Student FAQs: International Students
We understand and sympathize with the impact the worldwide closure of all U.S. consulates and embassies for routine visa processing is having on our incoming and continuing international students for the Fall 2020 semester. While we are encouraging you to schedule visa appointments as soon as consular services reopen for non-immigrant visa processing, we recognize you may not be able to secure a visa appointment until after the start of the semester. As such, you may request a deferral of their admission to Spring 2021/Fall 2021, or inquire about studying remotely from abroad.
Below are your options for the fall semester. For the most updated information regarding international students visit Visa and Immigration Services’ Summer & Fall 2020 COVID-19 FAQ’s page or contact email@example.com if you have further questions.
1. Defer your Admission
- Students admitted for Fall 2020 may defer their admission to Spring 2021 or Fall
2021, and therefore will not enroll in classes for the fall term. Undergraduates who
wish to defer their admission should contact
. Graduate students who wish to defer their admission to Spring 2021 should contact
their academic departments. If approved, the department must notify the Graduate School.
2. Study Online with SBU and Update your F-1 Program to Spring 2021 and Study Remotely
Students admitted for Fall 2020 who update their F-1 program can study remotely from
their home country on a full-time or part-time basis for the fall semester. Students
cannot be in the US and choose this option. This affords students the ability to begin
their studies at Stony Brook, while allowing more time to secure a visa before coming
to the US for Spring 2021 in F-1 status.
- Undergraduate students who wish to update their F-1 program should report their plans for the fall semester to Undergraduate Admissions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Graduate students who wish to defer their F-1 program to Spring 2021 must notify Visa and Immigration Services by emailing email@example.com .
On Monday, July 6, the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) released policy guidance for F-1 international students regarding fall semester study. After a thorough review of the guidance, the Office of Visa and Immigration Services submitted a request for clarification on a few very important points for our F-1 international students. SEVP provided additional guidance on Tuesday evening, however there are still uncertainties surrounding F-1 students who remain abroad for the Fall 2020 semester.
Based on the guidance provided on Monday, and the additional information provided on Tuesday, we would like to share with you what this guidance means for F-1 students, both undergraduate and graduate, with regard to the Fall semester.
At present, Stony Brook University is moving forward with a hybrid instruction model for Fall 2020. As such:
F-1 Students Inside the U.S. for the Start of the Fall Semester:
(including those currently outside the U.S. but seeking to return for fall)
- Your F-1 status will remain active and you do not need to depart the U.S. This applies to both new and continuing F-1 students.
- To maintain your F-1 status, you must be enrolled full-time , which must include at least one (3 credit) in-person course. Hybrid courses that include both in-person and online components count as an in-person class.
- SBU will provide all on-campus F-1 students the opportunity to fulfill this in-person requirement.
- SBU will provide a new I-20 noting the hybrid instruction model.
- SBU’s formal plan to move to online learning after Thanksgiving will not result in the requirement to depart the U.S.
- As per SEVP, IEC students are not allowed any online enrollment, and therefore IEC students cannot remain in the U.S. in F-1 status for the Fall 2020 IEC semester.
F-1 Students Outside the U.S. During the Fall Semester
- You are eligible to enroll in SBU’s online courses and maintain your degree progress, whether you remain in active F-1 status or not.
- SEVP indicated on 7/6/20 that F-1 students outside the U.S., studying at hybrid model institutions, cannot maintain F-1 status while abroad; however on 7/7/20 additional information from SEVP indicates that universities may NOT be required to terminate the SEVIS records of F-1s who remain abroad. Therefore, at this time, we do not have clarity from SEVP as to whether the SEVIS records of F-1s remaining abroad must be terminated.
- SBU will not terminate records of F-1 students remaining abroad unless required by SEVP. Students will be notified in advance once we have clarity on requirements.
- New students who do not enter the U.S. will not be in active F-1 status. You may enroll in online courses and request a deferral of your SEVIS record to Spring or Fall 2021; or contact International Undergraduate Admissions or respective Graduate Academic Department if you wish to defer your academic admission.
F-1 Students Participating in Approved Study Abroad or Research Abroad During the Fall Semester
- Your F-1 status will remain active for Fall semester.
- You will be registered full-time at SBU and authorized through SEVIS for research/study abroad.
- You will receive an updated I-20 notating authorized Research/Study Abroad.
As a next step, you will receive an email from VIS in the days to come asking all students to complete an e-form indicating your Fall 2020 plans. This form will be required to be submitted by all F-1 students in order to take appropriate action on your immigration record.
If additional guidance or clarifications are provided by SEVP, the Visa and Immigration Services Covid-19 FAQ page will be updated and shared with our international students. If you have any questions, please visit the site or email firstname.lastname@example.org .