UCF Coronavirus Update: UCF is continuing with remote instruction through the summer semester and we’re planning a phased-in approach for reopening. All student services are still being conducted remotely, students are asked not to return to campus at this moment. Find more information and updates here.

International Students and Scholars

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

UCF GLOBAL TOWN HALL MEETINGS REGARDING IMMIGRATION GUIDANCE

UCF Global is hosting two virtual Town Hall Meetings on July 10, 2020 and July 17, 2020 to provide an overview of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance regarding the Fall 2020 semester. We know that there are many questions that remain unanswered. We hear you and while we don’t have all the answers yet, we are creating a space to present the information we know and answer your questions.

Please download the presentation from the first UCF Global Town Hall, here.

FALL 2020

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), the government agency responsible for F and J students, released limited guidance for the Fall 2020 semester on July 6, 2020. We anticipate that more information will be released in the coming days and week and will continue to update this page. The information provided on this page is subject to change.

What will happen if I returned to my home country and am unable to travel back to the United States for the Fall 2020 semester due to COVID-19 travel restrictions?

Based on the July 6 guidance from SEVP, if you are unable to return to the US to resume Fall 2020 classes in-person, your SEVIS record cannot be kept active and you will need to receive a new initial I-20 for your return to campus in a future semester. Receiving a new initial I-20 means that you will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again ($350) and that your eligibility clock for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) would be reset. You would need to be enrolled for a full academic year (a fall and a spring semester) before you would be eligible for CPT or OPT. This information may change as additional guidance is released by SEVP. If you have questions, please contact UCF Global to speak with an immigration advisor by calling 407-823-2337 or email ucfglobal@ucf.edu.

What are my enrollment requirements for Fall 2020?

Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Students
Based on the July 6 guidance, Bachelor’s Master’s, and Doctoral cannot be enrolled in only online (W or V section) courses. You need to have at least one in-person course (P, M, RA, or RS sections). Review the enrollment requirements for your degree level on the UCF Global website under the section “Definition of a Full Course of Study.” For example, if you are an undergraduate student, you are required to be enrolled in 12 credit hours of which at least 1 course must be an in-person credit-bearing course (P, M, RA, or RS section). This information may change as additional guidance is released by SEVP. If you have questions, please contact UCF Global to speak with an immigration advisor by calling 407-823-2337 or email ucfglobal@ucf.edu.

UCF Global English Language Programs Students
Based on the July 6 guidance, UCF Global IEP, Undergraduate Track, and GAA program students cannot be enrolled in any online (W or V section) courses. You must be enrolled full-time in in-person courses (P, M, RA, or RS sections). Review the enrollment requirements for your program on the UCF Global website under the section “Definition of a Full Course of Study.” This information may change as additional guidance is released by SEVP. If you have questions, please contact UCF Global to speak with an immigration advisor by calling 407-823-2337 or email ucfglobal@ucf.edu.

I want to take the Fall 2020 semester off. What do I need to do regarding my F-1 status?

If you would like to take the Fall 2020 semester off, you should complete the Exit Form and depart the United States. You will likely need to receive a new initial I-20 to return to resume your studies in a future semester. . Receiving a new initial I-20 means that you will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again ($350) and that your eligibility clock for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) would be reset. You would need to be enrolled for a full academic year (a fall and a spring semester) before you would be eligible for CPT or OPT. This information may change as additional guidance is released by SEVP. If you have questions, please contact UCF Global to speak with an immigration advisor by calling 407-823-2337 or email ucfglobal@ucf.edu.

I have an on-campus job. Can I telecommute from outside of the United States in the Fall 2020 semester?

No. Employees are not permitted to perform remote duties from outside of the United States in the Fall 2020 semester.

SPRING 2020 AND SUMMER 2020 GUIDANCE

S/U GRADING POLICY

Will opting into S/U grading negatively impact my immigration status?

No. Changing your grading method to S/U for some or all of your classes does not impact your F-1 or J-1 status. You should carefully review the information provided to undergraduate or graduate students and consult with your academic adviser.

TRAVEL

Can I travel to my home country?

Yes, you have the right to travel home. This is fluid situation and many counties are imposing travel restrictions. We encourage you to thoroughly review the entry requirements of any country that you will enter or transit through. Please note that if your F-1 or J-1 visa has expired and you need to renew it, many U.S. consulates have temporarily suspended visa appointments.

How can I get a travel signature?

Travel signatures are not required for departing the United States. You should not delay your travel plans to wait for a travel signature. Travel signatures are only necessary for reentering the United States.

 

Travel signatures are valid for one year unless you are on OPT or STEM OPT. Travel signatures are valid for 6 months while on OPT and STEM OPT. Please check your I-20 or DS-2019 to ensure that you need a signature before contacting UCF Global.

 

For your safety and convenience, UCF Global can send your I-20 or DS-2019 to you in the coming weeks if you need a travel signature. Please email Christina.Khan@ucf.edu with the following information:

  • Your full name
  • UCF ID
  • Intended date of departure
  • Date of your last travel signature mm/dd/yyyy (see page 2 of your I-20 or page 1 of your DS-2019)

Do I have to receive a travel signature before departing the United States?

Travel signatures are not required for departing the United States. You should not delay your travel plans to wait for a travel signature. Travel signatures are only necessary for reentering the United States.

 

In normal circumstances students are required to obtain a travel signature before leaving campus. Given the fluid nature of this situation, we understand that many travel plans are being made very quickly. UCF Global will ship an I-20 or DS-2019 to you back home in the coming weeks if you need a travel signature for your return. Please see the question “How can I get a travel signature?” for instructions.

What will happen to my SEVIS record if I return home?

As long as you remained enrolled in your Spring 2020 courses, your SEVIS record will remain active and in good standing.

ENROLLMENT

Will the transition to online instruction jeopardize my F-1 or J-1 status?

No. The temporary transition to online instruction for the remainder of Spring 2020 will not negatively impact your F-1 or J-1 status.

Can I remain in the United States while engaged in my online classes in the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters?

Yes. As long as you remain enrolled in your classes and are actively engaged in your online coursework your SEVIS record will remain active. If you’re not sure if you are required to enroll in Summer 2020, refer to the question “Do I have to enroll in the Summer 2020 semester?”

Do I have to enroll in the Summer 2020 semester?

Full-time enrollment in the Summer 2020 semester is only required if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are in the UCF Global Intensive English Program, Undergraduate Track, or Global UCF programs; or
  • Summer 2020 is your first semester; or
  • Summer 2020 is your final semester

If none of the above apply to you, Summer 2020 is considered a vacation period and enrollment is not required.

Do I have to enroll full time in the Fall 2020 semester?

Yes, all students in all programs must be enrolled full-time in the Fall 2020 semester. Enrollment requirements for you degree level are found here.

I am currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral program and am NOT graduating in the Summer 2020 semester. How will the transition to online classes for Summer 2020 impact me?

If Summer 2020 is not your first or your last semester, you are not required to enroll in Summer 2020. The move to online instruction for Summer 2020 will not impact your F-1 or J-1 status. You may choose to enroll in summer courses but are not required to do so.

I am currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral program and plan to graduate in the Summer 2020 semester. How will the transition to online classes for Summer 2020 impact me?

Please refer to the scenario that applies to you:

  1. If you will complete your program from outside of the United States, do not have plans to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), and do not intend to return to the US in F-1 or J-1 status, this change will not impact you.
  2. If you plan to complete your program from inside of the U.S. and not travel home, this change will not impact you.
  3. If you plan to travel home and complete your final courses from outside of the United States, this change may impact your ability to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) and return to the United States in F-1 status.

According to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), students graduating in the Summer 2020 session can return to the United States prior to their program end date (the end date for Summer 2020 grads is August 1, 2020) and attend their graduation during the 60-day grace period (30-day grace period of J-1), or return to the United States with a pending change of educational level or transfer I-20. If students are not pursuing a new educational program, they will likely need to return to the United States on another visa classification (i.e., B-2 visitor visa) to attend commencement at a later date.

I am currently enrolled in the Intensive English Program, Undergraduate Track, or Global UCF Programs. How will the transition to online classes for Summer 2020 impact me?

The move to online coursework will not negatively impact your ability to maintain F-1 or J-1 status in Summer 2020. If you are completing the Intensive English Program, Undergraduate Track, or Global UCF programs and are currently outside of the United States, you will need to receive your new I-20 for your change of degree level in order to reenter the U.S.

I am changing my education level and starting a new program in Summer 2020 (i.e. progressing from IEP or Global UCF to Bachelor’s degree, changing from Bachelor’s to Masters, etc.). How does the transition to online classes for Summer 2020 impact me?

The transition to online classes for Summer 2020 will not negatively impact you however, you will need to be enrolled full-time in Summer 2020. If you are currently outside of the United States, you will need to have your “change of level” I-20 for your reentry to the United States.

OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT)

I am graduating Spring 2020. If I return home will that impact my eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Possibly. UCF Global strongly recommends that students file for OPT prior to departing the United States. The I-765 must be filed while in the United States. Students who depart the U.S. prior to applying for OPT acknowledge that USCIS may determine them to be ineligible for OPT and deny their OPT application. Please consult with a UCF Global immigration advisor to discuss your specific situation.

If you have already applied for OPT and mailed your application to USCIS, USCIS will likely continue processing your application even if you depart the U.S. If your OPT is approved before you return, you will need to have a job offer letter for your return. Refer to the “Travel While on OPT” module of OPT WebCourse for additional information.

Graduates currently on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or a STEM Extension:

There are no changes in the existing rules related to OPT or STEM Extensions.

CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)

I am currently on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) in the Spring 2020 semester. What do I need to know?

UCF Global is aware that all internships have moved to telework/remote work. If your employer has discontinued your internship, please contact UCF Global to speak with an immigration advisor by calling 407-823-2337 or email ucfglobal@ucf.edu.

I plan to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for Summer 2020. What do I need to know?

It is likely that most internships will need to be remote work during the Summer 2020 semester as well. UCF Global can assist you with your CPT authorization remotely. Please follow the step-by-step instructions on the CPT Application and contact UCF Global by calling 407-823-2337 or email ucfglobal@ucf.edu, once you are ready to schedule your appointment.

ON-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT

I have an on-campus job. Can I telecommute from outside of the United States?

Yes. Employees are permitted to continue to perform their duties in their home country during the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters. Employees residing in Cuba, Iran, North Kora, Sudan, and Syria are not permitted to telecommute from these countries due to export control implications.

I have an on-campus job. Can I telecommute from within the United States?

Yes, if your on-campus employer has asked you to telecommute and you will perform the work within the United States you may telecommute from within the United States. The work must continue to be conducted in accordance with all applicable laws, including, but not limited to export control regulations. Please work with your supervisor to complete any required remote work forms.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

I am in the BLCSI program. Does this information apply to me?

No. Due to the unique nature of the BLCSI program, please refer to the guidance you will receive from the program.

I am in the Disney-Rosen Undergraduate Certificate Program in Hospitality & Tourism Management. Does this information apply to me?

No. Please refer to the email that was sent to you on March 16. The email contains instructions and information specific to you.

I am an exchange student from another university studying at UCF for the Spring 2020 semester in J-1 status. Does this information apply to me?

Yes. J-1 Exchange students may continue their Spring 2020 classes from the United States or may return home. Students who return home will not be able to reenter the United States past the program end date listed on their DS-2019.

NEW STUDENTS NOT YET ENROLLED AT UCF

I am an admitted student and planned to start my academic program at UCF in the Summer 2020 semester. I am currently outside of the United States and do not have an active SEVIS record at another U.S. school. What information do I need to know right now?

Students who are currently outside of the United States with an initial I-20 will not be able to arrive to the US to begin their program in person in the Summer 2020. Students may elect to begin online classes in Summer 2020. UCF Global will be in touch with students in this situation in the coming weeks with further guidance.

I am admitted to UCF for the Summer 2020 semester. I am currently studying at another U.S. institution and plan to transfer my active SEVIS record to UCF. How does the transition to online classes for Summer 2020 impact me?

Students transferring their SEVIS record to UCF should be able to complete their SEVIS transfer for Summer 2020 as long as they elect to begin online classes in Summer 2020. UCF Global will be in touch with students in this situation in the coming weeks with further guidance.

You should continue to submit the necessary documents to UCF Global for your SEVIS transfer. Information about the documents needed for your SEVIS transfer can be found on our website: Undergraduate Students,  Graduate Students.

I am admitted for the Fall 2020 semester. I am currently outside of the United States and do not have an active SEVIS record at another U.S. school. What information do I need to know right now?

At the moment, the Fall 2020 semester will continue as normal. We are aware that most U.S. consulates have cancelled scheduled visa interviews and suspended visa services due to COVID-19. You may contact the U.S. consulate to schedule your visa interview according to the instructions provided on the consulate’s website once they resume normal operations. You should continue to submit the documents necessary for I-20 or DS-2019 issuance to UCF Global. The documents needed for I-20 or DS-2019 issuance can be found on our website: Undergraduate Students,  Graduate Students

OTHER QUESTIONS

I have a question about my immigration status that isn’t addressed here. Who can I contact?

Your UCF Global Immigration Advisors are here for you! Please contact UCF Global to speak with an immigration advisor by calling 407-823-2337 or email ucfglobal@ucf.edu to schedule a phone or Skype meeting with an advisor.

Please note that this information does not constitute legal advice and is subject to change as the situation develops.