Travel and International Studies Resources
- International Students and Scholars
- Office of International Education Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions
- Education Abroad Summer 2020 Program
Frequently Asked Questions
[Editor's Note: This page was reviewed and updated on July 10, 2020.]
Can I travel — domestically or internationally?
Per USG guidelines, all nonessential travel is prohibited until further notice. We’re developing a process to submit travel requests for consideration and will have more information on those procedures in the next few weeks.
We are under a U.S. Department of State Global Health Level 4 Travel Advisory. This is the highest level advisory. Many countries across the world are implementing preventive safety measures that may involve travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines, border closures, and travel and entry prohibitions with very little notice and for an indefinite period of time.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an international student, can I return to my home country and complete my academic work remotely?
Yes, subject to any travel restrictions that may be imposed by the United States and/or your home country.
The Office of International Education provides information about departing the United States on the International Student and Scholar Services section of its website.
Please note, students and faculty who plan to engage in online learning physically from any of the following countries need to first gain approval from the Office of General Counsel (email@example.com): Cuba, Crimea Region of Ukraine, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
How will the president’s proclamation on June 22 barring entry to the United States for some visa holders impact my immigration status or ability to travel?
On June 22, 2020, the U.S. government issued a Presidential Proclamation suspending entry to the United States of foreign nationals in certain temporary visa categories. This order will not affect any current or new Georgia Tech employees, scholars, or students who are in the U.S. on any non-immigrant visa, including H-1B, J-1 and F-1. It will have some impact on individuals outside the U.S. who are waiting to apply for an H-1B visa.
More details are available on the Office of International Education website.
Will study abroad programs continue as planned for the fall?
No. All international internships, exchange programs, and Georgia Tech-sponsored international curricular and co-curricular travel programs for Fall 2020 are canceled. Please visit the Office of International Education website for more information.
With many travel restrictions still in place around the world, how are you working with international students?
International students, both continuing and admitted, are making decisions about academic programs and courses this fall. However, we know that there may be various issues, particularly travel restrictions or visa matters, subject to guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
International Students with a Visa, Currently Outside the United States
If you have secured, or expect to have secured your visa, and plan to enroll for the fall semester on the Atlanta campus, you should plan for in-person, residential instruction.
Per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, any individual who is traveling to the U.S. from an international destination should quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, monitor their health, and practice social distancing. This guidance should be followed by students planning to live in either on-campus housing or private housing located off-campus.
On-campus residents will be provided a place to quarantine and options for delivery of Dining Services during that time. Off-campus residents should plan to quarantine in their off-campus housing. If it is not available before August, please contact Georgia Tech Housing and Residence Life to learn about limited availability for quarantine of asymptomatic individuals at nearby hotels.
International Students Without a Visa or Unable to Travel, Currently Outside the United States
If you are unable to obtain an entry visa or travel to the U.S. for the start of the fall semester, you have some options.
- Remote Courses – Under certain conditions, you may be able to enroll and take courses remotely while you are outside of the U.S. The applicability of the remote course option will depend on the availability of courses from a particular academic program and restrictions on Office of Foreign Assets Control-sanctioned countries. More details on this option will be available in the near future.
- International Campuses – Under certain conditions, you may also take courses at one of our two international campuses — Georgia Tech-Lorraine or Georgia Tech-Shenzhen.
- Georgia Tech-Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China): For the Fall 2020 semester, first-year undergraduate students who do not need a visa to enter China can study at the GT-Shenzhen campus. New or current MS ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) students who do not need a visa to enter China can also study at GT-Shenzhen. Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate other types of students at GT-Shenzhen during Fall 2020. Inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Georgia Tech-Lorraine (Metz, France): For the Fall 2020 semester, both the undergraduate and graduate programs will run with a condensed schedule. International graduate students who are unable to obtain a visa for the U.S. may be able to obtain a visa to study in France. Students are advised to review Georgia Tech-Lorraine’s course schedules for Fall 2020. If transferring to the Lorraine campus, students may only enroll in those courses listed on the Lorraine course schedule. All interested students should email GTL-France@gtl.gatech.edu as soon as possible for more information.
- Late Start to Fall Semester – The Department of Homeland Security Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s guidance allows F-1 students to arrive in Atlanta up to 30 days after the start of the semester. Students who cannot arrive at the start of the fall semester and are enrolled full time should contact their academic department and Office of International Education (oie.gatech.edu/isss_advising) for further guidance to see if a late arrival would be a viable option for them. Students arriving during this 30-day timeframe would be required to follow quarantine guidelines.
- Deferral – Graduate students may request a deferral of an admission decision for up to one year. Graduate students who were offered financial support must contact their academic program office to determine if their financial support package can be deferred, as well. To request approval for either of these options, graduate students should contact their academic program coordinator who will make the final determination. Undergraduate students can make deferral requests by contacting the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Requests must be received no later than July 24.
We understand that the current environment has created a great deal of uncertainty, and we hope that you will be able to join us in Atlanta this fall.
- Please reach out to your academic program to discuss your individual situation and to discuss next steps.
- Please consult the Office of International Education’s list of frequently asked questions for international students, which will continue to be updated as new information is received.
- You can also schedule an advising appointment with an international student advisor.
How does the announcement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that international students must take classes in person to stay in the country affect my ability to attend Georgia Tech in the fall?
On July 6, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced proposed modifications of Covid-19 temporary procedural adaptations and guidance for international students and institutions for Fall 2020 in a SEVP Broadcast Message: COVID-19 and Fall 2020.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures and responsibilities as a Temporary Final Rule in the Federal Register on August 4. In addition, SEVP published an FAQ on July 7. Some key points of that guidance are:
- All Georgia Tech F-1 student visa holders currently inside the U.S. will be allowed to remain inside the U.S. and attend a mix of in-person and hybrid course delivery during the fall semester. Georgia Tech is planning to operate as close to a traditional way as health and safety allows us. The plan foresees the majority of courses will be offered in a hybrid (requiring physical presence) or in-person mode.
- New Georgia Tech F-1 student U.S. visa holders will be allowed to join the institution for a combination of in-person instruction and hybrid delivery in Fall 2020.
- It is unclear if Georgia Tech international students outside the U.S. engaging in coursework from abroad will be able to maintain an Active SEVIS status. We will continue to work with SEVP to clarify this.
- F-1 student visa holders in the U.S. cannot take a full course of study completely remote/online, according to the published guidelines. Unfortunately, that would imply that, if for any reason the mode of instruction were to change to completely remote or online, the students would have to leave the country, or take other measures to remain in lawful status.
To reiterate, Georgia Tech plans to open the fall semester with as close to traditional in-person modality of instruction as possible. We also believe that the personal nature of research and thesis work will not be affected or changed this coming fall semester.
We understand the concern and apprehension the SEVP announcement is causing for the Georgia Tech community. Due to the shifting landscape around Covid-19, updates from the U.S. government, and developing institutional plans, we ask for your patience and sustained attention to current and upcoming guidance.
I’m an international student participating in an exchange program. Can I still come to Georgia Tech for Fall 2020?
All student exchanges with foreign universities for Fall 2020 have been canceled. New J-1 exchange visitors who had already received their DS-2019 for the J-1 visa have had their start dates postponed until September 21, 2020.
More information is available from the Office of International Education.
What’s the plan for Georgia Tech-Lorraine this fall?
The fall semester at Georgia Tech-Lorraine will start on August 31 with face-to-face classroom instruction beginning September 1 and ending November 24. Fall break will be shortened to accommodate this compressed schedule. Final examinations will be completed remotely after the Thanksgiving holiday. With this compressed schedule for in-person instruction in France, students will not be required to obtain a visa to study at Georgia Tech-Lorraine.
Please email GTL-France@gtl.gatech.edu for more information.
What’s the plan for the Georgia Tech-Shenzhen this fall?
Georgia Tech-Shenzhen plans to offer in-person instruction during the Fall 2020 semester starting on August 17. In the event of a campus closure ordered by Chinese authorities, we plan to facilitate continuity of the academic program through online instruction.
Please email email@example.com for more information.