Updated: April 7, 2020, 5:30 P.M. EDT
This webpage is being updated regularly, and we encourage you to check it frequently for important updates. Please note that this information is constantly evolving and we do not have all the answers at this time.
The Office of International Affairs is currently operating with a remote staff. We remain available to assist you with all of your needs, including advising and document processing.
There are no future webinars scheduled at this time. Please check back for updates about additional COVID-19 webinars from the Office of International Affairs.
All F-1 students are required to complete the COVID-19 Information Form. SEVP requires that NSU and F-1 students continue to report all information changes during COVID-19 disruptions. This form assists in our efforts to fulfill this reporting requirement.
Reminder: If your information changes after you submit the form, you must re-submit your response!
Yes! All CPT and OPT workshops will continue to be offered in a webinar format via Zoom. Here is our current schedule.
You may also view recorded versions of previous workshops at any time:
Yes. If you are enrolled in full-time classes this winter term then you are still considered in good immigration status. This does not change even though the courses are moved online, effective March 23, 2020. Due to this unprecedented situation, an exception is being made for students to complete their spring courses fully online, either within the US or abroad. Students will remain in ACTIVE F-1 status so long as they otherwise adhere to all F-1 regulations.
Please note that you must remain enrolled full-time in your winter semester classes. If you choose to drop any of your classes this could negatively impact your immigration status unless your inability to stay in your course is directly related to COVID-19. Speak to an international student advisor before dropping below full-time.
On April 1, 2020, NSU President Dr. George Hanbury announced that all 2020 spring and summer courses, which begin between March 30 and May 18, will be offered fully online.
Summer 2020 enrollment for current NSU F-1 students who started in Winter 2020 or prior and are continuing in their programs: From an immigration perspective, students may register for summer courses or not. There are no restrictions on the number of courses, their modality, or a student's physical location, if enrolled. Note that academic programs may require summer enrollment and current students should defer to their academic program requirements for summer 2020 registration.
This information applies only to Spring and Summer 2020 terms. As of April 7, 2020, Fall 2020 coursework is expected to be held on campus.
As of March 27, 2020, there still has been very little guidance provided by SEVP or USCIS regarding modifications to the processing of I-765, OPT applications.
At this time we do not know if applications will be accepted from outside of the US, how applications that were already submitted will be seen if the student is outside of the US when the application is adjudicated (and hopefully approved), or if students attempting to re-enter the country with a pending or approved OPT will be permitted entry without a job offer. All of these are currently unknown and the Office of International Affairs is not able to advise on how SEVP and/or USCIS will respond.
It is important that students recognize that prior to COVID-19 concerns, the Office of International Affairs strongly discouraged students from leaving the country while their OPT application was pending as we have reports of students being denied re-entry.
Our best recommendation at this time remains that students who wish to file an OPT application should do so from within the United States and that they should ensure they return to the US before their program end date (last day of coursework).
Reminder: CPT authorization takes a minimum of seven business days to be processed by our office. NEVER begin off-campus training/employment before receiving your updated I-20, endorsed for CPT.
Students who have fallen out of status should schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor to discuss their options. If you have failed to maintain F-1 student status and wish to regain valid status, there are two ways you can be reinstated:
OIA will assist you with a reinstatement petition only if all of the conditions above apply. If you do not meet the above eligibility requirements you will need to consult a US immigration attorney.
Unfortunately, there has not been any guidance provided on how the Department of Homeland Security will address situations where an individual has fallen out of status and is required to leave the U.S. but is unable to do so due to current travel restrictions. NSU's Office of International Affairs is unable to advise students as to what will happen in this situation. Students may wish to contact an immigration attorney regarding their situation.
Making the decision to return home is a very personal one. Before making the decision to return home, F-1 students should consider:
Students should follow all recommendations listed on the NSU coronavirus website, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel website, and from the World Health Organization.
Remember that your F-1 visa is required to be VALID (unexpired) any time you (re)enter the United States.
NOTE: On March 20, 2020, travel.state.gov (U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Visa Office) posted the following news alert:
First, please check your most recent travel signature.
If you have determined you require a new travel signature, please submit the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org at least TWO WEEKS prior to your return to the United States so that a new I-20 with an updated travel signature may be shipped to you:
If you will return to the US in less than two weeks and require a travel signature, please send the following information to email@example.com and we will write a letter requesting that CBP permit your entrance at the Port of Entry. Please note that this is not a guaranteed method but has been successful for students in the past. While document processing in the Office of International Affairs is seven business days, we will do everything in our power to expedite this letter for you.
As of March 27, 2020, decisions regarding 2020 commencement ceremonies have not yet been made.
Students within the US who will begin their program at NSU on a new I-20 during the Summer 2020 term: Students must be enrolled in a full course of study, meeting minimum credit requirements but without concern for course modality.
Students should continue to make progress on their NSU admission applications for fall 2020. Once you have been fully admitted by your academic program, you will be able to request your NSU I-20. Please visit the Requirements For Obtaining An I-20 page for additional details. Please watch for additional announcements from the Office of International Affairs and visit the Admitted F-1 Student Checklists to ensure you are ready to begin your studies at NSU.
PLEASE NOTE: While NSU programs are scheduled to go on as planned, closures around the globe may cause disruptions. NSU has been notified of the following closures which could impact your ability to complete your admissions requirements and join the NSU community:
On March 20, 2020, travel.state.gov (U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Visa Office) posted the following news alert:
Details about how your course will be transitioned to an online environment will be provided by your faculty. There are two types of online courses:
Most classes will likely utilize a combination of methods, but students should expect that they will still need to be available to log into their classes and participate in class at their scheduled class dates and times. This is true even for students who are planning to be in different time zones. It is your responsibility to ensure you have appropriate connectivity and technology to be available at your scheduled class dates and times.
Students who will need a Social Security Number (SSN) due to OPT can apply for their SSN at the same time they apply for OPT, using the same I-765 form.
Unfortunately, as of March 18, 2020, all Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are closed and not providing in-person services. There have been mixed responses from the SSA as to if students can apply for a SSN by mail. Even if this service is permitted by the local SSA, it requires that students mail all original documents (including the student's passport) and that materials are returned by standard mail, without a tracking number. For this reason, we do not recommend students apply for an SSN by mail and instead wait for Social Security Administration offices to reopen. Please check https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/ for more information on Social Security Administration services.
Most state laws, including Florida law, do not require an individual to have a SSN before they start employment. We encourage you to explain to your employer why you may not be able to obtain a SSN until the Social Security Administration reopens to see if they will allow you to begin employment prior to receiving your SSN.
Currently, NSU requires student employees to have already obtained their SSN before they are able to begin employment.
Yes! All F-1 students have a filing responsibility. At this time, NSU's Glacier Tax Prep workshops have been canceled. However, using the Glacier Tax Prep software is very easy and will walk you through your filing responsibilities step-by-step. Visit the Office of International Affairs Taxes page for additional information and to access the Glacier Tax Prep software.
The United States tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15th. Your taxes must be postmarked by this date.
If you experience severe economic hardship because of unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, you may submit an application to USCIS to work off-campus due to an Economic Hardship. Note: At this time, we do not have any examples of successful or unsuccessful Economic Hardship applications due to COVID-19.
Economic Hardship reminders:
If you wish to apply for Economic Hardship, please schedule an an advising appointment at http://bit.ly/nsuoissadvising.
Please be advised that NSU cannot provide any kind of tax advice, tax consultation, or tax preparation assistance to you.
CARES Act credits are only for Resident Aliens (RAs). This is a tax designation, not an immigration designation. The vast majority of F-1 students are Non-Resident Aliens (NRAs) for tax purposes.
Learn more about determining if you are a Non-Resident Alien (the vast majority of F-1s) or a Resident Alien for tax purposes here. NSU F-1 students are also encouraged to utilize Glacier Tax Prep software which will walk students step-by-step through their tax-filing responsibilities, including determining if they are a Non-Resident Alien or Resident-Alien for tax purposes.
Details about exactly when or how CARES Act credits will be paid have not been released, other than to say that individuals who are eligible to receive CARES Act credits will receive them as direct deposits or mailed checks based on the information on file from previous tax refunds.
If an Exchange Visitor is in the United States but must go home or is stuck outside of the country and cannot return because his/her visa is expired, NSU will shorten the program using the explanation “due to emergent COVID-19 reasons.” This ends the program in SEVIS and prevents the Exchange Visitor from traveling until NSU can re-issue a new DS-2019 for travel purposes.
NSU may also keep an Exchange Visitor’s SEVIS record active until the Exchange Visitor is able to return to the United States to continue with his or her original program objectives. Exchange visitors should be mindful of the validity dates of their J-1 visas; they may need to renew their visas before they return to the United States.
NSU may need to make changes to programs with little notice, for example to comply with state or local health emergency declarations. In such situations, NSU's obligations regarding the health, safety, and welfare of exchange visitors may conflict with our obligations in the regulations and implementing guidance to provide advance notice of certain changes to exchange visitors’ situations. If that occurs, the Department would support NSU's prioritization of their health, safety, and welfare obligations.
The Department of State asks NSU and exchange visitors to seek alternative ways to maintain program objectives and/or employment, such as telework, online classes, or other arrangements, while preventing unnecessary exposure to the disease and its spread. A temporary modification along these lines for exigent circumstances beyond NSU's control does not undermine a program’s consistency with the regulations.
Exchange visitors traveling through or from affected countries should refer to guidance from the Department of State (https://travel.state.gov), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/ports-entry) for travel restrictions and health notices, as well as specific port-of-entry screening processes.
The Department of State has urged NSU and other sponsors to either cancel the programs altogether or defer the start dates to a date past the current recommended 60-day suspension period and issue new DS2019s. These actions update SEVIS with the information to inform consular officers of what appropriate action to take.
Includes Study Abroad, Travel Study, International Rotations, etc.
Due to the ongoing and evolving global impact of COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution for our staff and students, Nova Southeastern University has suspended all travel outside the continental United States until further notice. As such, 2020 study abroad programs that begin prior to June 1, 2020 should be cancelled.
At this time, programs that begin on or after June 1, 2020, are scheduled to continue as planned. However, it is important to realize that future cancellations may be possible.
We have cancelled our in-person pre-departure orientation and are working to develop an online orientation to be delivered via Canvas. Please stay tuned for additional details.
Because cancellations are possible at any time, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the deadlines and refund policies of your study abroad organization (as well as any other travel arrangements you may make). All summer and fall study abroad students are strongly recommended to take the following actions:
The Sharks Abroad Peer Advising team is back!