COVID-19 Updates for International Students

The Kearney Center continues to monitor the impact of global, national, and university  COVID-19 updates on F-1 and J-1 international students. The health, wellness, and safety of our students, staff, and community are our highest priority. 

The U.S. government clarified common questions about fall 2020 in a message on July 24, 2020. 

We will continue to update the FAQs to align with the most recent federal guidance for Fall 2020. Please refrain from asking additional questions until you have reviewed the information below. 

Information for Students on OPT

Information for Newly Admitted International Students

Information for Instructors, staff & administratorsView Weekly Newsletters for International Students

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Yes, from the updated FAQs announced on July 24, 2020, you may study online from home for fall semester.  You must maintain a full course of study per F-1 student visa regulations to keep your SEVIS record active. 

Guidance for Spring 2021 semester is still forthcoming from SEVP. When the Kearney Center receives information from SEVP, students will be informed in the newsletter and social media. 

For off-campus housing:

Minnesota State Mankato follows the United States Center For Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

You may complete your quarantine in your apartment.  If you are arriving in the US before January 1, 2021, your quarantine will have ended before class begins.  If you are arriving in the US after January 1, 2021, contact your professors to let them know that you will be participating in their course on-line only until your quarantine is complete.  The CDC webpage has information about how to complete your quarantine. 

For on-campus housing:

Students living in Residential Life Housing should contact Residential Life to arrange accommodations for isolation and/or quarantine (507-389-1011).

The University is working very hard to consider the best safety options for students as they return home and as soon as any decision has been made about potential isolation or quarantine, we will let you know what is required. However the CDC recommends that all individuals returning from travel abroad stay home for 14 days from the time you return.

During this 14-day period, take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing. Use this temperature log to monitor your temperature.
  2. Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school.
  3. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares.
  4. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).

You can find more information and recommendations on the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions website.

To obtain a travel signature, please reach out to your immigration advisor for help or fill out this survey. Since DSOs are unable to meet you in person, please be sure to request a travel signature at least one week ahead of your travel date. 

Your immigration advisor will prepare an I-20 with updated travel authorization and send it to you electronically. 

As long as you are able to continue to make normal progress in a full course of study, you are able to do your coursework as an international student online while the university classes are canceled due to the COVID-19 situation. 

For further information or help, please contact your immigration advisor.  

The guidance from July 6, 2020 has been rescinded by ICE and is no longer valid. Updated FAQs were announced on July 24, 2020. 

Please contact international@mnsu.edu and we will connect you with an immigration advisor. Our immigration advisors can advise on your specific return and talk through your options.

Students who studied at MSU, Mankato in Spring 2020 will automatically receive the International Maverick Scholarship for Fall, even if they did not fulfill all of the scholarship requirements by the end of the spring semester. This decision was made in light of the unexpected and unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, which we realize are adding to the stresses of everyday life in a variety of ways. It is our utmost desire that you be able to continue your studies and we hope that your automatically keeping the scholarship will bring some piece of mind and positivity.

The President has issued five COVID-19-related proclamations to limit travel to the United States. These proclamations will remain in effect until terminated by the President. The proclamations state that the "Secretary of Health and Human Services shall recommend that the President continue, modify, or terminate" the proclamations.

  1. China Travel Proclamation. January 31, 2020 - Proclamation 9984 of January 31, 2020, published at 85 FR 6709, titled Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The proclamation cites INA 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the People's Republic of China, excluding the Special Autonomous Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective starting 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 2, 2020.
  2. Iran Travel Proclamation. February 29, 2020 - Proclamation 9992 of February 29, 2020, published at 85 FR 12855. The proclamation cites INA 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective starting 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020.
  3. European Schengen Area Proclamation. March 11, 2020 - Proclamation 9993 of March 11, 2020, published at 85 FR 15045 (March 16, 2020). "The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation... This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020." Although in his address President Trump reportedly said the ban would last 30 days, the proclamation language itself states that it "shall remain in effect until terminated by the President."
    • Note: the European Schengen area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
  4. Ireland and United Kingdom Proclamation. March 14, 2020 - Proclamation 9996 of March 14, 2020, published at 85 FR 15341 (March 18, 2020). Covers England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. "The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe, or the Republic of Ireland during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited ... This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020.  This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020."
  5. Brazil. May 24-25, 2020. Proclamation 10041 of May 24, 2020. Also published in the Federal Register at 85 FR 31933 (May 28, 2020). Suspends entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The May 24, 2020 proclamation contained a May 28, 2020 effective date, but a May 25, 2020 amendment to the proclamation, also published in the Federal Register at 85 FR 32291 (May 28, 2020) as Proclamation 10042, revised the effective date to May 26, 2020. Section 5 of the May 24, 2020 proclamation has been amended to provide: "This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020."

The proclamations do not apply to U.S. citizens, or to any alien who is:

  1. a lawful permanent resident of the United States
  2. a spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  3. a parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
  4. a sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
  5. a child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
  6. an alien traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
  7. C (transit) or D (air or sea crewmember) nonimmigrants
  8. seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 visa;
  9. an alien whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the CDC Director, or his designee;
  10. an alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; or
  11. an alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.*
  12. a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

* Note: A May 22, 2020 DHS order established a "national interest exemption" under Proclamations 9984 (China), 9992 (Iran), 9993 (Schengen Area), and 9996 (UK and Ireland), for "certain foreign professional athletes who compete in professional sporting events organized by certain leagues, including their essential staff and their dependents." The order will not benefit individuals covered by the Brazil COVID-19 Proclamation 10041. See NAFSA's page on the order.

For aliens not excluded by the ban, the proclamations direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish standards and procedures at and between all United States ports of entry to regulate the travel of persons and aircraft to the United States to facilitate the orderly medical screening and, where appropriate, quarantine of persons who enter the United States and who may have been exposed to the virus. "Such steps may include directing air carriers to restrict and regulate the boarding of such passengers on flights to the United States."

Check with the course instructor to find out if your textbooks are available online or if there is another resource you can use while learning online. 

Fall 2020 Walk-In Immigration Advising

The Kearney Center will close effective november 16, 2020, but will continue to advise students virtually. You can book a virtual meeting via MavConnect or by emailing your advisor. Click here and follow the instructions to meet with your immigration advisor online. 
fall advising hours (subject to change):
ERIKA | 10AM-12PM (Virtual Walk-ins); 12pm-1pm (scheduled virtual appointments); TUESDAYS ONLY 7pm-9pm (virtual walk-ins/scheduled appointments) [ENTER ERIKA'S VIRTUAL SESSION HERE]
DAN |M/W in-person advising; t/th virtual advising; 1pm-3pm (walk-ins); 3pm-4pm (Scheduled Appointments); Fridays are by appointment only [ENTER DAN'S VIRTUAL SESSION HERE | chat with Dan on Microsoft Teams]
Tebarak | T Virtual walk-ins, 10am-4pm;  TH virtual walk-ins, 10am-12:30pm [enter Tebarak's virtual session here]
MUSTAFA | 10an-11am (virtual walk-ins); 11am-1pm (virtual scheduled appointments) [ENTER MUSTAFA'S VIRTUAL SESSION HERE]
hamdi |10am-12pm (virtual scheduled appointments); 3pm-4pm (virtual walk-ins)
View instructions on how to access virtual advising sessions by clicking here.
If these times do not work for you, you may email your immigration advisor to set up an appointment at another time. 

To find updates on classes, commencement and other frequently asked questions, please visit the Coronavirus and the Campus Community page. 

This week, the Internal Revenue Service began issuing CARES Act stimulus payments to individual taxpayers.  “Resident Aliens” may be eligible to receive these payments, but “Nonresident Aliens” are not.  The definitions of these terms come from the Internal Revenue Code, and these definitions do not necessarily match up with visa-related definitions for terms such as “Non-Immigrant” and “Immigrant.”

If you may have misfiled your taxes causing you to receive a stimulus check, please learn more how to correct that on the Misfiled Tax Help page.

The IRS differentiates “Nonresident Aliens” from “Resident Aliens” using the Green Card or Substantial Presence Test.

“Resident Aliens” may be eligible for stimulus payments if they otherwise meet the eligibility requirements set forth in the CARES Act.  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center

The CARES Act states that “Nonresident Aliens” are ineligible for stimulus payments.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548/text#id1C21ED5E4A7C4A349BD80BDF95C774FF

Examples of tax returns that international students might file include:

If a student believes they may have received a CARES Act stimulus payment in error, you may recommend that the student contact a licensed tax specialist for guidance. For example, a specialist can provide the student with guidance on how to file a Form 1040-X, Amended U.S Individual Income Tax Return if necessary.

If you’re not able to perform your duties from home, please contact Jacy.Fry@mnsu.edu with your name, TechID, and the name of your employing department.

The Campus Cupboard is the part of Crossroads dedicated to providing food for students who need some help. Contact Crossroads office at 507-625-6779 if your need is urgent and you can’t make it on Tuesdays.

Additionally, check out these Mankato Area Food Assistance Agencies still available to help.

Student Health Services is open on-campus:  Monday-Friday 10am-2pm.  They can call 507-389-6276 to schedule an appointment.  In addition, they are offering telehealth appointments, too. 

Minnesota State Mankato Counseling Center Screenings:

The Counseling Center will continue offering screenings Monday  - Thursday from 9:00 – 11:00 and Monday – Friday from 1:30 – 3:30; students should call 507-389-1455 or email us at counseling-center@mnsu.edu to schedule an appointment with a counselor.

Workshops, Seminars, and Behavioral Stress Management Instruction (BSMI):

Several of our Wellness Workshops, Seminars, and BSMI programs will still be offered through Zoom. We will be adding more topics to our web site soon at http://www.mnsu.edu/counseling/springbreak.html

Self-Help:

There are several updated resources specifically for coping with COVID-19 at http://www.mnsu.edu/counseling/coronavirus.html

In addition, we have an extensive list of self-help resources at http://www.mnsu.edu/counseling/selfguidedsupport.html

Individual Counseling:

The Counseling Center will be offering tele-mental health counseling appointments for enrolled students who reside in Minnesota (or will be in Minnesota at the time of their appointment).  Consultations and referrals for services will be provided for out of state students. To learn more, students should call 507-389-1455 or email counseling-center@mnsu.edu to schedule a screening appointment.

No, you do not need to purchase the insurance for fall semester; however, you will be required purchase the insurance when you return to the US for your studies.

To find out more information on the Residence Hall Closing Update article. 

The Economic Hardship option is not the easiest because of two main factors:

  1. Processing time to get off-campus authorization could take up to 5 months (but may take longer because of COVID-19), and
  2. Approval is not guaranteed, because it has to go through USCIS for adjudication and students who apply have the potential of being rejected or denied. 

To read through all policies, visit our Severe Economic Hardship page. 

You may also check if IT Soluations has any laptops for you to check out. Read more here