COVID-19 Updates

The Office of Global Services (OGS) has prepared the following information regarding Northeastern University’s decision to move to online and remote learning in response to the global COVID-19 outbreak.

For current international students in the US, online study and remote practical training is considered an F1 accommodation that has been approved by the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) on a temporary basis due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  This means:

  • You can study full-time online in the US and stay in good standing.
  • If you decide to return to your home country or leave the US (you need to submit a Travel Request for COVID-19 e-form), you can do so. We highly recommend you review current global public health advisories and keep track of any travel restrictions in place. Please also consider your ability to access online learning, travel limitations, and remember that this is an evolving situation that is subject to change.
  • You can engage in remote practical training or make other arrangements for successful completion with your employer’s approval.

OGS recognizes that this evolving health crisis is a stressful situation for our international student community. We will support and respect your decision on how best to complete your academic term—either staying in the U.S. or returning to your home country.

Helpful Resources:

If you are in need of immediate assistance, please call the NUPD non-emergency dispatch number at 617-373-2121. The NUPD 24/7 operator will connect you with an international support team member.  

Current J-1 Students

Since J-1 students are required to maintain full-time status with majority of courses offered on-ground, does the University’s transition to online delivery affect my visa status as a current student in the U.S.?

During the COVID-19 J-1 student accommodation period, current students in the U.S. can take online or remote courses to maintain full-time status in their academic term because the Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) has approved this on a temporary basis due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This means you can study full-time online in the U.S. and stay in good standing.

 

Am I able to leave campus and complete my classes from my home country?

If you decide to return to your home country or leave the US, you can do so. We highly recommend you review current global public health advisories and keep track of any travel restrictions in place. Please also consider your ability to access online learning, travel limitations, and remember that this is an evolving situation that is subject to change.

 

What do I need to do before I leave my Northeastern campus?

  • It is imperative that you inform the University and OGS of your travel plans – both domestic and international.
    • Complete the ***Travel Request for COVID-19*** e-form in myOGS.
    • This form, including updated contact and address information, is required for you and the university to document your J-1 accommodation.
  • Make sure that your passport and J-1 visa stamp will be valid for your expected date of return.
    • You should also check if you have a valid travel signature on your DS-2019. Travel signatures are valid for one year while enrolled in classes, or until your program end date. You do not need a new travel signature for each time you travel.
    • To request a travel signature—please log in to myOGS and complete the e-form request. Requests will be approved as soon as possible. Remember you only need a travel signature to return to the US. If you need to urgently leave prior to getting the necessary signature, complete the travel signature e-form request and follow the instructions for requesting OGS to mail your DS-2019.
    • For any additional questions on travel email OGSCoronaVirusResponse@northeastern.edu and include J-1 student in the subject line. Please review current travel advisories at www.travel.state.gov.
  • When the university resumes normal operations, you should prepare to return to campus for on-ground study by the start of the next academic term.

 

What is the difference between a Travel Request for COVID-19 and a Travel Signature Request?

  • If you are leaving the US because of the special COVID-19 accommodation, you will need to use the Travel Request for COVID-19. This form is a required procedure for you and the university to document your J-1 accommodations.
  • It is important to provide current contact and address information.
  • If you need to renew a travel signature on the DS-2019, then complete a Travel Signature Request.

 

If I leave the U.S., are there any restrictions on being able to return to campus for the next academic term?

If you decide to return to your home country or leave the U.S., you can do so. We highly recommend you review current global public health advisories and keep track of any travel restrictions in place. Please also consider your ability to access online learning, travel limitations, and remember that this is an evolving situation that is subject to change. Please see important travel advisory information here.

If your ability to continue full-time enrollment in the next academic term is impeded by a travel restriction, your SEVIS record may be impacted. Please contact OGS to discuss your specific situation or any questions related to registration, maintaining J-1 status, or requesting a non-medical leave of absence.
Email OGSCoronaVirusResponse@northeastern.edu.

 

If I am outside of the U.S. and cannot return for fall 2020?

If you cannot return for the fall 2020 term, you should reach out to an advisor who will assist you and, if needed, help you apply for a new DS-2019 for a later re-entry to the U.S. You may contact an OGS advisor at OGS@northeastern.edu so that the university is able to comprehensively advise and support you.

 

Will any action be taken on my SEVIS record?

During this temporary COVID-19 J-1 accommodation period, your J-1 record will not be impacted because you are taking online courses or engaging in remote academic training as a current student. This COVID-19 J-1 accommodation period currently applies through Summer 1 academic term.

To be eligible for the COVID-19 J-1 student accommodations, please be sure submit the Travel Request for COVID-19 e-form. It is important to provide current contact and address information.

 

What do I need to know if I am graduating or my DS-2019 is expiring soon?

You may need to complete several tasks before you depart the U.S. if you intend to return. If you need to update your program end date listed on your DS-2019, please contact OGS for assistance.

Please remember that this is an evolving situation that is subject to change and OGS will provide updated guidance. For any further questions or to discuss your unique situation, please contact OGSCoronaVirusResponse@northeastern.edu and include J-1 student in the subject line. A designated advisor will assist you so that the university is able to comprehensively advise and support you with your travel plans.

 

I do not want to return home right now—can I stay on campus?

Northeastern University has requested that all students who reside in Northeastern residence halls in Boston complete their end of semester move-out no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.

Campus housing will remain closed through the end of Summer I—except for those with special circumstances, who may remain until the end of the Spring semester. A decision about Summer II campus housing availability will be communicated later this Spring.

Special circumstances: Any student who is concerned about their ability to move out by Tuesday—or has other concerns— should email wecare@northeastern.edu. They can also call the university’s call center at 617-373-2000.

We are fully aware that international students will have particular challenges based on the circumstances in their home countries and new travel restrictions. Like all students with specific hardships, international students can petition the university to remain in residence halls; each case will receive individual attention.

All university wide messaging can be found here.

 

Will I have any problems returning to the U.S. when the university resumes on ground classes?

Please make sure that you are eligible and have valid travel documents (passport, J-1 visa, DS-2019 with a travel signature) when you return to the U.S. Please continue to follow updates regarding travel and visa issuance at www.travel.state.gov

 

There are no travel restrictions stopping me from returning to the U.S. Can I return soon?

If you are able to travel, it is your choice to return. Please be advised that while the university’s operations are remote/online, you may not have access to campus buildings, labs, etc. Please register your travel through the Travel Registry to keep us informed of your intended arrival in the U.S.

 

Am I eligible for CARES ACT funding? 

The CARES Act can be claimed by US citizens, permanent residents and residents for tax purposes (individuals who can pass the Substantial Presence Test) who have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) and who have filed their 2018 tax return (in 2019), or their 2019 return (in 2020) and who will be considered a qualifying resident alien for the 2020 tax year.

 Nonresident aliens are not eligible to receive this stimulus.

If you received funding from the CARES act, you may have mistakenly filed as a resident. If this is the case, you may have to return the money to the Internal Revenue Service.

Please contact the Sprintax live chat with any tax-related questions.

Please see our tax page for more info about this topic.

Students on Academic Training (AT)

I am currently on Academic Training (AT). Can I participate in remote academic training and do I need to report changes to my training due to COVID-19?

Yes. You can participate remotely in academic training, working with your employer to review available options.

OGS has created easy ways for J-1 students on co-op or AT to report updated accommodation information (e.g. updated worksite location) during the current COVID-19 public health emergency. Please fill out the accommodations for students on practical training eform. This form is a required procedure for you and the university to document your J-1 accommodations. Be sure to check-in with your co-op advisor to let them know and copy OGSCoronaVirusResponse@northeastern.edu. Please include J-1 student in the subject line. A designated advisor will assist you.

 

* Please remember that this is an evolving situation that is subject to change.

Contact OGS

Contact Information 

405 Ell Hall
+1-617-373-2310
ogs@northeastern.edu
OGSCoronaVirusResponse@northeastern.edu

Office Hours

During this temporary transition:
Starting Monday March 23, OGS will be offering remote services only.

Phone Hours

Monday-Friday:
8:30am to 5:00pm
Please note: Phone lines are closed on
Tuesday from 3:00pm to 4:00pm