OIS Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

 

To the NC State international student and scholar community:

OIS is monitoring Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments here on campus and around the world.  Because your health and safety are our primary concern, we are putting policies in place to prepare for different scenarios. Please do note that these are preventative measures. At this time, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 at NC State. We are sharing these FAQs to inform you of options and resources available to you should the university further change the delivery of our operations. OIS will continue to be available to support you throughout this time.  

Last updated 3/25/2020

GOVERNMENT AGENCY RESOURCES AND FAQs

 

Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)

ICE Guidance on COVID-19 (see section on nonimmigrant students)

 

Department of State

Coronavirus Resources

Travel Advisories

Exchange Visitor Program FAQ

 

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Coronavirus Resources

 

OIS OPERATIONS AND DOCUMENT REQUESTS

 

Q1: With the university moving to online operations, will OIS close?

A: Although our physical office is closed, OIS has moved our operations online and we remain open remotely. We are continuing as many functions as possible via email, phone, and video conferencing and we are still able to process requests and provide advising and programming services.  Any changes to our operational status will be posted on our homepage as well as on this FAQ page.

 

Q2: How can I use OIS’s services while OIS is operating remotely?  

A: Below we have outlined how some of our major services have transitioned while we are operating remotely:

  • Processing Requests: Please email all processing requests (except specific processes noted below) to ois@ncsu.edu. We are continuing to issue updated I-20 and DS-2019s and will scan a copy to you once we have issued the updated document. Original documents will be made available at a later date.
  • Distribution of Original Documents/Mail: For the immediate future, our ability to distribute original documents and OPT mail received in OIS will be limited to situations in which original documents are absolutely necessary. Please review Q3 – Q4 in the OIS Operations and Document Request section of this FAQ for information on these situations and how to arrange to receive your original document(s) by mail should you absolutely need it. We will reevaluate this in several weeks.
  • OPT Drop-off/Review: Our OPT procedures have transitioned online and are outlined on our OPT page.
  • CPT Processing: Our CPT procedures have transitioned to an entirely online process.  Please submit CPT applications electronically via the Virtual Application Submission Center. Please review our CPT page for full application instructions. The Summer CPT application window opens on March 30, 2020. 
  • Travel Signatures: Until further notice, instead of a travel signature on the I-20/DS-2019, we will be issuing a travel support letter via email for students to print and carry with them when traveling internationally. Students should also carry their original I-20/DS-2019 in addition to this letter. To request a letter, please complete this google form.
  • Open Advising Hours: In-person open advising hours are cancelled until further notice. Effective immediately, please email your assigned OIS advisor with your question and your advisor will provide an answer via email or schedule a phone appointment to discuss your question.  
  • OIS Programs & Events: In-person OIS events and programs are canceled until further notice.  We will transition several programs to an online model and will announce those details soon.  We are committed to finding new virtual ways for our campus community to connect and engage with each other.  Follow OIS on Instagram and Facebook for more details! 

 

Q3: I understand OIS is still processing I-20/DS-2019 requests and plans to send scanned copies of newly issued documents, but what if I need the original document? How can I get it?

A: In general, a scanned copy of the I-20 or DS-2019 should be sufficient for most purposes including applying for OPT, personal and financial updates, OPT employment updates, program extensions, changes of major and level, etc. There are only a few situations in which the original I-20 or DS-2019 is absolutely necessary, including:

  • International travel*
  • I-9 process for new employment (e.g. CPT, OPT, STEM OPT, and on-campus employment)
  • I-9 process for extended employment (when the original I-9 is expiring soon)
  • New social security application
  • New or extended driver’s license application

Because the university has limited student and employee presence on campus, OIS is limited in our ability to distribute original documents to students and scholars. However, we will be able to mail original I-20s/DS-2019s to students and scholars who need them for the above purposes. If you need your original document for any of the above reasons, please email OIS with your reason for requesting the original document along with a shipping label (FedEx, UPS, or USPS) and we will mail your document to you.

*International Travel. Before making your decision to travel or not, please review our guidance in Q3: Can/Should I travel internationally? in the Domestic and International Travel section of this FAQ. If you are a currently enrolled student, J-1 student on Academic Training, or active J-1 scholar/student intern who already has a travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019, the travel signature is valid for one year from the date of the signature. If you are an F-1 student on OPT, your signature is only valid for six months from the date of the travel signature (please see our FAQ on travel on OPT). 

If you decide to travel after reviewing the information and considerations in Q3: Can/Should I travel internationally? of the Domestic and International Travel section of this FAQ, you have the below options: 

  • If a new I-20/DS-2019 has been issued for you that you have not yet picked up, please follow the above instructions to request OIS mail the original document to you. It will have a travel signature on it.
  • If you are already in possession of your most recently issued I-20/DS-2019 but need a travel signature, please see Q4. How can I get a travel signature on my I-20/DS-2019? in the Domestic and International Travel Section of this FAQ below for instructions on obtaining a travel support letter in lieu of a travel signature at this time.

 

Q4: I used OIS as my mailing address on my OPT application. Will OIS still be able to send me my receipt notice, approval notice or EAD card?

A: The US Postal Service is still delivering mail to the university but may be delayed in making deliveries with reduced staff.  We have made arrangements with university Mail Services to pick up our mail weekly. Currently, our plan for student mail received by OIS is as follows:

  • We will continue to email students to notify you we’ve received your USCIS mail.
  • We will scan and email you a copy of your receipt notice, approval notice, and EAD.
  • We will mail original documents, but please review the following information to help us manage mailing of original documents. Original documents should only be needed for the below purposes so we recommend you wait until one of these situations applies to you to request OIS mail your documents to you. Also, you may want to wait until we have received all of your documents (receipt notice, approval notice, and EAD) to request we mail your documents in order to reduce your shipping costs. If you need your original documents for any of the below reasons, please send OIS a shipping label (FedEx,UPS, or USPS) and we will arrange to mail the documents to you.
    • Receipt Notice/Approval Notice: 
      • Needed to re-enter the U.S. after international travel when the OPT application is still pending (although please review Q3: Can/Should I travel internationally? in the Domestic and International Travel section of this FAQ for our advice on international travel at this time)
      • In some states can be used to extend a driver’s license
    • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) 
      • Needed to complete the I-9 process for new employment
      • Needed to re-enter the U.S. after international travel after the OPT application has been approved (although please review Q3: Can/Should I travel internationally? in the Domestic and International Travel section of this FAQ for our advice on international travel at this time). 
      • Needed to apply for a social security number
      • Can be used to apply for or extend a driver’s license
  • If you decide you would like to change your mailing address with USCIS, please contact your OIS advisor so we can assist you with that request. 

 

IMMIGRATION STATUS

 

Q1: With the university’s transition to online classes, will my immigration status be safe?

A: The Student and Exchange Visitor Program and the Department of State have allowed a short-term exception to limitations for online enrollment for F-1 and J-1 students. Even though classes have moved online, as long as you continue completing course assignments and following instructions of your professors, your immigration status is safe.  The key is to continue making progress towards your degree.  

 

DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

 

Q1: I have family/friends in another part of the U.S. Can I move to stay with them while I continue my coursework online?

A: Yes. If you choose to move elsewhere, please update your SEVIS Local address in MyPack within 10 days of moving to report your new physical address in the U.S., as required by F-1 and J-1 visa regulations. 

 

Q2: Can I go to my home country and complete the semester there via online coursework?

A: There may be a number of reasons you or your family would want you to be home in a time of pandemic response. If all of your classes move to online delivery, you can technically pursue your work from your home country.  However, please keep in mind the following considerations:

  • Technology.  Will you be able to access all the resources you need to participate in remote classes? This includes Moodle, WebAssign, Zoom, and Google Apps such as Docs, Slides, and Hangouts. You will want to consider your ability to respond to communication from instructors in a timely fashion and submit required assignments from your home country.
  • Time difference.  If your classes are meeting online at your regularly scheduled time, consider the time difference and whether or not you will be able to attend. If the time difference will make class attendance impractical, it is appropriate to contact your instructor and ask whether lectures will be recorded and made available online.
  • Graduating in May 2020 or Summer 2020.  If you plan to complete your degree in May 2020 or Summer 2020 and wish to apply for OPT, you must physically be in the U.S. at the time of application.  Please consult our advice about travel during the OPT process for more information.
  • Visa status/“5 month rule”. The “5 month rule” refers to the interruption of a student’s F-1 status due to the student being outside of the United States for more than five months. However, according to the Nonimmigrant Students section of the ICE COVID FAQ (ICE is the agency which manages SEVIS), “nonimmigrant students can temporarily engage in distance-learning, either from within the U.S. or outside the country, in light of COVID-19.” In addition, “students who continue to make normal progress in their course of study remain eligible for admission into the United States.” The ICE COVID-19 FAQ also states that “the five-month temporary absence provision addressed in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(4) will not apply for students who remain in Active status.” Based on this guidance, we expect the 5 month rule to be waived for students who continued to engage in classes online while abroad with an active SEVIS record. We will update this page if further guidance is issued. If you are currently abroad or go abroad, we recommend you consult your OIS advisor prior to being abroad for more than 5 months so we can give you the most up to date information at that time.
  • Return to the U.S.  There are currently indefinite entry restrictions for noncitizens travelling to the U.S. who have recently been in Iran or China, and noncitizens traveling from the Schengen area of Europe, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Canada.  At this time, we do not know when these restrictions will be lifted or how they might change (for example, additional countries added).  In addition, many U.S. embassies are modifying or suspending their visa services (please check with the closest embassy to your home to confirm their operating status). If you travel home, understand that there may be some uncertainty in terms of how quickly you would be able to return to the U.S.   

 

 

 

Q3: Can/Should I travel internationally?

A: There may be a number of reasons you or your family would want you to be home or you need to travel internationally in a time of pandemic response. Students and scholars must make international travel decisions that are in their best interest. However, please keep in mind the following considerations:

  • Travel Guidance: Please keep in mind the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) general guidance regarding domestic and international travel.  
  • Return to the U.S.: Please understand that there are currently indefinite entry restrictions for noncitizens traveling to the U.S. who have recently been in Iran or China, and noncitizens traveling from the Schengen area of Europe, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Canada. At this time, we do not know when these restrictions will be lifted or how they might change (for example, additional countries added). In addition, many U.S. embassies are modifying or suspending their visa services (please check with the closest embassy to your home to confirm their operating status). If you travel internationally, understand that there may be some uncertainty in terms of how quickly you would be able to return to the U.S.
  • Graduating in May 2020 or Summer 2020.  If you plan to complete your degree in May 2020 or Summer 2020 and wish to apply for OPT, you must physically be in the U.S. at the time of application.  Please consult our advice about travel during the OPT process for more information.
  • Visa status/“5 month rule”. The “5 month rule” refers to the interruption of a student’s F-1 status due to the student being outside of the United States for more than five months. However, according to the Nonimmigrant Students section of the ICE COVID FAQ (ICE is the agency which manages SEVIS), “nonimmigrant students can temporarily engage in distance-learning, either from within the U.S. or outside the country, in light of COVID-19.” In addition, “students who continue to make normal progress in their course of study remain eligible for admission into the United States.” The ICE COVID-19 FAQ also states that “the five-month temporary absence provision addressed in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(4) will not apply for students who remain in Active status.” Based on this guidance, we expect the 5 month rule to be waived for students who continued to engage in classes online while abroad with an active SEVIS record. We will update this page if further guidance is issued. If you are currently abroad or go abroad, we recommend you consult your OIS advisor prior to being abroad for more than 5 months so we can give you the most up to date information at that time.

 

Q4: How can I get a travel signature on my I-20/DS-2019?

A: Before you travel, please review our answer to question Q3: Can/Should I travel internationally? in the Domestic and International Travel section of this FAQ for advice and considerations on international travel.

Travel Signature Validity: Travel signatures for currently enrolled students, J-1 students on Academic Training, and active J-1 scholars/student interns  are valid for one year from the date of the signature. If you are an F-1 student on OPT, your signature is only valid for six months from the date of the travel signature (please see our FAQ on travel on OPT). 

Travel Signature Requests: If your travel signature will expire prior to your anticipated return (or you don’t have a travel signature), you may submit a request using this google form for a travel endorsement letter from OIS in lieu of an updated travel signature. Within 10 business days of your request, OIS will email you a travel letter which you can print and carry with your original I-20 or DS-2019 when you travel back to the U.S. You do not need to wait for the letter to be emailed to you to depart the U.S., you only need to have a print out or electronic copy in your possession when you return.

 

Q5: What if I cannot depart the U.S. by the end of my grace period?

A: Please contact your OIS advisor so we can discuss your particular circumstances. Extensions might be possible in some cases; in others, we may refer you to an immigration attorney to discuss the possibilities of a change of status application.

 

HEALTH CARE

 

Q1: What measures should I take to practice “social distancing” and reduce my chances of contracting the COVID-19 virus?

A: Social distancing is designed to limit the spread of a disease by reducing the opportunities for close contact between people. Strategies include using conference calls and video conferencing in place of face-to-face meetings, avoiding unnecessary travel and reinforcing handwashing and other common-sense precautions.

If you are among a group of people where anyone appears to be ill or may have had contact with a person diagnosed with coronavirus, try to keep a distance of at least six feet from one another.

To practice social distancing and minimize risk of infection to yourself and others, you can follow these guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Q2: How much does it cost for international students to get Coronavirus testing?

A: According to the North Carolina State Department of Health, only those who meet the following criteria should ask their doctor or local health department about being testing for COVID-19: 

  1. Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR
  2. Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test.

If you feel you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, NC State Student Health is prepared to see students who are possibly ill with COVID-19. You can read more about these services here: https://healthypack.dasa.ncsu.edu/coronavirus-testing-only-available-for-students-exhibiting-symptoms/.

Q3: What should I do if I test positive for COVID-2019?

A: If you test positive for COVID-2019, please notify OIS so that we can get you connected with campus resources to guide you on isolation practices and follow up care.

 

ACADEMIC CHANGES AND SUPPORT

 

Q1: I still have not heard from one of my instructors about their plans for moving to online coursework. What should I do?  

A: Faculty have been working diligently in restructuring their courses for online learning. By this point, you should have received some type of communication from each of your instructors. While some course instructors or lab instructors may still be in the process of finalizing aspects of their online curriculum, it is expected that they would have contacted you with an update.

You should begin by checking any course-related websites or Moodle pages for updates. Also check your inbox to ensure that their messages were not sent to a spam folder or to trash. If you are still unable to find the information you are looking for, contact your instructor directly and request this information. 

If your instructor is not responding, then you should contact your academic advisor, the Office of International Services, or the Academic Coordinator for International Student Support

 

Q2: I am worried about taking online classes. Do you have any recommendations for getting organized, staying focused, or adjusting my study routines? 

A: The Division of Academic and Student Affairs has pulled together information from colleagues across campus and across the United States to develop its Keep Learning website. This web page serves as a guide for getting started with online learning, developing strategies for academic success, and identifying helpful resources. 

If you have not done so already, we recommend that you begin by simply tracking the changes that have happened in each of your classes. You have probably already received numerous emails with updates to deadlines, exam dates, project instructions and more. Organize this information by compiling in a separate document. 

Visit DASA’s Keep Learning web page for additional information on:

  • Identifying challenges
  • Communicating with your instructors
  • Adjusting your study habits
  • Collaborating with your classmates online. 

 

Q3: I do not have my own computer. Can I borrow a laptop from the university?

A: Supplies are limited, but students can request to borrow laptops on a long-term basis. If your request is approved, you will need to pick up the laptop from D.H. Hill Library, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Remember to bring your campus ID as you will need it for entry into the library. 

 

Q4: Is the University Tutorial Center (UTC) still providing assistance to students at this time? 

A: The UTC is providing online writing support, tutoring, and Supplemental Instruction as of Monday, March 23. Orientation and application processes have been waived for the remainder of the semester. For more information, visit: http://tutorial.dasa.ncsu.edu.

In addition, any student can email tutorialcenter@ncsu.edu or call (919) 515-3163 during business hours to schedule an online appointment with a UTC staff member to develop a personal plan for learning online.

 

Q5: I received an email from the university about the option to change the course grading to “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.” What does this mean? Should I do this? 

A: On March 20, 2020, the Provost issued a memo announcing that all graduate and undergraduate students (with the exception of DVM students in the College of Veterinary Medicine) will have the option to change the grading of your courses to “S/U.” This means that your final grade will either be “S” for satisfactory or “U” for unsatisfactory. You would not receive a traditional letter grade (A, B, C… etc.) with this option. As a result, the “S” or “U” grades will not impact your cumulative GPA. There are several other points you should consider before deciding to make this change, like the impact of a “U” grade on Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. 

If you are considering this change to course grading, we recommend that you first have a conversation with your Academic Advisor. You should also review the FAQ from Registration & Records on the Spring 2020 Enhanced Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading Option for more information.

You will have the option of switching to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading until May 8, 2020, which is after grades are due after the semester will have ended. Please also understand that the decision cannot be changed once made. Before taking any action, we encourage you to review the FAQ thoroughly, discuss your decision with your academic advisor, and take the advice of the Registrar and “continue with your current grading basis until you have time to assess your comfort with the new online course delivery.” In other words, there is still plenty of time for you to make this decision.

 

Q6: I received an email from the university about the option to “late drop” a course. I am thinking about dropping one or more classes. Should I do this? 

A: On March 20, 2020, the Provost issued a memo announcing that all students will also have the option to submit late drop requests for individual courses. While SEVP has made concessions to allow for online education right now, there has been no change to the full-time enrollment requirements for F-1 and J-1 students.  A reduced course load (RCL) approval will still be required before you make a decision to drop below full time. We recommend that you consult with the Office of International Services to discuss the RCL options available before taking any action to drop below full-time enrollment.

The late drop request will be available in MyPack Portal on April 6, 2020, and the deadline is April 24th–the last day of classes. Review this FAQ from Registration & Records on the Spring 2020 Late Drop Option for more information and discuss with your OIS advisor before dropping below full-time.

 There is still plenty of time for you to make this type of decision. Unless there is an immediate need to drop a course from your schedule, we encourage you to try your online coursework for a period of time before making this decision.    

 

Q7: I know that I need help, but I don’t know where to start! 

A: Speak with your academic Advisor; contact OIS, or consider reaching out to Tony Shurer–Academic Coordinator for International Student Support. Tony is hosting virtual “drop-in” hours every Monday and Friday from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM. You can request guidance on a variety of academic questions and concerns. This includes major exploration, questions about changing majors, and general questions about academic policy. You may also request assistance in developing strategies for academic success. This could include conversations about goal setting, time management, study skills, note taking, test preparation and more.

Virtual Drop-In Hours & Access

If your schedule does not permit you to attend Drop-In hours on Mondays or Fridays, please feel free to email your questions or concerns to Tony Shurer directly at ajshurer@ncsu.edu. Individual appointments can be scheduled as needed.

 

CAMPUS SERVICES AND LOGISTICS

 

Q1: I’m staying on campus. Will there still be food available?

A: Yes, limited dining options will continue to be available for students. Please refer to NC State Dining’s website for more details.

Q2: Will the library, offices, labs, etc. remain open?

A: Please refer to the University’s Coronavirus Facilities page for the most up to date information. For lab availability, please reach out to your supervisor or instructor.

Q3: I’m worried about finances. Are there any resources available?

A: NC State Pack Essentials continues to provide resources and support to students during this time. Submit an application to get connected.

 

ON-CAMPUS STUDENT EMPLOYMENT

 

Q1: With the university’s extension of spring break by one week, does that mean that I can still work more than 20 hours per week?

A: Because the university has officially extended spring break by one week, students may work more than 20 hours through Friday, March 20, 2020. Students must return to the 20 hour per week limitation beginning Saturday, March 21, 2020.

 

Q2: How does the university moving to online operations affect my on-campus employment?

A: Please consult with your supervisor to determine if you can continue your work in a remote capacity. During this time period, your remote work will be considered on-campus employment, wherever you are remoting from. Additionally, please note that with the university returning to full class schedules, on-campus employment is limited to 20 hours/week beginning Saturday, March 21.

.

 

OPT (F-1 STUDENTS)

 

Q1: I am completing my degree in the next 90 days. Can I still apply for post-completion OPT now that OIS has transitioned to remote operations?

A: Yes, you may still apply for OPT while OIS is in remote operations. Please review our new OPT application procedures on the OIS’s OPT page

 

Q2: I used OIS as my mailing address on my OPT application. Will OIS still be able to send me my receipt notice, approval notice or EAD card?

A: The US Postal Service is still delivering mail to the university but may be delayed in making deliveries with reduced staff.  We have made arrangements with university Mail Services to pick up our mail weekly. Currently, our plan for student mail received by OIS is as follows:

  • We will continue to email students to notify you we’ve received your USCIS mail.
  • We will scan and email you a copy of your receipt notice, approval notice, and EAD.
  • We will mail original documents, but please review the following information to help us manage mailing of original documents. Original documents should only be needed for the below purposes so we recommend you wait until one of these situations applies to you to request OIS mail your documents to you. Also, you may want to wait until we have received all of your documents (receipt notice, approval notice, and EAD) to request we mail your documents in order to reduce your shipping costs. If you need your original documents for any of the below reasons, please send OIS a shipping label (FedEx,UPS, or USPS) and we will arrange to mail the documents to you.
    • Receipt Notice/Approval Notice: 
      • Needed to re-enter the U.S. after international travel when the OPT application is still pending (although please review Q3: Can/Should I travel internationally? in the Domestic and International Travel section of this FAQ for our advice on international travel at this time)
      • In some states can be used to extend a driver’s license
    • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) 
      • Needed to complete the I-9 process for new employment
      • Needed to re-enter the U.S. after international travel after the OPT application has been approved (although please review Q3: Can/Should I travel internationally? in the Domestic and International Travel section of this FAQ for our advice on international travel at this time). 
      • Needed to apply for a social security number
      • Can be used to apply for or extend a driver’s license
  • If you decide you would like to change your mailing address with USCIS, please contact your OIS advisor so we can assist you with that request. 

 

Q3: I am being asked/required by my employer to self-quarantine or work remotely. What does this mean for my OPT?

A: If your employer allows you to work remotely, there is no impact on your OPT due to self-quarantine. Similarly, if you are able to take leave (sick leave, vacation days, etc.), there is no impact on your OPT due to self-quarantine. Per F-1 reporting requirements, you must update your “employer address” in the SEVP Portal within 10 days if you will be working at another location (including your home) for more than 10 days.  

 

Q4: I am being asked/required by my employer to take unpaid leave or go to an inactive status. What does this mean for my OPT?

A: We have reached out to SEVP for additional guidance for those that must transition to unpaid leave or inactive status concerning the impact on unemployment days and will update this FAQ as more information becomes available. 

 

Q5: I am currently outside the U.S. and unable to return. How does this impact my OPT?

A: If your employer allows you to work remotely or if you continue to be employed while on a period of authorized leave from work, the time you spend outside of the U.S. will not count as ‘unemployment,’ so you do not have to worry about accruing days towards your 90/150-day unemployment limit (please see 7.1.8 of DHS’ OPT policy guidance).  Since the SEVP Portal only allows U.S. addresses, please keep your “employer address” as is (assuming you haven’t changed employers).

 

Q6: I am currently participating in post-completion OPT and my EAD will expire in the next 90 days. How can I apply for the STEM OPT Extension while OIS is operating remotely?

A: To accommodate students around the country, most of our STEM OPT application process is already online. Please review our STEM OPT page for more information about this process. We will continue to accept STEM OPT applications through our STEM Upload Center

 

CPT (F-1 STUDENTS)

 

Q1: I have received an internship offer to work off-campus during the summer – can I still apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization while the university is under reduced operations?

A: Our Summer CPT application period will still open on March 30th and we will still accept applications which must be submitted to the Career Development Center electronically via the Virtual CPT Application Submission Center.  All other processing steps remain the same.  For a full description of these, please review our CPT page.  

 

Q2: What if my CPT employer requires employees to self-quarantine?

A: Remote work is possible while on CPT and would not in itself require any special permission or new authorization request, as long as the work continues and there is continued supervision/oversight through various technological means.  Students would simply inform OIS via email of the new remote work address and expected duration of quarantine period so that we can update the student’s record. If the employer terminates the appointment for whatever reason, the student will need to notify OIS immediately so that the CPT authorization can be adjusted to reflect the new end date.

 

Q3. What if my current internship is shortened due to the coronavirus?

A: Please email ois@ncsu.edu and we will adjust your CPT authorization if necessary.  If your CPT is based on Co-op enrollment, then you will still need to submit the final Summary Report to the CDC.

 

ACADEMIC TRAINING (J-1 STUDENTS)

 

Q1: I am a degree seeking student in J-1 status and I have received an offer to participate in an internship off-campus this summer. Can I still apply for Academic Training?

A: Yes, you can still apply for Academic Training and submit your request to ois@ncsu.edu.  If you are a graduate student, your DGP will need to e-sign and complete the Academic Training form; if you are an undergraduate student, your academic advisor will need to e-sign and complete the form. You can read more about the process for applying for Academic Training here: https://internationalservices.ncsu.edu/j-1-academic-training/.

 

Q2: If I am graduating this semester and returning home to complete this semester online, can I still return for a summer internship on post-completion Academic Training?

A: You may potentially be eligible for post-completion academic training, but you must submit all Academic Training request materials before the end of your 30-day grace period. Please contact your OIS advisor for more information.

 

Q3: I am being required by my employer to self-quarantine.  What does this mean for my Academic Training?

A: If your employer allows you to work remotely and has a supervision structure in place to check on your work progress, there is no impact on your Academic Training due to self-quarantine. Similarly, if you are able to take leave (sick leave, vacation days, etc.), there is no impact on your Academic Training. 

 

INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS

 

Q1: If I am not able to access my lab, or am required to continue my research/writing remotely, how would this affect my status? Am I still considered actively engaged in my program? 

A: Please consult with your supervisor to determine what is possible, as you may have a number of different options including:

  • Temporary leave (such as vacation or sick time). If you are approved for a temporary leave (less than 30 days), your J-1 status is not in jeopardy.
  • RemoTe work. You and your supervisor can make arrangements for you to continue your program objectives remotely, which has been supported in guidance from the Department of State. If you and your supervisor arrange for you to work remotely, please email your OIS advisor, copying your supervisor, with your plan, including the address where you will be working remotely from, and we will update your SEVIS record accordingly.  

 

Q2: Will I still get paid during this time?

A: This depends on your employment status (e.g. mandatory, non-mandatory, salary, hourly, etc.). Please review the University HR COVID-19 resources and contact HR if you have any specific questions not addressed in the resources on the HR website.

 

Q3: I have decided to complete my program early and depart the U.S. What do I need to do?

A: Please complete this departure form and email it to ois@ncsu.edu once your plans are set.

 

Q4: How can I get a travel signature on my DS-2019 if I just want to return home for a short period of time and then return to continue my J program?

A: Before you travel, please review our answer to question Q3: Can/Should I travel internationally? in the Domestic and International Travel section of this FAQ for advice and considerations on international travel.

Travel Signature Validity: Travel signatures for active J-1 scholars/student interns are valid for one year from the date of the signature. If you have a current travel signature on your DS-2019 that will be less than one year old on the date of your return to the U.S., you do not need to do anything further.

Travel Signature Requests: If your travel signature will expire prior to your anticipated return (or you don’t have a travel signature), you may submit a request using this google form for a travel endorsement letter from OIS in lieu of an updated travel signature. Within 10 business days of your request, OIS will email you a travel letter which you can print and carry with your original DS-2019 when you travel back to the U.S.

 

Q5: My DS-2019 is going to expire soon but because the university currently has reduced operations I am not able to complete my research. Am I eligible for an extension? 

A: If you need more time to complete your research you may be eligible for a program extension. You should keep in mind that the maximum program duration varies based on your J-1 category as follows:

  • Research Scholar: 5 years
  • Short Term Scholar: 6 months
  • Student Intern: 12 months

Your J-1 category is indicated on your DS-2019 in section 4. If you will be requesting an extension within the allowable maximum time for your J-1 category please work with your department to submit a DS-2019 request Part B along with any required supporting documentation to OIS via email (ois@ncsu.edu). You can find more information about the scholar program extension process here: https://internationalservices.ncsu.edu/visiting-scholars/j-1-changes-extensions/.

 

Q6: My DS-2019 is going to expire soon but I am not eligible for an extension because my DS-2019 has already been extended to the maximum allowable stay for my category. What are my options? 

A: All scholars who complete their program have a 30 day grace period following the DS-2019 end date. During this grace period you have the following options:

  • Prepare to depart the U.S. – we recommend you depart the U.S. if your home country is allowing its citizens to return and has not completely closed its borders.
  • Consult an advisor to discuss either of the following options:
    • File an application with the Exchange Visitor Program for an extension beyond your maximum stay or change of J-1 categories.
      • This must be filed through OIS and requires a fee of $367 and the success rate varies. You must discuss this option with an OIS advisor if you want to move forward with this option.
    • Apply for a change of status to another immigration status. 
      • If your home country has closed its borders and is not allowing its own citizens to enter, you may want to consider applying for a change of status within the U.S. in order to legally remain in the U.S. until you are allowed to return to your home country. If you want to apply for a change of status within the U.S., please email your assigned OIS advisor to discuss this process. You may need a waiver of the 2 year home residency requirement in order to apply for a change of status and this should also be discussed with an OIS advisor prior to applying for the waiver.

 

Q7: Can my dependents (children) still attend school?

A: This will depend on your child’s school and whether they are still operational. If your child’s school is still operational and your child is not exhibiting any symptoms of illness, then yes, they may continue to attend school. If your child is ill, they should stay home from school. Please be in communication with your child’s school and follow all instructions provided to you in regards to restricted activities, school closings, etc. 

 

Q8: My spouse would like to work in the U.S.  Can my spouse still send an application to USCIS to request work authorization?

A: Yes, USCIS is still accepting applications for J-2 dependents to receive work authorization. Please email your OIS assigned advisor to schedule a phone call or Zoom meeting to discuss this process further.

 

Q9: I have a dependent spouse or child who is planning to arrive in the U.S. soon. Can I still request a J-2 DS-2019 for them?

A: Yes, if you would like to request a J-2 DS-2019 please submit an I-20/DS-2019 request form along with the required supporting documentation (listed on the form) to OIS via email, at ois@ncsu.edu. You should keep in mind that there are current travel restrictions for certain countries. Additionally visa processing may be delayed in some areas. For up-to-date travel information please refer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coronavirus webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

 

ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS

 

Q1: I would like to host a J-1 visiting scholar. Can I still submit a request to bring a scholar at this time?

A: Yes, you may still submit requests to ois@ncsu.edu, as our office will operate remotely. However, based on guidance from the Department of State we will not issue a DS-2019 with a start date before June 15, 2020.  Please keep in mind that this situation is extremely fluid and between U.S. embassy closures and travel restrictions, additional deferrals may be necessary. . In addition, please consider your own ability to supervise new staff if your lab reduces its own operations in response to university guidance.

We will update arrival procedures (for example need to self-quarantine on arrival, etc., OIS check in procedures, etc.) at a later date.

 

Q2: I have students and/or scholars submitting OIS requests which require my signature. Will OIS accept a digital signature?

A: Yes, we will gladly accept digital signatures in lieu of an ink signature on our forms. If you are unable to provide a digital signature, you can alternatively send us an email letting us know that you approve of the request.

 

Q3: I have submitted a DS-2019 request to OIS via email, how will I receive the original DS-2019 document?

A: We will email the department when the document is ready, however instead of sending it directly to the department, we will ask for a FedEx label, and we will deliver it to a FedEx box for mailing to the scholar.