International students at Stony Brook University will be able to remain in the United States to complete their coursework, according to a March 11 email from Stony Brook University Visa and Immigration Services.
The announcement comes after the university announced that it would be moving online in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) understands that institutions need to adapt their policies and procedures to address the public health concerns associated with COVID-19, and therefore have afforded us the ability to offer classes in alternative formats until further notice,” the email read.
The office is strongly encouraging students to stay in the United States “due to the potential risks and challenges related to reentry.” President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday night that all travel from Europe to the U.S. would be suspended for 30 days.
Students who leave the country for the remainder of the semester are still expected to participate in online coursework, and must log into accessVIS to complete a form ending their visa status, where they are required to include their flight number and date of departure.
The visa would then be “terminated for ‘authorized early withdrawal.’” Students who go this route might be required to apply for a new F-1 visa to return to Stony Brook campus.
Visa and Immigration Services advised graduating international students who want to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows up to one year of work in the U.S. after graduation, to not leave the country since federal immigration services require applicants to be in the United States when they apply.
“Departure from the U.S. while your request is pending with USCIS [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] is risky and should be undertaken with caution,” the email wrote.
Students were advised to contact [email protected] with any questions.