Immigration Information for New International Students

These FAQs will provide answers to questions you might have about enrolling at Towson University as a new student. Below is immigration information for newly admitted students. NOTE: the information provided is subject to change as we receive updated or new guidance from the government.

 

 

Can I have all online classes and still come to the U.S. to study?

Transfer and initial students who are currently outside the U.S. will need to enroll in at least 1 preferable two in-person/hybrid classes in order to enter the U.S. and maintain their F-1 status. 


According to the ReTUrn to TU plan, fall 2020 classes will covert to all online on November 30th. Will this affect my immigration status?

Students who have maintained their F-1 immigration status through the fall semester will continue to be in status after Nov. 30. Though finals will be conducted online, the method of instruction for each course will not change. As a result, students may remain in the United States. 

I have an assistantship or on-campus employment for the Fall 2020 semester. Can I complete my work from outside the U.S.?

F-1 students who will remain outside the U.S. cannot hold an assistantship or have an on-campus job for fall 2020.  Students have to be physically present in the U.S. to have an assistantship or on-campus position.

Are U.S. Embassies and consulates open? Can I apply for an F-1 visa?

On March 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of State suspended all non-essential immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments.

On July 13, the Department of State announced phased re-opening of embassies and consulates. Each embassy/consulate will announce when they will re-open and when appointments will be available.  You will need to check the website of a particular embassy or consulate for the most up to date information about visa appointment availability. 

Is the ISSO sending out hard copies/originals of I-20s to students?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has approved electronic signatures and documents.

We will be uploading the signed I-20 to your ISSO portal and sending it to your Towson University email address. Those wanting the hard copy (original I-20) may contact the ISSO for instructions.

The Department of State and DHS’ Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have confirmed that they will accept the print–out of electronic documents for visa appointments and for entry into the U.S.

NOTE: This is subject to change. The ISSO will keep you informed.

Will I be able to enter the U.S.? Am I allowed to enter the U.S.?

Non-U.S. citizens and non-US. permanent residents who live in, have visited, or have transited through the following countries in the past 14 days are not eligible to enter the U.S.

The U.S. Department of State has announced that F-1 students who live in, have visited, or have transited through the following countries in the past 14 days are NOW ABLE to enter the U.S.. 

  • European Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City)
  • United Kingdom
  • Republic of Ireland

How do I stay updated about my F-1 or J-1 changes?
Incoming international students are encouraged to regularly review the ISSO website and to check their e-mail messages from the ISSO. Any changes or new guidance will be reported on these platforms.

Transfer Students

Should I return to my home country?
The ISSO cannot advise you on whether to stay in the U.S. or return to your home country. However, international travel may be risky at this time. Many countries have travel restrictions in place. If you choose to go home, you may be unable to return to the U.S. as soon as you would like.

The U.S. has imposed travel bans on people coming from several countries (see above). Additionally, if you need to renew your visa while at home, there may be delays in getting in an appointment (see Are you U.S. Embassies and consulates open? Can I apply for an F-1? question). You should review the travel information from the U.S. government and from your own government for additional information and guidance. 

I already have an F-1 visa in my passport, and my I-20, can I return/come to the U.S. to start classes?

Transfer students who are currently outside the U.S. will need to enroll in at least 1 preferable two in-person/hybrid classes in order to enter the U.S. and maintain their F-1 status. 

I need to renew my visa. When will U.S. Embassies and Consulates reopen?
Please see the question above: Are U.S. Embassies and consulates open? Can I apply for an F-1 visa? 

Last Updated July 28, 2020.