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Santa Clara University

Graduate Business Fall 2020 Immigration FAQ

Incoming Students

We’re excited to welcome you to the SCU international family! We are still issuing I-20s and supporting visa applications for all incoming students.

To protect your health and well-being, Santa Clara University has announced that Graduate Business (MBA, MSIS, MSBA and MSFA) classes will be entirely online for the Fall 2020 academic quarter. As an incoming student you are allowed and encouraged to begin classes online from outside the U.S. 

We answer common immigration questions below. Please contact International Students and Scholars in Global Engagement at iss@scu.edu if you have any additional questions.

We are still issuing I-20s and supporting visa applications for all admitted students. If you have not requested your I-20 yet, you should do so.

You can review our I-20 request process here.  

You can review our I-20 request deadlines here.  

Graduate students submit I-20 requests directly to your graduate admissions team by uploading the required documents to your admitted student portal.

Your I-20 will be issued with a Winter quarter start date. You can plan to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the Winter 2021 start date (classes start on January 4, 2021; you may enter the U.S. on or after December 5, 2020).

We will continue to issue I-20s with Fall 2020 start dates only for students already in the U.S. who are: 

Transferring their active F-1 SEVIS immigration records to SCU from another school, or

Requesting an I-20 to file a Change of Status application with USCIS.

 

Our team will issue your I-20 within our normal 15 business day processing time. You can read more about the I-20 request process here.

Your I-20 will be issued with a Winter quarter start date. You can plan to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the Winter 2021 start date (classes start on January 4, 2021; you may enter the U.S. on or after December 5, 2020).

We will continue to issue I-20s with Fall 2020 start dates only for students already in the U.S. who are: 

Transferring their active F-1 SEVIS immigration records to SCU from another school, or

Requesting an I-20 to file a Change of Status application with USCIS.

Your I-20 will be updated with a Winter quarter start date. 

  • We will be issuing updated I-20s no later than July 1, 2020. You will get an email when your new I-20 is ready for mailing. 
  • Your SEVIS ID number will stay the same and you can continue your SEVIS fee payment, and visa application process even while waiting for your updated I-20 to be mailed.
  • You can plan to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the Winter 2021 start date (classes start on January 4, 2021; you may enter the U.S. on or after December 5, 2020).

We will continue to issue I-20s with Fall 2020 start dates only for students already in the U.S. who are: 

Transferring their active F-1 SEVIS immigration records to SCU from another school, or

Requesting an I-20 to file a Change of Status application with USCIS.

Your I-20 will be automatically updated with a Winter quarter start date. You do not need to submit a new I-20 request or any additional supporting documents.

  • We will be issuing updated I-20s no later than July 1, 2020. You will get an email when your new I-20 is ready for mailing. 
  • Your SEVIS ID number will stay the same and you can continue your SEVIS fee payment, and visa application process even while waiting for your updated I-20 to be mailed.
  • You can plan to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the Winter 2021 start date (classes start on January 4, 2021; you may enter the U.S. on or after December 5, 2020).

We will continue to issue I-20s with Fall 2020 start dates only for students already in the U.S. who are: 

Transferring their active F-1 SEVIS immigration records to SCU from another school, or

Requesting an I-20 to file a Change of Status application with USCIS.

We will be automatically issuing updated I-20s by July 1, 2020. You will get an email when the new I-20 is ready for mailing.

 

If you have already paid the SEVIS fee you will not have to pay it again. Your SEVIS ID number will stay the same. We are simply updating your F-1 SEVIS immigration record start date.

 

You are eligible to attend your visa interview up to 120 days prior to your program start date.

Currently regular visa processing is suspended and emergency appointments are reserved for students who are within 60 days of their program start date. We anticipate that U.S. Consulates and Embassies will resume regular visa processing in late summer or early fall to support students arriving for Winter 2021 (January 2021).

 

Your I-20 will be updated with a Winter quarter start date. 

You can plan to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the Winter 2021 start date (classes start on January 4, 2021; you may enter the U.S. on or after December 5, 2020).

We will continue to issue I-20s with Fall 2020 start dates only for students already in the U.S. who are: 

Transferring their active F-1 SEVIS immigration records to SCU from another school, or

Requesting an I-20 to file a Change of Status application with USCIS.

You do not need to attend International Student Welcome (ISW) in Fall. Instead, you will attend ISW just after entering the U.S. in F-1 status, in January. We’re excited to meet you in person. In the meantime, we’re hosting all of our Fall programming and events online in Fall quarter and you’re welcome to join us. You can see all of our events at scu.edu/geoevents

If you are already in the U.S. and transferring your active F-1 SEVIS immigration record to SCU we assume you will either stay in the U.S. or that you will return to the U.S. for the start of classes. You will be required to attend International Student Welcome (ISW) and complete immigration check-in. Your immigration record will be validated to show you are in the U.S. You will be eligible to take your Fall classes online while in the U.S. or after you have completed immigration check-in and we have validated your immigration record, you may depart the U.S. and take classes from abroad, if you prefer.

If you are not in the U.S. or do not return to the U.S. prior to the start of Fall classes, we will need to update your immigration record to show that you’re outside the U.S. In this case you will not need to attend International Student Welcome (ISW) or complete immigration check-in until you enter the U.S. for Winter 2021. In this case you are encouraged to enroll in Fall 2020 classes online. We will issue you an updated SCU I-20 with a Winter 2021 program start date. You can plan to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the Winter 2021 start date (classes start on January 4, 2021; you may enter the U.S. on or after December 5, 2020).

Please keep our office up to date on your travel plans since they impact how we manage your F-1 SEVIS immigration record.

 

Your options to transition to F-1 status remain the same, but your timeline or preference may have changed. For example, if travel to and from the U.S. does not ease, and regular visa appointments do not resume, you may have a hard time getting your visa this summer as originally planned. In this case, you may want to defer your F-1 student immigration record to Winter and go for visa stamping over winter break. Alternatively, a Change of Status application from within the U.S. may be more appealing. Additionally, some students may wish to remain in their current immigration status for the remainder of their studies.

Please visit our Change of Status website to learn about the options available to you. If you have questions or want to talk through your specific situation, schedule a drop-in appointment

Once you have finalized your plans, please email iss@scu.edu (include your name and SCU ID number) so that we can update your F-1 student immigration record accordingly.

Yes, you may use your valid visa stamp to enter the U.S. and in most cases you may begin classes without F-1 status (though there may be limitations on your enrollment). 

If you have questions about attending SCU in an immigration status other than F-1 please visit our Change of Status website and review the section "Do I need F-1 Status to Attend SCU?". If you have additional questions, you can email iss@scu.edu 

Unfortunately it is not possible to enter the U.S. in F-1 status to begin your academic program online. You will not be able to use the I-20 showing the Fall 2020 program start date for visa stamping or entry into the U.S.

We will issue you an updated SCU I-20 with a Winter 2021 program start date. You can plan to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the Winter 2021 start date (classes start on January 4, 2021; you may enter the U.S. on or after December 5, 2020).

 

We know that CPT is important to our students and integral to many of our degree programs.

To be eligible for CPT authorization you must complete 3 consecutive quarters of full time enrollment. As it currently stands, enrolling in your first quarter online from outside the U.S. would not count towards the 3 consecutive quarters of full time enrollment for CPT eligibility. We have requested additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (SEVP) and will update our policies if best practices or guidance changes. This FAQ will be updated if there are any changes.

Currently, if you begin your academic studies from outside of the U.S. enrolling in Fall 2020 online, and then enter the U.S. in F-1 status for Winter 2021, you can begin CPT in the Fall 2021 (if you take a full course load of classes in the Summer 2021) or Winter 2022 (if you do not take a full course load in Summer of 2021).

 

We know that OPT is important to our students and it is a top priority for our office.

Starting your academic program online in Fall 2020 and entering the U.S. to start your F-1 status in Winter 2021 will not impact on your eligibility for OPT.  You will be eligible for OPT after the completion of your degree.

 

Since you will not be in F-1 immigration status while you are outside the U.S. there is no immigration requirement to enroll in a full course load and International Students and Scholars will not verify your enrollment in the Fall.

However, there are benefits to enrolling in a full course load (for example, your academic program may require you to be fully enrolled to make academic progress or it could impact your eligibility for CPT if guidance changes to allow time spent outside the U.S. to count toward the 3 consecutive quarters of full time enrollment).

 

We’re excited to meet you in person when you arrive in January. In the meantime, we’re hosting all of our Fall programming and events online in Fall quarter and you’re welcome to join us. You can see all of our events at scu.edu/geoevents

Continuing Students

ISS Alert: Fall 2020 Immigration Guidance

Tuesday, July 14, as a result of the ongoing lawsuits, SEVP has agreed to rescind their July 6 guidance and July 7 FAQs, and revert back to their prior flexible guidance related to online learning during COVID-19. 

We will provide a more comprehensive update on how this impacts Fall enrollment and will hold additional town halls in the coming days to make sure that your questions are answered. 

In the meantime, we are very relieved by this announcement. Please know that we support you!

  • Students are able to depart from the U.S.
  • You are not required to stay in the U.S. and can continue online classes from outside the U.S.
  • You are not required to leave the U.S. and can continue online classes from the inside U.S.

Graduating Students: You must be physically present in the U.S. to apply for OPT. You cannot apply from abroad -- this is a regulation not an SCU policy. Students graduating who want to use OPT should not leave the U.S. until they apply for OPT.

From an immigration standpoint, during the academic term F-1 students who are fully enrolled (8 units for grad students, 12 units for undergrad or with an approved RCL or Thesis / Capstone) are considered full time students maintaining valid F-1 status, regardless of where they physically are located, and even though classes will be online.  

We are required to report all changes to the method of instruction to the U.S. government agency that manages the student visa system. We've already submitted our initial report telling the government  that online instruction has been extended through the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. We will submit an update once the method of instruction for Fall 2020 is finalized. The government has informed universities that moving classes online due to this pandemic will be allowed and that they are maintaining flexibility to ensure that students are safe and to protect public health. 

Due to this COVID-19 pandemic, international students are eligible to take classes online and are able to either remain in the U.S. or leave the U.S. The only exception is for graduating students who plan to apply for OPT -- you must be in the U.S. to apply for OPT.

That said, we expect that participating in online classes could be challenging if you are outside of the U.S. (due to the time difference, technology limitations, lack of access to instructional materials such as text books etc). Each Professor will handle their classes differently. We recommend that students communicate directly with professors (via email) about the fact that they are international or outside of the U.S. and will have a hard time participating if class is held in Pacific Standard Time and not recorded. The professor may be able to make an accommodation (such as allowing the student to watch a recording of the lecture), however not all classes will allow for accommodation. Alterntatively, the student may be able to switch classes (as long as it's before the add/drop deadline for the term).  In the worst case, if the student is not able to find any classes that would work while they are living outside of the U.S., the student can withdraw for the academic term. Please contact iss@scu.edu before dropping any classes.

During a regular academic quarter or semester international students may only count one online class toward their full time enrollment requirements. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government agency that manages the student visa system (ICE / SEVP) has informed universities that moving classes online due to this health emergency will be allowed and that they are maintaining flexibility to ensure that students are safe and to protect public health.  

We are required to report all changes to the method of instruction to the U.S. government agency that manages the student visa system. We've already submitted our initial report telling the government  that online instruction has been extended through the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. We will submit an update once the method of instruction for Fall 2020 is finalized. The government has informed universities that moving classes online due to this pandemic will be allowed and that they are maintaining flexibility to ensure that students are safe and to protect public health. 

From an immigration standpoint during this global health crisis, SCU students who are fully enrolled (8 units for grad students, 12 units for undergraduate or with an approved Reduced Course Load RCL or Thesis / Capstone) are considered full time students maintaining valid F-1 status, regardless of where they physically are located, and even though classes may be online. 

The 5 month rule does not apply in this situation since you are considered to be maintaining status, even if you happen to be outside the U.S.

To enter the U.S. you do require a valid F-1 visa stamp -- if the visa stamp in your passport will still be valid, you will not need a new visa. If the visa stamp in your passport will have expired, you will need to apply for a new visa stamp before coming back to the U.S.

If you've considered the risk of international travel and plan to leave the U.S. please review our travel website for a list of documents that you should carry with you.

To re-enter the U.S. you are required to have a valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport. If the F-1 visa stamp in your passport will still be valid when you plan to return to the U.S. you will not need to apply for a new visa. If the F-1 visa stamp in your passport expires before you return to the U.S. you will need to apply for a new visa stamp before coming back to the U.S.

  • If you've considered the risk of international travel and plan to leave the U.S. please review our travel website for a list of documents that you should carry with you.
  • You do not need to physically meet with an ISS team member before leaving the U.S.
  • I-20 travel signatures are valid for 1 year after issuance for enrolled students.
  • I-20 travel signatures are valid for 6 months after issuance for graduates on OPT / STEM OPT.

If you need an updated travel signature: Email iss@scu.edu. The email subject line should be "updated travel signature" in the email body include your full legal name, your SCU ID, your date of departure from the U.S. and your planned date of re-entry (if any). In the coming weeks we will create an updated I-20 for you with a new travel signature. Once the I-20 has been created you will be sent an email with instructions on how to create a shipping label so the we can mail the I-20 to you prior to your return to the U.S. 

Opting for Pass / No Pass (P/NP) grading does not impact your immigration status. You may take any or all of your classes P/NP.

To be eligible for the Economic Impact Payments from the CARES Act, you must be a "resident alien for tax purposes”. 

Most of SCU's international students and scholars are "non-resident aliens for tax purposes" and are therefore not eligible for the Economic Impact Payments from the CARES Act.

Anyone who received a stimulus payments in error should follow the IRS instructions under FAQ #52 here and send payment with delivery tracking and keep copies of the check and any correspondence for their records.

We cannot provide personalized tax guidance, however, you can find tax related information and resources here. We hope these web resources are helpful to you.