Spring 2021 End-of-Semester Info for Intl Students
Greetings, international students!
I pray that you are doing well and that your spring semester is coming to a successful conclusion! With only two weeks to go before we break for the summer, I wanted to reach out to you with important announcements and updates. Please take the time to carefully read and understand this email.
Visa status. Please check your program of study dates on your student visa. If you have an F-1 visa, you can check your Form I-20 for those dates; if you have a J-1 visa, check your Form DS-2019. If the program end date on your I-20 or DS-2019 is in August 2021 or earlier, please contact the Office of International Student Services & Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org right away so that we can advise you about the right steps to take to stay in status.
Traveling outside of the U.S. in the summer. Please check to make sure you have the proper travel endorsements before you leave the U.S. this summer. Your specific travel endorsement is found on the second page of the I-20 and on the right-hand side of the DS-2019. You should see a travel signature from a Designated School Official (DSO)—this could be Robert Benjamin, Silmara Ferreira or Christian Stuart—as well as the date of signature and location of signature. Your travel endorsement is valid if it is dated no more than one year before the date you plan to return to the U.S. If you do not have a travel endorsement, or if the date is close to or past the one-year mark, please contact the Office of International Student Services & Programs at email@example.com before you leave campus so that you can obtain an updated and current travel endorsement. Please also note that if your F-1 or J-1 visa is expired or close to expiring, you will need to renew it before you can return to the U.S. once you leave.
Staying on campus in the summer. The summer is considered the annual vacation period at Andrews University, though classes are still offered at different times. If you began studying on campus at Andrews University in spring 2021 or earlier, you can take the summer off entirely—you can work, or you can take one or more classes as needed. If you are planning on starting your studies at Andrews University this summer with a student visa, you will be required to take a full load of classes during the summer semester.
Employment letters and social security numbers. If you plan to work on campus and you do not yet have a Social Security Number, you will need to contact the Employment office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request an employment letter. Once you have your employment letter signed by an Employment staff member, please bring the letter to the main desk on the third floor of the Administration building and drop it off for a signature from a DSO in the Office of International Student Services & Programs. You will receive an email once your letter is signed and ready for pickup, usually within one business day. You should then call the Benton Harbor Social Security office at 877-405-5457 to request an appointment to obtain a Social Security Number and card. In addition to the employment letter, you will need to bring your passport, visa, I-20 or DS-2019, and I-94 to your appointment at the Social Security office.
U.S. government I-20 requirements for academic year 2021–2022. The U.S. government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has confirmed that the COVID-19 related flexibilities issued in SEVP March 2020 guidelines will continue for the 2021–2022 academic year. These March 2020 guidelines allow international students who had an active I-20 in March 2020 to continue to maintain the I-20 on an active status even if they are outside of the U.S. as long as they register for a full load of classes each fall and spring semester. International students who have been issued an I-20 summer 2020 or after are required to take at least one in-person class as part of a required full-course load on the Berrien Springs campus each fall and spring semester to maintain the I-20 in good status.
Health insurance reminder. Please note that all international students are required to purchase the Andrews University health insurance plan. Exceptions to this policy will be considered for Canadian students and for those who are sponsored by an employer. For more information about this policy, please contact the student insurance office at email@example.com.
Scheduling appointments with the Office of International Student Services & Programs staff. If you would like to make an appointment with a staff member in our Office of International Student Services & Programs, go here to schedule an appointment through Calendly. Please note that all appointments will be conducted via Zoom.
Thank you for taking the time to carefully read this email. If you have any further questions, please feel free to make an appointment with a staff member or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, please continue to regularly check the Updates for International Students webpage, as we will add updates and announcements as we move into the summer and confirm plans for fall 2021.
In the final weeks of this spring semester, I am wishing you a very great conclusion to the semester, followed by a productive and meaningful summer and a smooth transition to the new academic year beginning this August!
Executive Director, PDSO, RO
Center for On-Campus International Student Services