Center for Global Education

International Student Services

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

Contacting an ISS Advisor

I really want to talk with an ISS advisor. How can I set up a meeting?

ISS advisors are still available via phone and email as usual ( We are also available for Zoom video meetings, if you would like to do so.

I’ve read all the FAQs and my question/answer isn’t listed here. Please can you help?

We’re here to help through these challenging times. We can chat by phone or video conference, and we’re also available by email.

Health and Wellness

Where can I find more information about how to deal with my stress and anxiety caused by COVID 19 concerns?

As an international student at Boise State, your health and well being are our first priority. Please continue to check Boise State University’s main page for the latest Campus updates regarding COVID-19. Below are helpful links we have found to help you address stress and anxiety you may be feeling. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel you have any questions or concerns.

Coronavirus Resource Center

Tips and Strategies to deal with the effects of Physical Distancing

University Health Services

Bronco Fit

Finishing my coursework online

Boise State University has moved entirely to online courses for the rest of the semester. Does this affect my F1 or J1 immigration status?

There is no effect on your immigration status if you stay enrolled full time. U.S. Immigration has allowed an exception to the regulations on online courses due to this unprecedented public health situation.  You can take these courses from either inside or outside the U.S.

Please note that you must remain enrolled full time in your spring semester classes. If you choose to drop below full time this could negatively impact your immigration status. Please discuss your plans with an ISS advisor before dropping any courses.

I-20 Updates & Reprint Requests

I’ve moved to another room or apartment temporarily. Do I need to update anything?

Yes, the regulations have not changed about contact information updates.  If you’ve moved to another address within the U.S. then please complete our Change of Address form within 10 days of the move. Students on OPT or STEM OPT should update their address using the SEVP OPT Portal.

What do I do if I’ve lost my I-20 or updated my I-20 and I need a new one?

Complete our online request for a new I-20 and an ISS advisor will contact you. If you have changed your major or minor, complete our change of major/minor request for a new I-20.  We have options for you to sign up and pay for FedEx/UPS to receive your new I-20.

I forgot to get a travel signature on my I-20. Can I get one now?

While the office is closed, we cannot provide a travel signature on your current I-20. However, you can complete our online request for a new I-20. We have options for you to sign up and pay for FedEx/UPS to receive your new I-20, including options to ship outside the U.S. if you have already left. Be sure to make your request at least 3 weeks before your planned return flight to the U.S.


Can I travel inside the U.S.?

There is no immigration restriction to travel within the U.S. However, we encourage you to review the CDC advice on U.S. travel before making your travel plans.

Can I travel home?

You should make the best decision for your own personal circumstances.  Here are some things to consider before deciding to travel outside the U.S.:

  1. Airlines are progressively restricting travel and cancelling routes. If you wish to travel home, please check for the earliest possible departure and routes.
  2. Check that you are able to to enter your home country and if there are any self-isolation requirements. The Embassy for your home country is one source of information on travel restrictions.
  3. Check if your F1 visa has expired, or if it will expire soon. Most embassies are not offering visa appointments, which could make it very difficult to renew your visa and may delay your return to the U.S.
  4. If you are planning to leave during the Spring 2020 semester then think about whether you can successfully continue your classes from outside the U.S. For example, check that you will have the required stable internet and computer access from your home location. Also consider the time difference between your home and Boise. Many courses are still operating at the same time of day as they did on-campus.
  5. You can only apply for OPT work authorization from inside the U.S. If this is your final semester, you may not be able to apply for OPT if you leave the U.S. Consult an ISS advisor ( if you have questions about applying for OPT.

If I travel outside the U.S. will I be in quarantine on my return?

The requirements for quarantine and self-isolation depend on the region of travel, and are constantly changing. You should expect to follow the guidelines that are required or recommended at the time of your travel (both in the country you are traveling to, as well as returning to the U.S.)

Government-sponsored students

I am a student sponsored by SACM or KCO. How will I request my letters and documents?

The letter request process will not change. If you need to submit a letter request, please click here.

I really want to talk with the Sponsored Student Coordinator. How can I set up a meeting?

The Sponsored Student Coordinator is still available via phone and email as usual ( Zoom meetings and Google Hangout sessions are also available.

Employment and Finances

I have an on-campus job. How is it affected?

Please talk with your supervisor about your employment. Remember you are still restricted to 20 hours/week, even if classes have moved online.

My on-campus job is not available during this time. I’m worried about my financial situation. Are there any resources available to help?

The Dean of Students Office has a Student Emergency Fund.  It might be a good place to start if you are concerned about finances in the event of a university closure (see here for information).  They also operate a food pantry that you can access even now, without the closure.

We’ll continue to update you if we learn of any other funding opportunities or exceptions the US Government provides related to on/off-campus work in this period.

CPT - Curricular Practical Training

I am completing an internship this semester utilizing CPT, but my internship site has closed. What can I do?

If you will not have completed the required number of work hours to earn the academic credits, please work with your academic advisor to see if there are alternative ways to meet the academic requirements for your course.  Please remember that you must remain enrolled in at least 1 internship credit for the Spring 2020 semester.

If you are completing your internship early, then please contact the International Student Services office ( to request that your CPT is shortened to your last date of work.  If your CPT is shortened then you will not be able to return to your work at the internship without a new CPT work authorization.

I have an internship for summer and I want to apply for CPT work authorization. How do I do that?

The application process for CPT work authorization has not changed. The application process is listed on our CPT webpage. All items can be sent via email to the International Student Services Office ( An ISS advisor will contact you about how to receive your I-20.  Please contact ISS before your internship begins if you will not be able to begin your internship on time, so that your CPT dates can be adjusted.

OPT - Optional Practical Training

How do I apply for OPT during this period?

USCIS still requires students to apply for OPT from within the U.S. The I-765 application form also requires a U.S. mailing address for your EAD (work authorization card) and any other OPT-related correspondence.  If you are finishing your degree this Spring or Summer then please contact Ruth Prince about how to apply for OPT. OPT Workshops are currently taking place via Zoom Video Conference (sign up for one here).

I’ve applied for OPT but I want to leave the U.S. Will that affect my OPT application?

You can depart the U.S. while your application is pending, but you should be aware that there are some potential risks in doing so.

  • Any OPT-related mail will go to the mailing address that you put on your I-765 form. If no-one will be able to receive your mail then you should find another reliable U.S. mailing address and update USCIS and the ISS office with your address change.  If you receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) at that address then you will need to be able to review it and respond to it very quickly, as they are time-sensitive.  If you do not respond to the RFE by the deadline provided then your OPT will be denied.
  • If your OPT is approved while you are outside the U.S. then you will need your EAD card and updated I-20 (with travel signature) to return. You may have difficulties re-entering the U.S. after the program end date on your I-20 if your OPT is still pending.
  • If your F1 visa has expired then you will need to apply for a new F1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, most of which are currently closed. It can be difficult to renew an F1 visa without your OPT approval and verified future employment.

Spring 2020 is my final semester. I’ve already left the U.S. and plan to finish my program online. Can I apply for OPT?

If you have already left the U.S. then you would need to return to the U.S. before your program end date (May 8 for Spring graduates) in order to apply for OPT. Returning to the U.S. might be very difficult given current travel restrictions. If you have already left the U.S. then you may no longer be able to apply for OPT.

My OPT is approved and I was supposed to start my job soon. My employer’s office is closed so my employment is postponed. What can I do?

Please work directly with your employer regarding when you can start work and if you can start working remotely. Remember that you are eligible to have up to 90 days of unemployment during your first year of OPT.

I’m on OPT but my place of work is closed. What should I do?

Please continue to work directly with your employer on whether you can work remotely. If you cannot work remotely and you are getting close to 90 days of unemployment then please contact ISS/Ruth Prince for further guidance (

Health Insurance

My health insurance expires May 31, 2020. I do not plan to take summer courses and plan on being in Boise, ID what should I do about health insurance?

It’s very important to have adequate health insurance coverage while living in the United States. If you are not enrolling in summer courses then we recommend that you find suitable health insurance coverage for the summer. Fall insurance will begin for enrolled students on August 1, 2020.


I received an email asking me to move out of on-campus housing. What are my options?

If you are unable to stay on campus or wish to live off-campus, please click here for a list of apartments nearby Boise State.

I just moved out of my on-campus dorm and left Boise. How do I get my refund for housing and meal plan?

Refunds will be posted to your student account. If you have a direct deposit linked to your student account, the deposit will be sent to your bank account. If you do not have a direct deposit linked to your student account then a paper check will be mailed to the address in your student account. PLEASE BE SURE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS IS ACCURATE. All refunds should be posted within 30 days. The housing department has additional information on their website.


I’m not sure how this affects when and how I can file my taxes. Where can I get help with that?

Contact our Tax Reporting Office if you have questions about filing taxes, including important deadlines. You can reach them at or visit the Tax Reporting website.

Welcome to International Student Services (ISS) at Boise State University! Boise State is proud to serve international students in bachelors, masters and doctoral programs from over 65 countries. Our professional and knowledgeable team is here to assist you with questions about your immigration status, visa and work permits, scholarships, ISS hosted events, Boise State student programming, and more. We are eager to give you specialized support to ensure you enjoy your experience studying at Boise State and immersing yourself in the of Boise community.

Contact us

International Student Services
Telephone: 208.426.3652

Days until Fall 2020 International Student Orientation

We are excited to see you soon!