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Fall 2021 - FAQs for International Students

IMMIGRATION AND TRAVEL
 
What is the projected move-in date international for students?
New international Scotties Move-in day: Saturday, August 14, 2021 
Returning international Scotties: August 21, 2021.
More information will be sent from Residential Life in June. 

I'm a continuing student who is currently abroad. Can I return to the U.S.?
Based on the current SEVP guidance, continuing F-1 students who took either hybrid or 100% remote classes during the 2020-21 academic year are eligible to return to the U.S.
Note: The above guidance only applies to students who are continuing in their program at Agnes Scott College and hold an active I-20. It does not apply to new/initial students who have not yet obtained F-1 status in the U.S.

I am a continuing student traveling to the U.S. soon. Am I allowed to enter the U.S.? What documents do I need?
Continuing students who have decided to return to the U.S. should carefully review the information below. Please understand that, while your immigration advisor at ASC can provide general guidance on travel, admission into the U.S. and travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 are at the discretion of the U.S. government. As such, ASC is unable to guarantee any student's ability to re-enter the U.S.

First, it is important to know if any U.S. travel restrictions apply to you. If you are unsure if any restrictions apply to you, please contact the U.S. Embassy in your home country.

On April 26, 2021, the Department of State (DOS) changed the National Interest Exception (NIE) policy for F and J students. Students and academics subject to Presidential Proclamations due to their presence in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, may now qualify for a NIE, which supports an urgent, or high priority travel visa application for the United States of America. International students from travel ban countries should be able to enter the US from their countries for the fall semester. Although the travel bans for those impacted countries remain in effect, students needing to enter/return to the US for the fall semester from these countries for their studies may now do so. Unless or until the travel ban for your country is lifted, qualifying for an NIE will only allow you to use your visa for a single entry into the US, not multiple entries for the duration of the visa. If you need to travel later outside the US and return, you would need to get another NIE.

I am planning to return from a Leave of Absence (LOA). Do I need a new visa before I return? 
You only need a new visa if your previous visa has expired. If you are returning from an LOA, you should have requested and received a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID to return to the US. If you need to apply for a new visa, please see the US Department of State website for more information on when the US Consulate and Embassies will resume visa appointments. 

Five-Month Rule
Students may be aware of a "five-month rule" regarding the time a student spends outside of the U.S. Please note that this rule does not apply to students who have been outside of the U.S. due to COVID-19. Per the current guidance, continuing F-1 students with valid documents remain eligible to return to the U.S. for the fall semester, regardless of the length of time spent abroad.
Note: The above guidance only applies to students who are continuing in their program at ASC and hold an Active I-20. It does not apply to new/initial students who have not yet obtained F-1 status in the U.S.
 
I-20 and Travel signature:

Do I need a travel signature to return to the US if my I-20 is valid and my U.S visa is valid?
All international students must have a valid travel signature (also known as travel endorsement) on their I-20 from a Designated School Official (DSO) at Agnes Scott College. Please contact the International Student Advisor.
Each signature is valid for one year (12 months). (F-1 students on OPT: the travel signature is valid for six months).  If your travel signature is expired and you plan to travel to the US you need to email the ASC International Student Advisor immediately. 

IMPORTANT: All requested signed I-20, once signed, are currently being sent to students via email. The current guidance from the U.S. government states that digitally issued I-20s are acceptable. Students do not need to obtain a hard copy or travel signature in-person.

COVID-19 Guidelines & Precautions on Foreign Travel

On January 12, 2021, the CDC issued an order requiring all air passengers arriving in the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. This order went into effect on January 26, 2021.

Agnes Scott College COVID requirements
 
What are the Agnes Scott College COVID requirements?
Please visit the fall Q&A on our Agnes Scott website located here.
 
Campus Public Safety
 
Department of Public Safety: Agnes Scott College has its own Public Safety police department and officers. 
The mission of the Department of Public Safety is to provide and maintain a safe learning environment by delivering continuous protection of persons and property in the Agnes Scott Community.

The Department of Public Safety serves Agnes Scott College with jurisdiction on campus and 500 yards beyond. The department is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide immediate emergency response, the performance of security patrols, monitoring of campus, and providing other police services to the campus community. Members of the department maintain a close working relationship with local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities and other emergency service agencies on matters related to campus security. 

The Department of Public Safety is staffed by professionally trained officers who attained state certification through the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council. After the initial basic-mandate certification, the officers are required to maintain certification through in-service training, consisting of 20 hours of annual service curriculum. Our officers are first responders on campus and have arrest authority. This allows Agnes Scott to maintain a staff of highly trained, skilled, and competent officers. 
Agnes Scott officers patrol the campus by vehicle, bike, and walking patrols on a 24-hour basis. They are present to prevent illegal activity, enforce college rules, check suspicious persons and provide assistance and information to the campus community.