International Student Scholar Services

 

FALL 2020 SEMESER INTERNATIONAL STUDENT & SCHOLAR SERVICES FAQ

Q:  Can I study entirely online in the United States or in my home country during the FA20 semester and still maintain my visa status? 

A:   The answer to this questions depends on your current location and student status.  Please review the table below to determine your eligibility to study online this fall.                  

 

Student Status

I-20 type

Where am I

Eligibility to Study Online

New Student

Initial I-20

Outside the U.S.

No, but may study online in your home country and defer your I-20 to Spring.

New Transfer Student

Transfer Pending

Outside the U.S.

Yes

New Transfer Student

Transfer Pending

Inside the U.S.

Yes

Continuing (returning)

Continued attendance

Inside U.S.

Yes

Continuing (returning)

Continued attendance

Outside U.S.

Yes

Q:  I am a new student with an initial I-20 and I plan on studying in the U.S. in the fall if I can travel to the U.S.  How many classes do I need on-campus to maintain my visa status?

A:   In order to start your program in the U.S. in the fall, you need at least one hybrid or face to face 3-credit class to enter the U.S. and maintain your visa status as an F-1 student.  However, we recommend you enroll in at least 6 credits of face to face or hybrid classes given that our schedules could still change.   You must maintain at least one hybrid class in order to maintain your visa status throughout the semester. 

Q:  I am a new student and I am unable to come to the U.S. in the fall.  May I start my program online.

A:   Yes, you can start your program online in the fall.  International Student and Scholar Services will send you an updated I-20 for the spring 2021 semester.  New I-20’s will be sent out after September 8th.   Please remember you must have a student visa to come to the U.S and continue your studies in January. 

Q:  I am a continuing (current) student still in the U.S. and I am planning on departing the U.S. as soon as possible.  I do not want to study full-time.  Can I maintain my visa status if I take a “gap” semester?  

A:   Yes, you may take the fall semester off or study part-time if you choose.  In order to return on your current I-20 and to avoid paying the SEVIS fee again, you must return and resume classes by January 2021. If you don’t return until the fall of 2021, you will need to request a new I-20.  If you choose to study part-time or take the semester off, please contact isss@colum.edu for the required “International Student Withdrawal Form” and we will send you complete instructions. 

Q:  I am a new transfer student, but I am not in the U.S. and won’t arrive for the fall.  What happens to my SEVIS record and do I need a new I-20? 

A:   Your SEVIS record will be deferred to a Spring 2021 start.  We will send you a new I-20 after September 8th.  You may study online if you wish. 

Q:  When does the fall 2020 international student insurance policy start?  If I am outside the U.S. or leaving soon, do I have to enroll in the insurance? 

A:   The Fall 2020 plan becomes effective on August 25, 2020.  If you will not be in the U.S. for the fall semester, you do not need to enroll in the insurance.   If you are studying outside the U.S. and have completed the student survey that was sent out to all enrolled international students, your student account will not be billed.  If you did not complete the survey or are currently present in the U.S., you will be enrolled in the policy and your student account will be billed.

Q:  I was billed for the insurance but will not study in the U.S. this fall, how can I get the charge removed?

A:   If you are currently not in the U.S., please send an e-mail to isss@colum.edu requesting that the insurance be removed.  If you have not used the policy, we will remove the charge.  If you are still in the U.S., please send a copy of your flight itinerary to confirm you have transportation home and we will remove the charge provided you haven’t used the policy. You must depart the U.S. no later than September 25th to be removed from the policy. 

Q:  What is the deadline to withdraw from the insurance policy and receive a refund?

A:   The deadline to notify isss@colum.edu and request withdrawal from the plan is September 24, 2020.  If you are still in the U.S. beyond the 24th of September, you remain enrolled in the plan and are responsible for the charges.  Insurance is mandatory for all F-1 and J-1 visa students who are enrolled at Columbia College Chicago and physically present in the U.S.

Q:  I am a continuing student but will study online in my home country during the fall semester.  Am I still able to continue working “virtually” on-campus if my current job is available?

A:   If you already were authorized for campus employment and your hiring department still wishes to have you work, you may work from your home country.  Direct deposit in a U.S. bank is required as payroll cannot deposit funds in a foreign bank account or send checks overseas. 

Q:  I am a continuing student and have decided to take the fall semester off.  Will this effect my eligibility for CPT or OPT? 

A:   As long as you return to the U.S. for the Spring 2021 semester, you will be eligible for CPT or OPT if you have already completed one academic year prior to the start of the fall 20 semester. 

Q:  I will graduate in the fall semester, but I am unable to return to campus and will complete my last semester online.    Am I still eligible to apply for OPT and return to the U.S. to work for one year if my OPT is approved?  

A:   If you can return to the U.S. prior to the end of the fall semester on December 19th, you are eligible to apply for OPT.   Please contact isss@colum.edu if you intend to return to the states mid-term to apply for OPT. 

Q:  Does our international student insurance plan cover Covid-19 testing?

A:   Yes, the Lewer Mark policy covers testing under the wellness benefit of your plan.

If you have read all the way to this point, please e-mail isss@colum.edu  and put   “Stan’s Doughnuts” in the subject line.  All students who respond will be entered in a drawing for a $10 Stan’s doughnut gift card.  One Lucky Winner!   If you are not coming to the U.S. in the fall, you can claim it in the Spring!  Drawing will be on September 15, 2020.  

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