COVID-19 International Student FAQs
Last updated July 28, 2020.
Please find below some answers to the immigration related questions we have recently received regarding the recent decision to move to online instruction through the end of the semester, including final exams.
2020欧洲杯小组赛We will continue to update this page, so please check back for more information.
- F-1 Virtual Start
- U.S State Department
- UT Dallas updates on coronavirus
- ISSO hours and operations
Frequently Asked Questions
May I maintain my F-1 status while taking classes while outside the United States in fall 2020?
On July 24, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a and clarifying enrollment options for the Fall 2020 semester. The guidance provides requirements for continuing students, who were maintaining F-1 status prior to March 9, 2020, and initial students, who were in new or initial status after March 9, 2020.
Continuing students may enroll in a fully online program of study or hybrid course of study. You may attend synchronously, or asynchronously within the U.S. or abroad. You should enroll full time unless you are eligible for a reduced course load authorization from the ISSO (for example, due to graduation, CPT, medical or academic reasons). If UT Dallas later transitions to fully online study, you will be able to maintain your immigration status in the U.S, and do not need to depart the U.S.
Initial students who wish to enroll in entirely online classes while outside the United States may opt in to Virtual Start. Initial students may not enter the U.S. in the fall 2020 semester to pursue a course of study that is completely online.
I’m a prospective student for fall 2020. Can I enter the U.S. to start my program of study?
If you are a new or initial student and you will pursue a full course of study that includes in-person components, you may enter the U.S. to begin your F-1 status. You must enroll in at least one face-to-face, hybrid or HyFlex class, and you must be prepared to participate in the in-person components. All other classes may be taken online and/or asynchronously.
If you are a new or initial student and you will pursue your studies 100% online, then you may not enter the U.S. to begin your F-1 status. You may begin your online studies from your home country through Virtual Start2020欧洲杯小组赛 and enter the U.S. to begin your F-1 status in a future semester.
2020欧洲杯小组赛If you are able to arrive for the second 8-week term, you must have departmental approval, an updated I-20, and the ability to enroll in at least one face-to-face, hybrid or HyFlex class for the 8-week term.
Will I get a new I-20 with an updated remark?
If you are a prospective student and need an updated I-20 with a remark indicating the university remains fully operational in a hybrid format, please send an e-mail to [email protected]
For current students who are abroad, the ISSO will issue an I-20 with the remark “Outside the U.S. due to COVID-19” by the 30th day of class for fall 2020. You will receive more information at your UT Dallas email address.
If you need a new I-20 for another reason, you may submit an I-20 reprint request in iComet.
I will be traveling to the U.S. in the coming weeks. I need an updated I-20 and a letter for the airline. How do I get these documents?
The SEVP guidance issued on July 6, 2020 has been rescinded, including the requirement to issue updated I-20s for all current F-1 students.
If you need specific documentation for your planned trip, submit an Ask an Advisor eForm requesting an updated I-20. We understand that some airlines are requiring specific letters regarding the operations of the university. Please provide as much information in your request as possible, and we will issue a letter for you. The ISSO will email your documents to your UT Dallas email address.
If you are a new student, you should also carry verification of enrollment that includes at least one course with in person components (HyFlex, hybrid or face-to-face courses) for the visa interview and upon arrival at U.S. port of entry.
What happens if COVID gets worse and the university needs to transition to a fully online instructional mode. How will that affect my immigration status?
The university will make decisions about changes in the instructional mode based on the safety of the UTD community. While the university is planning on a hybrid instruction model for fall 2020, it is possible that the university may later need to transition to fully online study. In this case, students who are in Active F-1 status can maintain their immigration status in the U.S, and do not need to depart the U.S.
Will I be able to return to the United States if I am continuing my studies outside of the country as a result of COVID-19?
2020欧洲杯小组赛USCIS has indicated that students who continue to make normal progress in their course of study remain eligible for admission into the United States, even if you are absent from the U.S. for longer than five months. Since you will maintain F-1 status while abroad, the five-month temporary absence provision will not apply to you. You will be able to return to the U.S. to resume your studies once the university resumes in-person classes.
However, because of the changing array of travel restrictions, nonimmigrant students should refer to their local embassy’s website through for any updates about visa issuance. and websites also provide information about current travel restrictions to the United States.
If I travel internationally, will I be able to come back to the U.S.?
As you all know, we are in uncharted territory regarding international mobility. It is impossible to predict if and when further restrictions will be put in place by the U.S. Administration for travelers returning from high risk countries. If you are currently outside the U.S. or plan to travel outside the U.S., we recommend that you continue to monitor (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
I still need to apply for OPT. Can I do this remotely from elsewhere in the U.S.? Can I do it from outside the U.S.?
You must be physically in the U.S.2020欧洲杯小组赛 at the time you submit your Optional Practical Training (OPT) application. ISSO will continue to process OPT applications and will communicate with you about how to receive your documents and mail your application to USCIS.
What if I requested for my USCIS documents to be mailed to the ISSO? Can I still receive my documents?
2020欧洲杯小组赛Although the ISSO office is currently closed, we are still working remotely and processing mailing requests. However, due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, circumstances can change rapidly. We encourage all students who used the ISSO address as their mailing address for a USCIS application to update their mailing address with USCIS so that documents are not sent to the ISSO.
If you have used the ISSO address for a currently pending USCIS or Social Security application, we recommend that you contact that agency and update them with your personal mailing address. After May 15, 2020, mail received by the ISSO may be returned to sender.
See the for details on how to update your mailing address.
If I vacate my current on or off campus residence and relocate to a new address, do I need to report it within 10 days? Where do I report?
2020欧洲杯小组赛Yes, the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA § 265, 8 U.S.C. 1305) requires all nonimmigrants and permanent residents, including international students, scholars, and their families, to report any change of residential address in the U.S. to the federal government, within 10 days. Please report address changes in your Galaxy account.
I will graduate soon, and my plan was to return to my home country. After I graduate, I would prefer to stay in the United States for now. What are my options?
You have three options:
- Remain in the U.S. and apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- Remain in the U.S. during the grace period after your program end date (which you can find on your I-20). The grace period is 60 days for F-1 students.
- Pursue another degree at UT Dallas.
- Transfer your SEVIS record to another U.S. institution.
My visa is expiring, and I am unable to travel to my home country currently. What should I do?
You may stay in the U.S. on an expired F-1 or J-1 visa as long as you maintain your immigration status and meet normal enrollment requirements. (Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the U.S.)
My visa is expiring/has expired. If I leave the U.S. now, but must come back after the expiration date of my visa, will I need a new visa, or can I re-enter on an expired visa?
2020欧洲杯小组赛If you leave the U.S. and your visa will have expired by the date you wish to re-enter the U.S., then you will need to obtain a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before you can re-enter the U.S. (Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the U.S.) Because of the changing array of travel restrictions, nonimmigrant students should refer to their local embassy’s website through the for any updates about visa issuance.
If you will be travelling to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands, may be eligible for automatic revalidation.
I am currently on CPT, OPT, or STEM OPT and my employer has asked me to work from home. What do I need to do?
Due to the impact of the coronavirus, many employers are asking their employees to work from home. You may still maintain your F-1 status while working remotely on practical training. We also recommend that you keep any communication from the employer that instructs you to work from home so you have it as supplemental documentation for the future.
If you are on OPT/STEM OPT
You are not required to report that you are working remotely. However, you may submit a OPT/STEM OPT reporting form to the ISSO if you wish. Keep in mind, all other reporting obligations remain the same.
2020欧洲杯小组赛To report that you are working from home, do the following:
- Fill out Section B with your current address
- If your employer has not changed, fill out Section C with your employer name only and a note "Working remotely from home."
- If your employer has changed, fill out Section C with your previous employer's information and end date. Below that, include your new employer's complete information. Add a note to the side, "Working remotely from home."
If you are on CPT
Due to the impact of the coronavirus, many CPT employers are asking their interns to work from home. You may still maintain your F-1 status while working remotely on CPT.
- Please inform the JSOM Career Management Center, University Career Center or Industrial Practice Programs to confirm if you are eligible for remote work.
- If your CPT will end, early your I-20 will need to be updated. Please contact the JSOM Career Management Center, University Career Center or Industrial Practice Programs to initiate that process.
My employer registered me for H-1B lottery. Can I leave the U.S. now?
If your employer is planning to register or has already registered you for the H-1B lottery, please consult your employer and their immigration counsel before you make any international travel plans. ISSO advisors cannot answer travel related questions regarding your H-1B petition sponsored by your employer.
I applied for U.S. Permanent Residency. Can I leave the country now?
If you applied to become Lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the United States, consult an immigration attorney regarding international travel.
I am facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19. Can the ISSO help?
We know that many of our students are experiencing financial stress due to COVID-19. Your health and wellbeing is of the utmost importance to us.
2020欧洲杯小组赛We will continue to update this page and notify students when emergency fund and scholarship programs for students are available and open for applications.
UT Dallas Emergency Fund
UT Dallas is providing an emergency fund. For details about eligibility and the application process, see their webpage - http://www.fuse-id.com/deanofstudents/emergency/2020欧洲杯小组赛. Applications are currently open.
Will I get a stimulus check?
2020欧洲杯小组赛If you are considered a nonresident alien for tax purposes, you are NOT allowed to receive a stimulus payment. An international student who entered the U.S. on an F, J, M, or Q visa after 01/01/2015 is a nonresident alien for tax purposes for both 2018 and 2019 tax years.
If you entered the U.S. prior to that date, you must take the Substantial Presence Test to determine whether you are a Resident Alien for Tax Purposes or a Nonresident Alien for Tax Purposes for each tax year. You must qualify as a resident alien in 2020. You can enter your U.S. travel history in Sprintax and the software will help you determine your tax residency status.
2020欧洲杯小组赛For more information, visit the .
What if I get a stimulus check and I should not have?
2020欧洲杯小组赛If a person who is actually a Nonresident Alien for Tax Purposes incorrectly filed Form 1040, thus presenting himself or herself to the IRS as a U.S. Person, the IRS may erroneously send the Nonresident Alien for Tax Purposes a stimulus payment. In this instance, the individual must take actions to correct the error. You must amend the incorrectly filed Federal Income Tax Return and return the stimulus payment.
Most importantly, the nonresident alien should NOT spend the erroneously received stimulus payment. It is important to note that if the nonresident alien does not return the erroneously received stimulus payment, he or she may be subject to interest accrued until the payment is returned.
How do I amend an incorrectly filed Federal Income Tax Return?
2020欧洲杯小组赛You must file an amended tax return for each tax year that an incorrect federal income tax return was filed. An amended tax return has two parts: (i) Form 1040X, and (ii) the correct federal income tax return for the tax year in question (Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ). Form 1040X Instructions Page 8 provides the detailed instructions on how to complete Form 1040X manually. For 2019 tax year’s Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, nonresident aliens can use Sprintax to generate it using the access code provided by UTD. Both Sprintax and Glacier Tax Prep can prepare amended tax returns for nonresident aliens, but the individual will be responsible for the cost.
Until such time as the incorrectly filed federal income tax return is amended to submit the correct federal income tax return, the nonresident alien is subject to a filing penalty and/or loss of any otherwise applicable deductions or allowances, including income tax treaty exemptions.
An amended tax return can only be filed by mail (paper tax return) and it will take a much longer time for the IRS to process as the IRS currently is not processing any paper tax returns. Amended tax returns for different tax years should be mailed in separate packages. Postages and envelopes can be purchased online at USPS.com and it is strongly recommended to add the tracking/return receipt services and keep both physical and electronic copies of everything that you send to the IRS.
How do I return the stimulus payment?
To return the stimulus payment, you may follow the guidelines posted on the IRS Economic Impact Payment Information Center. Follow the instructions posted under Question 41 - .