International Student/Scholar COVID-19 FAQ

International Student/Scholar Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Last updated: Friday, May 22. 5:11 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, Iran, 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. 

What visa restrictions are currently in place?

The U.S. Department of State announced that all routine visa services, including nonimmigrant (F and J) visa appointments, have been suspended worldwide. Our hope is that these restrictions will be lifted this summer, but at this time it is unclear when services will resume. 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. 

*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.


How will taking courses online affect my grades, transcript, and transfer of credit?

If you continue to take classes online, whether from the US or your home country, your professors will issue you grades at the end of the semester, and these grades will be reflected on your final transcript. It is important that you continue participating in your full course of study (9 credits for graduate students, 12 credits for undergraduate students), and notify ISSSO if you wish to drop a class. If you are an exchange student, please check with your home institution to verify the transfer of credit. 

Is it possible to withdraw from the university if I do not want to continue taking classes remotely?  What are the financial implications of withdrawing from the university?

Yes, it is possible to withdraw from the university. If you plan to withdraw from the university and discontinue taking online classes, please notify as soon as possible. 


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.