Information On The Coronavirus

We continue to monitor and respond to the public health situation regarding COVID-19. As of March 26, most buildings on our New York campus will close until further notice. Non-essential staff should work remotely if possible. Check the Parsons Paris website for information about our Paris campus.

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  • International Student and Scholar Services
  • ISSS has suspended in-person services and will now operate remotely. We will take phone calls through our regular phone line, maintain services through virtual advising with Starfish appointments, and complete processing requests through iGlobal.

    ISSS Operations

    Remote office hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

    • The main phone line is operational.
    • For virtual advising by phone or Zoom, make an appointment through Starfish.
    • All processing requests can be made through iGlobal.
    • All workshops will be held online through Zoom.
    • If you sign up to attend a workshop through NarwhalNation, you will receive an email with a link to the Zoom meeting before the workshop.

    Processing Times

    ISSS is experiencing a delay in processing times for student requests; we appreciate your patience. We are reading and responding to all inquiries as quickly as possible. Please note that sending multiple emails about the same issue delays our response.

    Spring 2020 FAQ

    [General] Will ISSS still process my requests through iGlobal?
    Yes. ISSS advisors are working remotely and continue to process student requests. Students should continue to submit all requests in iGlobal. Processes previously conducted in person, such as submission of OPT application documents, can now be done through iGlobal.

    [General] How long will it take for ISSS to process my request or send me my document?
    ISSS is working hard to process all student requests as quickly as possible. Currently we are experiencing a delay in processing times for travel signatures; we appreciate your patience. Remember that sending multiple emails delays our response time.  

    [General] Do I need to tell ISSS if my U.S. address has changed?
    Yes; if your U.S.-based address has changed, you need to update it in the Student tab in MyNewSchool. ISSS is required to report your updated address to the U.S. government within ten days of the date when it changed. If you are currently outside the United States and will return to The New School to continue studying in the fall, you are not required to update your U.S. address.

    [General] How can I get more information from reliable sources?  
    ISSS is carefully monitoring guidance and updates from SEVIS, SEVP/ICE, USCIS, and the U.S. Department of State, as well as updates from NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the leading professional organization dedicated to international education and exchange. You can also check the Spring 2020 Student Resource Hub for general information and resources.  

    [General] Do I need to have my I-20 shipped, or can I request a scanned copy?
    Due to coronavirus, recent guidance from SEVP and USCIS allows schools to issue students scanned copies of I-20s. However, I-20s used for travel and re-entering the United States must be hard copies with an original and valid travel signature; they cannot be scanned copies. I-20s used as part of an OPT application can be scanned copies (see the OPT section below). DS-2019s cannot be scanned; students must have hard copies with a valid travel signature. To obtain a travel signature, you must complete a Reprint I-20 or DS-2019 for travel e-form in iGlobal and request document shipping.
    [General] Can I still apply for a Social Security number during the coronavirus outbreak?
    As of March 17, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has suspended all face-to-face services in all Social Security offices. Therefore, if you do not have a Social Security number (SSN), you will not be able to apply for one until the SSA reopens its offices. For more information and updates, please check the SSA website. If you apply for a SSN through your OPT application to USCIS, the Social Security Administration will still process your request.

    [General] What should I do if I am having trouble paying my student account because of the impact of coronavirus in my home country?
    Please email the Student Accounts office at to let them know, and they will talk with you about your options.  

    [General] Will international students be eligible to receive any relief from the recent stimulus package passed by the U.S. government? 
    ISSS has learned from NAFSA: Association of International Educators and The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration that there is no economic assistance for international students within the new coronavirus relief bill. The tax credit in the relief package excludes people who are non-immigrants, which means that international students are not eligible. In addition, this relief package does not include an unemployment insurance option (or unemployment benefits) for international students; you must be a legal permanent resident to be eligible.

    [Immigration Status] How will online classes affect my I-20 or DS-2019 and visa status?
    The New School has announced that coursework for the rest of the spring 2020 semester will be conducted online. Students who are outside of the United States, are enrolled in a full-time course of study, and complete their online coursework are considered to be maintaining their status. Your immigration record will remain active, and you may return to the United States with your current I-20 or DS-2019 (with a valid travel signature) for the fall 2020 semester.

    [Immigration Status] Will the new grading policy affect my immigration status?
    The New School has announced a spring 2020 grading policy change as of March 30, 2020. Under this policy, students will receive either an A, A-, I (for incomplete), W (for withdrawal), or Z (for unofficial withdrawal). Please note that students who plan to withdraw or receive an incomplete are advised to schedule a Starfish appointment with an ISSS advisor to discuss the impact it will have on their F-1 or J-1 status. Students who officially or unofficially withdraw from all classes will have their government SEVIS record closed. Students who receive an incomplete in their final semester of study are not eligible for an extension of their F-1 or J-1 status. 
    [Immigration Status] If I am outside of the United States for more than five months, will my immigration status or my visa be affected?
    USCIS has issued guidance that allows students to be outside of the United States for more than five months if they are enrolled in a full-time course of study for the spring 2020 semester and complete their online coursework. You will be considered to be maintaining your immigration status, and your I-20 or DS-2019 will remain active. You may return to the United States with your current I-20 or DS-2019 (with a valid travel signature) for the fall 2020 semester.
    [Immigration Status] What happens if I can’t get a flight home and my grace period has expired?
    At this time, U.S. Immigation and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not provided information permitting F-1 or J-1 students to remain in the United States past their approved date of stay due to circumstances related to the coronavirus global pandemic. ISSS will continue to monitor all U.S. government guidance and keep students informed. If you are unable to depart from the United States and have to remain past your approved date of stay, please keep detailed evidence of your attempts to depart and keep ISSS informed.
    [Immigration Status] What should I do if my visa is expiring and I am still in the United States?  
    You may stay in the United States on an expired F-1 or J-1 visa as long as you maintain your immigration status by being in possession of a valid I-20 or DS-2019 and by meeting full-time enrollment requirements or, if on OPT, maintaining your work status. 
    [Immigration Status] What should I do if my visa is expiring and I am not in the United States?  Can I re-enter the United States with an expired visa?
    If you leave the United States with a visa that is no longer valid or will expire before you return to the United States, you must apply for a visa renewal at the U.S. embassy or consulate. Canadian and other citizens do not need a visa to enter the United States. The U.S. State Department announced on March 20, 2020, that routine U.S. visa issuance has been suspended worldwide.
    [Immigration Status] What if I am unable to complete my coursework online from abroad?
    If you are unable to complete your coursework online, please contact your academic department and to inform us and find out whether there are any accommodations that can be made in your circumstances or if you will need to take a leave of absence. To meet with an ISSS advisor, please make an appointment through Starfish or by calling the main phone line at 212.229.5592.
    [Immigration Status] Can I extend my I-20 or DS-2019 if I am completing my program this spring or summer?
    If you are completing your academic program this spring or summer, you cannot extend your I-20 or DS-2019. 

    [OPT] How will online classes affect my ability to apply for OPT?

    If this is your final semester, you are required to be in the United States to apply for OPT. If you are applying or have already applied for OPT and plan to travel internationally, please make an appointment via Starfish to speak with an ISSS advisor over the phone. 
    [OPT] Can I apply for OPT from my home country?
    No. You are required to show proof of presence in the United States as part of the application to USCIS. In addition, you must submit your application to USCIS from within the United States.
    [OPT] Do I need to have my OPT I-20 shipped, or can I receive the scanned version?
    SEVP and USCIS provided guidance that students may submit a scanned I-20 to USCIS for the OPT application. After ISSS approves your application for OPT, we will email you a scanned I-20 signed by the DSO. Print, sign, and date it. Make a copy of the I-20 and include it with your OPT application to USCIS. You may also request to receive the original I-20 by completing the Document Shipping Request in iGlobal, or you may pick up the original I-20 when ISSS reopens. Please be aware that you will need an original hard copy of your I-20 with a valid travel signature in order to re-enter the United States.
    [OPT] Can I change the start date for my OPT application?
    It will depend on the status of your application. If you have submitted your OPT request to ISSS through iGlobal or have received your OPT I-20 but have not submitted to USCIS, you may request a change to your OPT date by emailing If you have not yet applied for OPT, you may choose any start date in the range of June 1-July 30, 2020. If you have submitted your application to USCIS, you cannot change your request date, but do keep in mind it will take approximately three months to get your OPT card. USCIS will never backdate an authorization; for example, if you selected June 1, 2020, as your start date and USCIS issues your card on July 5, 2020, the start date of the EAD card will be July 5, 2020. You are not permitted to work until you receive your EAD card.  
    [OPT] Can I travel outside the United States while my OPT is pending?
    ISSS advises against international travel while OPT is pending. If you decide to travel while your OPT application is pending, we recommend that you return to the United States before your I-20 expiration date. If you choose to depart and return after the I-20 expiration date, you must have the approved EAD card and appropriate documents to re-enter the United States during your OPT period. All students should know about the documents required for travel; for information, visit Travel Signatures and Documents. If you must travel, please make a virtual appointment through Starfish with an ISSS advisor before you leave, so that we can advise you. 
    [OPT] What should I do if I exceed my unemployment time while on OPT?
    New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that all New Yorkers should stay inside, and non-essential businesses have temporarily closed. This may have negatively affected your work situation. Unfortunately, the federal government has not yet provided guidance regarding the 90-days-of-unemployment rule for OPT and the 150-days-of-unemployment rule for STEM OPT. Therefore, you would be required to update your employment information using the e-form in iGlobal or the SEVP Portal. ISSS recommends that students who are no longer working due to the coronavirus outbreak keep all documentation (e.g., emails or notices of being laid off, furloughed, etc.) and keep notes on what they did during the days they were unemployed. ISSS will continue to monitor all government updates and advocate for relief for international students in this situation. 
    [OPT] Do I still need to report my employment during the coronavirus outbreak?
    Yes. Please continue to report any changes in your employment to ISSS by completing the OPT Employment Update e-form or updating your employment within the SEVP Portal. You can choose either option; you do not need to do both.
    [Taxes] Do I still need to file a tax return during the coronavirus pandemic?
    Yes. There are two forms. (1) All international students and scholars, regardless of their status, income, or other tax filing obligations, must file Form 8843. (2) If you earned any taxable income from employment, scholarships, or other sources, you may need to file additional U.S. federal, New York State, New York City, or other U.S. state tax forms. Due to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service has extended the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020, but we strongly encourage students to file by April 15 if at all possible. 
    [Taxes] I heard that ISSS sent a code enabling me to file my federal tax forms for free. Where is the code?
    ISSS sent the code to all enrolled students (and students currently on OPT) in an email on February 26. Search your inbox for the subject line “IRS tax compliance for International Students and Scholars”; you will find the code and instructions in that email. This code allows international students to use the Sprintax platform to file their federal tax forms for free.
    [Taxes] Where can I get more information and answers to my tax-related questions?
    Please visit our Programs and Resources page. 
    [Travel] Do I need to notify ISSS if I leave the country? 
    If you plan to complete the spring 2020 semester online from outside of the United States, you do not need to notify ISSS. If you choose to travel, please visit the Travel Signatures and Documents section of our website. You will need a valid visa and travel signature to re-enter the United States, and re-entry is subject to federal policies and CDC guidelines. Students can request a travel signature through iGlobal and ask to have it shipped to them abroad.
    [Travel] What documents do I need when I travel?
    You can find information in the Travel Signatures and Documents section of our website.

    [Travel] How can I get a travel signature?
    You will need a valid travel signature and visa when you return to the United States. You do not need an updated travel signature to depart from the United States. Therefore, if you require an updated signature, please wait to make the request until three to four weeks before you plan to return to the United States by completing the Reprint I-20 or DS-2019 e-form in iGlobal. At that time, ISSS will create an I-20 or DS-2019, and you can then request to have it shipped to you through the Document Shipping Request e-form in iGlobal. 

    [Travel] What if I dropped off my I-20 or DS-2019 at ISSS before the coronavirus outbreak? 
    If you previously dropped off your I-20 or DS-2019 and planned to pick it up at ISSS, you will now need to make a document shipping request in iGlobal. Regrettably, at this time, ISSS is unable to offer in-person services, so students must request that all documents be shipped to them. 

    [Travel] Will I be able to return to the United States in August for the fall semester?
    We are hopeful that all of our students will be able to re-enter the United States and resume their studies, but we do not know for sure at this time. We will continue to process student requests for travel signatures and answer visa- and travel-related questions. Please read your email and check our website for updates on coronavirus. We encourage you to also check Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel updates and Department of State information on visa services. 
    [Travel] Can I travel with an expired visa?
    You can travel outside the United States with an expired F or J visa. However, if you plan to re-enter the United States, the visa in your passport must be valid. As of March 20, 2020, routine visa services are suspended in all U.S. embassies and consulates, so you will not be able to renew your visa until the United States lifts that suspension.  

  • Contact Us and Office Hours

    International Student and Scholar Services
    72 Fifth Avenue, 3rd floor
    New York, NY 10011

    Emergency After-Hours Phone

    Remote Office Hours
    Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

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