International Student and Scholar Services Home


COVID19 FAQs for International Students

Please visit our FAQ site for the most up-to-date information on current procedures and immigration policies. You can also find on this page our guide to help students prepare for Fall 2020.  This page covers many topics, including but not limited to: office procedures during remote operations (document requests, advising, etc.); registration and academics, including Fall 2020 information; employment considerations, including for OPT,STEM OPT and CPT; travel, including risks and what to do before traveling; wellbeing and financial considerations, including financial resources for students; and housing/living considerations.

University Fall Reopening Plan

During the week of 6/22 the University sent an email announcing the University’s Fall 2020 Reopening Plan. Students can find the latest information on this plan on the University’s website, here. In reviewing these plans, F-1 students should also carefully review the announcement below regarding pending DHS guidance.

Message on Multi-Modal Course Delivery Modes and Pending DHS Guidance

This is a message from ISSS regarding the UAlbany June 22nd announcement of course delivery modes and residential life plans for the University. In terms of what taking a fully online course means for your F-1/J-1 status, please take a look at the planning guide ISSS has provided to our international students (both new and returning).

Please be reminded that while the university states students may request an all online course schedule in the Fall 2020, ISSS is still waiting for DHS/ICE/SEVP United States federal government guidance. The pending guidance will instruct our and other universities hosting international students about a possible continuance of reprieve of online course restrictions for F-1 international students, as well as any other allowances or limitations for F-1 students. More specifically, the possible reprieve will either allow international students to maintain an active SEVIS record while engaged in fully remote learning, like in the second half of spring semester and over the summer term, or allow for something completely different. DHS/ICE/SEVP announced on June 4, 2020 that their guidance for Fall 2020 for F-1 students is forthcoming, although it is not clear when that guidance will be issued.

Please be flexible as you might be required to adjust your schedule based on DHS guidance and depending on whether or not you have registered for more than one online course toward your full-time requirement, as well as whether or not you plan to study from inside or outside the U.S.. Also keep in mind that if you study online from outside the U.S. you can do so even without an active SEVIS record . If new ICE/SEVP guidance does not allow you to keep an active SEVIS record you would likely need to obtain a new F-1 SEVIS I-20 before returning to the U.S. for future in-person or hybrid/multi-modal study. A break in active F-1 SEVIS status may require you to pay a new SEVIS I-901 fee before returning as well.

We realize this it is frustrating to wait for this guidance from the federal government. We share your concerns in our mission to advocate for international student needs as the ISSS office. Please know that UAlbany, SUNY and international education organizations around the U.S. are lobbying for the interests of our international students in many different ways. As soon as we receive ICE/SEVP guidance and also receive verification that the University plan we submit to the government is accepted, we will let you know immediately. Thank you for your patience and consideration in these important matters.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at or schedule an appointment by Zoom at:

Essentially, we hope to be able to offer fully online course schedules to F-1 students if that is what they wish, but we are waiting for DHS/ICE/SEVP guidance.

Important Update: CDC and NYS Quarantine Protocol

Please attend to this very important message regarding the New York Governor's mandate for certain individuals to quarantine upon entering the State of New York, and Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and instructions for quarantining.

The Governor of New York recently issued an executive order mandating that anyone entering NYS after spending a certain amount of time in the COVID-19 highly impacted states listed here must quarantine for 14 days (this includes any possible transiting through those states). Any persons arriving to NYS from any of these listed impacted states who do not comply with the quarantine mandate as outlined are subject to penalties, including a substantial monetary fine, as outlined in the executive order.  Additionally non-compliance may possibly result in immigration status implications. The quarantine order will be enforced by the NYS Department of Health and Albany County Health. The CDC quarantine recommendation for persons traveling to or within the US from impacted regions can be found here while CDC instructions on quarantine/self-isolation are located here. More information about quarantine requirements will be sent by UAlbany soon.

We Stand By You

ISSS stands firmly behind our international student community in promoting a culture of inclusion, compassion, and support. Recent events in the United States have again called into focus historical and systemic issues of racism, oppression, and prejudice. These events can spark a wide range of emotions—anxiety, fear, sadness, anger. Please know that ISSS is here to listen and to support you. We are dedicated to providing you a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment. Thank you for choosing to be a part of our UAlbany community, and please know that we are always here for you. Email us at or schedule an appointment by clicking here.

Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain Individuals from China

We realize that members of our Chinese student and scholar community are very concerned about a recent June 1st U.S. federal proclamation suspending the entry of certain non-immigrant Chinese students and scholars with ties with the Chinese military from entering the country. We share this concern with you and want to ensure that our Chinese community has an understanding of who this proclamation impacts and who it does not. More specifically the June 1st Proclamation does not currently affect Chinese international students and scholars inside the U.S. at this time. The Proclamation additionally does not currently impact undergraduate students. For more information and a clear summary about the June 1st Proclamation, please visit AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) at

Follow ISSS on Instagram @ualbanyisss

ISSS is now on Instagram! Follow us to get the latest updates on events and other important announcements @ualbanyisss

ISSS is now Using E-Forms

ISSS is going electronic! Students will be able to submit some requests online through AccessISSS, the UAlbany ISSS student portal.

The following requests should be submitted online using an E-Form:

  • OPT & STEM OPT Requests
  • I-20/DS-2019 Extension Requests
  • Departure and/or Transfer Out Requests
  • Status Letter Requests (including SSN status letter requests)
  • Reduced Course Load Authorization
  • OPT/STEM OPT Employer Updates (formerly “OPT Data Form”)
  • New Student Arrival Form

ISSS will continue to release new E-Forms throughout this academic year. Please visit the Forms page on the ISSS website to access all Forms, including E-Forms:

OPT & CPT Workshops- Spring 2020

Graduating this May?  ISSS offers several workshops to help you prepare your OPT application.  Please attend one of these workshops prior to applying. If you are graduating this May, filing for OPT opens with USCIS on February 14 2020 and closes on July 11, 2020.
Students planning to do an internship should attend one of the CPT workshops offered this semester to learn more about the application process.

Due to our temporary remote learning environment, we are offering all workshops on Zoom.  Please see below for the schedule:

OPT Workshop
Thursday, May 7th at 3pm
Join Zoom Meeting:

Reporting Requirements for Students

As we approach a new academic year, now is a good time to remind yourself of your reporting requirements as an international student.  Our Reporting Requirements webpage also features information for OPT and STEM OPT students.  Visit it here