Office for International Services COVID-19 Updates
Director’s Notice to the Fordham International Community
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Dear International Community,
Happy New Year! Year of the Ox! I hope this note finds you healthy, safe and strong.
As of this date, DHS has not yet issued any new guidance for the Spring 2021 term – as a matter of fact, DHS has not issued new guidance since Summer 2020.
Below, I will address seven distinct audiences:
- Active students returning to the United States for studies or experiential work;
- Active students pursuing studies from abroad;
- New students beginning studies with Fordham in the United States;
- New students beginning studies with Fordham from abroad;
- Those who planned to begin studies with Fordham in Spring 2021, but decided to defer admission to the Fall 2021;
- Those who decided to take a gap year (or Term) or an Academic Leave of Absence
- Those with OPT issues – Pending or Approved
Current Students - in the United States
(retained an ACTIVE SEVIS status since Spring, Summer or Fall 2020)
If you are currently in the United States, you only need to register for courses. Your course load may be comprised of: in-person, hybrid or virtual courses (or any combination of these categories). Please remain mindful of the completion date reflected on your current I-20.
Current Students as Described Above - outside the United States
If you are abroad and plan to remain abroad during the Spring 2021 as you pursue a full time online program, simply contact us when you are ready to return to the United States for the Fall 2021 term. Your SEVIS status will remain ACTIVE through the Spring 2021 term.
Initial/New Students - coming to the United States
(newly entering the US in Spring 2021 term, never retained an active SEVIS record in Fall 2020)
The most important issue for your immediate attention is for you to check in online with OIS here. Please ensure that you are enrolled in at least one in person or hybrid course. If you still plan to begin classes within the United States but are having challenges obtaining a visa and/or flight arrangements, please keep close and constant contact with OIS and your Class Dean, Program Officer, Chair or Academic Mentor.
Initial/New Students – studying from abroad
For those students beginning the academic career with Fordham University from abroad, your F1 status will begin when you enter the United States. If you have already received an F1 visa using your “Spring I-20,” that F1 visa will remain valid when you enter the United States. for Fall 2021 studies. OIS will be required to update your SEVIS record prior to arrival in the United States for the Fall 2021 term and will issue a new I-20 to you. If you did not obtain an F1 visa, contact OIS so that we could re-issue a Fall 2021 I-20 for you.
Deferring Admission to Fall 2021
Those who have decided to defer admission to Fall 2021, ensure that you have notified and received confirmation for this change from your respective Fordham University Admissions Office.
Pursuing a Gap Year (or Term) or an Academic Leave of Absence
If you are an ACTIVE student, but have chosen to take an Academic Leave of Absence for the Spring 2021 term, please contact the appropriate Dean at your specific school within Fordham University.
Notify OIS if and when you receive your ALOA.
Those who are completing studies in May or in the summer, plan to apply for OPT BUT ARE AND WILL BE ABROAD or plan to return during the Spring 2021 term – contact OIS for specific advice.
If you are abroad under OPT pending or approved and you did not receive guidance from OIS upon your departure, please contact OIS if you plan to return to the US.
Those who submitted in OPT applications in November and later – and are concerned about not receiving tracking numbers, or USCIS did not “cash your check” – please look for the January 28, 2021 Director’s Notice/Update on the Fordham OIS website, or contact OIS.
These two emails were recently sent by Student Affairs on this topic:
- Information about Mandatory NY State Travel Quarantine - sent Saturday, 1/16/2021 to all students
- Important Information for New Students - sent Sunday, 1/17/2021 to students admitted for Spring 2021 in all schools
The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remind all travelers that as of January 26, all air passengers two years of age or older arriving in the United States must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding. This order applies to both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens. For more information about the testing requirement, visit: Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States | CDC. You may also check with your Embassy in the US, or the US Embassy in your respective country for additional information.
Several people have asked if the Schengen, UK, and Ireland exceptions will continue. We have received confirmation from the Department of State here that the “National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland” remain in place and will continue.
DOS is also posting updates concerning relevant executive orders and proclamations here.
OIS will continue to work remotely for the near term while monitoring your need for in-person assistance. The Office has an electronic process for you to request individual advisement sessions through Zoom or telephonically. In-person appointments will be available upon request. Requests for in-person service should be made well in advance. Given the requirements dictated by the public health crisis, unscheduled walk-in appointments will not be available and preference is for advisement appointments to take place via Zoom or by phone.
If I have not specifically addressed your situation, please do not hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). You may reach other members of the OIS team at our personal email address or through our general office email of email@example.com. We are here to serve you. Welcome back!
Salvatore C. Longarino
Office for International Services