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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.

In a recent SEVP Spotlight released on December 23, 2020, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)  indicated the COVID-19 guidance from March 2020 will remain in place until further notice.

For a more comprehensive list of question and answers, please visit the  Coming Back Safe and Strong website.  

Frequently Asked Questions
  • New Students

    New Students

    I am a new student in "initial" status OUTSIDE of the US, can I enter the US and study Spring 2021?
    I am a new student in the US transferring my SEVIS record to SBU, can I remain in the US?
    Can I still travel to the US if all my classes will be online?
    When should new students arrive to Stony Brook for the Spring 2021 semester?
    What will happen if I cannot arrive on time (2/1/2021) for spring?
    I cannot arrive to campus for the spring semester, what are my options?
    Can I defer my admission?
    Can I do the entire Spring 2021 semester remotely from my home country?
    Can I have an extension for submitting the health forms?
    I plan to live on campus for Spring 2021, what do I need to know?
    I booked my flight to arrive in NY on 1/14/2021 or 1/15/2021, based on previous guidance. Can I still fulfill my quarantine on campus?
  • Spring Enrollment Requirements

    Spring 2021 Enrollment Requirements

    How will classes be offered for the Spring 2021 semester?
    What enrollment allowances are in place for Spring 2021?
    As an F-1 student, can I take more than 1 online classes this spring?
    Can students do the entire Spring 2021 semester remotely from their home country?
    Is Graduate Research Abroad an option for continuing PhD students?
    Spring 2021 is my last semester of study, am I eligible for part-time enrollment?
  • Travel


    Items to consider if and when traveling internationally.
    When should students arrive in New York for the Spring 2021 semester?
    Do I need to get a COVID-19 test to travel to the US? And what kind of test do I need?
    Will my travel to the US be impacted by current COVID-19 restrictions?
    I'm a continuing student returning to the US to live off campus for the spring - when should I arrive?
    How do I know if I'm exempt from the restrictions imposed by the travel ban?
    What documents do I need to reenter the US after traveling abroad?
    How can I get a travel signature?
    Can I travel domestically without affecting my F-1 status?
    Am I required to self-quarantine upon arriving to the US?
    Will transportation accommodations be provide to students arriving to the US?
  • Receiving a Form I-20/DS-2019

    Receiving a Form I-20 / DS-2019

    Is the COVID-19 situation impacting newly admitted students' ability to apply for I-20 for Spring 2021?
    What is the deadline to request an I-20?
    I'm deferring my arrival/admission, when will I receive my updated I-20?
  • Student Visas

    Student Visas

    What should a NEW student do if they are not able to secure a visa interview until after the start of the semester?
    What do I do if the embassy keeps postponing or canceling my visa appointment?
    What impacts will President Trump's Executive Order (6/22/2020) have on international students, faculty and scholars?
    Will I need a new visa if mine has not expired?
    What are the current visa related impacts? What are the tips from VIS for students applying for visas now?
    If I took a leave of absence, is there a chance my new visa won't be approved in time to arrive for Spring 2021?
    If I already have a valid B1/B2 visa, can I enter the US as a tourist and then change to F-1 status?
  • OPT Concerns

    OPT Concerns

    When will I be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) if I study outside of the United States this spring?
    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?
    Has the COVID pandemic affected the current processing time for OPT?
    If VIS is not offering OPT Application Review Sessions, where can I get guidance on completing the I-765?
    I have already filed my I-765 request for employment with USCIS but need to return to my home country- is this a risk?
    My request for OPT was approved by USCIS and I've received my EAD, can I travel outside of the US?
  • CPT Concerns

    CPT Concerns 

    How will delaying my arrival to Fall 2021 impact CPT eligibility?
    My employer has asked me to work remotely. Is this permitted during CPT?
    If I leave the U.S. and continue my studies from my home country, will I be able to apply for CPT?
  • SSN/Taxes/Stimulus Tax Credit

    SSN/Taxes/Stimulus Tax Credit

    Am I eligible to apply for unemployment benefits?
    What is the procedure for obtaining SSN?
    What is the procedure to apply for a SSN through the local Patchogue office?
    What if I am not currently living near Stony Brook, how do I apply for an SSN?
    Can I apply for an SSN outside the U.S.?
    Do I need an original I-20 with a wet signature to apply for an SSN?
    Am I eligible for the Stimulus tax credit?
  • Office Operations

    Office Operations

    How will the Visa and Immigration Services (VIS) office operate during Spring 2021?
    How can I schedule an appointment to speak with an advisor?
    Can I come to VIS to collect my immigration documents?