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Global Careers Institute

International Student Back to Campus & COVID-19 FAQs

Updated October 5, 2020

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Penn State Statement on Coronavirus (1/24/2020)

Penn State is closely monitoring the outbreak of Coronavirus in the Wuhan province of China. While standard precautions such as good hygeine practice are recommended, there have been no cases of Coronavirus in Pennsylvania at this time.

Incoming International Exchange Students Taking Courses- Part A.1

Application Materials and Admission Requirements: Agreements should specify a deadline for submitting all application materials. In addition, departments should ask the collaborating institution to send a list of nominated students so that their applications can be tracked more easily at Penn State.

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks USCIS Fee Increases

A federal district court has temporarily blocked the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing its rule to increase fees and impose new forms as of October 2, 2020.  DHS is expected to appeal the ruling. Until there are further court decisions, applicants will not be subject to the higher fees or new forms. USCIS has issued an update regarding the impact of the court decision on the updated forms that were to become mandatory on October 2, along with the fee rule. DISSA is monitoring the situation and will provide updates accordingly.

DHS Issues Proposed Rule to Eliminate Duration of Status (D/S) (9/25/2020)

DISSA is aware of proposed changes published on Friday, September 25, 2020, to change the period of admission and extension of stay rules regarding F-1 students and J-1 students and scholars as well as dependents.  DISSA plans to submit comments to the Department of Homeland Security advocating against these changes which will be burdensome to students and scholars.  Penn State is working with several higher education organizations in advocacy efforts.

Incoming International Graduate Exchange Students conducting Research (Visiting Scholars)- Part A.2

Application Requirements: International graduate students participating in an exchange and exclusively involved in research at Penn State will be classified as visiting scholars and must submit the following application documents: 

International Students and Remote Learning in Fall 2020: What You Need To Know

Updated July 21, 2020

Penn State Graduate Students Studying Abroad- Part A.3

Medical Insurance: Penn State graduate students studying abroad as an individual on a Penn State sponsored program are covered by United Healthcare Global banket policy. Questions should be directed to the Global Safety Office at

U.S. Department of State Diversity Visa Lottery

The U.S. Department of State—Bureau of Consular Affairs announced that online registration for the diversity visa program begins on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, and will end on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

USCIS Announces Additional Changes to I-539 and I-539A Forms, Previously Added Biometrics Fee and New Procedures

Due to regulatory changes based on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) final rule on the public charge ground of inadmissibility (section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), effective October 15, 2019, USCIS has revised and published Forms I-539 and I-539A.

Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants

Effective Aug. 9, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) changed how the agency will calculate unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, or M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain their status in the United States. This change was issued through a policy memorandum, “Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants,” 

U.S. Government Shutdown (1/20/2018)

UPDATE: 1/22/2018 On the afternoon of January 22nd, Congress passed a temporary stopgap measure to fund the government through February 8th, 2018. All immigration processing and related government services will resume Tuesday, January 23rd.

Collaborative International Graduate Degrees

All collaborative international graduate degree programs must be approved by Graduate Council before Glbobal Programs will draft an agreement. Guidelines and process for collaborative degree agreements are established by the Graduate School.

Library Access

Different levels of library access can be granted to visiting scholars depending on what terms the respective department sponsors. Online library resources require possession of a Penn State access ID which can only be issued pursuant to Penn State policies.

U.S. Presidential Orders and Proclamations Concerning the International Community

White House: Full Text of Presidential Proclamation on Visas White House: Fact Sheet White House: Frequently Asked Questions White House: Original Press Release Penn State Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic President of Penn State, Eric J. Barron - Message Advising Contact Information Current international students & scholars with questions, should contact the relevant units below:

U.S.-Turkey Suspension of Nonimmigrant Visa Processing

Update: 11/08/2017 Visa processing has resumed on a 'limited' basis between the U.S. and Turkey. Student visas (F, J, and M) are among the types in which processing has resumed. No further interruptions in processing are foreseen at this time.

U.S. Decision to End the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Program

Global Programs does not generally handle issues related to DACA. However, we often receive questions regarding these students. Below is a list for those seeking resources and information about the most recent DACA decision by President Trump and the Department of Justice.

Emergency Preparedness Workshop - Approved Programs

Emergency Preparedness Workshop - Intermediate

Executive Proxy Application

Programs and Opportunities

Student Travel

Student Group Travel Under University Policy FN20, “student group travel” is a trip of two or more students accompanied by a university employee with a purpose that is relevant to the university's academic mission. Each trip must be approved at the appropriate University level, and a University employee is required to accompany the group. The employee is in charge of the activity and must be acting within the scope of his or her employment.