Information for International Students during COVID-19

Please Note: We are currently working remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot receive documents that are delivered by postal mail at this time. Please contact I20questions@montgomerycollege.edu< with student ID number to request a secure Dropbox to upload documents.

[The following information was emailed to students on March 25th.]

We are thinking of you and hope you are doing very well!  At this time, you may use public health facilities and even government free clinics for testing and treatment of the virus. As of now that will not hurt your status. Our first priority is your health. We know this can be frightening and even lonely. We are here for you and we want to be in touch with you! We will fight with you to make sure this does not derail your dreams!

Office communication

Please use the I20questions@montgomerycollege.edu email for ALL of your contact with us! That way many of us in the office can try to help.  It is also helpful for us to send you links or information specific to your case if you use email. Please do not telephone or directly email a Coordinator unless we ask you to. Our staff will all take turns monitoring the emails to be sure we get to your questions quickly, even in an urgent situation. If you prefer we telephone you, please include your contact information.

F-1 status

If you are currently in F-1 Status and enrolled in full-time classes (or already have permission for part-time), then your status is OK. The US government is allowing F-1 students to take as many classes online as their college requires.  Review the most up-to-date information here under the Nonimmigrant Studentsnew window accordion at the bottom of the list. Always check there for updates, and we will let you know if we hear of any changes.

Travel

If you must travel or you choose to travel, you must contact us.  You can continue your classes from anywhere in the world right now. If you must leave urgently, just go. You do not need an I-20 signed to leave the United States and we will work with you to make sure you have one by the time you will return.  Of course, that makes it especially important that you keep in contact with us.  On March 23, SEVP (the SEVIS I-20 agency) announced that F-1 students who are out of the US over 5 months this spring and summer will not lose their status due to the extra time out of the US.

If you are already OUTSIDE the US, please complete this formnew window

OPT

While there is no specific official guidance based on the virus, we know the following things from current regulations: 

  • if your OPT is at USCIS and in process you are allowed to travel out of the United States (although you must keep in contact with your school for guidance before you return);
  • if you currently have an employer but are not given any hours to work right now, you are still considered employed and will need to check and see if the usual maximum number of hours per week will be adjusted for when you can work. You always have 90 days overall that you could be without work and an additional 60 days after ending OPT to get your I-20 transferred to a new program or to leave the United States. 
  • OPT is an opportunity to get experience in your field. It does not need to be paid and there may be many volunteer organizations right now looking for help that would get you good experience, good connections, and hopefully, good friends.

Class Changes and Part-Time Adjustment

  • If you need to either take more than the usual official online classes, or must drop below full-time because of a cancelled class due to the virus, we can give you permission, but will need details about the situation from you.
  • If you have an internship class and cannot go to work, please first contact your instructor about ways to continue your class research and then contact your work site supervisor.

Let us know if you need help or suggestions with any of these situations. Contact us if you have any specific questions. Try to keep all contact by email so you have a record. 

Other Logistics

  • The MVA is automatically extending the validity of driver's licenses and you can use expired ones to board an airplane for travel inside the United States right now. 
  • US taxes are not due until July 15th and we will publish instructions soon and hope to have a virtual workshop. 
  • We may need to work with you on an individual basis about transcripts and transfer forms - please contact us at I20questions@montgomerycollege.edu.
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