Note: New students arriving in the US with an “Initial” SEVIS record are not permitted to engage in fully online study.
- At this time, DHS accommodations for spring 2021, if any, have not been announced.
- Please refer to the Fall 2020 guidance for general information.
- Consult with your academic advisor and faculty for questions about on ground presence.
- Information about Hybrid NUflex is available here.
How will classes be offered during Winter/Spring 2021?
The primary course modality for Winter/Spring 2021 term will be Hybrid NUflex, which offers both in-person and remote components and is designed to provide the necessary flexibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic while also allowing students to meet their F-1 status requirements.
Northeastern will continue to monitor the public health situation and make decisions in line with public health guidance. Health and safety are our top priority.
Travel to the U.S.
I want to come to campus for the Spring 2021 term. Will I be able to travel to the U.S.?
Your ability to arrive in the U.S. will depend on whether you are able to secure a F-1 student visa and there are no travel restrictions limiting your arrival to the U.S. Please note that your visa eligibility and issuance is at the discretion of the U.S. Department of State.
If you are able to travel, be certain to register your travel with the Travel Registry so that we can best support you.
New students admitted for Winter/Spring 2021
Can I enroll in classes for Winter/Spring 2021?
- Yes, you can. If you are in the U.S., you should be enrolled in Hybrid NUflex classes which will include an in-person component.
- If you are in your home country or outside the U.S, you can take your classes remotely via Hybrid NUflex or you may take online courses.
Can I register for online courses when I am in the U.S.?
F-1 students are required to have an in-person component in order to maintain their status. Hybrid NUflex provides F-1 students with this instructional format. Per SEVP, new students with Initial SEVIS records are not permitted to enter the U.S. for the Winter/Spring term to pursue a program that is 100% online.
Will I be able to travel to the U.S. for Winter/Spring 2021?
Your ability to arrive in the U.S. will depend on whether you are able to secure a F-1 student visa and there are no travel restrictions limiting your arrival to the U.S. Please continue to monitor visa availability and information on travel restrictions.
If I will be enrolled in Hybrid NUflex classes and am planning to arrive in the U.S. for Winter/Spring 2021 will I receive a new I-20 for my visa appointment?
You do not need a New I-20 for your visa appointment. If you plan to arrive in the U.S. and enroll in Hybrid NUflex classes, please use your current I-20 for your visa appointment. Please note that your visa eligibility and issuance is at the discretion of the U.S. Department of State. Please continue to monitor visa availability and information on travel restrictions.
Can I take Hybrid NUflex classes from my home country or outside the U.S. while I am waiting for my visa to be approved?
Yes, you can begin your program via Hybrid NUflex.
If you are a new student for Spring 2021 and unable to arrive by these dates (please refer to the section on late arrival deadlines), you will need to continue your program from home for the academic term and request an updated I-20 for the next academic term.
Will Hybrid NUflex allow me to maintain my F-1 visa requirements?
Hybrid NUflex with in-person and remote components is designed to provide the necessary flexibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic while allowing students to meet their F-1 status requirements.
What if I don’t get my F-1 visa in time for the Winter/Spring Academic Term?
You will have the following options:
- You can take your classes remotely from your home country or outside of the U.S. In this case, you may enroll in Hybrid NUflex courses or online courses. Please communicate with your academic advisor. Please also communicate with OGS so that an updated I-20 to support your arrival for the next academic term can be sent to you.
- Wait to start classes in the next academic term. In this case, you need to defer your admission to the next academic term AND request OGS to defer your program start date in SEVIS. We recommend that you also communicate with your academic advisor.
Late Arrival Deadlines
I want to study on ground in the U.S. but I will not be able to arrive by the Program Start Date on my I-20 due to visa delays. Can I arrive late?
Any arrival after the late arrival deadlines start date must be approved by your Admissions Team and requires authorization from OGS. If you are unable to arrive on or before the program start date on your I-20, you will need a Late Arrival Letter. If you are a new student enrolling in your first semester at Northeastern, please speak with your Admissions Team about this letter and they will coordinate with OGS.
Note: CPS students with late arrival requests should write directly to [email protected] subject line Late Arrival Request.
If your request to arrive late is supported by them, they will coordinate with OGS to send you a Late Arrival Letter. The latest possible deadline by program is listed below. If your Admissions Team is unable to support late arrival and/or you cannot arrive to the U.S. by the dates below, you will need to contact OGS and request a new I-20 for the next academic term. Please note the arrival deadline for your specific program below:
|SEVP I-20 Start Date||Academic Term Start Date||Last Day to Add Classes||OGS Deadline/ Last day to arrive in the U.S. AND report to OGS|
|Graduate (except CPS)||01/19/2021||01/19/2021||02/01/2021||02/13/2021|
|CPS Graduate (Winter)||01/19/2021||01/19/2021||01/25/2021||02/13/2021|
|CPS Graduate (Spring)||04/12/2021||04/12/2021||04/18/2021||05/07/2021|
|School of Law First year – MLS||01/11/2021||01/11/2021||01/17/2021||02/05/2021|
To request a visa and travel support letter, please follow these steps:
- Submit the travel support letter e-form request.
- The processing time can take up to 5 business days, once you are approved, you will receive an email via your university account.
Changes to I-20
If I am traveling after the Program Start Date on my I-20 do I need to get an updated I-20?
OGS will only make any change to an I-20 if a student receives written notification from a U.S. Consulate asking for this change. If the Consular officer asks you to provide an updated I-20 during your visa interview, they should give you this requirement in writing. Please email [email protected] with your request and be sure to attach the letter or email from the Consulate. OGS requires this for our records prior to amending your Program Start Date.
If my I-20 Program Start Date is amended in response to a Consular requirement, or any change is made to my SEVIS record, will my SEVIS ID change, and/or will I need to pay the SEVIS fees again?
No. Your SEVIS number does not change and no new fee is required if you need to provide updates to the Consulate in response to your visa application.
I applied for a Winter/Spring 2021 I-20 but I’m going to continue studying remotely from outside the U.S. What should I do?
An I-20 is required for students who will be arriving in the U.S. to commence their studies in person. If you will not be travelling to the U.S. for Winter/Spring 2021, you should cancel your I-20 request. If an I-20 was already issued, please notify OGS immediately via email [email protected] so we can update your SEVIS record accordingly.
Continuing Students Electing to Depart the U.S.
I studied in the U.S. in Fall 2020 and I’m leaving the U.S. I plan to study remotely in the spring. What should I do regarding my SEVIS record?
You may enroll in classes remotely in Winter/Spring 2021. Your SEVIS record will be kept “Active” and you will continue to accrue the benefits of your F-1 status.
I studied in the U.S. in Fall 2020 and I’m leaving the U.S. I plan to study remotely and finish my degree online in the spring. Can I submit the E-form to finish my degree online? How will that impact my SEVIS record?
If you choose to complete your degree by studying remotely from outside the U.S., you should submit the E-form to finish your degree from overseas. OGS will update your SEVIS record accordingly. You will not be able to apply for post- completion OPT if you elect to do this.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
I am currently on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or I plan to start CPT in Spring 2021. Can I participate remotely in my practical training, and do I need to report remote practical training due to COVID-19?
Yes, you can participate remotely in practical training and should work with your employer to review available options. Please report if you will be working remotely when you submit the CPT Authorization Request Form. You will be required to upload a Remote Work Letter, which will you will need to request from your co-op advisor. This form is a required procedure for you and OGS to document your F1 accommodations.
What if I already have a pending or approved CPT Authorization for Spring 2021 and I will be working remotely? Do I need to submit the Remote Work Letter?
Please submit the CPT Update Form to submit the Remote Work Letter once you obtain the letter from your co-op advisor.
Do I need a wet signature on my CPT Authorization I-20?
Many Social Security Administration offices are requiring students to have a wet signature on their CPT I-20 when they apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). Students will only be issued a hard copy of their I-20 if they need to apply for a SSN. The CPT Authorization Request e-form will ask if you already have a SSN. If you do not have an SSN, please follow the instructions in the e-form to indicate if you will pick up your I-20 from our office (by appointment only) or if you would like the I-20 shipped to you.
If you have a SSN, your I-20 will be sent electronically.
If I started my program from my home country in Fall 2020 and studied remotely, when will I be eligible for CPT?
An F-1 student must have completed at least one academic year of full-time enrollment, which is defined as two full-time semesters or three full-time quarters on-ground or in person. When you arrive in the U.S. and OGS completes your SEVIS Registration, your SEVIS record changes from “Initial” To “Active.” Students with Active SEVIS records then begin accruing benefits of the F-1 visa.
If a student started their program from overseas in Fall 2020, they will not have completed the SEVIS Registration requirements and their enrollment in Fall 2020 will not count towards the one academic year of full-time enrollment.
More information about CPT eligibility can be found here.
Do students enrolled in global co-op require authorization to work remotely in the U.S.?
Yes, students who remain in the U.S. and plan to engage remotely for an international employer are required to apply for CPT Authorization. The CPT Authorization e-form can be found here. Students should not begin engaging remotely within the U.S. for any employer until they have obtained proper authorization from OGS.
I am a continuing student with an “Active” SEVIS record. I departed the U.S. due to the pandemic and I want to participate in a global coop. Do I need to apply for CPT?
No, if you are outside the U.S., you do not need to apply for CPT.
Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)
I am currently on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). Are there any accommodations if I am not able to work and exceed my 90-day limit on unemployment?
The Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has recognized that the spread of COVID-19 may impact students engaging in OPT. Changes to workplace requirements may impact international students engaging in practical training. SEVP encourages such students to consult with their employer to seek alternative ways to maintain employment, such as teleworking or other arrangements. Please fill out the accommodations for students on practical training e-form. This form is a required procedure for you and the university to document your F1 accommodations.
* Please remember that this is an evolving situation that is subject to change.
Can I apply for OPT from overseas?
The I-765 form still requires a mailing address in the U.S. USCIS will mail your EAD to this address, as well as any additional correspondence (such as a Request for Evidence). Please read the following 3 scenarios carefully:
- If you have already applied for post-completion OPT, you are permitted to depart the U.S. while your application is pending, but there are some risks associated with this option.
- Any OPT-related mail will be sent to the mailing address in the U.S. that you listed on the I-765 form. If no one will be available at that address to receive your mail, you will need to choose another mailing address in the US and report it to USCIS following their instructions here: https://www.uscis.gov/addresschange. Mail may include your EAD card or an RFE (Request for Evidence). RFEs are time-sensitive and if you do not respond in a timely manner your OPT application may be denied.
- If your OPT is approved while you are outside of the U.S., you will need to have your OPT EAD in hand before returning to the U.S.
- If you are planning to apply for post-completion OPT but haven’t yet, apply while you are still in the U.S. Then refer to #1 above.
- If this is your final semester and you have already departed the U.S. without applying for OPT, you will have to return to the U.S. before your program end date. Given the current travel restrictions, please note this may be difficult, and you might forfeit your OPT benefit.
Social Security Numbers
How can I apply for a SSN?
You should call your local SSA office and make every effort to secure an in-person appointment to apply for a SSN as soon as one is available.
Be advised that it is risky for you to mail in your original documents with your application for a SSN as there is no guarantee that the original documents will be returned to you.
During the COVID-19 emergency, some local SSA offices may allow you to make an appointment by sending proof that you are eligible to apply.
Please ask your SSA officer the following information when requesting an appointment:
- What types of documents are acceptable to show as proof to request an appointment? (i.e. digital copies or original copies with wet signatures).
- What types of documents are acceptable to show at an in-person appointment? (i.e. digital copies or original copies with wet signatures).
If you have not done so already, you will need to submit the SSN Letter Request to OGS if you require a SSN for on-campus employment or an SGA (not required for CPT):
- F-1 On-Campus Employment Authorization Letter Request
- J-1 On-Campus Employment Authorization Letter Request
- SGA Social Security Number Letter Request
Once you have submitted this request, you will receive an email with instructions to submit the SSN Step 1 and Step 2 e-forms. Please carefully follow the instructions in this email.