Many Connections. One U.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions

July 23, 2020 Informational Session  with New Fall 2020 International Students: Watch it Here

Dec. 17, 2020 Informational Session  with New SP21 International Students: Watch it Here

General Questions/Concerns

Students currently outside of the U.S. may be subject to various travel restrictions that make returning to or arriving in the U.S. difficult at this time. Please read below for more information:

Q. Is the Office of International Student Success open?
A.While Maryville University is currently operating remotely due to the COVID-19 emergency, our office will continue to provide students. Our staff will be available via telephone and email, or for appointments via Skype, Zoom or Facetime. Please contact the Office of International Student Success directly with any questions or concerns. We will continue to send out updates and provide the most up-to-date information on our web site.  It is essential that you read any emails you receive from our Office.

Q. I am a current student. How do I get a new travel signature, if my travel signature on my I-20 will be expiring?
A.At the moment, the only option available for our office to get new documents to students is via email to gdryden@maryville.edu. If you leave the U.S. soon and will not return to the U.S. until the fall, or are not in need of a new travel signature immediately, you can wait until you hear from us that we have resumed normal services.

Please email gdryden@maryville.edu or carriola@maryville.edu to obtain an updated I-20 with electronic travel signature.

Q. I heard that U.S. Embassies and Consulates are no longer issuing visas worldwide. When will this resume?
A. As of July 15, 2020, some U.S. Embassies and Consulates have started to resume routine visa services depending on the in-country situation. U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide, have different policies and procedures in place about re-opening and they are facing severe application backlog that have accrued during their closures. You may view the current operating status of a given U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the U.S. State Department website.

All incoming students and scholars currently outside of the U.S., except Canadian citizens, require a visa stamp issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country, in order to enter the U.S. For specific information, please go to the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

In addition, several Presidential proclamations established restrictions on the entry of certain travelers into the United States in an effort to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). You may read more about these proclamations, including who is subject to the suspension, here. This suspension also applies to individuals traveling or connecting through one of the travel ban countries. If you transit through a country on the travel ban list on your way to the U.S., you become subject to the travel ban, even if you do not leave the airport.

A recent Department of State announcement has stated that students with a valid F-1 visa may enter the U.S. from the EU Schengen area, UK, or Ireland, despite the travel ban. If you are coming from the Schengen area, the UK or Ireland and hold a valid F-1 visa, you should also print out the most recent Customs and Border Protection (CBP) guidance regarding the travel ban.  If you are questioned, you should be ready to show the guidance to a CBP officer at a port of entry.

There is no formal waiver process or exception yet for students located in China, Brazil, or Iran.

Q. What does Spring 2021 look like for new incoming international students?
A. We are closely monitoring the pandemic situation per the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We hold the health and safety of our campus community as a top priority. We are creating a COVID-19 ready campus for you, with all the infection-preventing measures, extended cleaning measures and social distancing precautions. Updates will be posted on Maryville SaintStrong website as available. Please check back regularly.

If you have recently applied or planning to apply to Maryville as an international student, please move forward with the application process and continue to work closely with the International Admissions Office, should you need assistance. All newly admitted international students are permitted to study online in their home countries in the Spring 2021 semester and the F-1 visa is not needed in this case.

Spring classes will be delivered in an hybrid/virtual/online model. A flexible, hybrid course model employs a socially distanced, on-campus experience combined with synchronous and asynchronous virtual participation. In this model, many courses will have “mixed attendance,” that is, during any one class session some students will be in the classroom while others participate remotely. A virtual course model is one where all students attend the classroom through synchronous virtual participation (Zoom). On online course is almost always 8-weeks long (half semester), and employs an asynchronous model, which has no Zoom or in-person components.

From an academic perspective, current government guidance does not allow NEW international students to come to the U.S in F-1 status to begin an entirely online academic program. However, since Maryville offers a hybrid of in-person and online classes for the spring semester, you may enter the country. If you enter the U.S. as a new F-1 student you are required to register for at least one hybrid class to maintain your legal status, and you are encouraged to stay in the St. Louis area.

Q. What about Orientation and move-in 2021?
A. We are excited to welcome you on board in January 2021. You will be soon receiving communication regarding International Student Orientation, which will take place on January 6th, as a full day virtual orientation. We will be communicating the details regarding orientation soon.

New international students who will be residents on campus may start moving in as early as January 9th through January 18th. We will have Residential Life support to direct you on all of those days during business hours. Please try to arrange your travel plans accordingly. Let us know about your travel plans as soon as it is available by filling out this arrival form.

Unfortunately, due to Coronavirus restrictions, we prefer that you move in on one of those days, however, should you have flight cancellations or delays, or arriving after business hours, please inform us at intlsuccess@maryville.edu. If arriving late and you or your parents need a room, you may use the Maryville promotional rate at Marriott St. Louis West by booking through this link.

Travel

Q. I am a current student. If I leave the U.S., or I am currently outside the U.S., and want to return, will I be able to do so?
A. Normally yes, however, due to the current pandemic, U.S. borders are partially restrictive. Please see this interactive IATA website to find out about the most current travel restrictions all around the world. You may read more about the Presidential Proclamations suspending travel on this CDC website.

At this time, the U.S. government has not released guidance for Spring 2021. However, the most recent government guidance confirmed that continuing students with a valid visa and Form I-20 may re-enter the U.S. for the Spring 21 semester. As you know, most instruction at Maryville this fall was done remotely or in a hybrid fashion, and this will continue in Spring 2021 as well. As a continuing student with an active SEVIS record, you are currently permitted to return to the U.S. to resume your studies, even if your program is 100% online.

This rule does not apply to new students in Spring. If you are planning to return to Maryville at any point during the fall semester or for the spring semester, we advise you to print out the latest government guidance and highlight the section on continuing students. Again, government guidance for the spring has not been issued, so we must advise within the parameters of the most current guidance available. If updated guidance is issued, our office will update the community and this FAQ accordingly.

Students should always check to make sure that they have the required immigration documents for re-entry to the U.S. In addition, if you are coming from the European Schengen area, the UK, or Ireland, and hold a valid F-1 visa, you should read the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) guidance regarding the F-1 exception to the travel bans. Please note that all other travel bans (China, Iran, Brazil) do not receive this exception. Keep in mind that new travel bans could be added at any time in response to the pandemic, therefore, check the CDC website for up-to-date information to ensure your entry to the U.S. will not be impacted.

Students whose F-1 visa stamps have expired should keep in mind that the U.S. Embassies and Consulates are only beginning to reopen for routine visa issuance. Consulates and Embassies have different policies and procedures in place about reopening and they are facing severe application backlogs that have accrued during their closures. Students who attempt visa renewal are encouraged to be as flexible as possible with their plans to return to the U.S. and should understand that their returns may be delayed.

If you do decide to leave the U.S., it is very important that you have all the required immigration documents , such as an unexpired passport, an unexpired U.S. visa, an unexpired I-20 with an unexpired travel signature, when trying to reenter the U.S.

If you have any questions, please contact our office.

Q. I am a current student. What if I go to my home country and then I can’t get back to the U.S.?
A. Maryville is planning to deliver Spring classes using an hybrid/virtual/online model. Students who are not able to return as scheduled should contact our office as soon as possible. Current guidance confirms that students can study remotely from outside the U.S. and retain valid F-1 visa status, if students continue to be enrolled full-time and make regular progress towards completion of their degree.

The situation relating to COVID 19 is constantly changing so this information may change with very little advance notice. Please contact our office at intlsuccess@maryville.edu if you encounter any difficulty in returning to Maryville for spring semester.

Q. Instead of traveling back to my home country, can I participate from elsewhere in the U.S.?
A. At the moment, it is not confirmed that you may study full-time from elsewhere in the United States. In order to maintain your F1 status, you must enroll full-time, and must inform us of your new address via the Address Verification Form.

Q. If I depart the US and my visa has expired how do I obtain a new visa to return to campus for the spring?  Should I anticipate any problem?
A. Please check the website of the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate for visa renewal information. You may contact Maryville Primary Designated School Official (PDSO), Ms. Gayle Dryden to discuss your situation.

Q. What about travel from Canada and Mexico?
A. Students planning to enter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico are encouraged to reach out to our Office at intlssuccess@maryville.edu before finalizing arrangements.

Currently the land borders between the United States and Canada, and the United States and Mexico are closed for nonessential travel. Students with valid F-1 status are still eligible to enter the U.S. from Canada and Mexico. The Canadian/Mexican/U.S. travel ban only applies to non-essential travelers via land borders. If you plan to re-enter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico, our office recommends you plan to enter the U.S. by booking a flight rather than driving. As always, admission to the U.S. is at the discretion of the CBP officer. If you intend to enter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico, you should ensure that you have all the required documents to enter the U.S.

OPT/CPT

Q. Can I apply for OPT outside the U.S.?
A. You must be physically present in the U.S. at the time you apply for OPT.  You can leave the U.S. while the application is pending, although this is not recommended.  You must provide a mailing address in the U.S. where USCIS can send any correspondence related to your application.  It is essential that this address be valid for 3-5 months and the person receiving the mail must be at that address to receive the mail and forward it to you.

F-1 students accrue eligibility for practical training whether they are inside or outside of the U.S. during the COVID-19 emergency.

Q. If I am in the U.S., can I submit my OPT application USCIS remotely?
A. No.  You must be in the U.S. in F-1 status, to submit the application to USCIS.

Q. I used my friend’s address to have USCIS mail my EAD and now they are leaving campus/their apartment. What should I do?
A. You cannot use an international address.  You should locate another recipient within the U.S. Then you must update your mailing address with USCIS.

Q. I applied for OPT already.  Will I have a problem if I re-enter the U.S. after graduation?
A. If you want to re-enter the U.S. after graduation, you must have your EAD, OPT approval from USCIS. A student who has graduated may not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. if the OPT application is still pending at USCIS.

Q. Can I still apply for CPT from outside the U.S.?
A. Yes. Please contact our DSO, Ms. Carmina Arriola by email.

Social Security Number / Taxes

Q. Can I file my U.S. taxes outside the country?
A. Yes, you can use Sprintax, print and sign the forms, and mail them.

Q. When are taxes due for 2020?
A. The deadline to file federal taxes for 2020 is April 15, 2021.

Q. What do I do if I need to apply for a Social Security Number?
A. All local Social Security offices are closed to the public for in-person service. You may refer to their COVID-19 web page to learn more, including how to get help from the Social Security Administration (SSA) by phone and online.

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