Immigration and Other Updates for International Students

Last updated: June, 2022

This update includes information about:

  • Important Enrollment Update (new)
  • Travel
  • Health Insurance Requirements
  • COVID-19 Precautions
  • Banking
  • FSU Card
  • CGE Advising
  • Resources for More Information

Important Enrollment Update (June 2022)

On Tuesday, May 31, 2022, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a Broadcast Message clarifying an important detail in the continuation of their March 2020 Guidance for the 2022-2023 Academic Year. ICE clarified that only F-1 international students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020 and have continuously complied with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, from inside or outside the U.S., can enroll in a schedule that is fully online or that exceeds the number of online credits allowed by the F-1 regulations. This means:

  • International students who were enrolled at a U.S. university with an active F-1 SEVIS record on March 9, 2020 may enroll in a schedule that is mostly or fully online if they have continuously complied with the terms of their nonimmigrant status. This allowance is valid for the 2022-2023 academic year.
  • F-1 international students who began their study in the U.S. after March 9, 2020 must comply with the normal rules regarding online enrollment. For the fall and spring semesters this means undergraduates must enroll in at least 9 credits of in-person class out of a minimum enrollment of 12 credits per semester. Graduate students must enroll in at least 6 credits of in-person class out of the minimum enrollment of 9 per semester. 
  • F-1 students beginning a new degree program in Summer B must enroll in at least 6 credits, 3 of which must be in person. If the student was actively enrolled as an F-1 student in March 2020 and has continuously maintained their status, they may enroll a schedule that is 100% online.
  • Students in their final semester are not permitted to have a schedule that is fully online unless they were actively enrolled as an F-1 student in March 2020 and have continuously maintained their status.
  • Students in J-1 status must consult with the sponsor listed in box 2 of their DS-2019 regarding online course restrictions. 

More enrollment details are here:

FALL 2022 - SPRING 2023

  • Immigration Enrollment Requirements: Students must enroll full time (Undergraduate: 12 credits, minimum Graduate: 9 credits, minimum) by the end of the 4th day of classes (end of class drop/add period) unless authorized in advance for a reduced course load (end of class drop/add period) unless authorized in advance for a reduced course load, or unless the student is in the final semester of their program and is not appointed as a GA. Academic programs, scholarships, or departments may require additional enrollment. See important new information below regarding restrictions on online/hybrid/flex courses.

Graduate students working on a thesis or dissertation who have completed FSU’s required minimum thesis credits (6) or dissertation credits (24) and any other core requirements may be eligible to register for the university minimum enrollment requirement of two credit hours per semester until completion of their degree. Students must consult their academic advisor/major professor and their department’s graduate coordinator for instructions and enrollment expectations.

  • Online classes: Students, except students enrolled in a U.S. university on March 9, 2020, who were in active F-1 status on that date, and who have continued to comply with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, must enroll in at least 9 in-person credits as part of their full-time course load of 12 credit hours or more (UG students) or at least 6 in-person credits as part of their full-time course load of 9 credit hours or more (graduate students). Additionally:
    • Students in J-1 status must consult with the sponsor listed in box 2 of their DS-2019 regarding online course restrictions. 
    • Students funded by a scholarship must consult with their financial sponsor regarding any additional restrictions on online course enrollment. 
    • Students enrolled in classes with the Flex option must attend the in-person option if the course is part of their in-person courseload. The CGE recommends that students in this situation keep documentation of their in-person attendance in their permanent records.

Note: Students who began FSU enrollment from outside the U.S. and who have not held F-1 status inside the U.S. only begin to accrue time towards eligibility for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) upon arrival in the U.S. as an F-1 student. CPT and OPT require a student to have been enrolled in a fall and a spring semester.

FALL 2023 – SPRING 2024

International students in F-1 or J-1 status who were enrolled in a U.S. university and in active F-1 status on March 9, 2020 (along with students beginning their F-1 or J-1 status after March 2020) should plan to be living in Tallahassee to meet the normal in-person class requirements for the 2023-2024 academic year and beyond. The current guidance providing an exception is only valid through the 2022-2023 academic year. If ICE decides to extend the guidance, the CGE will notify students. The standard regulations require:

  • Undergraduate students in F-1 status – at least 9 of the required 12 credit hours (minimum) must be in-person; 
  • Graduate students in F-1 status – at least 6 of the required 9 credit hours (minimum) must be in-person;
  • Students in J-1 status – full-time course load must be completely in person. Only credit hours beyond the full-time requirement can be online.
  • Students graduating in a summer semester must have some in-person enrollment in that semester.

Travel 

The Center for Global Engagement at FSU recommends that students and scholars in the U.S. make careful decisions about any travel abroad during the summer or during a semester. Students who do not have a valid visa for return to the U.S. (unless entering with a Canadian or Bermudian passport and I-20 or using automatic revalidation of a visa for return from travel to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands, except Cuba, for 30 days or less) should not leave the U.S. before scheduling a visa appointment and should have an alternative plan in mind in case the U.S. Consulate cancels the visa appointment. Students should be sure that their passport will be valid for at least six months beyond the date of the planned return to the U.S.

Students in F-1 status should have a valid travel signature on page 2 of their I-20 (signed no more than a year before re-entry or no more than 6 months before re-entry if engaged in OPT/STEM OPT). Students submit a request for a travel signature in NoleStart.

Students in J-1 status should contact their immigration sponsor at least one month before anticipated travel regarding the sponsor’s procedures for requesting travel permission and validation.

Students should know the entry requirements for any country they will visit (COVID restrictions, visa and passport validity requirements) and check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to know the most updated vaccine and testing requirements for e-entry to the U.S.


Health Insurance Requirements 

  • F-1 and J-1 international students in the U.S. must have health insurance that meets the Florida Board of Governors requirements for coverage (https://studentinsurance.fsu.edu/international-students). FSU offers a plan that meets requirements and provides comprehensive coverage (https://studentinsurance.fsu.edu/purchase-insurance). The plan for the 2022-2023 year will be available soon.
     
  • Students who choose an alternate plan are responsible for ensuring that the plan meet the Board of Governors requirements. If a student purchases the FSU health insurance, the charge goes onto the student's account. Students do not pay for it at the time of “purchase”, but should ensure that the charge is cleared before course registration opens for the next semester or before applying for graduation.
     
  • Graduate students with a research or teaching assistantship, you can receive a subsidy (partial payment for FSU insurance) from the FSU Graduate School if they purchase the FSU health insurance. At the time of the “purchase” the cost of the insurance goes onto the tuition bill. Payment for the insurance will be done through payroll deduction. Students with the health insurance subsidy do NOT need to pay for the insurance by the normal deadline for tuition and fee payment. To elect to receive the subsidy, students MUST respond to an email from The Graduate School that they receive in the first week of classes. Complete information on the subsidy is HERE.
     
  • For information on insurance and health holds, visit the University Health Services website HERE.

COVID-19 

FSU will continue to offer PCR testing to students, faculty, and staff. However, students will need to provide a method of payment or insurance information when getting the testing through University Health Services. Information regarding off-campus testing and vaccination sites is HERE.

More information on testing and vaccination at FSU is available HERE.


Banking For New Students 

Banks encourage students to schedule an appointment to open a new account, but allow walk-ins, if a student is willing to wait. Here are some options that do not require a U.S. social security number for an application:

  • Truist Bank – (104 N. Woodward Ave, adjacent to the FSU Bookstore, ground level of the parking garage) – Make an appointment HERE selecting the Florida State University Branch using zip code 32304. Take 2 forms of photo ID, a local address, and check or cash for an initial deposit.
     
  • Bank of America - Make an appointment HERE and select the branches at 2252 N. Monroe St., 2930 Apalachee Parkway, or 5676 or 3430 Thomasville Road. The location at 803 Lake Bradford Rd is the branch closest to campus. Take 2 forms of photo ID, a local address, and a check or cash for an initial deposit.
     
  • Wells Fargo – Make an appointment HERE. You must have 2 forms of photo ID, a local address, and a check or cash for an initial deposit.

The CGE strongly recommends that new students coming for the fall semester schedule an appointment prior to their arrival to secure an appointment for soon after arrival.


CGE Advising

The Center for Global Engagement advising office is open 8:00 am – 5:00 pm M-F for general questions, J-1 scholar check in, and pick up of documents. New students complete their Arrival Confirmation (formerly check-in) and submit forms securely online through NoleStart, rather than in person. Students can schedule appointments (Zoom, phone, or in-person) with their CGE advisor through Bookings. Information is on this page.


FSU Card 

  • New students can apply for an FSU card online here: https://fsucard.fsu.edu/your-fsucard and pick the card up at the FSU Card Center after arrival in the U.S.
  • The FSU card is necessary for identification and for access to FSU buildings and other services. 

Resources for More Information

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