International Affairs

Int Affairs

SAIC is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak. Spring Break has been extended and remote classes begin April 6. Campus is closed to non-essential operations. International Affairs is NOT suspending services and will continue to be available remotely via email, telephone, and via online appointments to support all students. We will be updating our website regularily with additional information. To contact International Student Services, please email To contact Study Abroad please email

SAIC’s campus has transitioned to remote work in order to protect our campus community from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

International Affairs staff are still here to assist you with questions about your immigration status. We realize this is a trying time, and we are here to help. Below please find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. If you review this information and still have concerns or questions, please email so we can assist you.

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

Lawrence Rodriguez, Director, International Affairs
Jessica Wolfe, Assistant Director, International Student Services
Jennifer Dentel, International Student Advisor
Victoria McAllister, International Student Advisor and SEVIS Analyst
Leslie Rutt, International Student Advisor and SEVIS Analyst


Fall Semester Campus and Travel Updates (6/22/2020)

On 6/22/2020 International Affairs sent an email to all international students with important updates regarding the Fall 2020 semester. The text of the email can be found here: 

Take the international student travel survey here 

Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 4/17/2020)

Please note that we continue to monitor the government agencies that provide oversight to international students in the U.S., and we will notify you of any changes that may impact how you manage and maintain your status. We will continue updating this page with additional information as it becomes available. If you have additional questions, please email and an advisor will reach out to you as soon as they are able.

Immigration Status

Your immigration status will not be impacted by the academic changes made this term. International students who remain enrolled full-time and complete their spring term coursework online will continue to maintain their F-1 student immigration status.

How do I request an I-20 travel signature?

An online process was launched last month, allowing students to request travel signatures. Students should look on page 2 of their I-20 in the “Travel Endorsement” box and identify the date of their last travel signature. Travel signatures are valid for reentry up to 12 months after the signature date for current degree-seeking students. Travel signatures for students on OPT are valid for six months. If your planned reentry to the U.S. will be greater than the validity identified, please click here to request a new travel signature. A new I-20 with a valid travel signature will be sent to you via courier.

Has there been any changes or exceptions to full-time enrollment for international students due to the recent impacts of Covid-19?

The federal government’s Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has advised that students must remain enrolled full-time to maintain their F-1 status. Students completing the spring 2020 semester outside of the U.S. must also remain enrolled full-time to maintain their status.

When is the withdrawal deadline and what do I need to consider?

SAIC has extended the withdrawal deadline to April 30, 2020. International students may request a withdrawal from a course through April 30 but are required to remain enrolled full-time

Can I request a Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization?

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

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 reflects a program end date of May 2020 and you will not complete all degree courses this spring, you must request a Program Extension. Please email 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 When you have finished uploading your documents, please email We will then set up a phone or video appointment with an international advisor to review your paperwork. The advisor will then ship you an updated I-20 and mailing instructions. You will then need to mail your completed OPT application package to the U.S. government. 

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 When you have finished uploading your documents, please email We will then set up a phone or video appointment with an international advisor to review your paperwork. As part of your application, you will be required to mail a page of the application that requires an original signature to International Affairs. The international advisor will then ship you an updated I-20 with the recommendation for OPT. You will need to sign your I-20 and email a scan to the International Affairs advisor. The International Affairs advisor will then assist you in mailing your OPT application from inside the U.S. 

Can I change my OPT start date or is USCIS offering extensions to deadlines?

Please note that OPT applications are processed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and not by International Affairs. USCIS has not announced any extensions to application deadlines or start dates. Any changes announced will be communicated to students as the information becomes available. 

Students who have applied for OPT cannot request a change to their original OPT application start date once it is received by USCIS. Students who wish to change their start date must submit a notification to withdraw the original application to USCIS and subsequently submit a separate application and $410 fee. This process will delay overall processing time and students may be subject to later approval dates and the loss of days of OPT. Currently, the latest start date a student can request is 60 days after their program end date (for May graduates, this is July 9).

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 hangouts 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 career advising appointments with CAPX advisors on Handshake. In addition to meeting with a career advisor, the Handshake resource page contains valuable career advice and is accessible 24/7. Go to the CAPX website for more information and for FAQs.

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

Please email all questions to 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 Please email 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 this summer, 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. Please be sure to wait to start any work off-campus until after you have a new I-20. Please also be sure to only work during the dates listed 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 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 F1 visa to return to SAIC. Please be sure to also contact Academic Advising ( to be academically reinstated. We will not be able to issue your I-20 until after you have been reinstated by Academic Advising.

I am departing the U.S. to complete the spring semester online and am unsure if I will be able to return within five months, what is your advice to me?

On March 23, SEVP released guidance below:

Under current conditions, if an active F student leaves the United States to complete the spring term online, their SEVIS record should remain in Active status and not be terminated. While the temporary measures related to COVID-19 are in place, students 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.

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 2020 term, please download and print the letter below and hand-carry it 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, please show the letter to the Customs and Border Protection officer.


Is SAIC having commencement this spring?

Please check Campus Life’s website for the most up to date information about commencement at

How do I extend my I-20?

If your I-20 will expire in May 2020, please email We can send you the program extension paperwork and work with you to help extend your I-20 to complete your SAIC degree.

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

 At this time International Affairs staff is updating our processes in order to transition to remote work. Our office will monitor the mail and be checking at least once per week. All OPT EAD cards and SSN cards received will be mailed to you at your home address via DHL. 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 once the office has reopened.

I need to file my taxes, what is the tax deadline?

The IRS has extended the tax deadline to July 15, 2020. You have until July 15, 2020 to complete and file your taxes. If you have departed the U.S. you will need to sign and mail your taxes to the IRS. Please refer to the email you received from our office in February 2020 for information on how to access the Sprintax software and for instructions on how to complete your taxes.

International Affairs

International Affairs represents the offices of International Student Services and Study Abroad/Off-Campus, working with the school community to offer the strongest possible complement of programs and services to the SAIC academic experience.

Our mission is to serve and address the needs of our international population, thereby creating a school climate which welcomes and respects cultural diversity and prepares our students for effective participation in global citizenship.

Spring 2020 OPT Workshops

All students who wish to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) this spring or summer must complete an OPT workshop online or in-person. To register for the OPT online Canvas workshop please email, providing your name and SAIC ID number. To complete the in-person workshop, please refer to the dates and times listed below. The workshop is only available to students in their final semester. 

Spring 2020 In-Person OPT Workshop Dates

Evening Workshop - Must be completing SAIC degree in Spring 2020 or Summer 2020 to attend.

Date: January 28
Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
Location: Sharp 327

Tuesday In-Person Workshops: 

Meet in the Sullivan Center 12th floor lobby. All workshops begin at 12:10 p.m. Students arriving after 12:15 will need to take the workshop another day or sign up for the online Canvas class workshop.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 Canceled
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 Canceled