Skip to main content

COVID-19 Update

As of March 23 all classes will be taught remotely through the remainder of the semester.

While faculty and staff continue to work remotely, only authorized personnel may access campus facilities. Read the full update.

You are here

FAQs for International Students

FAQ Pertaining to Both F-1 and J-1 International Students

    • A. Students can temporarily engage in distance-learning, either from within the U.S. or outside the country, in light of COVID-19. If you are emailing your professors for clarification on specific course questions, please include your advisor on the email:
      • • F-1 International Students: Maggie Shirland, International Student Advisor
      • • J-1 Exchange Students: Amy Holland, Study Abroad Advisor
    • A. The situation with COVID-19 is so extraordinary that SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) has provided guidance that they intend to be flexible with temporary adaptations to classes and presence in the U.S.  Provided international students can continue to make normal progress in a full course of study as required by federal regulations, students’ legal immigration status is not in jeopardy.
    • A. Students who continue to make normal progress in their course of study remain eligible for admission to the United States. However, because of the changing array of travel restrictions, nonimmigrant students should refer to their local embassy’s website through the U.S. Department of State for any updates about visa issuance. Also, DHS and CDC websites both provide information about current travel restrictions to the United States.
    • A. You will continue to get emails to your MassArt email account. You must check this account daily. It is associated with Gmail; if you have concerns about accessing this email account, please forward it to an account you can open from your home country.
    • A. During campus closures due to COVID-19, International Education Center staff are working remotely. They are able to advise via email or phone, and can set up meetings using Google Chat, Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, etc. during normal business hours.

FAQ Specific to F-1 International Students

    • A. You do not need to have an I-20 and travel signature to return home. You only need it to return to the US. Please ensure you bring your most recent I-20 with you. If you need a new travel signature on your current I-20, please follow up with me after you have returned to your home country. We will figure out a way to send you a new I-20 with an updated travel signature.
    • A. Yes. There is no mandate for international students to leave the U.S. You are welcome to stay. If you do, please be sure you are staying up-to-date on all of the local restrictions and requirements by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston.
    • A. OPT is a benefit you receive from having completed 2 or more consecutive semesters of full-time coursework in your field of study. It is applied for and adjudicated with the assumption that you will remain present in the United States. If you are returning home now because of the situation with the COVID-19 virus, I recommend you do not apply for OPT.

      However, we will continue to recommend students for OPT who meet the requirements to apply even if you decide to return home. We will help understand the risks of applying from another country or travel to another country while your application is being adjudicated. Please contact us directly for more specific advice regarding your particular situation.

FAQ Specific to J-1 International Students

    • A. Even though the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has provided an exception for the continuation of courses online, we are still obligated to work within the framework of the Exchange Visitor Program. You have the following two options for continuing your program:
      1. Depart the United States and return home to complete your exchange semester online from your home country: If you choose to return to your home country, or are already there, you may complete your coursework from home. MassArt recommends that you return to your home country as soon as possible, if you determine it is safe to do so and you will be allowed to enter.
      2. Continue your program at the site of activity as currently listed on your form DS-2019: If you receive an exception as defined to stay in the MassArt residence halls, you may complete your classes online from there. MassArt does not recommend this option unless it is not possible or unsafe to return to your home country.
    • A. With either of the options for program completion, it is required that you keep MassArt informed about your whereabouts. Check your email for information about how to report this in COF Studio Abroad. If you feel that you cannot choose one of these options, please email aholland@massart.edu immediately.