Welcome, we are glad you are here!

  • GSG President Guneet Bedi asks Bill Gates a question
  • International Students participate in a Career Fair
  • Internationals enjoying campus at Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
  • International Graduate Students participate in a Welcome Reception
  • International student learning

International Services, within the Office of Global Engagement, exists to ensure all international students, scholars, faculty, and staff feel welcome at Clemson University.

We want you to be a Clemson Tiger!

As such, our goal is to help our "International Tigers" achieve their academic and professional goals. We do this by providing accurate immigration advising and guidance to all who choose to work, to study, and to call Clemson University home. 

At this time, International Services may not be present in 108 Long Hall but we are here and available to help you. We realize this is a trying time, but we will answer your questions and provide you with guidance along the way. Our office is continuously monitoring all updates from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of State, and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, etc. to keep you best informed. For the most up-to-date guidance, please find our FAQs below. 
  • General Questions

    How can I keep up to date on institutional announcements regarding COVID-19?
    Clemson University is actively monitoring COVID-19 and providing regular updates on how it is impacting our students, faculty, and staff. 

    Since Clemson University is operating remotely on a modified schedule, how can I pick up my I-20, DS-2019, or mail received by International Services?
    International Services (IS) is providing updated shipping options. Please choose one of the shipping options below to request the shipment of your document(s):

    • Option 1: All shipping to international destinations must be requested using Express Mail Instructions.

    • Option 2: If you need your immigration documents or USCIS mail sent to you quickly and with tracking details, request shipping using Express Mail Instructions.

    • Option 3: International Services can send your documents to you, at no cost to you, through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). This shipping method does not allow tracking and may be slower than other shipping methods. To request that IS ship your document to you via this method, please complete the Shipping Request Form here.

    Do you still have call-in/walk-in advising hours?
    While Clemson University is operating under a modified schedule throughout the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, International Services continues to operate remotely. We have developed the following ways to communicate with our office without physically reporting to 108 Long Hall:

    Email: Per our normal operating procedures, we are monitoring and responding to emails sent to is@clemson.edu.

    Phone/Voicemail: If you phone 864-656-3614, please leave a voicemail. In this voicemail, leave your name, CUID, and phone number. We will respond to voicemails via email.

    Advising via Live Chat on IS Website: Click on the tigerpaw icon in the lower right corner of this page to submit your questions to our International Student Advising team.

    There is a lockdown in my country due to COVID-19 and shipping services are temporarily suspended. Can I receive a digital copy of my I-20/DS-2019? If not, what is the alternative for me?
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not allow universities to send digital copies of I-20/DS-2019s. International Services can only mail these documents to you. However, International Services can provide you with Clemson University’s School Code and your individual SEVIS ID number via email. This information will allow you to go online to the DHS website Study in the States and pay your SEVIS I-901 fee. Paying this fee will allow you to be prepared to schedule your appointment with the U.S. Embassy for your visa appointment when visa processing resumes. We will also be prepared to mail your physical document to you once mailing to your home country resumes. If you have any questions, please contact International Services.

    Will courses be delivered online for Summer and/or Fall 2020?
    Clemson University announced on April 8 that all undergraduate and graduate summer academic courses are to transition to online instruction through August 7. No decision has been made at this time regarding Fall 2020.

    When is the deadline to submit required documents to request my I-20 for Summer 2020? For Fall 2020?

    • April 15 for Summer 2020
    • July 1 for Fall 2020
      • We will continue to issue I-20's after this date but will advise you on visa wait times at the U.S. Embassy in your home country, as this could affect your ability to receive a visa in time to arrive to begin classes.)
      • We request that students transferring to Clemson from another U.S. institution have their records released no later than one week prior to the start of classes.

    Due COVID-19 and the U.S. Embassies' temporary suspension of visa processing in some locations, what if I am unable to obtain a visa and arrive by my program start date?  
    The U.S. Department of State has published an announcement regarding the suspension of routine visa services due to COVID-19. Given this information, you have the following options:

    • Contact the U.S Embassy or Consulate closest to where you live to inquire if any provisions are in place to support your application for a student visa allowing you to keep your intended program start date the same.

    • Locate another U.S. embassy or consulate open for routine visa services and try to apply there. Please note travel restrictions and updates to visa services are occurring daily and could affect your travel if you plan to try and apply elsewhere.

    • Contact your academic department to request a deferral of your intended program start date. Afterwards, notify International Services of your new program start date by completing the Report Program Start Form in the iStart Portal.

    Will the 5-month rule apply if I depart the U.S. and am unable to return within 5 months?
    SEVP, within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has issued the following guidance: “Under current conditions, if an active F student leaves the United States to complete the spring term online, their SEVIS record should remain in Active status and not be terminated. While the temporary measures related to COVID-19 are in place, students are deemed to be maintaining status if they are making normal progress in their course of study. For that reason, the five-month temporary absence provision addressed in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(4) will not apply for students who remain in Active status.” 

    *International Services highly recommends that you communicate your travel plans with both your academic department and International Services prior to your departure.

    Will I stay in active status if I am taking all online classes during distance learning?
    SEVP has issued the following guidance: “SEVP will allow F1 students to temporarily count online classes toward a full course of study in excess of the limits stated in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G) and 8 CFR 214.2(m)(9)(v), even if they have left the United States and are taking the online classes elsewhere. This temporary provision is only in effect due to COVID-19 and only for schools that comply with the requirement to notify SEVP of any procedural changes within 10 business days.”

    Does someone who is a resident alien qualify for the COVID-19 stimulus payment?
    A person who is a non-resident alien in 2020 is not eligible for the Payment. A person who is a qualifying resident alien with a valid SSN is eligible for the Payment only if he or she is a qualifying resident alien in 2020 and could not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer for 2020. Aliens who received a Payment but are not qualifying resident aliens for 2020 should return the Payment to the IRS.

    What should I do to return an Economic Impact Payment (EIP)?
    You should return the payment as described in question 41 in the IRS FAQs.

  • Travel Questions

    Can I travel internationally and re-enter the U.S.?
    All Clemson University-affiliated international travel has been suspended. The University does not recommend international travel due to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on global travel. 

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends avoiding any nonessential travel, both international and domestic. If you travel internationally and return to the U.S., the CDC recommends and Clemson University requires you to self-quarantine for 14 days from the day you enter the U.S. Clemson University also requires you to contact Clemson’s Student Health Services at 864-656-3571 for additional guidance. Please note: this self-quarantine should begin when you enter the U.S., not when you arrive at Clemson University. During these 14 days, monitor your health for the development of any symptoms, and call Clemson’s Student Health Services right away if you develop symptoms.

    Some countries are closing their borders to all international travel and some are restricting entry based on nationality. Please see further helpful links on visas and travel under General Resources. Be mindful of purchasing flights that have a transit through an airport in a country on the restriction list. Please see the International Transportation Air Association’s list for details.

    A travel ban currently suspends entry into the U.S. from a rapidly growing list of countries. Please see NAFSA’s up to date restrictions on U.S. visas and entry

    What if I need to travel home to be with my family?
    International travel is currently extremely unpredictable. We understand serious personal or health concerns that may cause you to want to return to your home country and that you may feel more comfortable experiencing this crisis supported by your family. However, International Services cannot guarantee your ability to return to the U.S. in a timely manner, which could have impacts on your U.S. visa status. It is ultimately up to you to decide how comfortable you are with these risks. If you do decide to travel home, you must communicate your plans with both your academic department and International Services. To receive a travel signature, International Services requires you complete the Travel Information Form found in the iStart Portal (under the International Services tab). Please note: International Services is better able to advise and assist you if we have up-to-date information on your travel plans.

    Can I travel within the US?
    Officials highly discourage non-essential domestic travel. Please understand you will be subject to additional screenings and/or quarantine requirements before you can return to any Clemson campus or location. Each individual state has its own regulations regarding COVID-19. Please be sure to consider your health and safety as situations are changing quickly in each state

    How can I receive a travel signature?
    Please submit a request for a travel signature via the Travel Information Form found within the  iStart Portal. Once the travel signature is provided you will receive instructions to request shipping.

    My program is ending and I can’t leave the country! Will the 60-day grace period be extended?
    We understand that flights to many regions have been cancelled and that flights may not be available during this time. International Services is continually monitoring this situation for our students. However, SEVP has not yet released any guidance regarding an extended grace period at this time. We do recommend reaching out to your embassy if you experience any issues related to finding a return trip home.

  • OPT Questions

    Is USCIS still accepting and processing OPT/STEM OPT applications? Are there delays in the processing time?
    USCIS is still accepting and processing OPT/OPT STEM applications. This time of year is a busy time with increased applications for USCIS, in general. Please keep in mind the average processing time for these applications is 3 to 5 months. Currently, International Services is not aware of any processing delays based on COVID-19.

    If I finish my degree program while outside the U.S., am I eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) from abroad?
    Based on guidance from USCIS, an application for OPT cannot be filed while outside the U.S. The I-765 is the USCIS form used to request OPT. Please review page 4, part 3 of the I-765 where it states you must apply from within the U.S. Unfortunately, USCIS has not provided any modifications to this guidance based on COVID-19.  

    Where can I find more information about OPT considering that the in-person OPT workshops have been cancelled?
    Due to Clemson's modified operations schedule and OPT workshops being moved online, we have added an OPT tutorial to the iStart Portal to help assist you with any questions regarding the OPT application process and maintaining your status throughout the authorization period.

    What if I have lost my job due to COVID-19 while on OPT?
    You can accrue an aggregate of up to 90-days of unemployment once approved for OPT. The 90-day limit begins on the employment start date listed on your EAD card. If you reach 90-days of unemployment, you should make plans to either depart the U.S. or speak with an immigration attorney to explore possible alternatives if you wish to remain in the U.S. 

    To maintain F1 status and OPT eligibility, you are expected to report employment details, address changes, etc. within 10-days of any change. Reporting your employment details will help avoid the accrual of 90-days of unemployment. Please remember you are able to volunteer in your field on a part-time basis as well during OPT. Visit our website for more details on OPT.  

    As an international student, am I eligible to apply for unemployment insurance benefits?
    The U.S. Department of Labor has oversight over the Unemployment Insurance programs operated throughout the U.S. Individual states provide unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own, and meet certain other eligibility requirements. Since unemployment eligibility varies from state to state, we recommend you consult with your employer and an immigration attorney if you need additional assistance in determining your eligibility for these benefits. 

    Can I apply for economic hardship as a result of COVID-19?
    Please refer to USCIS to determine if you qualify for economic hardship. Unfortunately, USCIS has not provided any additional guidance on economic hardship and off-campus employment based on COVID-19. International Services will provide additional updates on economic hardship as we receive them. 

    Am I allowed to be on furlough while on OPT?
    If you are placed on a period of temporary unpaid leave, or are furloughed, you are typically still maintaining OPT employment with the expectation that you will return to full-time employment after the temporary period is over. We encourage you to consult with your employer and a qualified immigration attorney as well, as individual businesses will handle this differently.

    Will USCIS allow more than 90-days of unemployment and 150-day cumulative total for 24-month STEM OPT due to COVID-19?
    USCIS has not extended the limits of unemployment for F1 students on OPT due to COVID-19. The number of unemployment days continues to be defined as an aggregate of 90-days for post-completion OPT and 150-days for the 24-month OPT STEM extension. Students are strongly advised to report initial employment and any employment updates to USCIS and International Services via the iStart Portal. USCIS requires all changes be reported within 10-days of the change. 

    If my employer requires me to work remotely for a temporary period, do I need to update my address on the iStart Portal?
    Recent SEVP guidance states you do not need to update your address if you are working remotely due to COVID-19.

    If I leave the U.S. for a temporary period during my OPT/STEM OPT and I am unable to return will I accrue unemployment for the time spent outside the U.S.?
    According to USCIS guidance time spent outside the United States during an approved period of post-completion OPT counts as unemployment against the 90/150-day limits, unless the student is either employed during a period of leave authorized by an employer or traveling as part of his or her employment. We advise speaking with your employer to request documentation to support your need to travel.

  • CPT Questions

    Am I eligible to do CPT from a remote working environment?
    Yes, it is possible to continue CPT in a remote environment with your supervisor’s permission and continued supervision of your practical training experience. You may engage in CPT during your time abroad, based on the following:

    • You are enrolled in a program of study in which CPT is an integral part of the program of study;
    • You have applied and received approval for CPT from International Services prior to the start date of your CPT; 
    • The employer has an office outside the U.S. where your work can be supervised or the employer can electronically assess student engagement and attainment of learning objectives while you are outside the U.S.
  • General Resources

 Thank you for choosing Clemson University. Go Tigers!