Q: How can I request support for updating my SEVIS record or requesting an immigration benefit like OPT or CPT?
A: Please utilize the iStart portal at istart.gatech.edu to submit any requests and visit our website for advising options.
Q: How can I learn more about institutional announcements regarding COVID-19?
A: You can stay up-to-date with all of the latest institutional announcements on COVID-19 shared here: http://health.gatech.edu/coronavirus.
Q: How will I receive copies of my I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility during this time?
A: OIE advisers are continuing to process all benefit requests and updates at this time. Once your request is processed you will receive instructions on how to request shipping. Shipping options include U.S. standard postal service at OIE expense or Express shipping with tracking at your expense.
Q: How can I receive a travel signature?
A: Student and scholar visa holders can submit a request for a travel signature via iStart. Once the travel signature is provided you will receive instructions to request shipping via U.S. postal service (at OIE expense) or Express mailing (at your expense).
Q: How can I meet with an OIE adviser during this time?
A: OIE is providing virtual advising services to support international students and scholars. You can organize an appointment with an OIE adviser by visiting the OIE Advising website.
Q: Will travel restrictions still be in place if I depart the U.S. for a temporary period and attempt to return later?
A: The COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid situation. It is not possible for us to predict what travel restrictions may be in place over the course of the next several months. If you are interested in international travel during this time, please be aware of the following:
- Many U.S. embassies and consulates are providing emergency services only to U.S. citizens and not issuing student and Exchange Visitor visas. Travel restrictions for non-US persons entering the U.S. are in place for several countries and more countries may be added in the future.
- Travel disruptions and U.S. entry restrictions are expected to continue and could affect your ability to maintain your student or exchange visitor visa status if you are unable to return to the U.S. and enroll in a full course of study or pursue program objectives. We encourage you to carefully consider avoiding non-essential international travel during this worldwide health crisis.
- Many countries are implementing mandatory quarantines and re-entry restrictions for individuals attempting to enter with presence inside the U.S. within the last 14 days.
Q: Due to a shelter in place order and/or concerns about COVID-19, I am temporarily staying at a different address, though I am still maintaining my current address. Do I need to update OIE with this address?
A: Federal regulations require F-1 students to update their residential address within 10 days of a change. If you are temporarily relocating to a new residential address for a short period we recommend you update your SEVIS record with your temporary residential address to ensure compliance with federal requirements. You can update your address by completing the Personal Information Update in the iStart portal.
Q: Am I eligible for the economic stimulus package as an F-1 or J-1 visa holder?
A: You can find additional guidance on tax residency status and eligibility from the IRS. Georgia Tech utilizes Glacier software to determine tax residency status and encourages you to use the software to verify your residency status. Please note that OIE is unable to provide tax guidance or support with tax residency information. Individuals who need additional support should speak with a qualified tax attorney.
Q: How does the Presidential Proclamation on April 24, 2020 impact my immigration status or ability to travel?
A: On April 22, 2020, President Trump signed the Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.
The proclamation became effective on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:59 PM (ET), and suspends the entry of any individual seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant who:
· Is outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
· Does not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date; and
· Does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the United States to seek entry or admission.
This executive order does not impact foreign nationals currently in the United States.
Nonimmigrant visa holders (e.g. F-1, H-1B, J-1, O-1, TN) are not included in the entry restrictions of the proclamation.
The proclamation expires 60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary. Within 50 days from the effective date, the Secretary of DHS shall, in consultation with the Secretaries of State and Labor, recommend whether the President should continue or modify the proclamation.
How does the Presidential Proclamation from June 22 impact my immigration status or ability to travel?
A. On June 22, 2020, the U.S. government issued a Presidential Proclamation suspending entry to the United States of foreign nationals in certain temporary visa categories. This order will not affect any current or new Georgia Tech employees, scholars or students who are in the U.S. on any non-immigrant visa, including H-1B, J-1 and F-1. It will have some impact on individuals outside the U.S. who are waiting to apply for an H-1B visa.
The proclamation goes into effect on June 24, 2020 and is valid through December 31, 2020. Certain government agencies are directed to re-visit the impact and effectiveness of the order within 30 days, and every 60 days thereafter, so further changes are possible. We are seeking clarification on exactly how this action might be applied in specific cases, but a summary of the impact, as we currently understand it, is included below:
Individuals impacted by the June 22 order include:
Some H-1B specialty occupation workers and their H-4 spouses and children who are outside the U.S. and do not have the H visas approved yet; and Some J-1 exchange visitor participants in the following categories:
- Anyone inside or outside the U.S. with a valid visa stamp in the passport on June 22, 2020
- Anyone with a valid travel document on June 22, 2020
- Green card holders (lawful Permanent Residents)
- The spouse or minor child of a U.S. citizen
- Anyone “whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security”
- Intern program (Note: This is NOT the Student-Intern program; Georgia Tech participants in the J Student-Intern program are exempt from the restrictions.)
- Trainee program
- Primary and secondary (K-12) teachers – Teacher program
- Summer Work Travel program
- Camp Counselor program
- Au Pair program
- J-2 spouses and children of J-1s in the impacted categories listed above.
The following people are NOT covered by the Proclamation:
- Students on F-1 or J-1 visas, currently admitted, enrolled, or approved for OPT
- Newly-admitted students awaiting an F-1 or J-1 student visa application appointment
- Academic J-1 categories including Research Scholar, Short-term scholar, Professor, Student, and Specialist
- Anyone who entered the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa and present in the U.S. on June 22, 2020
- People present in the U.S. who are applying for a change of status to H-1B should not be impacted.
Georgia Tech is a global institution and embraces a culture of global engagement that allows us to tap the contributions of the brightest scholars from the United States and abroad. We value our international students, faculty, and staff. Georgia Tech Human Resources and the Office of International Education will closely monitor future developments, if any, and provide updates as they become available.