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Center for Global Education

International Student Services

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 (updated 7/25/2020)

7/24/2020 update from US Immigration

I saw that the government has updated their guidance on 7/24/2020 for Fall 2020 semester. What's next? What does that mean for my situation?

New guidance was issued on 7/24/2020. The Center for Global Education staff is actively reviewing the guidance and seeking clarification on its content. In brief review, it looks to provide much greater flexibility to enroll in online courses for the Fall semester. We will continue to update this FAQ page with information. You can see the date of the most recent update to our FAQ at the top of the page.

Please continue to check your Boise State email address for important updates from the Center for Global Education.

If you are a new student to Boise State University, or if you are a student starting a new degree program at Boise State University, then please contact International Admissions regarding enrollment requirements for Fall 2020.

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 (keithquatraro@boisestate.edu). We are also available for Zoom video meetings, if you would like to do so.

If you are a new student to Boise State University then please reach out to International Admissions, who are available to meet with you (remotely by video) and answer any questions you may have.

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.

Course Registration & Registration Requirements for Fall 2020

How do I register for Fall 2020 classes?

Registration is open for the Fall 2020 semester, and you can register through my.BoiseState.edu. If you have not begun registering for your courses, be sure to contact your academic advisor now as courses are filling up quickly.

How will courses be taught this fall? What are the course formats?

To accommodate physical distancing and other safety measures necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, the university is making changes to its fall course schedule. Courses will be taught in three different formats: in-person, hybrid, remote and online.

If you would like to learn more about each mode of instruction click here.

For F1 student visa purposes hybrid and in-person courses count as in-person for F1 immigration purposes.

Remote and online classes, even if you are taking them while you are personally present at Boise State, do not count as in-person classes for F1 immigration purposes.

The Registrar’s Office plans to have all course formats finalized by July 15, 2020.

When will the format of classes be finalized?

The Registrar’s Office planned to have all course formats finalized by July 15, 2020. We encourage you to monitor your course enrollment so that you are aware of your class formats, as some formats may change after that date.

What are the immigration requirements for the Fall 2020 semester?

If you wish to study this Fall semester, please finalize your enrollment as soon as possible. If you are outside the U.S. then please let us know using our notification form.

SEVP issued new guidance on 7/24/2020. This is our understanding of that guidance:

1) You must enroll full-time if you wish to remain in the U.S. in F1 status for the Fall semester. That is 12 credits (undergraduate) or 9 credits (graduate). There are some limited exceptions to enrolling full time for graduate students with only thesis/dissertation remaining, and for students in their final semester. In both cases, the exception requires prior approval from the ISS office.

2) You must enroll in a course load that helps you make full-time progress towards your degree

3) It’s OK if you have more than one online course, so long as you are enrolled full-time and making full-time progress towards your degree. Please continue to take whatever courses your academic advisor recommends.

New students outside the U.S., including students who are starting a new degree program, have different enrollment requirements. Please consult International Admissions for enrollment requirements if you are a new student and are outside the U.S.

Are thesis and dissertation credits on-campus?

Thesis and dissertation credits are coded as in-person. Once you enroll you can see the mode of instruction within your Student Center.

As in regular semesters, you should plan to take the credits from the Boise area, unless your research requires you to be elsewhere in the United States. If you are doing research from outside the U.S. then please contact International Student Services (internationalinfo@boisestate.edu) for the appropriate form for research abroad.

I want to take next semester entirely online. Do I have to leave the United States?

No, you do not need to leave the United States if you are studying full-time. If you choose to leave the U.S. and take your classes online then you are welcome to do so. If you would like to take courses from outside the US next semester please complete our Leave of Absence form before the start of the Fall semester so that we know about your plans.

Fall 2020 is my final semester. Do I need to be enrolled full-time?

You can request permission to be enrolled less than full-time if it is your final semester. You can read more about Final Semester requirements here.

If you want to take your final courses online you can do so from outside the U.S.. However, if your final semester is outside the U.S. then it may impact your ability to apply for post-completion OPT work authorization. USCIS does not currently allow students to submit OPT applications from outside the U.S.

If you want to take your final semester online from outside the U.S. then please complete our Withdrawal Form as soon as possible (and before the semester starts), so that we can correctly update your immigration record.

Can I do all my courses next semster online from outside the United States?

You are welcome to take courses from outside the United States. Check with your Academic Advisor about course offerings and the format of the course you would like to take. You may also want to think about the time difference if the class is being offered remotely (meaning you have to attend the online course at a specific time of day).

Please complete our Leave of Absence form before the start of the Fall semester so that we know about your plans. If you have a scholarship through Boise State University then make sure you check the scholarship requirements if you want to study less than full time.

Depending on when you wish to return, and whether you enroll full-time or part-time for Fall 2020, you may need to show updated financial support documents and be issued a new I-20.  However, if your F1 visa stamp has not expired then you will not need to renew your F1 visa for entry to the U.S.

If Fall 2020 is your final semester and you want to study outside the U.S. then it may impact your ability to apply for post-completion OPT work authorization. USCIS does not currently allow students to submit OPT applications from outside the U.S.

What happens if Boise State has to switch to online classes? Will I have to leave the U.S.?

No, you will not have to leave the U.S. if Boise State has to switch to remote teaching during the Fall 2020 semester.

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

If you want to take courses this summer then you can take them online with no impact on your immigration status.

I've heard that I'll be getting a new I-20. What's the process for that?

There is no longer a need for an updated I-20. Please let us know through our Leave of Absence form if you are planning to take the Fall semester online from outside the U.S., as some I-20 updates may be needed in that case to return for the Spring 2021 semester.

Travel and Visas

What documents do I need to re-enter the U.S.?

First, check the travel restrictions to make sure you can enter the U.S. These depend on where you are traveling from, and where you have traveled recently.*

We recommend that continuing students have the following documentation to enter the U.S. (required items are in bold):

  1. Valid passport (generally must be at least 6 months left, but some countries must have 1 year of validity left)
  2. Valid I-20, with a valid travel signature (a valid travel signature is less than 12 months old)**
  3. Valid F-1 visa stamp (Canadians are exempt from this requirement)
  4. EAD card (ONLY for students on OPT or STEM OPT) as well as evidence of employment, and a travel signature that is less than 6 months old
  5. Evidence of enrollment. If possible, remaining in at least one on-campus/hybrid course may be helpful for entry to the U.S. If you are a new student, please contact International Admissions for information about enrollment recommendations.
  6. Unofficial transcript. This can be helpful even outside of this COVID-19 time. It helps show that you are an active student making full-time progress towards your degree. It also helps to show that you were enrolled full-time in Spring 2020.
  7. Letter confirming that Boise State University is offering on-campus courses. You should not need this, but in case it is helpful this has been emailed to all continuing students.

* The U.S. State Department has issued a statement indicating F-1 students are exempt from the Schengen Area travel restrictions (others remain in place). However, a different government agency (CBP) controls entry to the U.S. and has not yet confirmed this exemption. We are actively seeking confirmation from CBP but there is a risk that travelers coming from the Schengen area may still face restrictions on entry into the U.S. We recommend you have a print out of the statement if you think you might be subject to the Schengen area travel restriction.

** Please note that recent SEVP/ICE guidance requiring us to reissue all I-20s for students (except those on OPT/STEM OPT), certifying that you are meeting their recent enrollment guidelines has been rescinded. We will update this FAQ if we learn of additional items (if any) are needed for entry to the U.S.

Can I travel outside the US?

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 have restricted travel and are cancelling many routes, often with little notice. If you wish to travel home, please check for the earliest possible departure and routes. Keep in mind that this may also make it difficult to find a flight to return to the U.S.
  2. Check that you are able to to enter your destination and transit countries (travel restrictions and transit visa requirements) 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. Many Embassies are still closed, and most do not have visa appointments before the Fall semester starts. This could make it very difficult to renew your visa and may delay your return to the U.S.
  4. You can only apply for OPT work authorization from inside the U.S. If you are outside the U.S. for your final semester then you may not be able to apply for OPT if you leave the U.S. Consult an ISS advisor (internationalinfo@boisestate.edu) if you have questions about applying for OPT.

Do I need to tell anyone that I'm outside the U.S.? Who can help me as I decide whether to travel to the U.S. for the Fall semester?

Please complete this form if you are currently outside the U.S., even if you do not plan to re-enter the U.S. for the Fall semester. Knowing where you are (inside or outside the U.S.) will help us support you better.

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.)

As of now, there is no Boise State University requirement to quarantine upon arrival to campus. However, you may be asked to provide a negative COVID-19 test as part of this process. Please plan to test for COVID-19 no more than one week prior to departing for the U.S., if possible and if tests are available in your area.

Where can I check current travel restrictions?

Although we cannot guarantee the up-to-the-minute accuracy of these websites, many people have found these websites to be useful. You may also wish to check with your airline before booking travel or traveling.

IATA website

US Department of State – on travel to other countries

CDC – on travel to the U.S.

Are there any exceptions to the travel restrictions for F1 student visa holders?

The current travel restrictions are in place for all travelers, and no specific exceptions have been made for F1 student visa holders.

The U.S. State Department has issued a statement indicating F-1 students are exempt from the Schengen Area travel restrictions. However, a different government agency (CBP) controls entry to the U.S. and has not yet confirmed this exemption. We are actively seeking confirmation from CBP but there is a risk that travelers coming from the Schengen area may still face restrictions on entry into the U.S. We recommend you have a print out of the statement listed here in case you face difficulty returning to the U.S.

When will Embassies and Consulates open for visa appointments?

The U.S. State Department has indicated that some Embassies are open for visa appointments, and others may open in the near future. When they do reopen, we expect the availability for visa appointments to vary depending on staffing and volume of requests. Continue to check the website for your Embassy or Consulate for more details.

Remember that you only need to apply for a new F1 visa stamp if your current F1 visa has expired and you are outside the U.S.

If you are having difficulty getting a visa appointment and are unable to get to Boise State for the start of the Fall semester then please contact us (internationalinfo@boisestate.edu).

I am in the U.S. and my visa has expired. How do I renew my visa from within the U.S.?

You cannot apply for a new visa stamp from within the U.S.

However, you do not need to reapply for your F1 student visa if you are not leaving the U.S. It’s alright to be in the U.S. with an expired F1 student visa, so long as your I-20 has not expired and you continue to follow all the rules and regulations for F1 student status.

I’ve finished this Summer 2020 semester. I’m getting near the end of my 60-day grace period to remain in the U.S. Can I stay longer?

Please contact an ISS advisor if you are in this situation (internationalinfo@boisestate.edu). There are some limited options if no flights are available and if it’s not possible for you to return home.

Can I travel inside the U.S.?

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

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. Try to make your request at least 3 weeks before your planned return flight to the U.S.

U.S. Immigration is temporarily allowing students to use emailed I-20s with travel signatures for travel but if possible, we recommend having an original document with an original signature for travel.

Housing

I have questions about on-campus housing for the Fall semester. Where do I get help with that?

Housing has created a list of FAQs for Fall 2020. If you cannot get your question answered on that list then we encourage you to contact housing directly (housing@boisestate.edu).

What do I do if I can’t get on-campus housing, or I don’t want to live in on-campus housing?

If you are unable to stay on campus or wish to live off-campus, please review this list of apartments nearby Boise State.

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 during the semester, even if classes have moved online. You are allowed to work more than 20 hours per week on campus during the summer if you plan to register for the fall semester.

U.S. Immigration is temporarily allowing F1 students to do their on-campus jobs on a remote basis.

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.

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.

Please contact us (internationalinfo@boisestate.edu) if you continue to have concerns that COVID-19 has affected your financial situation.

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 semester or summer that you are participating in CPT.

If you are completing your internship early, then please contact the International Student Services office (internationalinfo@boisestate.edu) 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 (internationalinfo@boisestate.edu). 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. You can get further information on OPT on our website.

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.

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 are no longer 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 (ruthprince@boisestate.edu).

I’ve reached the EAD end date of my OPT/STEM and I have not reached the maximum number of unemployment days. I’m getting near the end of my 60-day grace period to remain in the U.S. Can I stay longer?

Please contact an ISS advisor if you are in this situation. There are some limited options if no flights are available and if it’s not possible for you to return home.  Please note that the 60-day grace period at the end of your OPT is only available if you have not reached the 90-day unemployment limit.

I am on OPT and my employer has temporarily reduced my hours to less than 20 hours/week. Am I accruing unemployment days?

For the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, SEVP considers students who are working in their OPT opportunities fewer than 20 hours a week as engaged in OPT.

If you have lost your job or have no hours of work then you must update the last date you worked as the end date for your position in the SEVP portal. If you no longer have any employment or work hours then you would accrue unemployment days. Remember, you have 90 days of unemployment during your first year of OPT. If you’re already on the 2-year STEM Extension then you are allowed a total of 150 days in the 3-year OPT period. It’s OK to use those days!

I am working remotely on OPT during COVID-19. Do I have to update my place of employment in the SEVP Portal?

SEVP has confirmed that you do not have to update your worksite address while temporarily working remotely during the COVID-19 period. If you work remotely on a permanent or long-term basis even after your company returns to working onsite, then you will need to update your worksite address at that time. Students on STEM OPT who have a worksite address change should contact Ruth Prince (ruthprince@boisestate.edu) for more guidance.

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 visit Sponsored student letter requests.

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 (keithquatraro@boisestate.edu). Zoom meetings and Google Hangout sessions are also available.

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

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.

Taxes

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 taxreporting@boisestate.edu 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
Email: internationalinfo@boisestate.edu
Facebook
#internationalbroncos

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