable to travel back to JSU for in-person classes, and you are unable to enroll in online classes, your I-20 will be terminated for a semester break. Please complete the form to let us know that you will not be returning to campus this Fall 2020.

When you are ready to return in Spring 2021, you will have two options: 

Option 1. Reactivate your current I-20: You will need to make a request for reactivation by emailing us at ckhadka@jsu.edu and providing a copy of your return flight ticket. Our office will then make a request to the SEVP center to reactivate the I-20. It will take 15 -30 days for the SEVP center to process the request. Sometimes it may take longer. You will need to receive your I-20 with a new date and travel signature on it to travel. 

Option 2.  Issuance of new I-20: If reactivation is not approved in time, we can issue a new I-20. You will need to provide us with your current bank statement and scholarship letter. You will need to pay a SEVIS fee on the new I-20. 

If you would rather not wait for reactivation and want a new I-20, you will need to email us at ckhadka@jsu.edu and provide us with your current bank statement and scholarship letter. 

Please complete the form to let us know that you will not be returning to campus this Fall 2020.

  • Please note that issuance of a new I-20 will reset your status to that of a new student. This could impact your ability to pursue OPT and CPT right away. You could be subjected to completion of 1 academic year requirement to pursue OPT and CPT opportunities.
  • If you have a scholarship and/or assistantship, please check with your department on how your decision will impact your eligibility to continue your scholarship and/or assistantship.
  • If you have a scholarship from your government/embassy, please check with them on how your decision will impact your eligibility to continue your scholarship.

Immigration

As of 11/06/2020

SEVIS/ICE has not issued any new guidance for Spring 2021 enrollment requirements. As of now, we will continue following Fall 2020 guidance. If anything changes, we will send email to your JSU email address.

You will be required to enroll in minimum of one hybrid course. If the university makes decision to go all online, we will amend the requirement based on SEVP guidance. 

If you plan on enrolling in online classes this Spring, while you are residing in your country (outside of the United States), you must you must complete the form stating your intention.

If you plan to apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training, you should complete the process before you leave so that your I-20 correctly reflects your future academic intentions upon your return.  Our office does not advise OPT students to travel unless they have job offer letter and Employment Authorization card. Please be aware of the risks that are involved with traveling while your OPT is pending after your I-20 ends. Refer to the OPT information on your portal for travel information. 

You cannot return to the U.S. on an expired I-20 or DS-2019. You must apply for extension before your departure and make sure to take extended I-20 or DS-2019 before you leave the country.

If you leave the U.S. and your visa will have expired by the date you wish to re-enter the U.S., then you will need to obtain a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before you can re-enter the U.S.. 

No, you will not be able to return to the U.S. on an expired visa. You will have to either wait for the U.S. Embassy in your country to resume its operation or you will need to travel to another country where the U.S. Embassy may be in operation.

You can go to the website and check their operation hours or any closing notice. If you are not able to find information on their webpage, you can send them an email. Emails are generally listed on their website. https://www.usembassy.gov/

If you leave the U.S. and your visa will have expired by the date you wish to re-enter the U.S., then you will need to obtain a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before you can re-enter the U.S.

If you are not able to return in Spring, this will cause your current I20 to be invalid unless we get further direction from SEVP and from the University. Leave of absence may be viable option at that point which will result in issuance of new initial I20. This means you may need to complete two semesters after your return in order to qualify for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). There are many uncertainties at this time, therefore you are recommended to contact our office in summer for further guidance. 

Immigration regulations clarify that students may reenter the U.S. after a temporary absence of no more than five months. An exception to this rule exists for students who are enrolled in approved full-time study abroad. An exception to this rule also exists for students who will be taking full time course-load of online classes this Fall 2020. If we receive additional guidance from SEVP, we will update the information on 5-month temporary absence rule.

If your visa has expired, you may stay in the U.S. provided your I-20 or DS-2019 is still valid and you are maintaining your status as a student. 

You have three options:

  1. Remain in the U.S. and apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) (for F-1 students) or Academic Training (for J-1 students).
  2. Remain in the U.S. during the grace period after your program end date (which you can find on your I-20 or DS-2019). The grace period is 60 days for F-1 students and 30 days for J-1 students.
  3. Pursue another degree in the JSU campus and/or transfer (if eligible) your SEVIS record to another institution.

Yes, all international students, scholars, and their families are required to report any change of residential address in the U.S., within 10 days. Please report address changes to the Office of International House & Programs within 10 days. You can email intlprog@jsu.edu 

Housing and Meal Plan

 Yes, if you have made housing application and received your assignment.

Yes, dining services will be open.

Our university officials are taking all precautionary measures to keep our facilities safe, clean, and disinfected.

Employment

Student workers (Federal Work Study and University Aid) should report to work as usual. If a student worker does not want to work, the student should contact his or her supervisor. Graduate Administrative, Research and Teaching Assistants should contact the department head or supervisor. (http://www.jsu.edu/coronavirus/0312-operations-update.html)

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) recognizes that the spread of COVID-19 may affect students engaging in Optional Practical Training (OPT). In accordance with SEVP guidance, we would encourage you to work with your employer to seek alternative ways to maintain employment, such as teleworking, part time working, or other arrangements. 

Travel

All JSU sponsored international travel is cancelled until further notice. Personal travel is not affected by this notice. If you plan on travelling back to your home country, we ask that  international students carefully consider the potential impact of international travel over the break.  If you do choose to travel, please ensure that you have an up-to-date travel signature and that you keep up-to-date on travel advisories and warnings. Here are some links you can refer to:

www.cdc.gov

www.dhs.gov

https://www.state.gov/

To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the university advises against any non-essential domestic travel. Effective immediately, faculty, staff and students planning to attend large conferences and meetings must get travel forms re-authorized. (http://www.jsu.edu/coronavirus/0310-covid19-update.html)

Grace Period

  • You have 60 days to remain in the US after OPT ends.
  • You may not work during the grace period. 

If your field of study is one that DHS considers to be science, technology, engineering or mathematics you may be eligible for OPT STEM extension.

To find out if your field of study is listed as a STEM Designated Degree Program, please review the STEM Designated Degree Program List.

If your field of study does not qualify for extension (STEM), your options after Post completion OPT are as follow:

Option 1: Change of Status

  • You may file for change of status any time during OPT.
  • Change of status must be completed before the end of 60 days grace period

Option 2: Transfer

  • SEVIS record must be transferred before the end of 60 days grace period.
  • Must follow transfer out process with JSU.
  • OPT ends as soon as SEVIS record is transferred

Option 3: Change of Level

  • Must be admitted by JSU Admissions, submit a new financial document. New I-20 must be created before the end of 60 days grace period.

Option 4: Return to your home country

  • If you do not plan on pursuing any of the options above, you must make proper arrangements to return to your home country and depart the U.S. by the end of your 60 days Grace Period.
  • SEVP recognizes that some students may find it difficult to return home during the COVID-19 emergency because of diminished travel options. Students in this situation are encouraged to assess options for alternative study arrangements during this time. You should also report any material information related to your inability to leave the country due to COVID-19 to our office. Please report information to ckhadka@jsu.edu
  • Reference: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2020/04/covid-19-resources-update-to-faqs-0

In an abundance of caution, our office is suggesting that international students carefully consider the potential impact of international travel over the break.  If you do choose to travel, please ensure that you have an up-to-date travel signature and that you keep up-to-date on travel advisories and warnings. Here are some links you can refer to: 

www.cdc.gov

www.dhs.gov

https://www.state.gov/

If you decide to travel, please continually evaluate local conditions at your intended destination. Because the situation is fluid, there is a possibility that any country you visit may decide to implement new or different restrictions while you are outside the U.S.  Additionally, there may be flight cancellations and additional quarantine measures or restricted re-entry on the date you intend to return to the U.S.

While international students are currently able to depart the U.S., the current suspension of visa services and travel restrictions for certain countries may create a situation in which some students cannot return to the U.S. as expected. If a travel restriction limits your ability to continue full-time enrollment in a future semester, this may have an impact on your SEVIS record and your continued lawful status. Feel free to contact our office to discuss your specific situation for any questions related to online registration, maintaining continued status, or requesting a leave of absence (if needed). We can work together with your academic department to resolve these matters. 

You must regularly check the links below for the most recent travel advisories and announcements.

www.cdc.gov

www.dhs.gov

https://www.state.gov/

If your country continues to be listed in travel ban or if it gets added to the travel ban issued by the President of the U.S., you will not be allowed to return.

As of now, airport pick-up shuttle schedule for November and December has not been cancelled. If any cancellation occurs, we will notify you. Given the circumstances, we recommend you to have a contingency plan to get to the campus.

Other

If your employer is planning to register or has already registered you for the H-1B lottery, please consult your employer and their immigration counsel before you make any international travel plans. The Office of International House & Programs cannot answer travel related questions regarding your H-1B petition sponsored by your employer.

If you applied to become Lawful permanent resident status in the U.S., consult an immigration attorney regarding international travel.

You should first check JSU’s COVID-19 Information page (http://www.jsu.edu/coronavirus/index.html).  

Please report to the Student Health Center immediately (http://www.jsu.edu/studenthealth/).

Study Abroad

All international study abroad programs have been canceled until further notice.  All domestic study away programs must be re-evaluated.  If you planned to go on a domestic study away program, please contact the faculty leader or sponsoring department for further information.