International Affairs

SAIC continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and safety measures put in place can be found on the Make Together websiteInternational Affairs is available via email, telephone, and via online appointments to support all students. We are also available 8:30 - 4:30 for in-person document drop off and pick up Monday-Friday. To contact International Student Services, please email intaff@saic.edu. To contact Study Abroad please email studyabroad@saic.edu

 

International Affairs staff is available to assist you with questions about your immigration status. Below you will find our office operation details, the most up to date guidance, and our most frequently asked questions. If you review this information and still have concerns or questions, please email intaff@saic.edu so we can assist you.

Please continue to monitor this page as well as the Make Together website for the latest information. 

International Affairs 
36 S. Wabash Ave, Suite 1203
intaff@saic.edu

Virtual Walk In Hours - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., Monday- Friday

Students who wish to ask questions without an appointment can receive virtual “walk-in advising” by going to the following Zoom link.

As always, walk-ins are first come, first served. If an advisor is already speaking with a student, you will be placed in a waiting room. When an advisor is available, you will be moved into the meeting room.

In-Person Walk In Hours - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., Monday- Friday 

An international student advisor will be available at the front desk (in the pink lobby) from 12:00-1:00p.m. Monday through Friday to answer questions. This is a public setting, so students should be encouraged to attend virtual walk-ins with more sensitive concerns.

Appointment Scheduling

Students can email intaff@saic.edu to schedule an appointment over phone or video call with an international advisor.

Please include your name, student ID and summary of the reason for the appointment. Identify two times you are available to meet between 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, and we will send you an invitation to meet with an advisor virtually over Google Meet. This is ideal if you have several questions or need more time to discuss your questions.

In-Person Services: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, Sullivan 1203

Documents can be dropped off or picked up during this time at the Sullivan 1203 reception desk (pink lobby) with an office assistant. This includes requests for I-20 travel signatures and Social Security Number application support letters or have been directed to pick up documents at our office.

Alternatively, there is an after-hours drop box in the lobby. Students can drop off documents in this box at any time. The box will be monitored and checked daily Monday through Friday, and you will be notified when your document is available.

Government Guidance and Updates

International Affairs will continue to update this page with information we receive from the U.S. government. For the most recent guidance provided by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Student Exchange Vistor Program (SEVP), please visit the following website: https://www.ice.gov/coronavirus 

The most recent update will be at the top - older updates may no longer apply. Please refer to the most recent update or email intaff@saic.edu if you have questions.

Fall 2021 Travel Support

If you were enrolled at SAIC during the spring 2020 term and departed the U.S. to complete the spring 2020 term outside the U.S., have remained outside the U.S. for a period of time of more than five months, and you plan to return to the U.S. to resume classes for the fall 2021 term, please download and print the two letters below and hand-carry them with your immigration documents.

Our office advises that when you enter the U.S., present the Customs and Border Protection officer your passport with an unexpired F-1 visa and your I-20 (signed for travel within 12 months). If you are asked about being outside the U.S. for more than five months or about how courses are being taught (in person or online), please show the letters to the Customs and Border Protection officer.

 

ICE/SEVP Announce Continued Guidance for Academic Year 21/22 (6/14/2021)

The announcement can be found here: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/bcm2104-05.pdf. In this announcement, ICE/SEVP announced that guidance previously issued and applied for the 20/21 academic year will continue for the 21/22 academic year.

Important highlights include:

  • Students who entered the US and established active F-1 status will be permitted to temporarily enroll in more than one online class toward a full course of study up to 100% online.
  • Students entering the country to study in-person for the first time must have at least one flexible in-person or modified in-person course. This includes students who studied from outside the US in fall 2020 and spring 2021 and are entering the US for the first time to study.
  • Students who are returning from a Leave of Absence (LOA) of more than five months or those who were studying part-time outside the US and are returning to the US with a new I-20 and F-1 visa must enroll in at least one flexible in-person or modified in-person course.

Full Guidance, including country specific guidance can be found here: 

.

June 2nd Webinar -  Immigration Update for Continuing Students

Meeting Recording

June 1st Webinar -  Immigration Update for New Students

Meeting Recording
 

SEVP/ICE Update and Clarifying Questions (7/29/2020)

On Friday, July 24th, the U.S. government issued an update about the rules for online study for international students on F1 student visas this fall. 

Here are some key points confirmed in the announcement:

Continuing international students with an active F-1 status

  • May study fully online in the U.S. or from abroad and maintain their F-1 immigration status 
  • May enter the U.S. with a valid passport, F-1 visa and I-20 to study fully online or with a mixture of modified in-person courses

New international students

  • May enter the U.S. with a valid passport, F-1 visa and I-20 to study but MUST enroll in a mixture of modified in-person and online classes
  • Who are currently in the U.S. may start the fall term but MUST enroll in a mixture of modified in-person courses and online courses  
  • May study fully online from OUTSIDE of the U.S. but will not be issued an I-20 or F-1 visa. Students can request an I-20 to apply for a F-1 visa to enter the U.S. in Spring 2021

If SAIC is ever required to switch to fully online courses mid-semester, students may remain in the U.S. and continue their courses without any interruption to their F-1 immigration status.

Additional information can be found here: 

 

Previous SEVP/ICE Guidance

Previous SEVP/ICE guidance can be found here (please note that this guidance no longer applies and is posted for informational purposes only): 

Frequently Asked Questions
 

How does my enrollment affect my immigration status?
 

Continuing International Students Inside or Outside the U.S. with previously established F-1 status as of March 2020

  • Must be enrolled full-time
  • May enroll either fully online or in a mixture of modified in-person and online courses
  • Will maintain your F-1 status and work eligibility as long as you remain full-time

 

Continuing International Students who have entered the United States for the first time to begin in person learning in F-1 status for fall 2021 (For example if you began your degree online and traveled to the U.S. to study in person this fall) 

  • Must be enrolled full-time
  • Must be in at least one modified in-person course and cannot be 100% online
  • Must complete the Fall 2021 New International Student Immigration Canvas Course
  • This includes submitting your immigration documents in the course to complete your immigration check-in.

Continuing International Students Enrolled Part-Time

If you are a continuing international student enrolling part-time for fall 2021 and WILL NOT complete your degree at the completion of the fall semester:

  • May enroll part-time only if you plan to be outside the U.S.
  • Your F-1 status and immigration record in SEVIS/I-20 will be terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal unless you apply for a medical reduced course load.

New International Students studying inside the U.S. for fall 2021

  • Must be enrolled full-time
  • Must be in at least one modified in-person course and cannot be 100% online
  • Must complete the Fall 2021 New International Student Immigration Canvas Course
  • This includes submitting your immigration documents in the course to complete your immigration check-in.

New International Students studing outside the U.S. for fall 2021

  • Do not need an I-20 or F-1 visa to study for fall 2021 from abroad
  • May enroll either full or part-time for fall 2021
  • International Affairs will contact you at the end of September to update you on any new documents needed for when you plan to join SAIC in person.

How do I request an I-20 travel signature?

Travel signatures (p. 2 of your I-20) are valid for 12 months for students and 6 months for graduates on OPT. Students who need a travel signature can request them in one of two ways:

  1. Virtual Travel Signature Request Please click here to request a new travel signature. A new I-20 with a valid travel signature will be mailed to you. If you are outside the U.S. you may be responsible for the cost of the shipment.
  2. In-Person Travel signature - please bring your SAIC I-20 to International Affairs along with a copy of your current schedule (you can print this from Self-Service). I-20s can be dropped off between 11am-2pm Monday through Friday directly to an International Affairs advisor in Sullivan 1203 or left in the after-hours drop box in the lobby. You will be notified when your I-20 is signed and ready for pick up.

Can I request a Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization to study part time?

A Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization can be requested through International Affairs by a student who has a recommendation from a medical or mental health professional to enroll less than full-time. Students must obtain approval and authorization before withdrawing from any course that would result in going below full-time. Please contact an advisor with any questions at intaff@saic.edu.

How do I extend my I-20 Program End date?

Students should review their program end date located in the “Program of Study” section on page 1 of their most recent I-20. If your I-20 expires before you will complete your program, you must request a Program Extension. Please email intaff@saic.edu with the subject line “I-20 Program Extension” and an image of page 1 of your I-20 to request a program extension.

How do I apply for OPT (I am currently in the U.S.)?

Please complete the online OPT workshop and the OPT Document Upload Course in Canvas. If you need access to either of these courses, please email intaff@saic.edu. When you have finished uploading your documents, please email intaff@saic.edu. We will then set up a phone or video appointment with an international advisor to review your paperwork. The advisor will issue a new I-20 for you and provide you with instructions for how to prepare and ship your application to the USCIS.

How do I apply for OPT (I have left the country)?

Right now, we recommend all OPT applications be sent from the U.S. There is some additional risk in applying for OPT outside of the U.S., but we are hopeful the government will approve these requests.
To apply for OPT while you are outside of the U.S., please complete the online OPT workshop and the OPT Document Upload Course in Canvas. If you need access to either of these courses, please email intaff@saic.edu. When you have finished uploading your documents, please email intaff@saic.edu. We will then set up a phone or video appointment with an international advisor to review your paperwork. The International Affairs advisor will then assist you in preparing and mailing your OPT application.

Is Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) still open and available?

All Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) services and resources are available to you virtually! CAPX career advisors are available to meet with you by phone or on Google Meet to discuss your career options, offer advice on resumes, cover letters, portfolios, websites, and your internship and job search in the U.S. and abroad. Career advisors can help you explore postgraduate opportunities including residencies, grants and fellowships, and graduate school. Schedule virtual individual career advising appointments with CAPX advisors on Handshake. You can also meet with a career advisor during drop-in hours, which are Monday through Thursday from 12:00PM to 1:00PM - access drop-in hours on Handshake under events. In addition to meeting with an advisor, the Handshake resource page contains valuable career advice and is accessible 24/7. CAPX offers a wide range of virtual career programming including Expert Exchange and the annual SAIC Internship and Job Expo. Go to Handshake to register for all CAPX events and apply for on campus student jobs, internships, and off campus jobs. For more information, go to the CAPX website or contact CAPX at careers@saic.edu.

How do I schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor about my questions?

Please email all questions to intaff@saic.edu. If we are unable to answer your question over email or you prefer to speak with an advisor, we can set up a phone or video appointment.

I left you a voicemail - did you receive it?

At this time the best way to reach an International Affairs advisor is through emailing intaff@saic.edu. Please email intaff@saic.edu so we can advise you over email or set up a phone appointment if needed. We appreciate your patience. As always, if you are experiencing an emergency, please contact Campus Security at 312-899-1230.

How do I apply for CPT and get a CPT I-20?

An I-20 authorized for CPT (Curricular Practical Training) is necessary for you to work at any off-campus internships. If you are interested in participating in an internship off-campus, please work with CAPX to set up your internship for SAIC credit. After CAPX approves the internship, they will send paperwork to International Affairs. An International Affairs advisor will create your new CPT I-20 and then ship it to you. DO NOT start any work off-campus until you have received a CPT authorized I-20. Only work during the CPT dates authorized on your I-20.

I will be returning from a Leave of Absence this summer or fall, how do I get a new I-20?

Please email intaff@saic.edu to start this process. We will send you the documents we need from you to create your new I-20. We will also be able to advise you on if you will need to apply for a new F-1 visa to return to SAIC.  To begin this process contact Academic Advising (studenthelp@saic.edu) to be academically reinstated. We will not be able to issue your I-20 until after you have been reinstated by Academic Advising.

I departed the U.S. in spring 2020 to complete the spring semester online and have now been outside the U.S. for more than five months, what is your advice to me?

On August 7, 2020 SEVP released guidance below:

If an Active F student is outside the United States, their SEVIS record can remain in Active status and not be terminated. While the temporary measures related to COVID-19 are in place, students are deemed to be maintaining status if they are making normal progress in their course of study. For that reason, the five-month temporary absence provision addressed in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(4) will not apply for students who remain in Active status. 

SEVP will allow F and M students to temporarily count online classes toward a full course of study in excess of the limits stated in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G) and 8 CFR 214.2(m)(9)(v), even if they are outside the United States and are taking the online classes elsewhere. This temporary provision is only in effect due to COVID-19 and only for schools that comply with the requirement to notify SEVP of any procedural changes within 10 business days.

If you were enrolled at SAIC during the spring 2020 term and departed the U.S. to complete the spring 2020 term outside the U.S., have remained outside the U.S. for a period of time of more than five months, and you plan to return to the U.S. to resume classes for the fall 2021 term, please download and print the letter below and hand-carry it with your immigration documents.
Our office advises when you enter the U.S., present the Customs and Border Protection officer your passport with an unexpired F-1 visa and your I-20 (signed for travel within 12 months). If you are asked about being outside the U.S. for more than five months, please show the letter to the Customs and Border Protection officer.


My mail for my OPT application or SSN card has been sent to the office - have you received it?

Our office will monitor mail sent to SAIC twice a week. All OPT EAD cards and SSN cards received will be mailed to you at your home address via DHL or FedEx unless you arrange a time to pick it up in-person at our office. All OPT receipt notices will be scanned and emailed to you so you have a copy. You will be able to pick up the original document when the office fully reopens.