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Student FAQ's During COVID-19
We understand the challenges that students are facing given the fluid situation with 2019 Novel Coronavirus. We will continue to update this page as information is available.
Out of caution we advise that you closely monitor the CDC and U. S. Department of State for travel advisories and updates for any country you are travelling to or transiting through.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced on April 18th, 2022 that the COVID-19 guidance issued in March 2020 will remain in place for the 2022-23 academic year.
For a more comprehensive list of question and answers, please visit the Coming Back Safe and Strong website.
Effective January 5, 2023 at 12:01 Eastern Time, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) will require a negative COVID-19 test for people traveling to the
U.S. from China, Hong Kong, or Macau. Airlines will confirm the negative COVID-19
test result, taken within two days of departure, or proof of recovery from the virus
within the last 90 days, for all passengers.
For more details, including what types of SARS-CoV-2 tests are acceptable under this order, please see the announcements from the Department of State and the CDC.
Frequently Asked Questions
- New Students
New Students for Spring 2023I am a new student in "initial" status OUTSIDE of the US, can I enter the US and study for Spring 2023?
In accordance with SEVP's guidance, "F students in new or initial status after March 9, 2020 will not be able to enter the United States to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online."
This means that new students who are in INITIAL status in SEVIS, including SEVIS Transfers, and wish to enroll fully online for Spring 2023 will NOT be allowed to enter the U.S. in F-1 status for the spring semester. You may enroll in online courses from abroad for spring and request a deferral of your SEVIS record to Fall 2023.
Based on this current guidance, new students who are in INITIAL status and want to come to the U.S. for the spring semester should be allowed to apply for a visa and enter the U.S. with the appropriate documents, as long as they provide proof of enrollment in at least one 3-credit in-person or hybrid course. We recommend printing a copy of your Spring 2023 course schedule from SOLAR as proof of in-person/hybrid enrollment.
If you need a letter confirming Stony Brook's instructional mode for Spring 2023 for a visa appointment and/or for your entry to the U.S. please use the letter linked below from our Interim Vice Provost for Global Affairs.I am transferring from another US institution, do I need to enroll in an in-person or hybrid course?
F-1 students who were engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020 who are transferring from another SEVP-certified U.S. school to SBU for Spring 2023 can maintain their F-1 status as long as they are enrolled full-time. This can include all online courses, or a combination of online, in-person and hybrid courses.
F-1 students, including those currently on OPT, transferring from another SEVP-certified U.S. college or university to SBU who were not enrolled on March 9, 2020, must enroll full-time AND in at least one 3-credit in-person or hybrid course for the Spring 2023 semester.Can I still travel to the US if all my classes will be online?
As proof that your physical presence in the US is required, we advise enrolling in at least one 3-credit, or as many as possible, in-person/hybrid courses. Proof of enrollment in the form of your printed course schedule from SOLAR is recommended.
Please note, your admission to the US in F-1 status is ultimately at the discretion of the US embassy or consulate that issues your student visa (if applicable) as well as Customs and Border Protection at the port of entry.When should new students arrive to Stony Brook for the Spring 2023 semester?
International students seeking F-1 or J-1 student status may only request entry to the U.S. up to 30 days prior to, but no later, than the program start date indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019.
What will happen if I cannot arrive on time for Spring 2023?
Undergraduate Students must arrive by January 22, 2023.
Graduate (Masters/PhD) Students must arrive no later than February 3, 2023.
Newly admitted first year and transfer undergraduates must arrive on campus by the “no-later-than” report or start date (1/23/2023) indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019. Visa and Immigration Services will not give approval to arrive after this date. If you have questions about deferring admission, we encourage you to contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org). Any student who arrives after the program start date indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019 will do so at their own risk.
If you are not able to arrive in the United States by the arrival deadline stated on your I-20 (1/23/2023), you must submit the New Student Late Arrival Request form in accessVIS to request permission to arrive late. Prior to entering the US, your SEVIS record must be updated to reflect your deferred arrival date, and a support letter must be issued.I cannot arrive to campus for Spring 2023, what are my options?
If you are an incoming bachelors, masters or doctoral student who is outside of the United States and cannot enter due travel restrictions, visa issues, or health and safety concerns, you have the following options:
1) Update your F-1 Program to Fall 2023 and Study Remotely for Spring 2023- Students admitted for Spring 2023 who update their F-1 program can study remotely from their home country on a full-time or part-time basis. This affords students the ability to begin their studies at SBU while allowing more time to secure a visa before coming to the US for Fall 2023 semester in F-1 status. Students who elect this option must submit the Spring 2023 Enrollment & Travel Plan form in accessVIS to notify us of their plans, so their SEVIS record and I-20 can be updated accordingly.
Defer your Admission - Students admitted for Spring 2023 may request to defer their admission Fall 2023, and therefore will not enroll in classes for the spring term. Students who elect this option must submit the Spring 2023 Enrollment & Travel Plan form in accessVIS to notify us of their plans, so their SEVIS record and I-20 can be updated accordingly.
Undergraduates who wish to request to defer their admission to Fall 2023 should contact International Undergraduate Admissions at email@example.com.
Graduate students who wish to request to defer their admission to Fall 2023 should contact their respective graduate academic department.Can I defer my admission?
Yes, incoming bachelors, masters or doctoral students who are outside of the United States and cannot enter due travel restrictions and/or visa issues, or due to health and safety concerns, may request to defer their admission.
Undergraduates who wish to defer their admission to Fall 2023 should contact International Undergraduate Admission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate students who wish to defer their admission to Fall 2023 should contact their respective graduate academic department.
Students who elect to defer their admission must ALSO submit the Spring 2023 Enrollment & Travel Plan form in accessVIS to notify us of their plans so their SEVIS record and I-20 can be updated accordingly.Can I do the entire Spring 2023 semester remotely from my home country?
Yes. From an immigration standpoint, students that are not yet in F-1 status can study remotely full-time or part-time while outside of the US, as F-1 status requirements would not apply. It is only once a student has been admitted to the US in F-1 or J-1 status, that enrollment requirements would apply.
New students who wish to study remotely from their home country for the Spring 2023 semester should inform their respective admitting office of their intentions to defer their F-1 program to Fall 2023, AND submit the Spring 2023 Enrollment & Travel Plan form in accessVIS so VIS can update their SEVIS record and I-20 accordingly.
By deferring your F-1 program (arrival), you have the ability to begin your studies at SBU while allowing more time to secure a visa before coming to the US for Fall 2023 in F-1 status.
Can I have an extension for submitting the health forms?To ensure a healthy and safe campus community, if you plan to enroll in at least one in-person class, live on campus, or access in-person services or facilities on Stony Brook’s campuses, you are required to comply with mandatory immunization requirements.
- Undergraduate students who wish to defer their F-1 program should report their plans for the spring semester to International Undergraduate Admissions by emailing email@example.com.
- Graduate students who wish to defer their F-1 program should contact their respective academic department.
Please visit stonybrook.edu/immunizations for more information, including how to submit your proof of vaccination to the Wolfie Health Portal and other special considerations. If you have further questions, please contact Student Health Services directly via LiveChat or by phone at 631) 632-6740.I plan to live on campus for Spring 2023, what do I need to know?
For more information about campus housing please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Spring Enrollment Requirements
Spring 2023 Enrollment RequirementsWhat enrollment allowances are in place for Spring 2023?
COVID-19 guidance from March 2020 will remain in place for the 2022/2023 academic year.
Continuing / Active F-1 Students Inside the U.S. for the start of the Spring 2023 semester
(including those currently outside the U.S.)
- Your F-1 status will remain active and you do not need to depart the U.S.
- For students who were engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020: You must enroll full-time. This can include all online courses, or a combination of online, in-person and hybrid courses.
- For students who were not engaged in full-time study in March 9, 2020: You must enroll full-time AND be in at least one 3-credit in-person or hybrid course.
Continuing / Active F-1 Students Outside the U.S. During the Spring Semester
- Students whoengaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020, your SEVIS record will remain active while you are abroad, as long as you maintain full-time enrollment at SBU. The five-month temporary absence provision (8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(4)) will not apply for students who remain in Active status.
- Student who were NOT engaged in full-time study in March 9, 2020 will not be able to remain in active F-1 status while abroad. If you plan to complete the Spring 2023 semester from outside the U.S. you will need to end your F-1 status. You can still continue your online enrollment at SBU if you choose to, but your F-1 status cannot continue because you are required to be in at least one 3-credit in-person or hybrid course.
New "Initial" & "Transfer Pending" F-1 Students
- New students who are in INITIAL status in SEVIS and wish to enroll fully online for Spring 2023 will NOT be allowed to enter the U.S. in F-1 status. Students may enroll in online courses from abroad for spring and request a deferral of their SEVIS record to Fall 2023.
- New students who are in INITIAL status who intend to the come to the U.S. for the spring semester must enroll full-time AND in at least one 3-credit in-person or hybrid course for the Spring 2023 semester.
- New students transferring from within the US who were engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020 can maintain their F-1 status as long as they are enrolled full-time. This can include all online courses or a combination of online, in-person and hybrid courses.
- New students transferring from within the US who were NOT enrolled on March 9, 2020 must enroll full-time AND in at least one 3-credit in-person or hybrid course for the Spring 2023 semester.
F-1 Students Participating in Approved Study Abroad or Research Abroad
- Your continuing F-1 status will remain active for the spring semester.
- Graduate students must submit the “Graduate Research Abroad” e-form in accessVIS.
- 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.
Active J-1 Students Inside the U.S. for the Start of the Spring Semester:
- Your J-1 status will remain active and you do not need to depart the U.S.
- You must be enrolled full-time, and you may fully enroll online. If available, students are asked to participate in in-person (or hybrid) classes relevant to the program.
New “Initial” J-1 Students
New students may enter the U.S. to start their program. However, new J-1 students are expected to comply with regulatory requirements, which means you must have some in-person classes for the Spring 2023 semester.What are the enrollment requirements for Spring 2023?
100 % Online Study Acceptable For: Minimum one (1) 3-Credit In-Person/Hybrid Required For: Current SBU F-1 students continuing in current program if they were engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020 New F-1 and J-1 students who intend to enter the US for Spring 2023 Current SBU F-1 students starting new program at SBU if they were engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020 F-1 students who began their program online outside the U.S. and who will enter the U.S. to continue studies in Spring 2023 F-1 students engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020 who are transferring from another SEVP-certified U.S. school to SBU for Spring 2023 Former SBU students currently on OPT returning to begin a new degree program (if they were not enrolled on March 9, 2020) New international students who intend to remain outside the U.S. for Spring 2023 F-1 students, including those currently on OPT, transferring from another SEVP-certified U.S. college or university to SBU (if they were not enrolled on March 9, 2020) J-1 exchange visitors who are currently in “active” status in SEVIS. Current SBU students changing status to F-1 for Spring 2023
SBU F-1 students who are re-entering the U.S. after a leave of absence or status violation with an “initial” I-20
Continuing active F-1 students who were not engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020As a continuing "active" F-1 student, can I take more than 1 online class this spring?
Under "normal" pre-COVID circumstances, students in F-1 status are required to enroll in (and complete) a full-time course of study each fall and spring semester, of which no more than 1 course (or up to 3 credits) can be taken online.
Due to COVID, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) implemented allowances to offer a little more flexibility:
Can continuing "active" students do the entire Spring 2023 semester remotely from their home country?
- Students who were engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020 can continue to count online classes towards a full course of study. This temporary provision is in effect for the “duration of the emergency.” Regardless of whether you are currently inside or outside of the United States, as long as you are a full-time enrolled student, SBU will continue to maintain your student status. This means your SEVIS record will remain active as long as you are enrolled full-time at SBU and the expiration date on your I-20 has not yet expired.
- Students who were not engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020 must enroll in at least one 3-credit in-person or hybrid course for the Spring 2023 semester
For continuing, active students who were engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020, you may complete the Spring 2023 semester remotely from abroad, as long as you maintain full-time enrollment at SBU. To ensure compliance, please submit theSpring 2023 Enrollment & Travel Plan form in accessVIS so your SEVIS record can be updated accordingly.
For continuing, active students who were not engaged in full-time study in March 9, 2020, if you remain outside the U.S. for Spring 2023 you will need to end your F-1 status. You can still continue your online enrollment at SBU if you choose to, but your F-1 status cannot continue because you are required to be in at least one 3-credit in-person or hybrid course. To ensure compliance, please submit theSpring 2023 Enrollment & Travel Plan form in accessVIS so your SEVIS record can be updated accordingly.Is Graduate Research Abroad an option for continuing PhD students?
If your academic department is agreeable, along with the maintenance of full-time enrollment, Graduate Research Abroad will ensure that your SEVIS record remains active while you’re abroad. This means there will be no breaks in your immigration status even though you are not physically within the US.
If you wish to request authorization from Visa and Immigration Services to research abroad for the Spring 2023 semester, complete the Graduate Research Abroad request in accessVIS by 1/23/2023. Once you've registered full-time for the approved research course and have submitted the Graduate Research Abroad request in accessVIS, your International Student Advisor will review your request.
Due to the fact that your immigration status is not interrupted when authorized for research abroad, you would be eligible for OPT or CPT upon returning to the U.S. provided you were previously enrolled full-time for one academic year.
Please note, students wishing to request post-completion OPT must be physically within the US to apply for OPT authorization from USCIS.Spring 2023 is my last semester of study, am I eligible for part-time enrollment?
Yes. You may be eligible for a reduced course load for the Spring 2023 semester if less than a full course of study is needed to complete your program - this applies even if you are outside of the US.
To request authorization to drop below full time, you must complete the Reduced Course Load request in accessVIS by 2/3/2023.
- Travel & Vaccinations
Travel & VaccinationsIs the COVID-19 vaccine required to travel to the United States?
Yes. Effective November 8th, all foreign nationals traveling to the United States are required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status prior to flying to the United States. Airlines are responsible for verifying vaccination status and proof of a pre-departure negative COVID test results for all those boarding flights to the US.
According to the CDC's Order, an individual is considered fully vaccinated on the 14th day after the vaccination series is completed. Noncitizens who are nonimmigrants and seeking to enter the United States must receive the dose of an accepted single-dose COVID-19 vaccine OR the second dose of an accepted 2-dose series COVID-19 vaccine a full 14 days before the day they board a flight to the United States. Click here for a list of accepted COVID-19 Vaccines.
There will be very limited exceptions to the vaccination requirements for non-citizens who are not immigrants. CDC has determined the very narrow list of exemptions, including children under 18, those with rare medical contraindications to the vaccines, and those countries with less than a 10 percent total vaccination rate due to lack of availability of vaccines.
Students who have questions or wish to request an exemption should review the CDC's Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers, the Travel.State.Gov FAQ page or contact their airline directly.Is the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for students?
Yes, on Monday August 23, 2021 the Food and Drug Administration issued the approval of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine. As previously communicated, given the vaccine approval and per New York State policy, all SUNY students who are enrolled in at least one in-person class OR use an in-person campus service or facility are now required to submit proof of their COVID vaccination.
To best respond to your questions about vaccination requirements, exemptions, and testing, the university has compiled answers to several Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). These FAQs will provide you with more detailed information, including what you should do if you don’t have access to an FDA-approved vaccine.Is a COVID vaccine booster required for the Spring 2023 semester?
Per New York State’s mandate, if you are living on campus, enrolled in at least one in-person class, or accessing in-person services or facilities at any Stony Brook campus, you are required to obtain a COVID vaccine booster as soon as you are eligible in order to continue your spring enrollment at Stony Brook. If you are eligible now based upon the details below, you must obtain a booster and submit proof to the Wolfie Health Portalas soon as possible. If you are not yet eligible, you must submit proof within 15 days of becoming eligible for a booster.
If you already have an approved medical or religious exemption, you are not required to obtain a booster but must test weekly as noted below. If you do not already have an approved medical or religious exemption, you are required to obtain the booster.
If you are a fully online or study abroad, non-residential student, and will not access in-person campus services or facilities for the Spring 2023 semester, please complete this attestation form as soon as possible. We will review your registration to verify that you are, in fact, enrolled in fully online classes or studying abroad. If you complete the attestation and you are enrolled in any in-person classes as noted on SOLAR, you will not be permitted to continue in those in-person classes.I am out of the country and won’t be able to get the booster vaccine until after the deadline. Can I move into the residence halls (if living on campus) and attend in-person classes?
If you are currently residing outside of the United States and do not have access to the COVID booster vaccine in your home country, you are required to obtain vaccination within 48 hours after arrival. You will be permitted to check into campus housing if you will be living on campus and may attend in-person classes.
We strongly recommend scheduling your COVID booster vaccination appointment before you arrive on campus. To do so, go to the NYS vaccinate site, select SUNY Stony Brook (1500 Development Dr Stony Brook NY 11794), and schedule an appointment. There is a bus from the SAC Loop that will take you to the vaccination location.Where do I submit my proof of vaccination?
New York State and SUNY policy requires all SUNY students who are enrolled in at least one in-person class, living on campus, or accessing in-person campus services or facilities to submit proof of their COVID vaccination. SUNY policy requires all students to receive their final COVID dose at least 14 days prior to their first day coming to campus (i.e., for orientation, resident move-in, or first day of in-person classes). Spring 2023 classes begin on Monday, January 23.
Once you collect your COVID-19 documentation, you must upload it to Wolfie Health Portal (formerly named the Medicat Portal). For instructions on how to upload your vaccination record, please review this tutorial.
If your vaccination record is in your native language, it is not necessary to have it translated into English.
Click here for more information about Stony Brook's COVID-19 requirements.Do I need to receive a COVID-19 test in advance of my travel to the US?
The requirement for proof of a negative COVID test for entry to the US was eliminated June 12, 2022.
*As of January 5, 2023, all international travelers from China, Hong Kong, or Macau - regardless of vaccination status - must produce a negative COVID test for entry into the U.S.Can I get a letter about SBU's mode of instruction for my entry to the U.S.?
If you need a letter confirming Stony Brook's instructional mode for Spring 2023 for a visa appointment and/or for your entry to the U.S. please use the letter linked below from our Interim Vice Provost for Global Affairs.When should students arrive in New York for the Spring 2023 semester?
New international students in "initial" or "transfer" status may only request entry to the U.S. up to 30 days prior to, but no later than the program start date indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019.
Undergraduate Students must arrive by January 23, 2023.
Graduate (Masters/PhD) & Continuing Students must arrive by February 3, 2023.
If you are a continuing/active F-1 student, you should arrive by January 23, 2023 but no later than February 3, 2023.What documents do I need to reenter the US after traveling abroad?
All international students seeking entry to the U.S. should be prepared to present documentation of their identity, purpose for traveling to the U.S., and ability to financially support themselves in the United States. Students should pack the following port-of-entry documentation in their carry-on luggage.
IMPORTANT: Students traveling internationally should be aware that any country could impose travel restrictions at any time, and these changes may be given with little notice or predictability. Out of caution we advise that you closely monitor the CDC and U. S. Department of State for travel advisories and updates for any country you are travelling to or transiting through.How can I get a travel signature?
- Valid passport
- Valid U.S. visa
- I-20 issued for your current SBU program endorsed for travel within the last 12 months.
- SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
- Financial support documentation (e.g., bank statement, affidavit of support, scholarship letter required for I-20 or DS-2019 issuance)
- Admission Letter (new students), proof of enrollment (continuing UG students), or a good standing letter (continuing Graduate students).
- VIS's phone number (631-632-4685)
To obtain a travel signature, you must submit the Travel Signature Request form in accessVIS. If approved, you will receive an email with instructions on how to download your updated I-20 with valid travel signature.Can I travel domestically without affecting my F-1 status?
Yes, you can travel within the U.S. without affecting your F-1 status. However, please keep in mind any state or country can impose travel restrictions at any time, and these changes may be given with little notice or predictability. At the current time, there are no known restrictions for travel within the U.S., and therefore domestic travel is at your discretion.Do I need to quarantine upon arrival to the US?
Per the NY State Department of Health, asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, U.S. state, or territory are not required to test or quarantine upon arrival, regardless of vaccination status. Symptomatic travelers must immediately self-isolate upon arrival and contact Student Health Services at (631) 632-6740 or their healthcare provider to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing.Will transportation accommodations be provide to students arriving to the US?
For information on transportation to Stony Brook, please visit New Student & Transition Programs's Travel to Stony Brook University webpage.
- Receiving a Form I-20/DS-2019
Receiving a Form I-20 / DS-2019Is the COVID-19 situation impacting newly admitted students' ability to apply for a Form I-20 for Spring 2023?
Newly admitted students are issued a Form I-20 for the Spring 2023 semester upon submission of a request in accessVIS.
The deadline to request an I-20 for Spring 2023 is December 1st. Any requests submitted after 12/1/2022 will be reviewed on a case by case basis based on visa wait times.What is the deadline to request an I-20?
The deadline to request an I-20 for Spring 2023 is December 1st. Any requests submitted after 12/1/2022 will be reviewed on a case by case basis based on visa wait times.Is an electronic Form I-20 acceptable for the visa interview?
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has granted an allowance for designated school officials (DSOs) to electronically sign and send Forms I-20 to students, instead of physically mailing forms. Upon receipt of your I-20, you are is required to print it and sign with ink to present at any required visa interview and upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry. You should be sure to always carry a printed copy of your I-20 as showing the document in electronic version to a government official is still not acceptable.I'm deferring my arrival/admission, when will I receive my updated I-20?
Students who elect to defer their admission or arrival to Fall 2023 must submit the Spring 2023 Enrollment & Travel Plan form in accessVIS by 4pm on 1/23/2023. Once submitted, VIS will use the information to take the appropriate actions on the student's immigration records.
For students requesting an updated I-20 with a Fall 2023 start date, it's important to submit the Spring 2023 Enrollment & Travel Plan form in a timely manner to allow us time to issue the updated I-20. We assure you that we will process the requests as efficiently as possible.
- Student Visas
Student VisasWhat are the top 10 things I should know about the F-1 visa interview?
For the "Top 10 Things You Should Know about the F-1 Visa Interview," view the following presentation given by immigration attorney and former U.S. Consular Officer Mandy Feuerbacher on May 5, 2021.What should a NEW student do if they are not able to secure a visa interview until after the start of the semester?
If you are not able to secure a visa and/or arrive to campus for the Spring 2023 semester by 1/23/2023, you must notify VIS so we can take necessary action to either defer your F-1 program or cancel your I-20. Otherwise, the SEVIS system will automatically cancel your record on the 60th day.
By deferring the F-1 program to Fall 2023, you would not have to reapply for a new visa if you choose to come in August 2023.
We recommend students continue to check with the U.S. Consulate in their area for updates on visa appointment availability, and report their plans for spring to VIS by submitting the Spring 2023 Enrollment & Travel Plan form in accessVIS.What do I do if the embassy keeps postponing or canceling my visa appointment?
Depending on your situation you may be eligible for an emergency visa appointment. At many embassies if you are a student or exchange visitor and your program will begin within 60 days when no regular appointments are available, you may be eligible. You must show proof that your program start date is within 60 days and you must not have had a visa denial within the last 6 months at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The website of the embassy or consulate you will apply at will have the detailed information for that location.
If a support letter is necessary, VIS can provide one to you. We also recommend requesting a support letter from your academic department.Will I need a new visa if mine has not expired?
A visa is only an entry document and can expire while you are in the U.S. If your visa is expired or will expire while you are abroad, you will need to renew it while you are abroad.What are the current visa related impacts? What are the tips from VIS for students applying for visas now?
Visa issuance delays differ from country to country. Students are encouraged to make visa appointments as soon as possible. We are hopeful that students will be able to obtain a visa and arrive for the spring semester. Be sure to check with the U.S. Consulate in your area for updates on visa appointment availability.If I took a leave of absence, is there a chance my new visa won't be approved in time to arrive for Fall 2023?
Obtaining a visa is always at the discretion of the US Department of State. We recommend you confirm the requirements and procedure for applying for an F-1 visa, at consulate the embassy/consulate where you will be applying. Most consulates post current information on their website. Go to http://usembassy.state.gov for a list of consular web sites worldwide. Additionally, be sure to plan carefully. Visa appointments and application procedures vary from consulate to consulate, and waiting times vary depending on the time of year.If I already have a valid B1/B2 visa, can I enter the US as a tourist and then change to F-1 status?
No. You must enter the United States in F-1 status. If you happen to have a valid tourist visa and try to enter the United States as a tourist, you will immediately be in violation of your tourist status if you are enrolled in a degree-seeking program. Therefore, you must wait until you have a valid student visa (unless you are Canadian) to enter the US to begin your degree program.
- OPT Concerns
OPT ConcernsWhen will I be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) if I study outside of the United States for the Spring 2023 semester?
Newly admitted students who were not previously enrolled in another academic program in the United States and do their first semester remotely outside of the United States must complete two consecutive semesters in F-1 status within the United States to be eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).If I return to my home country now, how will this affect my ability to apply for OPT? Can I apply for OPT this semester as a graduating student?
If you are graduating this term and want to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), it is advised that you do not depart the U.S. as USCIS requires you be physically present in the U.S. at the time of filing your I-765. Departure from the U.S. while your request is pending with USCIS is risky and should be undertaken with caution. For more information, see U.S. Department of Homeland Security FAQ for Travel.I have already filed my I-765 request for employment with USCIS but need to return to my home country - is this a risk?
If you have already filed your I-765 request for employment authorization and it is pending with USCIS, travel outside of the U.S. should be undertaken with caution. USCIS may send you a request for evidence while you are away, so it is important that you maintain a valid U.S. address and are able to send in requested documents. Also, if USCIS approves your OPT application, you will be expected to have your EAD in hand to re-enter the United States. USCIS will only mail requests for further information and EAD cards to a U.S. address.My request for OPT was approved by USCIS and I've received my EAD, can I travel outside of the US?
If your I-765 request for employment authorization has been approved by USCIS, and you plan to travel outside of the U.S., you will be expected to have your EAD in hand upon reentry, as well as your Form I-20, valid passport and visa, and a letter of employment, if you have one. If you exceed the limits on unemployment while outside the United States, you will not be eligible to re-enter the United States in F-1 status.
- CPT Concerns
CPT ConcernsHow will delaying my arrival to Fall 2023 impact CPT eligibility?
Practical training requires students are in valid F-1 status for one full academic year before they can apply for CPT. This means if you are a newly admitted student for Spring 2023 who was not previously enrolled in another academic program in the United States, and who completes their first semester (Spring 2023) remotely outside of the United States, would NOT be eligible to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) until Summer 2024, unless your program requires an internship or practicum during first year. If it is permissible for students to complete their internship or practicum at a later time in their academic program, then CPT would not be possible for students who do the first semester of their program at SBU outside of the United States.My employer has asked me to work remotely. Is this permitted during CPT?
CPT authorization is intended to facilitate off-campus opportunities that resemble classroom instruction, albeit in a more practical context. A key characteristic of such an experience is a supervisory relationship, consisting of regular assignment and evaluation of deliverables. Practical Training also implies meaningful immersion in a professional environment.
Students who request CPT for remote positions should keep detailed documentation establishing the existence of a supervisory relationship throughout their period of authorization, and how they achieved professional immersion despite working remotely.If I leave the U.S. and continue my studies from my home country, will I be able to apply for CPT?
Yes, you can apply and be approved for CPT while outside the U.S. (there is no physical presence requirement when applying, as there is with OPT); however CPT is a benefit for international students to fulfill inside the U.S.
If the internship/work will occur outside the U.S., there are no restrictions regarding work/internships. You could still fulfill an internship requirement for your degree program, but CPT authorization would not be required since employment/internship happening outside the U.S.
- SSN/Taxes/Stimulus Tax Credit
SSN/Taxes/Stimulus Tax CreditAm I eligible to apply for unemployment benefits?
Applying for/accepting unemployment benefits could itself constitute a violation of one’s nonimmigrant status. Eligibility is based on state law and what the particular state’s requirements are for qualifying for unemployment benefits. We recommend you speak with an immigration lawyer should you wish to pursue this further. Click here to view tips on finding an immigration lawyer in your area.What is the procedure for obtaining SSN?
To request an SSN once you have secured employment, you must submit the SSN Authorization Request in accessVIS.
Upon approval you will submit our authorization letter, your employment letter, and other required documents to the SSA Office.
The SSA Office has resumed walk in services at most locations. Please follow our website instructions on how to apply for your SSN.What is the procedure to apply for a SSN through the local Patchogue office?
The Patchogue office has resumed walk-in services and appointments are no longer required. Please follow our website instructions on how to apply for your SSN.What if I am not currently living near Stony Brook, how do I apply for an SSN?
You should apply for your SSN at your local Social Security Administration office. Please contact your local SSA office to find out how they are processing new SSN applications.Can I apply for an SSN outside the U.S.?
No, you must be in the U.S. to apply for an SSN since the Social Security Administration offices required face-to-face appointments.Do I need an original I-20 with a wet signature to apply for an SSN?
According to EM-20010 - Rev 8(see page 13-14) the Social Security Administration may accept electronically signed I-20s.Am I eligible for the Stimulus tax credit?
The recently implemented Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (or CARES) Act included a provision for the issuance of one-time payments or recovery rebates (also referred to as stimulus checks or economic impact checks) to be distributed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Based on bank account and address information provided in tax return filings, funds were either directly deposited into bank accounts or mailed to a current or former address. There are individuals who were not eligible for this payment who may have received it in error.
Only individuals with valid Social Security numbers whose tax-filing status qualifies them as “resident aliens” as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) were eligible to receive the payment. Non-US Citizens are not considered resident aliens unless they meet one of two tests set forth by the IRS: the green card test or the substantial presence test. Individuals who do not pass those tests are considered “nonresident aliens” for tax purposes. Any international students or scholars who were considered a nonresident alien in tax year 2018 or 2019 and who filed their tax returns on the wrong form may have mistakenly received the stimulus check.
If you have received a stimulus check and you are unsure if you were eligible to do so, VIS recommends that you do not spend the money until you have confirmed that you were eligible to receive the check. If you determine that you have previously filed an incorrect tax form and you received a stimulus check in error, please refer to the FAQ on the economic impact payments on the IRS website. Question 52 explains how to return an erroneously issued stimulus check.
- Office Operations
Office OperationsHow will the Visa and Immigration Services (VIS) office operate during Fall 2022/Spring 2023?
VIS is fully operational and providing services to international students, faculty and staff under normal business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am-4:30pm). We continue to offer advising services; students can schedule an appointment with an advisor online or by calling (631)632-4685.How can I connect with an International Student Advisor to ask a question?
Students can connect with an International Student Advisor through LiveChat, by scheduling an appointment, or emailing their advisor directly.
How can I schedule an appointment to speak with an advisor?
- Student Advising: Advising hours are held Monday through Wednesday and Fridays from 10:00-4:00 by appointment.
Students can schedule an appointment with an advisor online or by emailing email@example.com.
- Email Your Advisor: International Student Advisor caseloads are divided alphabetically by first letter
of the family name, and are subject to change without notice. Click here for a list of our advisors, their caseloads and contact information.
Students can schedule an appointment to speak with an advisor online or by calling (631)632-4685.
- Student Advising: Advising hours are held Monday through Wednesday and Fridays from 10:00-4:00 by appointment. Students can schedule an appointment with an advisor online or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.