Important Note: SEVP has not yet issued Spring 2021 guidance. The information below is subject to change based on SEVP guidance.
International students, both continuing and admitted, are making decisions about academic programs and courses this spring. However, we know that there may be various issues, particularly travel restrictions or visa matters, subject to guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Please note that all guidance here is subject to change.
Current International Students Who Are Out of the Country
- F-1 students unable to return to the U.S. within 30 days of the start of the term who do not plan to enroll for the term need to submit an iStart Intent to Depart e-form to notify OIE of their plans to remain outside the U.S.
- During the Spring 2021 semester, F-1 students may still elect to enroll in online or remote courses as no visa or Active SEVIS record is required for the purpose of online enrollment while outside the U.S. (see enrollment options below). The opportunity for remote course options will depend on the availability of courses from a particular academic program and restrictions on Office of Foreign Assets Control-sanctioned countries (see further guidance on OFAC below).
Admitted international students who are unable to obtain an entry visa or travel to the U.S. have several options.
OIE asks that students confirm their plans via the iStart Arrival Confirmation e-form so that we can ensure the appropriate action is taken on the student’s immigration record.
- Under certain conditions, students may enroll and take courses remotely or at one of our two international campuses – Georgia Tech – Lorraine or Georgia Tech – Shenzhen (see the enrollment options below).
- SEVP guidance allows F-1 students to arrive in Atlanta up to 30 days after the start of the semester. Those who are unable to arrive within the 30 days will need to consider the other alternatives listed here.
- Newly-admitted F-1 students who cannot arrive at the start of the semester and are enrolled full-time should complete the iStart Arrival Confirmation e-form to notify OIE of their late arrival plans. OIE will coordinate with the academic department to determine if a late arrival would be a viable option. Students arriving during this 30-day timeframe will be required to follow quarantine guidelines.
- Graduate students may request a deferral of an admission decision for up to one year. Graduate students who were offered financial support must contact their academic program office to determine if their financial support package can be deferred, as well. To request approval for either of these options, graduate students should contact their academic program coordinator who will make the final determination. If the program approves the deferral request, the program coordinator will need to enter an update in Admit and make the change request to notify Grad Studies so that the student’s record can be updated (normal deferral process).
- Students who are nationals of or temporary or permanent residents from one of the comprehensively sanctioned OFAC-sanctioned countries (Cuba, Crimea Region of Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Syria) will not be able to begin their studies outside the U.S. without an OFAC license in place (see further OFAC guidance below). Students who are nationals of an OFAC comprehensively sanctioned country and are permanent residents of and residing in a country that is NOT under OFAC comprehensive sanctions, may begin remote study once the permanent residence has been verified.
- F-1 student visa holders must study inside the U.S. for 30 weeks before they are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
The following options pertain to all students taking classes from out of the country.
- Hybrid and Remote Learning: Students who cannot come to Atlanta due to travel or visa restrictions but do intend to matriculate to this campus would be eligible to register for courses that are delivered in a “remote” or “hybrid” mode. If these students are able to obtain a visa and travel to the U.S. within the first 30 days of the semester, they can join the face-to-face component of the course.
- Online Learning: Georgia Tech offers many online learning opportunities, primarily for graduate students, including 13 online master’s degrees. Current graduate students who cannot travel back to Atlanta may desire to transfer to an online degree program. Academic programs would need to approve these transfers and OIE would need to be consulted to see if the transfer is appropriate for a particular student’s situation. There are additional visa issues if the student wishes to choose to finish their program in the online format.
- Georgia Tech-Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China): First-year undergraduate students who do not need a visa to enter China can study at the GT-Shenzhen campus. New or current MS ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) students who do not need a visa to enter China can also study at GT-Shenzhen. Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate other types of students at GT-Shenzhen. Inquiries can be sent to email@example.com.
- Georgia Tech-Lorraine (Metz, France): Both the undergraduate and graduate programs will run with a condensed schedule. International graduate students who are unable to obtain a visa for the U.S. may be able to obtain a visa to study in France. Students are advised to review Georgia Tech-Lorraine’s course schedules for Spring 2021 (Graduate Schedule). If transferring to the Lorraine campus, students may only enroll in those courses listed on the Lorraine course schedule. All interested students should email GTL-France@gtl.gatech.edu as soon as possible for more information.
- Graduate students who apply and are admitted directly to the Shenzhen or Lorraine campuses and were not admitted to the Atlanta campus, must complete two semesters at either Georgia Tech Shenzhen or Georgia Tech-Lorraine before choosing to either remain at either international campus to complete their degree, or transfer to the Atlanta campus.
Students from OFAC-Sanctioned Countries
- Any international students from comprehensively OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Dept.) Sanctioned Countries (such as Cuba, Crimea Region of Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Syria) cannot access online courses via GT Canvas without:
- Georgia Tech applying for and having an OFAC license in place for each specific student (license application could take months); and
- Instructure (the company that provides the GT Canvas platform) will also need to have an OFAC license in place (Instructure currently does not intend to apply for one); and
- The video platform (Webex/Bluejeans) will also need an OFAC license unless OFAC issues some type of license exception or General License due to COVID-19 (this is unlikely but will be monitored).
- For new students from OFAC comprehensively sanctioned countries (Iran, Syria, Cuba, N. Korea, and Crimea Region of Russia) whose permanent address is in the sanctioned country (e.g. Iran) and the student is NOT in the U.S., an OFAC license will be required for the student to receive the GT educational services online or at one of our international campuses. Please contact the Office of General Counsel at firstname.lastname@example.org about OFAC licensing.
Q: Are F-1 student visa holders who planning to intern or complete research at an institution in their home country for spring 2021 permitted to register this assignment with Georgia Tech to maintain full-time student status?
A. Yes. The Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP) has been canceled for the majority of students, but F-1 and J-1 students interning in their home counties are able to register. This will allow you to still be enrolled full-time at Georgia Tech while gaining valuable industry or research experience abroad.
- In order to be eligible for GRIP, you must be interning full time (35+ hours/week), for at least 14 weeks, in a role that is related to your major/career interests. You must also be in good academic and disciplinary standing and have completed two full-time degree-seeking semesters at Georgia Tech.
- If your internship meets all these requirements, you can register at atlas.gatech.edu. An advisor will then look over everything to confirm eligibility and register you accordingly. GRIP students are registered in a full-time, non-tuition bearing course that maintains status as a student. You would need to complete the registration process in Atlas by January 15, 2021. Your application will then be processed, and you will be provided with information on steps you need to take to register in Banner for a GRIP class.
- For additional information you can email your GRIP Advisor.
Q: How can an F-1 student visa holder who is planning to directly enroll with a local university in their home country transfer credit back to Georgia Tech?
A. International students who plan to enroll in a local university in their home country will need to do the following:
- Students need to apply directly to the university as a non-degree, fee-paying, student. The student is responsible for application and arrangements with other institution. Students will be not be registered with GT, but instead will register directly with the other institution. Students should follow the transfer credit process already in place through the GT Registrar: https://registrar.gatech.edu/info/transfer-credit-information. Some international institutions may have courses that have already been evaluated for transfer to GT. Students can view how transfer credit has been accepted in the past: https://registrar.gatech.edu/info/transfer-credit-equivalency-tables
- For questions about an international transfer institution or the international transfer credit review process, contact the GT Registrar at email@example.com. Please note, the Registrar’s Office will not be able to provide any course equivalency information prior to receiving the official transcript and credentials evaluation.