Research Abroad for Graduate Students
International students must inform Visa & Immigration Services of their proposed study/research outside of the U.S. for SEVIS reporting purposes. It is advised that you discuss your intentions to study/research abroad with your International Student Advisor before departing from the U.S., and remain informed of immigration implications that go hand-in-hand with studying/researching overseas.
Authorization from Visa & Immigration Services is required for any F-1 or J-1 student planning to study/research outside of the U.S. for SEVIS reporting purposes. Approved requests for Research Abroad, along with the maintenance of full-time enrollment, will ensure that your SEVIS record remains active while you’re abroad, meaning there will be no breaks in your immigration status, even though you are not physically within the US.
- You are required to register full-time in order to maintain your F-1 immigration status while abroad.
- Any changes in enrollment while studying abroad could affect your ability to return to the U.S. You will be registered in the U.S. immigration database (SEVIS) as an active Stony Brook student each semester.
- As student traveling abroad under university sponsorship, you are required to complete the electronic International Travel Policy.
- Make sure you have valid passport, travel signature (no more than 1-year old) and an unexpired F-1 visa (if applicable) prior to returning to the U.S.
Requesting Authorization from VIS:
If you wish to request authorization from Visa & Immigration Services to research abroad please login to accessVIS and complete the electronic Graduate Research Abroad request.
Students must complete the Graduate Research Abroad Request in accessVIS prior to the start of each semester they plan to spend abroad so that VIS can ensure your SEVIS record remains active.
Knowing the Immigration Implications of Research Abroad:
Employment Implications: Because immigration status is not interrupted by study abroad, you are eligible for OPT or CPT upon returning to the U.S. if you were enrolled full-time for one academic year. Please note: for students wishing to request post-completion OPT, you must be physically within the US to apply for OPT authorization from USCIS. Similarly, students on J-1 visa are eligible for academic training upon return provided that they maintained full-time enrollment while overseas.
Full-Time Enrollment: It’s mandatory to maintain full-time enrollment at all times during study abroad. If students fall below full time enrollment because it’s their last semester, the student must request reduced course load authorization by completing the Part-Time Enrollment request form in accessVIS. Any unauthorized changes in enrollment while studying abroad could affect your ability to return to the U.S. You will be registered in the U.S. immigration database (SEVIS) as an active Stony Brook student each semester, but only if participating full-time in an approved Research Abroad program.
Immigration Implications: If authorized by VIS, your SEVIS status will remain active. J-1 students will receive remarks indicating their authorization to participate in a study abroad program.
SEVIS Registration: You must complete the Graduate Research Abroad Request in accessVIS prior to each semester you plan to spend abroad as a method of reporting your address, contact information, and study abroad/travel plans.
Renewal of F-1/J-1 Visa: If your student visa expires while studying overseas, you will need to apply for a new visa before making travel plans to return to the US. If the visa application is denied, you must obtain a new visa in your home country to return to the U.S.