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COVID-19 FAQ


    Since the University of Wyoming has moved to all-online instruction for the Spring 2020 semester, does that mean I am still in good immigration status?

 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently allowing students on a non-immigrant visa (F-1 and J-1) to be online only if the school you are attending has made that decision. 

If you are enrolled in full-time classes this spring semester then you are still considered in good immigration status. Due to this unprecedented situation, an exception is being made for students to complete their spring courses online while continuing to remain in the U.S., or from outside of the U.S.

International students are required to remain enrolled full-time if they will maintain their F-1 or J-1 status, for the whole of the semester. The only change to the enrollment requirements is that students are allowed to be online only, rather than on-campus. If you are thinking to withdraw from a class, contact ISS first! We understand that lab work, research, and other duties connected with your enrollment may not be clear at this time. Please watch for information from UW and ISS regarding these topics.

 

    Will offices on campus, including ISS, remain open for the rest of the semester?

 

Yes, the University and essential functions will remain open at this time. Our office will be open; however we are not accepting walk-in questions or appointments. Information is subject to change and we will update our office availability as new information is available. Students should email or call ISS with questions. ISS staff will schedule an appointment with you if necessary.

 

    I have a question about COVID-19 that is not related to my immigration status. Who should I talk to?


UW Official page for COVID-19 Communication:

If you have specific questions that are not answered by the information on the university's official COVID-19 webpage, you can contact:

·         UW Student Health Services: 307-766-2130

·         Ivinson Memorial Hospital (if you are experiencing covid-19 symptoms): 307-755-4750

 

    How can I contact the ISS office to make a request or ask a question?

 

ISS Phone: 307-766-5193 (include office hours here)

Jill Johnson email: jillj@uwyo.edu

Daing Nasir email: dnasir@uwyo.edu

Maria Almendares email: wyoqtpi@uwyo.edu

Jessie Hughes email: jhughes2@uwyo.edu

Abby Lozano: ajolovic@uwyo.edu

 


    Can I continue to work on campus? Will I still get paid?

 

Yes, students are still eligible to work on campus, but please contact your supervisor with any questions or concerns. Please remember students are still restricted to 20 hours per week for on-campus work during the Fall and Spring semester, even if classes have been moved online. Please visit our on-campus employment policy webpage for more information.

 

    Can I work more than 20 hours per week because classes are online?

 

F-1 and J-1 students are still allowed to work no more than 20 hours per week, and on-campus only, unless you have special work authorization. If there is any change to this, ISS will notify students immediately.  Students who leave the US may work anywhere they want and it will not impact their immigration status.

 

    I have CPT approved for Spring Break but my employer has closed their office or asked me to work from home, what should I do?

 

If you have already been issued CPT for Spring Break you may continue to participate in those internships. If your internship sponsor (employer) has cancelled your internship, please notify ISS as well as your UW advisor or faculty internship supervisor.  ISS will remove the CPT from your SEVIS record if appropriate.

 

    I have CPT approved for the spring 2020 semester but my employer has closed their office or asked me to work from home, what should I do?

 

If your internship sponsor (employer) has cancelled your internship, please notify ISS as well as your UW advisor or faculty internship supervisor.  ISS will remove the CPT from your SEVIS record if appropriate.

Contact ISS for more detailed questions.

 

    Can I still file taxes with Glacier Tax Prep? Will the tax specialist be able to assist me?

 

Yes. Glacier Tax Prep will continue to be available. Students who leave the US should still complete their tax forms and mail them to the appropriate address by the newly extended date of July 15, 2020.  Casey Green, UW tax specialist, will be available. You can email him at tax@uwyo.edu.  Watch the UW ISS website and ISS emails regarding tax prep and Power Point presentations to assist you.

 


   How can I pick up my I-20, DS-2019, or other documents from ISS?

 

In light of the current health concerns connected with COVID-19, and recommendations from the WHO, CDC and other organizations, the ISS office will limit face-to-face contact with students and will not be taking walk-in questions or appointments in the office for the foreseeable future.

 

Documents will either be sent to students as a PDF, or for specific documents such as I-20s/DS-2019s these will be mailed to students. Email a member of ISS if you have questions.

 

   Will you continue to process all requests?

 

Yes, our office will remain open for students and we will continue to process requests. Information is subject to change and we will update our office availability as new information comes in.

 


   I am currently in the U.S. but was planning to travel outside of the U.S. soon. Should I cancel my trip?

 

You are discouraged from traveling inside or outside of the U.S. at this time. If you do decide to travel, please refer to the emails that you have received from UW and ISS.  Things are changing rapidly and you may be required to observe a self-quarantine period when you return to Laramie, or may be prevented from returning to the US if travel restrictions are expanded.

We encourage you to remain informed about these travel restrictions. Please check the university’s COVID-19 website for the latest updates.

 

   I am considering returning home for the remainder of the semester, what should I do?

 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will allow students to continue to maintain their current F-1 or J-1 student status, even if they return to their home country, as long as they continue to participate full-time in their on-line coursework.  If you will leave the US, please complete the online survey and ISS staff will issue an updated Form I-20 with the outside-of-US notation and travel signature for your return later in the year.  We will mail it to you at home at no cost.

 

   I am considering returning home and do not plan on returning to the United States, what should I do?

 

We recommend that you still complete the online survey and recieve a new I-20 with the outside-of-US notation and travel signature, simply because it allows us to maintain your immigration status in case something changes and you need to return to the US for additional study, OPT, etc.  If you are absolutely positive that nothing will change, and you will not return to the US on this record, email ISS and we will “complete” your SEVIS record and note that you will finish your degree outside of the US.  There is no way to change that once it is done.

 

   I currently live in the resident halls or UW apartments, can I move out and return home?

 

Yes. Please refer to the UW Residence Life and Dining’s Move-Out website.

 

   I have recently returned to the U.S. from a country with a CDC “Level 3” health notice. What should I do?

 

Please follow UW instructions for travel and returning to campus from a CDC Level 3 country.

 

   My F-1 visa has expired. Do I need to renew my F-1 visa?

 

If you leave the U.S. and then plan to reenter then you will need to renew your F-1 visa. If you plan to remain in U.S. then you do not need to renew your F-1 visa.

We do not know how long travel restrictions will last and what additional countries may be added to the restrictions already in place. If you decide to travel, be prepared, understand the risks, and be advised that you might not be able to return to the U.S. for an unknown period of time, your trip could be disrupted, or you may be quarantined upon your return.

 

   Can I travel to another country before traveling to the U.S.?

 

If you plan to travel to another country before entering the U.S., be sure to review any travel restrictions in that country before making travel plans. Be aware that you must remain physically present outside of the country impacted by travel restrictions for 14 days or more before you will be allowed to enter the U.S. ISS advisors cannot advise on travel to countries other than the U.S., so make sure you do your research and understand any restrictions or visa requirements before traveling.

We do not know how long travel restrictions will last and what additional countries may be added to the restrictions already in place. If you decide to travel, be prepared, understand the risks, and be advised that you might not be able to return to the U.S. for an unknown period of time, your trip could be disrupted, or you may be quarantined upon your return. If your travel is related to your academic program, please consult your department or academic advisor about your travel plans.

 


   I am currently on Post-Completion or STEM OPT. Do I need a new travel signature?

 

Students on Post-Completion or STEM OPT are required to have a travel signature if they will travel outside of the US.  Please remember that OPT travel signatures are only valid for SIX MONTHS. If you need to obtain an updated travel signature, please submit the “Request New I-20/DS-2019” survey.  Choose “Travel signature fields are full & I am traveling soon” for question #7 and complete question #8.  ISS will issue a NEW form for you and sign it for travel.  We will email you to let you know when to pick it up from the ISS office.  You will NOT send or bring your old form to ISS to receive a signature.

Please see travel considerations above before planning any travel outside the US.  Also, check with your employer and any local government for travel restrictions or advice specific to your area.

 

   Spring 2020 is my last semester. Can I finish my classes online from outside of the U.S and then apply for OPT?

 

At this time, USCIS does not allow students to apply for OPT from outside of the U.S. We hope that they will make an exception due to this very unique situation, but you should plan to apply for OPT before you leave the U.S. Contact ISS for updated OPT application processes.

 

   Can I still apply for OPT?

 

Yes. However, ISS staff will not be meeting face-to-face with students to apply. Please follow the new procedures outlined in the Updated OPT Filing Instructions.

 

 

Students may remain in the UW Apartments. You do not have to take any action at this time.

The Residence Halls and Washakie will remain open for students who cannot leave campus. Those students must submit a Spring Move Out Exception to remain on campus.

Students who will leave campus must move out by April 5, 2020.

Students who have left campus for Spring Break are NOT allowed to return to the Residence Halls at this time. Please check your email for information from Residence Life and Dining regarding retrieving your belongings from campus.

Please refer to the UW Residence Life and Dining website and emails that they are currently sending to on-campus residents for updates.

 

 

Yes. Please see the UnitedHealthcare Student Resources letter.

 


   What if I feel stigma or discrimination?

 

Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is infected or at risk for the disease. Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem.

The University Counseling Center offers student counseling services including crisis intervention free of charge to currently enrolled University of Wyoming students. Clinic hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. After-hours crisis hotline: (307) 766-8989. The University will also offer remote counseling support.  For questions, call (307) 766-2197.

 

   Are mental health resources still available for students who are experiencing stress during this time?

 

Yes. The University Counseling Center offers student counseling services including crisis intervention free of charge to currently enrolled University of Wyoming students. Clinic hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. After-hours crisis hotline: (307) 766-8989. The University will also offer remote counseling support.  For questions, call (307) 766-2197.

 

   I received an email/phone call about COVID-19 from somebody asking for my personal information and bank details, is this a scam?

 

Please be aware of scam texts, calls, and/or emails in relation to COVID-19.. The University of Wyoming, government agencies, CDC, and local health departments will NOT ask you to confirm your bank account, or detailed immigration information. Do not give out this information!

Some students report they have received a text message from the CDC about COVID-19. This is a hoax and not from the CDC.

 


   If my lab closes, and I stay in the U.S., what happens to my status?

 

If you are able to continue to collaborate with your PI/supervisor and make progress in your goals, you will be able to maintain your status, even if you are located off-campus. Your supervising faculty MUST report your new site of activity to ISS and confirm that your research objectives will continue uninterrupted.

 

   If my lab closes and I leave the U.S. temporarily, is it possible to return at a later date?

We do not know how long the travel restrictions will last and what additional countries may be added to the restrictions already in place. If you decide to travel, be prepared, understand the risks, and be advised that you might not be able to return to the U.S. for an unknown period of time, your trip could be disrupted, or you may be quarantined upon your return.

If you depart the US and are still able to collaborate with your PI/supervisor and make progress in your goals, you will be able to maintain your status. If you will be outside of the US for more than 30 days and are eligible for a Temporary Absence, you will be able to maintain your status. This would be considered a continuation of your program activities. Please note: You must have a valid J-1 visa to re-enter the US after a temporary absence.  Your supervising faculty member should contact ISS before you leave the U.S. so that we can confirm the details of your travel and continued participation in research while gone.

If you are not able to continue your research project (in the U.S. or temporarily from home), your supervising faculty should contact ISS for further instructions

 

   Am I still eligible for an extension of my program if my current DS-2019 is expiring?

 

Extensions will be considered as usual, and as long as the eligibility requirements are met, extension will be granted.

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University of Wyoming International Students and Scholars

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1000 E. University Avenue

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-5193

Email: uwglobal@uwyo.edu

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