COVID-19 Immigration FAQs
Answers for Cornell's international community about university coronavirus actions, travel rules, maintaining your visa status, and more.
For Students, Faculty, and Staff
Where can I find the most up-to-date information on Cornell policies related to the coronavirus?
How does the ban on travel from Europe, the UK, and Ireland impact the international community?
What about travel within the United States?
With the exception of students traveling home for the duration of the semester, we strongly discourage any nonessential domestic travel, personal or Cornell-related, by faculty, staff, and students. International travel restrictions remain unchanged. Please see Cornell's coronavirus FAQ for more information and policies regarding travel. If you are at Cornell Tech, see Cornell Tech's COVID-19 Updates.
Do I need to contact the Office of Global Learning International Services before leaving campus?
How can I avoid coronavirus-related scams?
I heard that your campus office is closed! How can I get advice?
I will graduate this semester, but Cornell has moved courses online due to COVID-19. Can I legally stay in the United States?
Yes. On March 9, 2020, the U.S. government issued guidance that recognized the need for flexibility around temporary arrangements for remote or online learning for international students. Provided that you continue to make normal progress in a full course of study (required by regulation), temporary arrangements for online or remote learning will not negatively impact your status.
Can I apply for OPT even though Cornell has transitioned to online instruction?
Can I apply for CPT even though Cornell has transitioned to online instruction?
I am outside the U.S. conducting research for my degree. How do the current Cornell travel restrictions affect me?
I’ve fallen below 12 credits because a class was canceled. What course can I add now?
If I go home, will I be able to return in the fall? Are there special reentry procedures?
I've heard that if I'm outside the U.S. for more than five months, I need to apply for a new I-20 and F-1 visa stamp. Is this true?
I am an F-1 or J-1 student. I'm staying in Ithaca. Am I authorized to work remotely for my campus employer?
I am an F-1 or J-1 student. I need to leave campus and return to my permanent home residence. Am I authorized to work remotely?
For Faculty and Staff
I am a J-1 professor or researcher. I am currently in a travel-restricted country, and now I can’t return to the United States. What does this mean for me?
How does leave of absence work for J-1 scholars?
A leave of absence (LOA) is not permitted for J-1 exchange visitors who remain in the U.S. If you are abroad, a LOA is possible, but not recommended. The Department of State considers a J-1 exchange visitor in “active” status to be indicative of uninterrupted program participation. While a J-1 record is in “active” status, the university (as the J program sponsor) is required to monitor the progress and welfare of the exchange visitor and the exchange visitor is required to maintain health insurance. If a J-1 exchange visitor departs the U.S., International Services will maintain the J-1 record until such time that the individual can return as long as the academic appointment in the host department remains active and the exchange visitor maintains the health insurance requirements.
If the J-1 exchange visitor takes a LOA, International Services will seek verification from the host department, that program participation is expected to remain uninterrupted while the J-1 is abroad. On return to the U.S., if the J-1 exchange visitor was on a LOA, the host unit must immediately reappoint the J-1 exchange visitor in Workday effective the date of their admission to the U.S. There may be tax or benefit implications to a LOA and you are encouraged to discuss this with your supervisor or local HR representative.