COVID-19 Updates for International Students & Scholars
Beginning Friday, March 20, all administrative offices at FSU will be closed but providing services remotely, due to the COVID-19 emergency.
The Center for Global Engagement staff will continue to provide services for international students and departments, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm but our building will be closed.
Please read the following for more information:
Contacting an Advisor
- Advisors will respond to questions via email. You may also set up a time to talk to your advisor by sending an email to request an appointment for a Zoom meeting or a phone call. Advisor contact information is here.
- The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that you can maintain your F-1 or J-1 status even though all of your classes at FSU are online for the rest of the semester.
- If you are completing your semester classes in the U.S. but at an address different from the one currently in my.fsu.edu, please update your address using instructions here. If you are on OPT, you will update your address through the SEVP Portal after the effective date on your EAD. Remember that regulations require you to update your address within 10 days of any change.
- If you leave the U.S. but will continue your online enrollment while abroad, email your CGE advisor. We will keep your SEVIS record active but will indicate that you are studying abroad.
Applications and Other Requests
- Scan and send applications to your CGE advisor via Dropbox or email. This includes CPT, OPT, STEM OPT, I-20 extensions, travel signatures, drop/add forms, or major change forms. Instructions and forms for all CGE applications are available on the CGE website. We will accept electronic signatures from your academic advisor or supervisor on CGE application forms but your signature on USCIS forms must be original (not electronic).
- When your CGE advisor has completed processing an I-20 for an extension, OPT, STEM OPT, or CPT, they will email you instructions on how to receive your I-20. If your I-20 is for an OPT or STEM OPT application, your advisor will include a cover/instruction sheet with the I-20.
- Your CGE advisor will send a drop/add or major change form by email to the appropriate FSU office.
A travel signature is not necessary to leave the U.S. Do not let the lack of a travel signature prevent you from leaving the U.S. A valid travel signature on page 2 of your I-20 facilitates re-entry but isn't essential. We can offer you these options:
- You can email a travel signature request form to your advisor who can reprint an I-20 for travel, sign it, and then contact you regarding shipment.
- You can ask your advisor for an email confirming that you were eligible for a signature but had to leave without one when the university was closed. If you are questioned about the lack of a valid signature at the time you return to the U.S., you could show the email and explain the situation. If you are sent to secondary inspection, the officer will be able to see your active record in SEVIS. In the worst case the officer would issue a Form I-515 and require you to “fix” your status within 30 days of entering the U.S.
Printing an unofficial transcript to have with you on re-entry is also a good idea. You wouldn’t show anything other than your valid passport (with valid visa) and I-20 at entry, but you would have the transcript in case there were any questions about your enrollment this spring.
As mentioned under the 'Online Enrollment' header, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the shift to online enrollment this semester is not a problem for continuing international students. DHS said that the online enrollment can be completed here in the U.S. or abroad.
- If you need to complete an OPT workshop, you can either complete it online (OPT or STEM), or register for a regular OPT workshop and we will conduct it through Zoom. Mail: We will pick mail up from FSU Postal Services each week and contact students when EAD cards arrive from USCIS.
Enrollment in Future Semesters
- Be sure to enroll in a full course of study for the Fall 2020 semester. Information on requirements is on this CGE webpage. Also pay attention to the restrictions on enrolling in online classes. That information is available on the same webpage. Immigration regulations do not require summer enrollment (annual vacation) for continuing students (students who are not graduating in summer), but your academic department may require enrollment.
- If you have any questions or believe that you qualify for a reduced course load authorization, talk to an international student advisor!
- If you will graduate in the summer, you may not work more than 20 hours/week on campus because you are not a continuing student and the summer is not an annual vacation. All students should remember that any off-campus employment requires CPT or OPT authorization.
- If you are a continuing student planning to participate in an internship this summer, be sure to enroll in an internship class and request authorization through Curricular Practical Training (CPT) OR, if the work doesn’t qualify as an internship, apply as soon as possible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) to work during the summer in your field of study.
If you are graduating this spring, consider your options:
- Apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) to allow you to work for up to 12 months in your field of study. If you haven’t already applied, it is best to apply soon. You may not apply more than 60 days after graduation.
- Begin a new degree program at FSU in the summer or fall. You must be admitted within 60 days of your spring graduation and request a new I-20, showing the new degree program.
- Transfer to another university. You must request your international student advisor to transfer your SEVIS record to the new school no later than 60 days after graduation.
- Apply to change to another non-immigrant status, if eligible.
- Leave the U.S. You have a 60-day grace period after graduation, during which you can prepare for departure, travel, etc. but you are no longer eligible for campus employment.
IF YOUR I-20 DOES NOT ALREADY SHOW THE MAY 2, 2020 DIPLOMA/COMPLETION DATE, THE CGE WILL SHORTEN YOUR I-20 BECAUSE OF YOUR GRADUATION.
We appreciate your understanding as we work to continue providing service while respecting the need for precautions due to COVID-19.
UPDATED: 11 A.M. FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2020