Messages sent to International Students

Sent July 25, 2020, updating F-1 students on SEVP's July 24 Guidance

We are pleased to share that SEVP updated their guidance for Fall 2020 yesterday, as it pertains to schools that are returning to in person instruction. As students have been navigating travel restrictions and working through a variety of options available for fall study, we wanted to confirm how your fall plans may be impacted by yesterday's guidance. 

GRADUATE STUDENTS

If you currently have an active SEVIS record, and you will remain outside the U.S. this fall, there are two considerations: 

  • Online classes: If you remain enrolled full-time (at least 9 credits) in online courses, your SEVIS record will remain in ACTIVE status. If you drop below 9 credits, ISSA must terminate your record. 
  • Leave of Absence: if you take an authorized leave of absence, ISSA must terminate your record for “Authorized Early Withdrawal.” The LOA must be requested before the start of classes to have the least impact on your F-1 status. If you intend to return in the spring, contact ISSA in late November to begin the return process. 

If you currently have an active SEVIS record, and you will remain inside the U.S. this fall, you should be enrolled in mostly in-person courses.  If university courses move fully online mid-semester, your F-1 status will not be impacted.  A useful measure for graduate students is that 6 of 9 credits should be in person. While there may be some exceptions to this, no student present in the U.S. should be enrolled in fully online courses. Please review your course schedule and ensure that you will be enrolled in mostly in-person classes. 

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

If you currently have an active SEVIS record, and you will remain outside the U.S. this fall, there are three considerations: 

  • Online classes: If you remain enrolled full-time (at least 12 credits) in online courses, your SEVIS record will remain in ACTIVE status. If you drop below 12 credits, ISSA must terminate your record. 
  • Study Away Locally: If you remain enrolled full-time (at least 12 credits) and participate in Study Away Locally, your SEVIS record will remain in ACTIVE status.
  • Leave of Absence: if you take an authorized leave of absence, ISSA must terminate your record for “Authorized Early Withdrawal.” The LOA must be requested before the start of classes to have the least impact on your F-1 status. If you intend to return in the spring, contact ISSA in late November to begin the return process. 

If you currently have an active SEVIS record, and you will remain inside the U.S. this fall, you should be enrolled in mostly in-person courses.  If university courses move fully online mid-semester, your F-1 status will not be impacted.  A useful measure for undergraduate students is that 9 of 12 credits should be in person. While there may be some exceptions to this, no student present in the U.S. should be enrolled in fully online courses. Please review your course schedule and ensure that you will be enrolled in mostly in-person classes. 

Updated I-20s

Because the July 6 guidance was rescinded, so too was the requirement that we re-issue I-20s to all students. We will therefore NOT be automatically reissuing I-20s to returning students. 

If you are traveling and want an updated I-20 confirming in-person classes, you can request that through ISSAlink.nd.edu; the “Request New I-20 Form” is under F-1 Student Services.

We will have more information next week about our plans to reopen the office this fall. 

Lastly, we want to thank you for your continued patience as our response times to your emails and calls have been impacted by the higher than usual volume of communication. Know that your questions are always important to us, and we are working diligently to keep you informed and respond in a timely manner. 

Sincerely, 

International Student & Scholar Affairs

Sent July 16, 2020, updating students in Schengen Area, UK, and Ireland on exceptions to travel restrictions

The Department of State announced Thursday night that students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and J-1 visas may be qualified to travel to the U.S. even though the Presidential Proclamations restricting entry are still in effect.

While the Department of State has announced these changes, please remember they only have authority over the issuance of visas and the rights of that visa, which allows a student to present at the port-of-entry. This announcement does not guarantee entry to the U.S.; as always, the Customs and Border Patrol inspectors have the authority to approve or deny entrance at the port-of-entry.

If you have a valid F-1 visa, the announcement says you do not need to submit an exception request, but we strongly recommend you carefully review your U.S. embassy or consulate’s website for any additional guidance.

The Department of State has directed those students who are traveling on a J-1 visa to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request.

If you do not have a valid F-1 visa yet, consult your U.S. embassy website for notifications regarding routine visa services and continue to monitor it daily.

If you have a valid visa and are able to return to campus, then the Study Away Locally and Academic Provisions will not be an option for Fall 2020. If you want to be considered for study accommodations, you must initiate a request through the university’s accommodations request process.

As you consider how today’s announcement may impact your return travel plans, please remember to:

We look forward to welcoming you back to campus.

Sincerely,

International Student and Scholar Affairs


Sent July 14, 2020, updating returning students on DHS rescinding July 6 & 7 policies/directives

Dear Student,

We are writing to update you on today’s developments regarding the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s (SEVP) recent fall 2020 guidance.

Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to rescind the July 6 policy and July 7 FAQ directives, and the directives in that policy will not be implemented. While future guidance may be announced, at this time SEVP has agreed to reinstate the exemptions announced in March.

We do not yet have clarity on how this impacts the F-1 status of students currently outside the U.S. who cannot enter this fall, but we will continue to be keep you updated on this and future guidance.

While we are so pleased by today’s announcement, and we hope it relieves concerns you may have had about your status this fall, we know our community continues to face challenges with continued travel restrictions, suspension of visa processing, and the global health crisis. We continue to be here for you. Please reach out with your questions and concerns.

Sincerely,

International Student and Scholar Affairs


Sent July 14, 2020, updating F-1 first-year undergraduate students on fall 2020 options

The University recognizes what a stressful time this is for you and your families. The ongoing pandemic, unpredictable U.S. federal immigration changes, border closings, and travel restrictions have created unprecedented challenges for all of us. We want to assure you that the University is monitoring the new regulations and working to minimize the impact on our students.

Notre Dame remains committed to advocating for our international student community. We were gratified to learn earlier today that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has rescinded the guidance of last week that would have negatively impacted our community. As you may know, Fr. Jenkins announced last week that Notre Dame would file a brief in support of Harvard and MIT’s court motion seeking to stop this action.

We are writing with important information for first-year international undergraduate students who will be studying on an F-1 visa. The information below describes Notre Dame’s fall 2020 study options, fall testing protocols, and early move-in.

Fall 2020 Study Options

To ensure that you have the widest variety of options, the University is providing the following study options for the fall semester.

1. Study on Campus

International students who are currently in the United States or who are located in countries with no travel bans and have a valid visa should plan to be on campus by the start of classes on August 10. Advice and best practices on returning to campus from abroad have been posted on ISSA’s FAQ page. When your travel is finalized, please inform us of your plans by submitting this form.

2. Study Away Locally

For students who are currently in countries that the U.S. government has prohibited from direct entry to the U.S. and/or who have been unable to secure a valid visa due to the ongoing U.S. embassy and consulate closures, the University is offering a “Study Away Locally” option, where possible, to allow you to take advantage of some of Notre Dame’s existing study abroad partnerships and exchange programs available within your local country or region.

You will be enrolled full-time at Notre Dame and receive all of the same support that we would provide to any study abroad student. Notre Dame International will make all the arrangements, including room and board, for you. The Study Abroad team will be in touch with you soon to provide the details on how to proceed. Please be advised, however, the Study Away Locally option is not available in all countries.

3. Deferral

Students who cannot return to campus at this time will have the option to defer their enrollment for a semester or a year. If you have questions about your deferral options, please reach out to International Admissions at international@nd.edu.

4. Other Academic Provisions

If you are not able to travel to campus or cannot take advantage of Notre Dame’s partner programs at universities abroad and if you wish to begin exploring other academic options with the University for the fall 2020 semester, please complete this request form.

Please know that colleagues within NDI (ISSA, Study Abroad, Travel Safety, and the Global Gateways and Centers) and across the University are ready to assist and advise you of these options based on your own unique situation and course of study. In providing this cross section of opportunities, our goal is to ensure the right academic path during this challenging period.

SEVIS Record and Fall 2020

As Notre Dame is returning to in person classes this fall, SEVP guidance allows students in Initial status to apply for an F-1 visa and arrive at a U.S. port-of-entry. SEVP’s temporary exemption guidance because of the global health crisis  provides the following instructions for F-1 students in initial status:

If you are located inside the U.S. for the fall 2020 semester, you must be enrolled full-time per SEVP guidance. If you will be present in the U.S. this fall, please complete the International Student Travel form.

If you are located outside the U.S. for the fall 2020 semester, Notre Dame is required to update the program start date on your Form I-20 to your first semester on campus.

Please continue to monitor your Notre Dame email for any future updates related to your I-20 records or SEVP guidance. 

Testing Protocols

Though you should review pre-matriculation information provided by Student Affairs, students currently located outside the U.S. will need to follow the supplemental set of testing instructions that was provided by Student Affairs this week. This may impact your move-in and travel plans.

Residence Halls Move In

Residential Life announced residence hall assignments and move-in information in the last two weeks. If your travel plans will result in later than expected arrival, or outside your appointment time, please indicate this on your International Student Travel form; as your plans change, you can submit a new form. 

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In closing, we know this has been an unprecedented time with ever-changing governmental regulations and travel restrictions amidst the ongoing pandemic. We are one Notre Dame, united in our desire to have you come to campus. We will work with you to find the best option for your Notre Dame education.

In Notre Dame,

Leah Zimmer
Director, International Student and Scholar Affairs

Michael E. Pippenger, Ph.D.
Vice President and Associate Provost for Internationalization


Sent July 10, 2020, updating international students on pre-matriculation testing 

We are excited for your return to campus. As you know, part of our health and safety guidelines for returning to campus is a requirement that all enrolled Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students undergo pre-matriculation testing. Unfortunately, we are unable to send collection kits internationally, including to students living in Puerto Rico, which is why we wanted to provide you with further details about how you can fulfill this requirement while at home. This letter provides important details about the testing process, so please review it thoroughly.

OPTIONS FOR SECURING A TEST IF ALREADY LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES

If you are an international student who is already living in the U.S., we will send a home collection kit to your domestic U.S. address. You should follow all directions from the first pre-matriculation testing email sent on Wednesday, July 8. To ensure students receive the pre-matriculation testing kit at the proper location, you are encouraged to review the address on file and make address changes, if necessary, before Monday, July 13.

OPTIONS FOR SECURING A TEST IF YOU ARE LOCATED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AND CAN OBTAIN A TEST AT HOME

For international students located outside the U.S., you are encouraged to secure your own test abroad no earlier than a week before you arrive on campus. You must submit your test results three days before your arrival by uploading your test results to your University Health Services (UHS) patient portal. A UHS clinician will verify your results and clear you for return to campus. You may submit a receipt for your test to the COVID Response Unit for reimbursement.

OPTIONS FOR SECURING A TEST IF YOU ARE LOCATED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AND CANNOT OBTAIN A TEST AT HOME

If you are a new international student who will live on campus or in Fischer Graduate Residences and are unable to obtain a test abroad, you should arrive in South Bend on Saturday, Aug. 1. If you arrive on or after Aug. 1, the University will be able to assign you a quarantine space and will test you on day 5. If your test comes back negative, you will be cleared and permitted to move into your residence hall or Fischer apartment. Regrettably, this option means undergraduate international students will not be able to participate in Welcome Week activities. Undergraduate students will also miss the first International Student Orientation on Sunday, Aug. 2, but ISSA will host additional sessions after Welcome Week.

If you are an undergraduate student who would like to participate in Welcome Week activities, you should plan to arrive in South Bend on Monday, July 27 and secure your own hotel room for quarantine space until you have been tested and cleared. Upon arrival, you will quarantine and a member of the COVID Response Unit will schedule you to be tested on day 5. If test results show you are negative you will be able to move into your residence hall and attend International Student Orientation. However, depending on how long it takes for your test results to come back, you may miss International Student Orientation on Sunday, Aug. 2, but ISSA will host additional sessions after Welcome Week.

If you are a continuing international student who will live on campus or in Fischer Graduate Residences and are unable to be tested abroad, you should arrive in South Bend between Monday, Aug. 3 and Sunday, Aug. 9. You will be assigned to a quarantine space and arrangements will be made with the COVID Response Unit to have you tested on day 5. If cleared, you can then move into your residence hall or Fischer apartment. If you are still in quarantine on Monday, Aug. 10, you will begin classes remotely.

If you are a new or continuing international student who will live off campus and are unable to obtain a test abroad, you should quarantine in your off campus residence. A member of the COVID Response Unit will contact you to be tested on day 5 after your arrival. You should remain in quarantine in your off campus home until you are cleared.

All international students must complete the International Student Travel Reporting Form regardless of their testing plan. Any student arriving in the U.S. before Aug. 1, must secure their own hotel room and/or quarantine space. Any student requiring University quarantine space and testing after Aug. 1 should include a note in the comment section of the form. ISSA will arrange for a member of the COVID Response Unit to contact you so University housing (if needed) and testing can be scheduled for you.

AFTER YOUR TEST

After taking your test, please continue to monitor your health and contact your local health provider if you develop any symptoms. We also expect you to continue to wear a mask, practice physical distancing, and disinfect frequently. Please restrict your activities as much as you can to ensure a low risk of infection. You should also practice high levels of prevention while traveling back to campus. Travel tips can be found here.

If you are in quarantine, you must remain in that space until your test is verified as negative.

If your test results are positive and you are abroad, you must provide a doctor's clearance or another negative test and upload it to the UHS patient portal. You should not make plans to travel until you are cleared by UHS. Students quarantined in the U.S. will be monitored by a COVID Response Unit team member who will provide you with clearance to return to campus when appropriate.

Thank you for your patience and care in adhering to this pre-matriculation testing program. We view this program as an essential measure to prevent the spread of the virus on our campus. By identifying persons who are asymptomatic carriers, we are able to help students receive care while at home and decrease the risk that the virus will spread widely in the Notre Dame community as the semester begins.

Please be sure to contact University Health Services with any questions through your UHS patient portal or covidresponseunit@nd.edu.

Sincerely,

Leah Zimmer
Director, International Student & Scholar Affairs

Christine Caron Gebhardt
Assistant Vice President for Student Services

Tracy Skibins
Senior Director of Emergency Management


Sent July 9, 2020, updating F-1 undergraduate students on new guidance from SEVP for Fall 2020

We are writing with important information for continuing F-1 undergraduate students (fall 2020 sophomores, juniors, and seniors) related to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s (SEVP) fall 2020 guidance, Notre Dame’s fall 2020 study options, fall testing protocols, and early move-in. We know that recent events and reporting have occasioned significant alarm and we want to assure you that Notre Dame International is monitoring the new regulations and working to minimize the impact on University students. 

Notre Dame remains committed to advocating for our international student community. On Wednesday, Dr. Michael Pippenger, vice president and associate provost for internationalization issued a statement affirming the University’s commitment to international students. Earlier today, the University shared a letter that Fr. Jenkins sent to the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security stating the University’s position on these new rules. Further, it was announced today that Notre Dame will be filing a brief in support of Harvard and MIT’s court motion. 

SEVP’s July 6, 2020 Guidance and Notre Dame

As Notre Dame has adopted a hybrid model of instruction, meaning that both in-person and online classes are available, SEVP’s temporary exemption guidance provides the following instructions for hybrid model schools and their continuing F-1 students:

If you are located inside the U.S. for the fall 2020 semester, you must remain enrolled full-time and at least one of your courses must be in person.

If you are located outside the U.S. for the fall 2020 semester, Notre Dame is required to terminate your I-20 record for reason of “Authorized Early Withdrawal,” regardless of whether you take a leave of absence or choose to remain enrolled remotely. Because this termination may impact your eligibility to apply for CPT or OPT in summer 2021, we have requested that SEVP provide clarification on the details of the policy so that we can accurately inform you of next steps. When SEVP has responded to us, we will advise you accordingly. Students who choose the “Study Away Locally” described below will not be affected.

Additionally, SEVP has not yet responded to our request for guidance on how students and universities should respond if the health crisis forces a return to online courses mid-semester and/or if students must remain outside of the U.S. for more than five months.

New I-20s

The July 6, 2020 SEVP guidance also directed ISSA to re-issue I-20s for all continuing students, and we will be doing so in the next three weeks. We will email you each individually as we complete your forms; please check your spam folders and, if you have not seen your form by August 4, contact us via email at issa@nd.edu. SEVP announced temporary guidance in May that allows us to email you a digital copy of your Form I-20, which you can then print, sign, and present at the U.S. port-of-entry. 

Fall 2020 Study Options

To ensure that you have the widest variety of options that ensure curricular continuity, the University is providing the following four study options for the fall semester.

1. Return to Campus

International students who are currently in the United States or who are located in countries with no travel bans should return to campus.

If you are having difficulty finding return flights back to the U.S., you are welcome to work with Anthony Travel, the full travel service agency located on campus. Advice and best practices on returning to campus from abroad have been posted on ISSA’s FAQ page

When your travel is finalized, please inform us of your plans by submitting this form

2. Study Away Locally

For students who are currently in countries that the U.S. government has prohibited from direct entry to the U.S. and who are unable to return to campus for the fall semester, the University is offering a “Study Away Locally” option, which will allow you to take advantage of some of our existing study abroad partnerships and exchange programs available within your local country or region, where possible. 

You will continue to be enrolled full-time at Notre Dame and will receive all of the same support that we would provide to any study abroad student. NDI will make all the arrangements, including room and board, for you. This option will also allow you to maintain your F-1 immigration status in SEVIS with the U.S. government during the semester.

If you are currently residing in China, Iran, European Schengen area, United Kingdom, or Ireland, the Study Abroad team will be in touch with you soon to provide the details on how to proceed. (Please note that Study Away Locally is not an option for students in Brazil due to current Brazilian government regulations regarding in-person instruction.)

3. Other Academic Provisions 

If you are not able to travel to campus or cannot take advantage of Notre Dame’s partner programs at universities abroad and if you wish to remain engaged academically with the University for the fall 2020 semester, please complete this request form to begin exploring that process. *Students cannot maintain F-1 status with this option.

4. Leave of Absence

Students who cannot return to campus at this time will continue to have the option of a leave of absence for a semester or a year. As in the past, you must contact your dean to discuss this option. *Students cannot maintain F-1 status with this option.

Please know that colleagues within NDI (ISSA, Study Abroad, Travel Safety, and the Global Gateways and Centers) and across the University are ready to assist and advise you of these options based on your own unique situation and course of study. In providing this cross section of opportunities, our goal is to ensure the right academic continuity during this challenging period.

Verification Letters

Your airline may be requiring a verification letter in order to book your flight. We recommend that you first provide Fr Jenkins’ May 18 email, which announced the August 10 start date. If your travel agent needs additional documentation verifying your enrollment this fall, please complete this form by July 16 at 9:00amEDT. All letters will be issued by Monday, July 20. 

Testing Protocols

Though you should review pre-matriculation information provided by Student Affairs, students currently located outside the U.S. will need to follow the supplemental set of testing instructions that will be provided by Student Affairs this week. This may impact your move-in and travel plans.

Residence Halls Move In

If you are living in a residence hall, Residential Life emailed on July 3 regarding August 6-9 move-in appointments. If you have traveled to the U.S. earlier in order to quarantine, you may be eligible to schedule an August 1 or 2 move in appointment; this move in date must be in alignment with University testing protocols. Confirm your decision to choose an August 1 or 2 move in date here by Monday, July 13 at 9:00amEST.  

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In closing, we know this has been an unprecedented time with ever-changing governmental regulations and travel restrictions amidst the ongoing pandemic. We are one Notre Dame, united in our desire to have you back on campus. If your return is not possible at this moment, we will continue to work with you to find the best option for your Notre Dame education. 

In Notre Dame,

Leah Zimmer
Director, International Student and Scholar Affairs

Michael E. Pippenger, Ph.D.
Vice President and Associate Provost for Internationalization


Sent July 9, 2020, updating all F-1 graduate and professional students on new guidance from SEVP for Fall 2020

We are writing with important information for continuing F-1 graduate students related to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s (SEVP) fall 2020 guidance, Notre Dame’s fall 2020 study options, fall testing protocols, and travel reporting. We know that recent events and reporting have occasioned significant alarm and we want to assure you that Notre Dame International is monitoring the new regulations and working to minimize the impact on University students. 

Notre Dame remains committed to advocating for our international student community. On Wednesday, Dr. Michael Pippenger, vice president and associate provost for internationalization issued a statement affirming the University’s commitment to international students. Earlier today, the University shared a letter that Fr. Jenkins sent to the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security stating the University’s position on these new rules. Further, it was announced today that Notre Dame will be filing a brief in support of Harvard and MIT’s court motion. 

SEVP’s July 6, 2020 Guidance and Notre Dame

As Notre Dame has adopted a hybrid model of instruction, meaning that both in person and online classes are available, SEVP’s temporary exemption guidance on maintaining status this fall provides the following instructions for hybrid model schools and their F-1 students:

If you are located inside the U.S. for the fall 2020 semester, you must remain enrolled full-time and at least one of your courses must be in person.

If you are located outside the U.S. for the fall 2020 semester, Notre Dame is required to terminate your I-20 record for reason of “Authorized Early Withdrawal,,” regardless of whether you take a leave of absence or choose to remain enrolled remotely. Because this termination may impact your eligibility to apply for CPT or OPT in summer 2021, we have requested additional guidance from SEVP and will alert you as soon as we know more.

Additionally, SEVP has not yet responded to our request for guidance on how students and universities should respond if the health crisis forces a return to online courses mid-semester.

New I-20s

The July 6 SEVP guidance also directed ISSA to re-issue I-20s for all continuing students, and we will be issuing updated I-20s in the next three weeks. 

If you are in the U.S. ISSA must certify three items on your I-20: 

  • your program is not entirely online, 
  • you are not taking an entirely online course load for the fall 2020 semester, and 
  • you are taking the minimum number of online courses required to make normal progress in their degree program. 

If you are outside the U.S. and we must terminate your I-20 record, we will follow up with you. 

SEVP announced temporary guidance in May that allows us to email you a digital copy of your Form I-20, which you can then print, sign, and present at the U.S. port-of-entry. We will email you as we complete your form; if you have not received it by August 4, contact us at issa@nd.edu.

Fall 2020 Enrollment Options

If you are currently outside the U.S. and unable to reenter due to travel restrictions, please contact your department chair and director of graduate studies to discuss your enrollment options. 

Graduate students who are enrolled in research/dissertation credits will not be impacted by an institutional move to remote learning, as research/dissertation courses are never considered online.  Graduate students who are not enrolled in research/dissertation credits must be enrolled in at least one in person course. SEVP requires that this course be credited at the minimum standard of your program and published in the course catalog. Please contact Nyree McDonald in the Graduate School if you have questions.  

As always, if you are conducting approved research outside of the U.S., then you must report that research abroad in ISSAlink.nd.edu, and we will update your SEVIS record accordingly. You are still required to complete Roll Call this fall to confirm your enrollment status. If you have questions, contact your Director of Graduate Studies.

Verification Letters

If you are outside of the U.S. and your travel agent has requested a letter verifying in person classes or the fall semester start date, we recommend that you first print Fr. Jenkins’ May 18 email. If your travel agent needs additional documentation verifying your enrollment this fall, please complete this form. All letters will be issued by Monday, July 20. 

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We know this has been an unprecedented time with ever-changing governmental regulations and travel restrictions amidst the ongoing pandemic. We continue to monitor this dynamic landscape, and we will keep you updated as circumstances evolve. The University remains committed to advocating for and supporting you in all aspects of your Notre Dame education.

In Notre Dame,

Leah Zimmer
Director, International Student and Scholar Affairs

Michael E. Pippenger, Ph.D.
Vice President and Associate Provost for Internationalization


Sent July 6, 2020, updating all returning students on new guidance from SEVP for Fall 2020

Today, the Study and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced temporary guidance today for Fall 2020 enrollment, and we want you to know we are reviewing the possible implications for Notre Dame F-1 students. 

Earlier this spring, as the coronavirus first impacted higher education, SEVP had issued important temporary exemptions to F-1 immigration regulations that allowed students to continue their studies despite Notre Dame's move to online coursework. These exemptions regarding online study were valid for spring and summer 2020 only, and today's guidance provides direction for the Fall 2020 semester.

As it may impact some student's experiences, we are working with our national associations, peer institutions, and university leadership to provide an accurate and detailed assessment of the  updated guidance as soon as possible. We will send out an update via as soon as we have it, but we also encourage you to continue to monitor our Covid-19 FAQ page


Sent July 3, 2020, updating all students regarding the executive orders and pending decisions

International Student and Scholar Affairs will be closed Friday, July 3, for a federal holiday, and we will reopen virtually on Monday, July 6.

We appreciate the many challenges students are navigating with the global health crisis, U.S. travel restrictions, and consular closures, and how these challenges are making it difficult to plan for the future. Though international students are broadly impacted by these global challenges, your individual circumstances may necessitate an individualized advising response. Because of this, we encourage you to continue to email us at issa@nd.edu with any specific questions or concerns.

Though we continue to update our FAQ and U.S. Immigration Updates pages, and we recommend you review those weekly, we did want to highlight two items.

Executive Orders and Impact

We want to confirm that all the travel restrictions announced by Presidential Proclamations in the last three months are still in effect.  

While none of them specifically restrict the entry of F-1 and J-1 student visa holders, Proclamation 9994 does suspend entry of any immigrant or nonimmigrant to the U.S. who has been in any of the following countries or regions within the 14 days prior: China, Iran, the European Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and Brazil. This is a location-specific restriction, not a status-specific restriction.

While the University is doing all it can to support students efforts to return, ultimately, we must wait for the U.S. government to act to lift these restrictions.  

Return for Fall 2020

As noted above, the global health crisis has created unprecedented obstacles for our international students’ plans to return to campus, particularly those of you who are currently outside of the U.S. Please know that faculty and administrators are aware of the challenges our international students are facing, and they have been working tirelessly to finalize options for returning international students. Once finalized, those decisions will be communicated directly to you.   

Again, please let us know how we can support you. We wish you continued health and safety in these last few weeks of summer, and we look forward to welcoming you back to campus. 

Sincerely,

International Student and Scholar Affairs


Sent June 22, 2020, updating students on Form I-20, visa appointments, travel restrictions, quarantine, and international student orientation:

International Student & Scholar Affairs (ISSA) is pleased to welcome you to the University of Notre Dame!

While we wait on the university to communicate decisions regarding move-in, orientation dates, and options if you are not able to arrive on campus this fall, we did want to connect with you and answer  important immigration related questions about your Form I-20, visa appointments, travel restrictions, quarantine, and international student orientation.

Form I-20 for F-1 Student Visa

Due to the change in the fall start date, we must issue updated documents with new start dates. Though we are waiting on more information about move-in dates and orientation, we will be issuing and emailing your I-20 this week with an August 1 start date. The updated program start date will allow you to apply for an expedited visa, if that is an option at the U.S. embassy or consulate closest to you. We recommend you defer travel plans until Residential Life has assigned you a move in date.

Recent guidance from the Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has identified two temporary accommodations for the Form I-20:

  1. ISSA will issue the updated I-20 and email a digital copy of the I-20 directly to you. A paper copy will not be mailed to you.
  2. You are permitted to print the digital copy of the I-20, sign it, and present it at the visa appointment and the U.S. port-of-entry.

Before the date change was announced, you likely already received your Form I-20 with critical instructions for next steps. Once you receive the updated I-20 with August 1 start date, print and sign it.

Visa Appointments

Unfortunately, the Department of State has not provided advice to universities about when they will reopen and resume visa processing, and we expect the process of reopening to be country specific. A number of government and university leaders, including Father Jenkins, are publicly advocating for the expedited processing of student visas. Ultimately, though, it is the federal government's decision as to when visas will be granted again, and we have no choice but to wait for them to act.

It is possible that even if you are able to schedule an appointment, the pandemic and Department of State policies could continue to impact that appointment date. We encourage you to monitor the local embassy or consulate website daily, so as to be ready to act immediately when they resume visa processing or post earlier appointments.

Reminder: you must enter the U.S. with an F-1 visa in order to study at Notre Dame. Even if you have a B-2 visa in your passport, it cannot be used while you are attending classes at the University.

Reporting Travel and Visa Information

When we issue the updated I-20, we will include links for you to report your visa appointment and travel information, as those plans are made. Please be sure to notify us as that information changes.

Travel Restrictions

We do not have information about when the current U.S. travel restrictions will be lifted. A reminder that travelers will not be permitted to enter the United States if they have been located in or traveled through any of the countries listed within the 14 days prior to arriving in the U.S.

14 Day Quarantine

At this time, the University is not requiring a quarantine for newly arrived international students but monitor all university messages, in case that changes.

International Student Orientation

To accommodate current travel restrictions and limited travel options, we expect to offer multiple international student orientation sessions in the week leading up to the start of classes. Once Residential Life has announced move-in dates and the University has announced finalized gathering guidelines, ISSA will send out the international student orientation schedule.

ISSA and the International Ambassadors will send information throughout the next few weeks to your Notre Dame email address to assist you in planning for your arrival to campus. Please read those emails thoroughly and respond as needed, particularly when we ask for your visa appointment and expected arrival information.

Frequently Asked Questions

We continue to update our Coronavirus FAQs and U.S. Immigration Updates pages for New & Returning International Students, as well as our Orientation FAQs, so monitor those as well.

Please know that people across the Notre Dame community are working to do all they can to support you as you navigate the difficulties associated with travel restrictions, global health crisis, and suspension of visa processing.

We wish you a restful and healthy summer, and we look forward to connecting with you this summer virtually and later on campus.

Sincerely,

International Student & Scholar Affairs
University of Notre Dame


Sent June 2, 2020, providing returning international students important information regarding their return to campus:


Dear Students,

We appreciate the difficulties that many of our returning international students are facing during the global health crisis, whether in the U.S. or abroad, and you are very much on our minds. From the University’s founding, international students have been resilient and courageous members of the Notre Dame community, and we know that same resilience and courage has been equipping you to meet each challenge and opportunity presented in these uncertain days.

While we continue to navigate a challenging landscape of travel restrictions, consular closings, and proclamations from the U.S. government, please know that there are many people working throughout the Notre Dame community to do everything in their power to support you now and as we approach the start of the fall semester. Most recently, Fr. John sent a letter to the Secretary of State last week urging him to work on resuming visa processing. You can find the letter here.

In the last week, a number of announcements have been made by the University and by the U.S. government, and as questions about their impact on returning international students have arisen, we wanted to confirm the information we have at this time.

Travel
As the public health situation continues to evolve globally, it is significantly impacting mobility and travel. While ISSA continues to monitor guidance from the Department of State, the CDC, SEVP, and USCIS, as with any travel plans, both domestic and international, we advise you to also closely monitor entry requirements and relevant U.S. restrictions as you make plans to return to campus or consider returning home over the summer. Please remember that it is the federal government who determines whether travel restrictions will be lifted, so we must wait for them to act.

Return to Fall 2020
As the U.S. government has implemented travel restrictions globally, you may have concerns about your ability to return to campus for the August 10 start date. Please know that University leadership is reviewing all possibilities for students who may be unable to return by the beginning of fall semester. An announcement about those decisions will be forthcoming, and we appreciate your patience as we seek the best solution during this unprecedented time.

Executive Orders and Impact
You will find information on two recently updated Presidential Proclamations regarding entry to the U.S. on our U.S. Immigration Updates page.

In the proclamation updated on May 24, “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Novel Coronavirus, “ immigrants and nonimmigrants, with specific exceptions, who have been in any of the following countries during the past 14 days may not enter the U.S.: China, Iran, European Schengen area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Brazil. This proclamation is not citizenship specific; it impacts all non-immigrant students in F or J status who have been recently located in the listed countries.

While there are notable exceptions listed in the proclamation released on May 29, “Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China,” including undergraduate students and students whose fields of study do not contribute to China’s military-civil fusion strategy, it is unclear what the determining factors will be. The Departments of State and Homeland Security have 60 days to announce what factors will determine a suspension of entry. This proclamation does not currently impact individuals who are in the U.S.

You may have additional questions. Though the ISSA office is physically closed, we are responding to inquiries at ISSA@nd.edu email, processing requests in ISSAlink.nd.edu, and scheduling Zoom appointments. We are here to support you, and if we cannot answer your questions, we will connect you with those who can.

ISSA and Notre Dame International continue to work with partners in Student Affairs, like Residential Life and the Office of Student Enrichment, as well as academic advisors, department chairs, and Deans, in support of our international student community. As we wait on decisions to be announced, please know we are here to answer your questions, talk through concerns, and consider with you the many aspects of your student experience you must navigate as an F-1 or J-1 visa holder.

Best wishes for a safe and healthy summer. We look forward to seeing you again on campus.

Sincerely,

Leah Zimmer
Director, ARO/DSO
International Student & Scholar Affairs 


Sent May 2, 2020, ISSA information updates sent to all international students via ISSA Updates eNewsletter:


Final Spring 2020 ISSA Updates - Reminders for Summer
Though this is our final ISSA Updates until August, ISSA will continue to be operational during the summer, and we will communicate when our offices physically reopen. We will also continue to communicate immigration updates via ISSAlink throughout the summer. A few reminders:

  • Contact us at issa@nd.edu with questions or schedule a Zoom appointment.
  • Submit requests or report information via ISSAlink.nd.edu (program extensions, CPT, new I-20 request, changes to employment for students on OPT, etc)
  • Report any change to your U.S. residential address by emailing the new address to address.1@nd.edu. F-1 and J-1 visa holders are required to report any change of address within 10 days of the change.

End of Semester Reminders
Students with a Form I-20 or DS-2019 should review their current document to confirm the information is accurate. This is especially important if students:

  • are considering a program extension beyond current program end date,
  • are starting a new program at Notre Dame (i.e. UG to ESTEEM),
  • are graduating earlier than the program end date on their current document,
  • had a recent change in major,
  • are considering travel outside the U.S. during Summer 2020
  • will be doing study or research abroad in Fall 2020, or
  • will be working off campus and need work authorization.

Program End Dates
Program extension requests and change of level requests must be processed BEFORE the current program end date. If you are graduating earlier than the program end date on your I-20/DS-2019, it is your responsibility to check in with ISSA to report that change. It is possible you are not receiving important end of program reminders.

Change of Major
The major(s) listed on your I-20 should be current. If you changed your major this year, check to be sure your Form I-20 is accurate. We send out notices to students when we have updated the I-20, and it is the student's responsibility to request a new I-20 in ISSAlink.

Study/Research Abroad
If you will study abroad in Fall 2020 or the 2020-21 Academic Year, you will need to complete the Study/Research Abroad form in ISSAlink.nd.edu.

Work Authorization Needed
The OPT and CPT videos are available online.

  • Students should apply for CPT at least two weeks before the employment start date.
  • For students with a May 17, 2020 program end date, your final day to apply for OPT is July 16, 2020.

Difficulty exiting the U.S. at the end of your F-1 or J-1 program
ISSA has not yet received guidance from USCIS about extending F-1 or J-1 status if a student cannot depart the U.S. due to border closures, travel restrictions, or canceled flights.

If you have completed a degree program, one way to extend your F-1 status is to apply for OPT. You can also submit a change of status request to USCIS to move to a B2 Visitor Visa. Both applications have a fee, and both are processed by USCIS.

In addition to monitoring the situation and potential flights, we strongly recommend that students register with their home country embassies, as many are tracking citizens in the U.S. who are trying to get home and providing access as available.

Frequently Asked Questions - Coronavirus & Immigration Status
We have answered some of the most frequently asked the questions on our website and continue to update as needed. If you have additional questions after reviewing this page, contact us at issa@nd.edu.


Sent April 20, 2020, ISSA information updates sent to  international undergraduate students via ISSA Updates eNewsletter:


Frequently Asked Questions - Coronavirus & Immigration Status
As we navigate the ongoing health crisis, we have answered some of the most frequently asked the questions on our website. If you have additional questions after reviewing this page, contact us at issa@nd.edu.

Undergraduate Student Virtual Town Hall
As we navigate the ongoing health crisis, Notre Dame International will host a town hall for undergraduate students this Friday, April 24, at 10:00am. 

Topics include housing, support resources, CPT/OPT, and visa status as they relate to our current health crisis and social distancing measures. Representatives from Student Affairs, Residential Life, and ISSA will respond to questions submitted last week, but we will have time for additional questions.


Sent April 7, 2020, ISSA information updates sent to international graduate students via ISSA Updates eNewsletter:


Frequently Asked Questions - Coronavirus & Immigration Status
As we navigate the ongoing health crisis, we have answered some of the most frequently asked the questions on our website. If you have additional questions after reviewing this page, contact us at issa@nd.edu.

Graduate Student Virtual Town Hall
As we navigate the ongoing health crisis, Notre Dame International will host a town hall for Graduate & Professional students (PhD & Master's).  

Topics include safety, health insurance, support resources, and visa status as they relate to our current health crisis and social distancing measures. Representatives from the Graduate School, Notre Dame Police Department, University Health Services, and ISSA will respond to questions submitted last week, but we will have time for additional questions.


Sent March 17, 2020, ISSA information updates sent to all international students via ISSA Updates eNewsletter:


Reminder: Office and Advising Updates
International Student and Scholar Affairs continues to provide advising services, but in compliance with the University's implementation of social distancing measures, our physical office is closed. With that said, we have made some adjustments to our office processes to ensure the services we provide remain available. ISSA remains open for business virtually, and we are here to assist you:

  • Student and scholar advising: We continue to process ISSAlink requests, respond to emails and phone calls, set up virtual OPT appointments, and process admissions documents for students and scholars, but all student and scholar advising will be done by email, phone, or conferencing technology. Email us at issa@nd.edu or call (574) 631-1138 for assistance, but please note that our response and processing times may be delayed.
  • May 2020 Graduates: if you have not yet met with an advisor to review your OPT application and receive an updated I-20, virtual appointments can be scheduled here or you can email your entire OPT application to issa@nd.edu for review. You are still required to have completed the OPT Application in ISSAlink. If you will need a program extension, complete the Program Extension form in ISSAlink.
  • Visa status and online coursework: A reminder that we have received guidance from the Department of Homeland Security that the University's decision to move classes online will have no impact on student visa status, regardless of where the student is located.

We know this is a stressful time, and many of you are far from home. We know that employment and travel are complicated, and that isolation measures are necessary but difficult. Please know that all of us at ISSA and NDI are here for you and will do all we can to help navigate you through these challenging times.


Sent March 12, 2020, providing all international students additional updates to message sent on March 11, 2020:


Dear Students,

We have a few additions to yesterday’s message in regards to on campus housing, maintaining status, travel signatures and advising, OPT appointments, and tax assistance.

On Campus Housing
All F-1 and J-1 visa holders currently living in undergraduate residence halls are eligible to remain in their current room through April 13. Student Affairs will send out an email and form by Friday afternoon to eligible students to confirm their decision to remain in the residence hall. You must submit this confirmation form to continue staying in the dorms. If you have additional questions, direct them to issa@nd.edu.

Students living in Fischer Graduate Residences, you do not need to do anything. Fischer will remain open.

At this point, if you are in the U.S., we would not recommend international travel, as the University’s current policy expects in-person classes to resume on April 13.

Maintaining Status
A reminder that maintaining status requires:

  • full time enrollment in classes, even as they move online for the next few weeks. This is true whether you are located in the U.S. or outside of the U.S.
  • you to report any change of address within 10 days of the change. This is typically completed with Roll Call, but we will send an email next Thursday, March 17, asking you to complete a location confirmation form to assist with maintaining compliance.

Travel Signatures and ISSA Advising
Students may stop by 105 Main Building through Tuesday, March 17, at 3:00pm for updated travel signatures. Requests for an I-20 with updated travel signature can also be requested at ISSAlink.nd.edu, and we will ship the updated I-20 to you. After March 17, please use phone or email as a first point of contact; ISSA will continue to advise students and scholars through email, phone, and video conferencing methods.

OPT Appointments
ISSA has added additional OPT appointment slots today through Tuesday, March 17, which includes this Saturday and Sunday, for those who still wish to file OPT in person. After March 17, ISSA will continue to advise students and scholars through email, phone, and video conferencing methods. If you plan to file OPT with a May program end date, please schedule an appointment before March 17.

Tax Assistance
Access to the Tax Assistance Program will be affected by current University policy but you can still file your taxes using the Sprintax online filing option. We have included the information for that program below.

Contact us at issa@nd.edu with additional questions.

Sincerely,

Leah Zimmer
Director, International Student & Scholar Affairs
Notre Dame International


Sent March 11, 2020, providing information to all international students after the University suspends in-person classes:


As the University has suspended all in-person classes through April 13 due to the increasing spread of COVID-19, we understand you may have concerns about your ability to return to your home country or maintain your visa status.

While you consider your plans for your time during the suspension, and if you are currently in the U.S., it is important to remember that the inherent risks of exiting and attempting to re-enter the U.S. may be higher for an unknown period of time. We do not know how long travel restrictions will last or what additional countries may be added to the restrictions already in place. Additionally, if your visa has expired, know that visa processing at consulates across the globe has been significantly delayed or stopped, which may also increase the risks of travel outside the U.S.

If you are an F-1 and J-1 undergraduate who lives on campus and cannot return to your home country, please contact the Office of Residential Life at residentiallife@nd.edu.

Though federal regulations require that F-1 and J-1 visa holders maintain progress in completing a full course of study, we have received guidance from the Department of Homeland Security which allows F-1 and J-1 students to participate in online coursework without jeopardizing their status. This is a temporary allowance due to the extenuating circumstances of this health crisis. It is important to remember that you still have the responsibility to maintain your status during the suspension by:

  • maintaining full-time enrollment in courses that have shifted online,
  • reporting changes of address within 10 days of any change, and
  • working within the employment restrictions of your visa status.

We recognize that you may have many questions. Though International Student and Scholar Affairs will be closed to in-person advising for the duration of the class suspension, our team will be available to advise via email at issa@nd.edu, as well as by phone or Skype appointment. You can also continue to make requests via ISSAlink.nd.edu, though processing times may be delayed. We’ll do our best to respond as quickly as possible, given that we anticipate a high volume of requests.

In collaboration with departments across campus, we are committed to doing everything possible to help you in this transition. We appreciate your patience as things evolve.

Sincerely,

Leah Zimmer
Director
International Student and Scholar Affairs