International Students in Fall 2020
International students, both continuing and admitted, are making decisions about academic programs and courses this fall. 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 fall plans to remain outside the U.S.
- During the fall 2020 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 fall 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 fall 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).
- First-year undergraduate students, admitted for fall 2020, can make deferral requests by contacting the Office of Undergraduate Admission. Requests must be received no later than July 24. First-year students who have started remotely in the iGniTe first-year program in summer will receive additional communication about their options.
- 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 two semesters before they are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), so new students who start their degree programs outside of the U.S. for fall semester will not be eligible for CPT during summer 2021.
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): For the Fall 2020 semester, 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 during Fall 2020. Inquiries can be sent to email@example.com.
- Georgia Tech-Lorraine (Metz, France): For the Fall 2020 semester, 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 Fall 2020 (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 in the fall, 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 Fall 2020 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.
Are F-1 student visa holders who planning to intern or complete research at an institution in their home country for fall 2020 permitted to register this assignment with Georgia Tech to maintain full-time student status?
- Yes. The Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP) has been canceled for the majority of students in fall 2020, 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 August 17. 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.
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?
- International students who plan to enroll in a local university in their home country for fall 2020 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.
How can students access Georgia Tech email?
- Georgia Tech email accounts are provisioned roughly 30 days before the start of a student's first term. Activate your GT login credentials at https://passport.gatech.edu/ and then try to access your email at https://mail.gatech.edu/.
What differences can students expect for orientation if starting in the spring?
- Graduate Students: Graduate students will have a similar Graduate Institute Orientation opportunity in the spring.
- Undergraduate Students: FASET is the name of the undergraduate orientation program, and it is offered every semester.
For iGniTe students, who do not feel comfortable doing Fall 2020 online, is there a possibility that their request to re-start in spring will be rejected?
- Students who have already begun enrollment in the iGniTe summer term are now current students rather than incoming students. If you would like to wait until spring to return to coursework, you would need to work with the Registrar to request a leave of absence:
For undergraduate students who have not yet taken final high school exams due to school closings, creating a delay in transcripts before the start of classes, what options do they have? Spring deferral?
- For Undergraduate Students: While Georgia Tech does require a final, official record of your secondary school grades or board results (high school diploma) for enrollment, we understand the timeline may be delayed for some students this year. Undergraduate Admission will be as flexible as possible with each student, but in order to remove the registration hold for the spring 2021 semester, final documentation must be submitted.
Can first-year (August 2020 admission) undergraduate students study at another accredited institution for one year and transfer to Georgia Tech as a sophomore in fall 2021?
- If a student begins any university level coursework prior to entering Georgia Tech, your admission offer would not stand, and you would need to reapply as a transfer applicant in the future.
If Georgia Tech opens the Georgia Tech-Shenzhen campus, will the paid fall housing deposit apply to the Shenzhen campus?
- No. Georgia Tech housing in Atlanta and Georgia Tech-Shenzhen housing are entirely separate operations; the rates are also different. You should make financial arrangements with Georgia Tech Housing and Residence Life directly for matters regarding housing on the Atlanta campus. If a dorm room is available to you at Georgia Tech-Shenzhen, you will pay the housing fee in Shenzhen.
Is it possible for freshmen to start the semester at GT-Shenzhen and later join the Atlanta campus after getting a visa later in the fall?
- No. Please see a detailed answer and more at http://pwp.gatech.edu/ece-shenzhen/incoming-freshman-faqs/
Can F-1 student visa holders start Fall 2020 in France at Georgia-Tech Lorraine?
- UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS: Yes. International undergraduate students may spend the Fall 2020 semester at Georgia Tech-Lorraine, as long as they can find 12 semester credit hours ofcourses to take. Here is the Fall 2020 Undergraduate Course Schedule for Georgia Tech-Lorraine. Students may only register for the courses currently listed on the course schedule. It is not possible to matriculate at Georgia Tech-Lorraine in the fall and register for online courses on the Atlanta campus.
- GRADUATE STUDENTS: Yes. International graduate students may spend the Fall 2020 semester at Georgia Tech-Lorraine, as long as they can find 9 semester credit hours of courses to take. At the graduate level, we offer courses in Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Here is the Fall 2020 Graduate Course Schedule for Georgia Tech-Lorraine.
If students register for courses that are not available online and have to add/drop an online course, will they be at a disadvantage because the late-July FASET students would already have taken that course?
- All students will likely need to change their schedule once the updated class schedule is announced. Everyone will be facing the same options, so you won't be at a disadvantage.
If a student has to observe quarantine for 14 days does that mean they cannot register during that quarantine period?
- FASET orientations are offered online only and are available to those in quarantine.
Will I be required to quarantine when I enter Georgia Tech Housing for the fall semester?
- Georgia Tech Housing has informed the campus community that students arriving from abroad will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Students who have been in the U.S and will not arrive from abroad for fall semester will not be expected to quarantine. Please visit the Housing/Residence Life FAQ’s for international students for additional updates: http://housing.gatech.edu/covid-19-changes-faqs
How can students schedule an appointment with an academic advisor?
- Undergraduate students: When you register for FASET, you get access to your advisor.
- Graduate Students: Please reach out to your academic unit for information on appointment scheduling.
For international students who have not registered for FASET because of time zone differences, is there any adaptation for them to accommodate for the time zone changes?
- There is not currently an adaptation to accommodate for time zones. Students who are able to make it to the U.S. need to register for the August 10 session because of time-zone issues.
Since the FASET sessions are online for students starting in fall, will there be a decrease in the fees?
- All fee adjustments for FASET online sessions have already been made. No additional reductions are planned.
Since there are so many FASET sessions, will seats be released after every FASET session to ensure chances for students to register for classes?
- Yes, seats are released at each FASET session.
Can students attend FASET online?
- Yes, FASET is available online for students interested in registering from outside the U.S.
How do students access major advisors' emails to ask questions?
- Advisors have sent students information on a Canvas course. Students should have heard from someone in their department by now. If not, they can view advising.gatech.edu for contact information.
What options are available to F-1 student visa holders if their department is not offering a remote start and their deferral request is rejected?
- If remote-learning options are not a possibility, Georgia Tech Undergraduate Admission may then be able to accommodate deferral requests. We expect more clarity regarding availability and timing of virtual course information on July 20.
- Because of this, we have now been able to extend the deferral deadline to August 3 so that you will have necessary information to know whether you need to request a deferral.
- Graduate students should consult their academic department for deferral requests.
Are deferral deadlines for undergraduate students being postponed in light of closed consulate offices and delayed announcements regarding decisions on the delivery mode of classes?
- Yes, the deferral deadline for undergraduate students has been extended to August 3.
Will F-1 student visa holders be given a deadline extension to submit the Immunization Requirements form?
- Stamps Health Services understands the challenges students face completing immunization requirements. Immunizations needed to meet requirements can be obtained at Stamps Health Services once a student is on campus, students are strongly encouraged to submit any current immunization information. Georgia Tech will not prevent students from registering for fall classes due to incomplete immunization requirements.
Is there a process that international undergraduate students need to be aware of with regards to obtaining insurance?
- Students who are in one of the mandatory categories for the Student Health Insurance Plan (students with a GTA or GRA, students on a J-1 or F-1 visa) should be aware that they must opt out of the insurance and have an acceptable alternative health insurance plan. Students who are not in one of the mandatory categories, but who want to sign up for the voluntary plan, must do so during the open enrollment period, which is 7/20/20 to 9/14/20. Information about the Student Health Insurance Plan can be found at http://health.gatech.edu/finance/insurance.
FASET (1st year orientation) STUDENTS
- For questions about an international transfer institution or the international transfer credit review process, contact the Georgia Tech Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- 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
- Students should follow the transfer credit process already in place through the Georgia Tech Registrar: https://registrar.gatech.edu/info/transfer-credit-information
The Embassy/Consulate where I need to apply for my student visa requires an emergency letter. How does an international student obtain a letter from GT to request an emergency appointment?
- Students can request a letter for emergency visa appointment from OIE. In iStart (www.istart.gatech.edu), the e-form to request a letter for emergency visa appointments can be found under the “F/J Student Arrival and Check-In” tab and is labeled as "OIE Support Letter Request"