While the coronavirus pandemic has been hitting the world at an alarming rate, it has also left the international students studying on F-1 visa in the U.S. facing challenges. We have compiled a list of challenges faced by such students during these times
Closing of schools :
As per the government orders, schools and colleges across U.S. have been closed, and the facilities have been vacated. Many international students are struggling to find housing, even though schools are also trying. While American students have an option to stay with their families across various states in the U.S., international students are forced stay in isolation, as they cannot travel due to travel bans, and certain travel restrictions.
Travel Restrictions and Bans :
These tough times have left international students with no choice, but to stay restricted in their college dorms. As stated earlier, many International students across U.S. have no immediate family or relatives staying in the country. And, besides that they cannot travel also to their home country as the current administration has imposed strict travel regulations and bans for now and till further update.
As a matter of fact, international students pay twice as much as their American friends and colleagues towards their education. Due to school closures, courses are getting delayed, which ultimately results in delayed graduation for students. A great proportion of international students have taken loans, and due to the suffering economy, they end up paying even more for their education when the extra interest is accounted for.
We, at Emandi Law Firm recommend the following practices to avoid any kind of immigration related hassle:
F and M visa holders maintain status:
During these events, it is important that F and M students maintain their non immigrant student status, and must continue to take all the necessary actions to remain in status, to the extent possible. For students who completed their F-1 status, they should look for some other visa status immediately. Students must also communicate with designated school officials (DSO) about the emergency plans on campus, including any changes to your address. If students contact theirs DSOs they may find the best help to navigate the situation in addition to taking legal help. If students are participating in practical training, work with employers to maintain practical training agreements. If changes have been made to the workplace environment, we encourage students to consult with employers to seek alternative ways to maintain training agreements, such as teleworking or other arrangements.
Stay updated, and take precautions if planning to travel:
Kindly keep updated with guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for specific port-of-entry screening processes, as well as any travel restrictions.
Update SEVP portal with any Procedural Changes:
Any procedural changes must be reported to SEVP within 10 business days of the change. If the school plans to provide online instruction or instruction at an alternate physical location, report changes to SEVP.
Ensure the student record in SEVIS is updated:
Kindly make sure all information in SEVIS is up to date, including addresses.
For recent immigration law news and updates, stay tuned to Emandi Law Firm. Feel free to reach out with questions at [email protected] or visit www.emandilaw.com