F-1 News

F-1 News

Dear International Students,

Due to COVID-19, the International Center has been operating remotely and we are doing our best to maintain student services during this time. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. All staff contact information remains the same and can be accessed at the Meet Our Staff webpage on our website. You can also always email us at RowanIC@rowan.edu.


For Fall 2020:

The International Center at Rowan University would like to clarify the new information released by SEVP on July 6, 2020, related to international students for the Fall 2020 semester.

As detailed on the webpage Return to Rowan, classes at Rowan, for Fall 2020 will be in-person, online, and hybrid sessions. As a result, international students at Rowan don’t have to worry about departing the US.

For any questions or concerns, please email rowanic@rowan.edu.



For Spring and Summer 2020:

Please find below answers to your frequently asked immigration related questions:           

If I choose to travel home and complete the spring term remotely, will my International Advisor cancel my Forms I-20 since I will be taking classes outside of the United States? If my SEVIS record remain in Active status, will I be subject to the five-month rule?

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 will not apply for students who remain in Active status.

SEVP will allow F students to temporarily count online classes toward a full course of study, even if they have left the United States and are taking the online classes elsewhere. This temporary provision is only in effect due to COVID-19.

What is the best decision for me to do under the current situation? Should I go back to my home country or should I stay in the US?

We want all students who have not departed the U.S. to know that it is entirely your decision whether you decide to return home or not. You are allowed to stay in the U.S. and continue your coursework online and you are also allowed to depart and continue your coursework online in your home country. It’s up to you. Unfortunately, no one knows exactly how this situation will continue to develop; there may be increased travel restrictions in the future that could impact your ability to travel internationally. You should make sure to check the Department of State and CDC websites as well as your home country government’s websites for the most up-to-date information on travel policies and the coronavirus when deciding what decision is right for you.

If you decide to travel back to your home country, please send us an email letting us know and confirming that you are willing to continue to study remotely until the end of the semester. Make sure that you have a functional laptop with a camera and good internet connection in your country to be able to continue your studies remotely. All students will still be considered to be maintaining their F-1 status as long as they continue all of their remote coursework throughout the rest of the semester.

If you decide to stay in the US and change your physical address, please send the International Center an email , within 10 days, with the new address. Also please make sure you update your Rowan Banner with the new address.

Can I still get a travel signature during the COVID-19 situation?

Yes. Please email najjar@rowan.edu or call 856-256-5747

Where can I find guidance distributed by SEVP in response to COVID-19?

All COVID-19 guidance for SEVP is located at ICE.gov/COVID19. Stakeholders should regularly visit this page for the latest guidance and frequently asked questions from SEVP.

Additionally, SEVP regularly shares updates and resources from government partners—including the Department of State and CDC—through our social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Can I still apply for OPT if I finish all the requirements of my degree by the end of May 2020?

You can apply for OPT up to 90 days before your program completion date and up to 60 days after. For any employment questions ( On-Campus, Practical Training, Hardship Employment) please email najjar@rowan.edu or call 856-256-5747


The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has issued the following guidance to stakeholders:



Executive Order Travel Ban

Travel Ban 3.0 is currently in effect. On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued Proclamation 9645 (Travel Ban 3.0) pursuant to Section 2(e) of Executive Order 13780. Travel Ban 3.0 is currently in effect, and limits entry to the United States by certain citizens of seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. An eighth country, Chad, was removed from this list effective April 10, 2018. The Travel Ban 3.0 restrictions on the remaining seven countries are country-specific, and tailored to the situation of each individual country. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Travel Ban 3.0 on June 26, 2018.For more information check NAFSA resources.

Unlawful Presence

Effective August 9, 2018, USCIS made fundamental changes to its policy on how an immigration status violation might lead to a finding that an F, M, or J nonimmigrant should be subject to the 3- or 10-year reentry bar provisions of INA 212(a)(9)(B). Under the new policy, USCIS will start counting days of unlawful presence the day after an F, M, or J status violation occurs, unless the student applies for reinstatement or the student or exchange visitor is covered by some other exception to the unlawful presence counting rules. Prior policy did not count unlawful presence until a USCIS official or immigration judge made a formal finding of a status violation.

Please read all the details about the Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants on Nafsa website