ISSS Frequently Asked Questions

This page was last updated with current information as of June 15, 2022.

Binghamton University plans to continue in-person instruction for the fall 2022 semester. Students should plan to take their classes primarily in person at the Binghamton University campus. 

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has indicated that the guidance from March 2020 will remain in place through the 2022-2023 academic year. Continuing students who were in valid F-1 status as of March 9, 2020 may maintain status by taking all of their classes online if necessary and if courses are available to meet academic requirements. Students whose F-1 status started after March 9, 2020 must enroll in at least one hybrid or in-person course that counts toward their full-time requirements. Students who wish to take advantage of this flexibility must consult with their academic advisors to ensure that they will be meeting academic requirements for their program. 

Students can use the chart below to determine whether or not they are required to take an in-person or hybrid course in the fall 2022 semester. Additional details are provided in the Updated Guidance from SEVP section of this page. 

Fall 2022 registration flowchart

Sections:

Updated Guidance from SEVP

  • What is the current guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)?

    The current guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program includes flexibility for F-1 international students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This flexibility has been extended through the 2022-2023 academic year. In brief, this guidance allows for the following:

    • F-1 students who were in Active SEVIS status as of March 9, 2020, may choose to take all of their courses online if that is most appropriate for their circumstances. Students in this group may take courses in the U.S. or outside the U.S. This guidance also applies to students who were active in SEVIS on March 9, 2020 and transferred from another school.
    • Students who began their F-1 status after March 9, 2020 must take at least one hybrid or in-person course that counts toward their full-time enrollment requirement. 
    • Students who began their studies outside the U.S. and will be coming to the U.S. for the first time for fall 2022 must take at least one hybrid or in-person course that counts toward their full-time enrollment requirement.
    • New students who are outside the U.S. may not enter the U.S. if they will be taking all of their courses online. New international students who wish to come to the U.S. must take at least one hybrid or in-person course that counts toward their full-time enrollment requirement. New students who wish to take all of their courses online must consult with their department to see if this is possible and must remain outside the U.S. for the fall 2022 semester.

    Note: Binghamton University plans to continue in-person instruction for the fall 2022 semester. The continued flexibility from SEVP will provide additional options for students who are not able to be on campus full-time, where appropriate and in consultation with a student’s academic advisor. 

    For more information, visit the International Student and Scholar Services website.

  • Can an international student take a full online course load from within the United States?

    The most recent guidance from SEVP confirms that F-1 international students who were in Active SEVIS status on March 9, 2020 may take all online courses within the United States and maintain their F-1 status as long as they maintain a full-time course load. If you plan to take all of your fall 2022 coursework online, you must first discuss this plan with your academic advisor to ensure that you will be meeting academic requirements for your program. Binghamton University plans to continue in-person instruction for the fall 2022 semester.  

    This flexibility does not apply to students whose SEVIS status started after March 9, 2020. Students who started a new SEVIS program during after March 9, 2020 are required to register for at least one in-person or hybrid course as part of their full-time courseload. 

    F-1 students with an initial status record who are currently outside the United States will not be able to come to the U.S. in the fall 2022 semester if they are taking 100% online courses.

  • Am I able to enroll in 100% online courses from outside the U.S.?

    The most recent guidance from SEVP confirms that F-1 international students who were in Active SEVIS status on March 9, 2020 may take all online courses outside the United States and maintain their F-1 status as long as they maintain a full-time course load. If you plan to take all of your fall 2022 coursework online, you must first discuss this plan with your academic advisor to ensure that you will be meeting academic requirements for your program. Binghamton University plans to continue in-person instruction for the spring fall semester.

    If you plan to take all of your fall 2022 coursework online from outside the United States, you must complete the Continuing Student Outside the U.S. form at the start of the fall 2022 semester. ISSS will use this information to update your SEVIS record to confirm that you are maintaining your F-1 or J-1 status outside the U.S. 

    F-1 students whose SEVIS status started after March 9, 2020 are required to register for at least one in-person or hybrid course as part of their full-time courseload. Students in this group cannot maintain F-1 status by taking online classes from outside the United States.

  • I am an international student scheduled to start my studies at Binghamton University in fall 2022. What are my options for fall 2022?

    An additional complication (separate from this policy) is related to the fact that many U.S. embassies and consulates are still closed or have extreme delays in scheduling visa appointments. If newly admitted students are unable to obtain their visa and arrive in the U.S. by the start of the semester, they are encouraged to discuss with their academic advisors and explore if online course options, to be taken from abroad, are available for the fall 2022 semester. Binghamton University plans to continue in-person instruction for the fall 2022 semester, so online course options may be limited.

    New international students who are able to secure a visa and arrive in time for the start of the fall 2022 semester must register for a full-time course load, including at least one in-person or hybrid course for the fall semester.

  • Will Binghamton University offer courses that allow me to maintain my F-1 or J-1 status?

    Binghamton University plans to continue full in-person instruction for the fall 2022 semester. The University will make every effort to work with our international students to ensure that they can enroll in classes that maintain their immigration status and meet their academic needs.

  • What courses are considered to be “in person” or “hybrid”?

    Courses at Binghamton University are being coded as in person or hybrid, based on their modes of delivery. Additional courses that continue to be considered in-person courses (in that they are unchanged by this new guidance) include thesis, pre-dissertation, dissertation, final project, independent study and internship.

  • What if Binghamton University transitions back to 100% online course delivery mid-semester?

    Based on the most recent SEVP guidance, if Binghamton University transitions to 100% online course delivery mid-semester, students who are already in the United States and maintaining their status will be able to continue in their courses without disruption to their immigration status.

  • Will my credits taken online count toward my degree requirements?

    Yes. Credits taken online will count toward your degree requirements regardless of whether they are taken in your home country or in the United States.

  • I am transferring my SEVIS record to Binghamton University from another school. Can I take all of my classes online and maintain my F-1 status?

    If you were in valid F-1 status with an active SEVIS record (I-20) on March 9, 2020 AND you are in the United States at the start of the fall 2022 semester, you can maintain your status as long as you enroll full time. You may take all online courses or a combination of online and in-person/hybrid courses.

    If you transferred your SEVIS record and will be outside the U.S. at the start of the fall 2022 semester, you are eligible to enroll in online courses if your academic program offers them and your academic advisor approves. ISSS will need to work with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to request a deferral of the start date on your new I-20. We will need additional information about your travel plans in order to request that deferral.  If SEVP does not approve this deferral of your start date, we would then need to issue a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID for the semester in which you plan to begin your in-person classes. Because that would be a new SEVIS ID, you would need to pay a new SEVIS fee, and you would need to be in the U.S. as a full-time student for at least two semesters on that new I-20 before you could be eligible for any CPT or OPT authorization.

Travel

  • Do I need a COVID-19 test to enter the United States?

    As of June 12, 2022, a negative COVID-19 test result is no longer necessary to enter the U.S. 

  • Do I need a COVID-19 vaccine to enter the United States? 

    All non-immigrants traveling to the U.S. must show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers will need to show documentation of full vaccination with a WHO-approved vaccine. Additional details about travel to the U.S. and the vaccination requirement are available on the CDC website. 

    Exceptions to this requirement are only available in very limited circumstances. Students who have received a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement at Binghamton University may not qualify for an exception under the CDC requirements and should review the exceptions information on the CDC website. 

  • What are the quarantine requirements when I arrive in Binghamton?

    Quarantine requirements are subject to change. Students and scholars should review the CDC International Travel page for the most updated guidance. 

    New York state and the CDC currently do not require quarantine after international travel, but there are situations where quarantine is recommended. 

    • Fully vaccinated individuals who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months are recommended to get tested 3-5 days after arrival in New York from international travel.
    • All unvaccinated international travelers who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months are recommended to quarantine for 5 days after travel and get tested 3-5 days after arrival in New York. 
  • How can I get a new travel signature?
    If you are planning to travel outside the United States, you should carefully review any travel restrictions currently in place and be aware that restrictions could change rapidly. When leaving, be sure that you carry your required immigration documents (passport, visa and I-20 or DS-2019). If your travel signature will expire before you plan to return to the U.S., you can bring your most recent I-20 and passport to the ISSS office to request a travel signature. If you are not able to visit the ISSS office in person, you can request an I-20 reprint online one to two months before you plan to return to the U.S. 
  • I’m leaving the U.S. What documents should I take with me?
    You should travel with your passport, visa and original I-20 or DS-2019. Be sure to keep these documents in your carry-on luggage.
  • I’m planning to go home. Will I be able to return to the U.S.?
    International Student and Scholar Services recommends that you use caution when planning travel outside the U.S. at this time. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. The U.S. Embassies and Consulates in many countries have not yet resumed routine visa processing. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.
  • I am outside the U.S. and need to renew my visa before I can return to the U.S. What should I do?

    Students should monitor the website for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for any updates regarding visa appointment availability.

    We have created a letter of support confirming that Binghamton University will be offering in-person courses for the fall 2022 semester. We encourage students who are applying for a new visa to print a copy of this letter and bring it to their visa appointment.

    Note: If you are currently in the United States and your visa has expired, you do not need to take any action. You can remain in the U.S. with an expired visa and apply for a new visa on a future trip.

  • I received an electronic I-20. Will I be able to use this I-20 to apply for a visa and enter the U.S.?

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has approved the use of electronic I-20s. If you received an electronic I-20 from ISSS, it is valid for the same period of time as an original hard copy I-20. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program has coordinated with the Department of State and Customs and Border Protection, and both agencies have confirmed their support for electronic I-20s.

    You will need to print your electronic I-20 and sign it. We recommend that you print a copy of this letter of explanation and keep it with your I-20. Note: The electronic I-20 serves as a valid document for the purpose of applying for your visa and entering the U.S.

  • I want to travel to Canada or Mexico. Is that allowed?

    Effective November, 8, 2021, restrictions are lifted for fully vaccinated travelers for travel to and from Canada and Mexico through land ports of entry. Additional details are available on this DHS Fact Sheet. Travelers from Canada or Mexico entering the U.S. by air are subject to vaccination and testing requirements.

    If you wish to travel to Canada or Mexico through a land port of entry, you must also review information from the Canadian or Mexican government to confirm whether or not you are eligible and ensure that you meet any visa requirements to enter that country. You must also be sure to carry your valid passport, F-1 or J-1 visa, and I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature. If you have additional questions about travel, speak with an ISSS advisor about your specific situation. 

New Students

  • What is the start date for the fall 2022 semester?

    International Student Orientation will be held August 16-17, 2022. All new international students are required to attend orientation and should plan to arrive in Binghamton before that date. Classes will begin on August 23, 2022.

  • Do I need a COVID-19 test to enter the United States?

    As of June 12, 2022, a negative COVID-19 test result is no longer necessary to enter the U.S. 

  • Do I need a COVID-19 vaccine to enter the United States?

    All non-immigrants traveling to the U.S. must show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers will need to show documentation of full vaccination with a WHO-approved vaccine. Additional details about travel to the U.S. and the vaccination requirement are available on the CDC website. 

    Exceptions to this requirement are only available in very limited circumstances. Students who have received a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement at Binghamton University may not qualify for an exception under the CDC requirements and should review the exceptions information on the CDC website. 

  • What are the quarantine requirements when I arrive in Binghamton?

    Quarantine requirements are subject to change. Students and scholars should review the CDC International Travel page for the most updated guidance. 

    New York state and the CDC currently do not require quarantine after international travel, but there are situations where quarantine is recommended. 

    • Fully vaccinated individuals who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months are recommended to get tested 3-5 days after arrival in New York from international travel.
    • All unvaccinated international travelers who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months are recommended to quarantine for 5 days after travel and get tested 3-5 days after arrival in New York.
  • I received an electronic I-20. Will I be able to use this I-20 to apply for a visa and enter the U.S.?

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has approved the use of electronic I-20s. If you received an electronic I-20 from ISSS, it is valid for the same period of time as an original hard copy I-20. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program has coordinated with the Department of State and Customs and Border Protection, and both agencies have confirmed their support for electronic I-20s.

    You will need to print your electronic I-20 and sign it. We recommend that you print a copy of this letter of explanation and keep it with your I-20. Note: The electronic I-20 serves as a valid document for the purpose of applying for your visa and entering the U.S. 

    We have also created a letter of support confirming that Binghamton University will be offering in-person  courses for the fall 2022 semester. We encourage students who are applying for a new visa to print a copy of this letter and bring it to their visa appointment.

J-1 Scholars