Due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the best way to contact any international office staff member is by email. Contact information for each office is listed below:
The physical CIE offices are closed. However, all international offices are open online, Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
Also, degree program students have access to the following in-person services with ISS in the Foundation Building Room 180, Monday through Friday, from 2:00 to 4:00pm:
Yes. All staff and students are required to wear masks on campus. If you do not have a mask, you can refer to the CDC guidance on alternative ways to cover your face.
Go to the CSULB Parking webpage for current designated student parking areas on campus.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is currently allowing school officials to sign the I-20 form digitally. Please email the appropriate office indicated above to obtain the signature.
Contact the appropriate international office for advising, as listed in the first FAQ above.
ALI students should contact their advisor, Ms. Tammy Guzman, at Tammy.Guzman@csulb.edu.
Contact your appropriate international office for advising on your immigration options.
Degree student I-20 forms with ISS have automatically been extended.
For flight assistance, you should contact your country’s embassy officials in the United States for support. Find your country’s embassy or consulate at the Department of State Contact Info for Foreign Embassies & Consulates page.
As long as your SEVIS record remains “active,” you may re-enter the U.S. with an unexpired F-1 visa. Contact your appropriate international office to notify staff of your return.
Although internationals students are not eligible for CARES Act funds, you may still apply for the Student Emergency Intervention and Wellness Fund.
No. SEVP has allowed all F-1/J-1 students to study online due to the COVID-19 situation.
Yes. SEVP has allowed F-1/J-1 students to engage in remote on-campus work as long as your record is “active” in SEVIS. Please consult with your direct supervisor at your job for appropriate assignments.
Contact your appropriate international office (see first FAQ above) as soon as you are aware that you will not be able to return. An international advisor will assist you with immigration advising and the necessary steps to continue at a later time. The advisor will also connect you with your college advising center for support on course withdrawals, and filing an educational leave of absence through Enrollment Services.
Also, you may be able continue your CSULB education from your home country through remote instruction/online classes during Fall 2020. Contact your academic program advisor.
Degree Students: Please refer to the Enrollment Services Most Common Questions sheet.
Degree Students: Please refer to the Enrollment Services Most Common Questions sheet.
Yes. For the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, SEVP considers students who are working in their OPT opportunities for fewer than 20 hours a week as actively engaged in OPT.
No. The OPT application process with CIE remains the same. For instructions, please go to the ISS Employment page at www.cpie.csulb.edu/employment.
Post-completion OPT rules have not changed due to COVID-19. If you know that you will exceed the 90-day unemployment time, you should seek alternatives to continue to maintain F-1 status. These options include: departing the U.S., transferring to a new school or new academic program, or seeking a change of visa status.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) still continues to perform duties that do not involve face-to-face contact with the public, and has not announced any further delays on the processing of OPT applications. USCIS has indicated that individuals may still submit applications and petitions during this time. You may track the status of your application or submit a Case Status inquiry online at https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do. For general I-765- Application processing times, you can Check Case Processing Times.
SEVP guidance indicates that students can engage in remote employment for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency and until further notice. In addition, you do not have to update the employer address information in SEVIS or on the Form I-983 if you are working remotely.
You may use available unemployment time to cover the unemployment gap. However, you should still continue to make efforts to seek employment in order to maintain F-1 status and avoid exceeding the 90-day unemployment limit.
The main difference between being furloughed and laid-off comes down to the employment relationship between the employee and the employer. In both cases, you are not getting paid. Generally, furloughed means your job may be reinstated after a certain timeframe. Being laid off means your employment has ended. Read this Huffington Post article for a full detailed explanation.
From the moment that a student is officially without a job and ends the employee relationship with the employer, the student will accrue unemployment time. The SEVP definition of unemployment time is “each day (including weekends) during the period when OPT authorization begins and ends that the student does not have qualifying employment counts as a day of unemployment.”
There are no clear answers to this question. However, SEVP guidance has indicated that students should contact their local or state employment agency for information on whether or not they are allowed to accept unemployment benefits.
The other concern regarding unemployment benefits is that, as a consequence, it would be necessary to categorize you as a “public charge” if you decide to apply for a green card in the future. For more about the public charge rule, go to the UCIS Public Charge page.
Exchange Students: Contact your advisor to update your Academic Training status.
The U.S. government posts up-to-date travel warnings about country events that create potential risks and dangers. You should check these sites for updated reports on risks of traveling to certain countries at this time.
For travel support, please visit your home embassy or consulate office website for guidelines and details.
Returning to the U.S. from High Risk Countries: Be cautious about travel. Refer to guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State COVID-19 Traveler Information, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Notices of Arrival Restrictions Due to Coronavirus for specific port-of-entry screening processes, as well as any travel restrictions. If you are unsure how an entry ban will impact your travel, you can consult with your international student advisor. If you have returned from a country that is currently severely affected by the coronavirus, it is highly advised that you take the following steps from the CDC on How to Protect Yourself & Others.
All international students should inform their offices about returning to their home country.
Be cautious when traveling within the U.S. While you are legally permitted to travel within the U.S. prior to the end of your grace period, we do not recommend any non-essential travel at this time. All travel is at your own risk. Please follow guidance from the CDC on Coronavirus and Travel in the United States, as COVID-19 has affected the entire U.S. Check the local and state guidelines for places you will travel to and from. If you will be flying, check with the airline or airport about additional guidelines you must follow.
As in all travel, please carry all of your travel documents (I-20 or DS-2019), passport, and medical insurance information with you in case of an emergency.
Keep in mind that you are permitted to remain in the U.S. as long as you are participating in your program with a valid I-20 or DS-2019. While we do not generally recommend that you travel at this time for the sole purpose of renewing your visa, you should contact your international office advisor for guidance on your specific situation.
Please check the current Center for Disease Control and Prevention quarantine guidelines for travelers returning from international travel.
All international students must email their international offices immediately for advising.
All International Students:
CSULB Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has also created a virtual support group for all international students. The International Student Support Group will be conducted virtually via Zoom every Thursday from 3:00-4:30pm PST. Group facilitators will send out weekly reminders via email, which will also include a Zoom link to the session. Any international student who is interested in joining can send an email to one of the facilitators, Elaine Yeo, at Elaine.Yeo@csulb.edu. Students are also welcome to share the Zoom link with other international students at CSULB.
Each group meeting will focus on a mental health topic related to the COVID-19 situation. Topics include: Fear, anxiety, and stress amidst a global pandemic, Social distancing and mental health, Racism and microaggression amidst COVID-19 fears, and “Stuck” and away from country and community.'
Contact CSULB’s Office of Equity & Diversity to report your incident.
Contact your international office or advisor for virtual events to connect with other international students. There is also a regular international student support group for all international students that meets online every Thursday from 3:00pm-4:30pm Pacific Standard Time. For more information about this group, contact Elaine.Yeo@csulb.edu.
Degree Students: This is available for degree students only. An international advisor will assist you during a one-on-one Zoom advising appointment to review in detail the option of “Severe Economic Hardship.” Book an appointment to Meet with an Advisor here.
Contact the International Scholar Advisor, Ignacio Castor, at Ignacio.Castor@csulb.edu for instructions.
Contact your mentor at CSULB to request an update on the program start date, and submit to email@example.com.
Please contact your Academic Department or College Dean’s office to learn alternative options that may be available to you.
DS-2019 program end dates between April 1 – May 31, 2020 and active SEVIS records have automatically been extended in order to provide exchange visitors the opportunity to complete their programs, or continue to finalize travel plans to return home.
Given the uncertainty caused by the lack of available flights and ongoing travel restrictions, we strongly recommend that you reach out to your country embassy or closest consulate if you are unable to book return flights home. A growing number of embassies are posting special communications on their websites and social media for their exchange visitors in order to contact them.
If everything goes as planned, they should be able to start on their planned date. However, a number of factors will determine the ability of the visiting scholar to travel to the U.S. and begin their program at CSULB, including: 1) the reopening of embassies and consulates for visa issuance; 2) travel restrictions; and 3) availability of flights for international travel.
On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, the President of the United States issued a proclamation suspending the entry of certain new immigrants for 60 days, which took effect at 11:59pm on April 23, 2020. The proclamation DOES NOT impact F-1 and J-1 visa holders.
The proclamation DOES NOT affect U.S. green card holders, spouses and children of U.S. citizens, and EB-5 investor immigrants, all of whom are exempt from the order. The proclamation ONLY impacts pending immigrant visa applications (applications for permanent residency) for persons who were outside the U.S. on the effective date of the proclamation.
Most CSULB classes for Fall 2020 will be delivered remotely, either fully online or through alternative modes of instruction. A limited number of classes that require in-person activities—such as nursing clinical sessions, science and engineering labs sections, and some performing and creative art classes—will be held on campus with strict physical distancing guidelines.
According to current Department of Homeland Security guidelines, new F-1 students should not enter the U.S. if all courses are delivered remotely. However, new SEVP guidance is expected for Fall programs. As soon as any new guidance becomes available, we will keep all new students informed about their ability to participate in Fall programs.
Continuing or transfer students are able to remain in the U.S. as long as they maintain their F-1 visa status.
Housing policies for Fall are still being finalized. A limited number of housing units are expected to be available on campus. Your advisors in the international office will be able to recommend some off-campus housing facilities that are primarily occupied by CSULB students.
In response to COVID-19, the university is transitioning to alternate delivery of classes. Click here to learn more.