International Student/Scholar COVID-19 FAQ

OIED Statement of Support of International Students- 7/10/20

International Student/Scholar Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Last updated: Thursday, July 27. 8:00 PM


Should I go back to my home country or not?  What factors should I consider when making this decision?

The decision to stay or return to your home is yours. Please consult with your family, home institution, and refer to any restrictions or advice from your home country when making a decision about whether to travel home or remain in the US. Some factors to consider include personal health and well-being, current and potential future travel restrictions, and academic commitments.

What travel restrictions are currently in place?

Due to concerns regarding coronavirus transmission, presidential proclamations have been issued suspending entry to the US for all nonimmigrants, including F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors, who were physically present in the following countries within 14 days preceding their attempted entry: China, Brazil, and Iran.

On July 22, travel restrictions were lifted for students traveling from the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the European Schengen Area, which includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. 

We encourage you to continually monitor travel restrictions:  

What visa restrictions are currently in place?

While the U.S. Department of State announced that routine visa services have been suspended worldwide, some embassies are beginning to re-open, and some may include a process for applying for a student visa with a National Interest Exception, which would allow students to enter the US even if existing travel bans are in place. Please check your country’s embassy website for the most up to date information. 

If you are outside the US and currently have a valid F or J visa, you may use this to re-enter the US*. However, if you are outside the US and do not have a valid F or J visa, you must wait until visa services resume in order to apply for a visa and enter the US. 

If you are a new student, we encourage you to bring your class schedule to your visa appointment and when you travel to enter the US; your class schedule should clearly indicate that you are enrolled in at least one hybrid or face-to-face class  

*See country specific travel restrictions above.

Do I need a new travel signature on my DS-2019 or I-20?  If so, how can I get one?

If you need a travel signature, please contact and let us know your name and your date of travel. If you are a J-1 students, we will arrange for you to pick up a new document from an updated travel signature; if you are an F-1 student, we can now email you a new form I-20 with updated travel signature.  You only need a new travel signature on your DS-2019 or I-20 if your most recent signature was before August 31, 2019 and you intend to return to the US to study with your current status.

Housing and Quarantine Updates

Once arriving in the US, international travelers should stay home, practice social distancing, and monitor their health for 14 days. The Office of the Dean of Students staff can assist you with meal delivery and other needs. Students who have registered for in-person classes cannot attend in-person classes during this 14-day period. Please keep this in mind when making your travel arrangements.

Read more about travel guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.


ICE released guidance Monday, July 6 regarding F-1 student enrollment for the fall 2020 semester. You can read the guidance here, which required all international students to depart the US in the event the university transitioned to fully online instruction.

On Tuesday, July 14, the ICE guidance from July 6 was rescinded.

On Friday, July 24, ICE issued new guidance for fall 2020, and those changes are reflected in the FAQ below. You can read the updated guidance here.

I am a new student entering the US to begin my studies. What does this mean for my fall 2020 class registration?

As a new student entering the US to begin your studies, you must be enrolled in at least one face-to-face or hybrid course. According to the new guidance, you may not enter the US to begin a program that is 100 percent online. 

I was a student in the US in March 2020 (either at Appalachian or another institution in the US). What does this mean for my fall 2020 class registration?

As a continuing student in the US, you may be enrolled in all online classes for fall 2020. If you are taking all online classes, you may do so either from inside or outside the US and still maintain your F-1 status.

What happens if the university has to move to all-online instruction mid-semester?

If Appalachian transitions to all online classes at any point after the beginning of the semester, international students will not be required to depart the US; they may remain in the US and continue taking a full course of study of online classes. 

How do I know the delivery method for my courses?

You can check the method of course instruction HERE.  Once you find the Fall 2020 class(es) you are searching for, look at the LOCATION column.  Online classes will list WEB.  In-person classes will list the abbreviation of a building (RSW for Rankin Science West, for example). Please note that course delivery methods have not yet been finalized so we encourage you to continue checking on your classes throughout the summer.  Course delivery methods are scheduled to be finalized by July 20 and students will receive an email notification when this is completed.

What happens if I am currently outside the US and cannot come  to campus for the Fall 2020 semester due to travel restrictions?

You may take all online Fall 2020 classes from outside the US during the Fall 2020 semester, if online classes are available to you. We encourage you to explore the availability of online classes if you are currently outside the US.  

If you are currently in F-1 status and were previously studying in the US in March 2020, you may maintain your F-1 status. If you are a new student beginning your studies for the first time in the US, we will issue you a new I-20 with a Spring 2020 start date.  


How will international students get their taxes done?

All tax appointments are now taking place remotely. You received an email on March 17th with instructions for uploading your tax documents to our virtual tax service if you previously signed up for tax assistance.  Please review that email carefully and follow the instructions.  If you did not sign up but are still interested in receiving tax assistance, please email  You do not need to file taxes if you were not in the U.S. in 2019.

What is my university insurance policy’s coverage of COVID-19?

If you have Student Blue insurance through Appalachian, please review the Student Blue website for more details regarding coverage and health care benefits and what to do if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

What will happen with my on campus job?

Please contact your supervisor for more information about whether you are able to continue working. 

What are the best ways to contact ISSSO if I have questions or concerns about anything?

ISSSO staff members are working remotely and are available to set up a Zoom meeting or phone call with you. Please email with any questions or concerns, or to set up a virtual appointment.