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COVID-19 FAQs for International Students

How do I speak to an International Student Advisor?

Beginning August 3, 2020 our office will be open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but the majority of the International Student Advisors will still be working from home. Instead of coming into the office, we ask that you continue to email your questions to iss@wichita.edu. You can also call our office at 316-978-3232 to speak with an International Student during call-in advising hours, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Can I come to your office and speak to an advisor during walk-in hours?

Since the majority of the International Student Advisors will still be working from home, we ask that you continue to email your questions to iss@wichita.edu instead of coming into the office. You can also call our office at 316-978-3232 to speak with an International Student during call-in advising hours, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

I need a travel signature. What should I do?

Please check the date of your last travel signature (page 2 of the I-20). As noted in the Travel Endorsement section of the Form I-20, "Each endorsement is valid for one year." If the signature will be more than one year old at the time of your planned reentry, you have the following options:

1) Bring your current I-20 to the Garvey International Center for a travel signature, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2) Email iss@wichita.edu to request a new I-20 and specify if you prefer to have a paper I-20 mailed to you or a scanned copy sent to your WSU email address. Be sure to include your complete postal mailing address if you want the original I-20 mailed to you, and plan ahead to allow for 3 to 4 business days for mail time. Keep in mind that if we send you a scanned copy, you must have access to a printer to be able to print the I-20 and store it with your passport like normal.

I need to submit something. How should I do that?

Scan whatever you need to submit and email it to iss@wichita.edu.  Alternatively, you can submit documents in-person at the Garvey International Center during our office hours beginning August 3, 2020, Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I need to pick something up. What should I do?

Beginning August 3, 2020, the Garvey International Center will be open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

I have a personal or financial matter to discuss. What should I do?

If you need to discuss something that is NOT related to your immigration status, visa, I-20, or employment authorization, please contact Ms. Tonya Baldwin at tonya.baldwin@wichita.edu or call (316) 978-6037. To minimize your potential risk, Tonya will not be staffing the Info Table in the RSC for the next few weeks.

I need an application packet for a friend or I have an admissions-related question?

Email your question to international@wichita.edu. If you would like a staff member to call you back instead of responding by email, please include your telephone number in your message.

I am thinking about traveling within the U.S. for a vacation. Is that a problem?

Due to continued uncertainty over COVID-19, we are discouraging domestic travel at this time. If you must travel, we recommend that you monitor the outbreak conditions in the city where you plan to visit.  KDHE has issued a mandatory 14-day self quarantine for anyone returning from certain areas of the U.S.  Please visit KDHE for the latest guidance.

I need to apply for OPT.  What should I do?
In an effort to maintain social distancing, we are not currently scheduling in-person OPT appointments.  The Office of International Education has made updates to the OPT tutorial to include instructions about how to prepare your OPT application packet without meeting in-person with an International Student Advisor.
I’ve heard the USCIS is allowing F-1 students to work off-campus due to COVID-19. Is that true?

Despite rumors circulating on the internet, USCIS has not made any special employment provisions for F-1 students due to COVID-19. 

As always, F-1 students experiencing a temporary and unforeseeable hardship may apply for off-campus employment authorization from USCIS. The application involves submitting a Form I-765 with $410 filing fee and extensive supporting documentation to demonstrate the hardship. It normally takes several months for this type of application to be processed by USCIS, and processing times will likely increase due to the anticipated increase in the volume of applications. If approved for economic hardship authorization, a student is granted an Employment Authorization Document which will allow them to work off-campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. The authorization is valid for one year, though it becomes invalid if a student completes their program of study, transfers to another school, or violates their F-1 status.

Please visit our SEH Tutorial for more information about the off-campus work authorization application process.

As always, the Office of International Education will notify students if USCIS makes any new announcements affecting F-1 students.