GENERAL GUIDANCE

Q: How can I request support for updating my SEVIS record or requesting an immigration benefit like OPT or CPT from OIE?

A: Please utilize the iStart portal at istart.gatech.edu to submit any requests and visit our website for advising options.

Q: How can I learn more about institutional announcements regarding COVID-19?

A: You can stay up-to-date with all of the latest institutional announcements on COVID-19 shared here: http://health.gatech.edu/coronavirus.

Q: How will I receive copies of my I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility during this time?

A: OIE advisers are continuing to process all benefit requests and updates at this time. As of June 28, 2021, the Office of International Education (OIE) will discontinue the issuance of paper I-20 forms to students and will instead issue digitally-signed electronic I-20 forms. More information about this process can be found on our website: https://isss.oie.gatech.edu/isss/digitally-signed-i-20-form-guidance. DS-2019 Forms are continued to be issued as paper documents based on guidance from the Department of State. Once the DS-2019 form is issued, you will receive instructions on how to request the DS-2019 form.

Q: How can I receive a travel signature?

A: Student and scholar visa holders can submit a request for a travel signature via iStart and an OIE will issue the travel signature on your document electronically. As of June 28, 2021, the Office of International Education (OIE) will discontinue the issuance of paper I-20 forms to students and will instead issue digitally-signed electronic I-20 forms. More information about this process can be found on our website: https://isss.oie.gatech.edu/isss/digitally-signed-i-20-form-guidance

Q: How can I meet with an OIE adviser during this time?

A: OIE is providing virtual advising services to support international students and scholars including virtual drop-in advising. Additional information such as the schedule and join information for the virtual advising can be found on our website: https://isss.oie.gatech.edu/content/isss-advising.  

Q: Will travel restrictions still be in place if I depart the U.S. for a temporary period and attempt to return later?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid situation. It is not possible for us to predict what travel restrictions may be in place over the course of the next several months. If you are interested in international travel during this time, please be aware of the following:

  • Travel disruptions and U.S. entry restrictions are expected to continue and could affect your ability to maintain your student or exchange visitor visa status if you are unable to return to the U.S. and enroll in a full course of study or pursue program objectives. We encourage you to carefully consider avoiding non-essential international travel during this worldwide health crisis. 
  • Graduate Research Assistants in China who are unable to return to the U.S. are encouraged to contact GT Shenzhen to learn more about options available at gtshenzhen@ece.gatech.edu.
  • If you have a flight booked, we also recommend you contact the airline you are flying on for more travel information.
  • If you are seeking legal advice concerning travel, please refer to this resource regarding immigration attorneys: https://oie.gatech.edu/sites/default/files/legal_consultation-updated_02.28.2020.pdf
  • We encourage all individuals traveling to the U.S. to review the guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information and consult with your airline with any questions in advance of your flight date. General travel information is available here. Students traveling during the pandemic are encouraged to review the COVID-19 FAQ below for more information about travel challenges and entry requirements.
  • Please find international student and scholar travel information here: https://oie.gatech.edu/content/travel-outside-us

Q: I am temporarily staying at a different address, though I am still maintaining my current address. Do I need to update OIE with this address?

A: Federal regulations require F-1 students to update their residential address within 10 days of a change. If you are temporarily relocating to a new residential address for a short period we recommend you update your SEVIS record with your temporary residential address to ensure compliance with federal requirements. You can update your address by completing the Personal Information Update in the iStart portal. 

Q: Am I eligible for the economic stimulus package as an F-1 or J-1 visa holder?

A: You can find additional guidance on tax residency status and eligibility from the IRS. Georgia Tech utilizes Glacier software to determine tax residency status and encourages you to use the software to verify your residency status. Please note that OIE is unable to provide tax guidance or support with tax residency information. Individuals who need additional support should speak with a qualified tax attorney.