Please visit the Wake Forest COVID-19 planning web page at ourwayforward.wfu.edu. This web page provides links to information from government agencies as well.
For information from ICE/SEVP please visit their FAQs.
Welcome! The International Student and Scholars division (ISS) serves all international students and scholars participating in programs with Wake Forest University.
International students and scholars with questions concerning their visa status or other issues pertinent to their stay at Wake Forest University can come to the Center for Global Programs & Studies, email email@example.com, or call 336-758-5938 to request an appointment.
As a reminder, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have as they relate to your visa status. Our entire staff are the only Designated School Officials for Wake Forest University, meaning we are your resources for all immigration-related guidance. It is so important to us that you receive accurate and timely information to ensure you are protecting your visa status.
Please see our Frequently Asked Questions regarding recent changes in campus or regulatory procedures.
Per the Student Health Center “please call the Student Health Service (336-758-5218) or your primary health care provider. Seek medical attention if you experience fever, cough or difficulty breathing. It is recommended that those who think they may have been exposed call ahead before going to the Student Health Service, their primary care physician, or an emergency room.”
Yes, currently SEVP has issued guidance in coordination with the Department of State and Customs & Border Protection (CBP) stating that I-20s with electronic Designated School Official (DSO – ISSS staff) signatures can be used for visa interview and travel purposes. You must print and sign your I-20 before using it for your visa appointment and for travel.
Please refer to this FAQ for more information about the vaccine requirement including the timeline to receive the vaccine and which vaccines are acceptable.
Students should email email@example.com with the subject line “International Student Vaccine Extension” and indicate that they will need to get the vaccine when they arrive on campus. Students should share their anticipated arrival date in Winston-Salem and where they will complete their 7 day quarantine (if they have not completed it before arriving in Winston-Salem).
WFU Student Health Services has consulted with an infectious diseases expert who stated that the risk for complications or significant side effects from taking a second type of vaccine was very low. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The 5-month rule is generally considered to be in reference to an absence of more than five months that is unconnected to study. If you are continuing to make academic progress in your classes remotely and your visa status is kept Active you should be able to return to Wake Forest on your current visa and I-20. Be sure that you have a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019. Travel signatures are valid for one year. Remember that Wake Forest is operating on a Hybrid Model and F-1 students must enroll in at least one on-campus class in order to enter the United States.
Undergraduates who have decided to take a semester or gap year and do not plan to return to campus for a future semester should notify the Office Academic Advising of their plans and request a Continuous Enrollment Status (CES), Leave of Absence, or withdraw from the university as soon as possible.
Graduate students will need to request a Leave of Absence or withdrawal from their graduate school.
Please email email@example.com if you plan to take a Leave of Absence semester so that we can accurately update your immigration status.
The SEVP guidance for Spring and Fall 2020 has been extended to Summer and Fall 2021. If Wake Forest University continues to report a hybrid model of instruction, continuing international students with Active SEVIS records may enroll in exclusively online courses this Fall semester from your home country in order to maintain your academic progress and visa status. If Wake Forest returns to normal operations for Fall 2021 continuing international students with Active SEVIS records must return to the U.S. and enroll in on campus classes.
Courses taught as Online or Blended with Online Pathway will not count as on campus as you can complete these courses without ever coming to campus.
Although your SEVIS record will be closed, your F-1 entry visa may not be canceled. Current students with unexpired visas whose SEVIS records are terminated and who are issued a new Initial I-20 or reactivated I-20 s for spring or fall 2021 should contact the consulate that issued their visa to confirm that they can continue to use it for entry with their new SEVIS record and I-20.
Students whose SEVIS records are terminated for any reason other than Authorized Early Withdrawal should apply for a new visa before re-entering the United States with their new Initial I-20.
Continuing Wake Forest students who are approved to enroll in an official Wake Forest Study Abroad program are eligible to remain in Active SEVIS status. To learn more about what Wake Forest Study Abroad programs are available, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This option is not available for students who have been issued I-20s for Initial Attendance.
The travel validation signature is required for re-entry to the U.S. The travel signature is not needed to depart the U.S. The I-20/DS-2019 signature is valid one year from the date signed.
You can request many processing actions through your ISSDeacs (issdeacs.wfu.edu) account including requesting an I-20 reprint. We recommend that you first start a request in your ISSDeacs account and email email@example.com if you are having any trouble.
Currently, ISSS is uploading all I-20/DS-2019 reprint requests to students’ ISSDeacs account.
Students should email Housing firstname.lastname@example.org and Student Health Services email@example.com for details.
To confirm on-campus enrollment for travel purposes, students can request a Verification of Enrollment that includes confirmation of on-campus courses from their Academic Unit or their School’s Registrar’s Office and print out a course schedule that includes course meeting times and locations.
U.S. Visa services have resumed in a limited capacity in most countries. The Department of State recently added several updates to its web site (travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html) You can also get the latest updates affecting international students and employees here, https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/covid-19-restrictions-us-visas-and-entry
There are currently several different travel related Presidential Proclamations in place that are banning entry to the U.S. from certain countries. These proclamations will remain in effect until terminated by the President. The President has the authority to ban additional countries from entering the U.S. at any time.
NAFSA is a great resource to see updated information about travel related Presidential Proclamations.
National Interest Exceptions:
The President has not terminated any Presidential Proclamations banning entry to the U.S. at this time. However, students who already have a valid F-1 visa may be eligible for an automatic National Interest Exception (NIE) which would allow them to enter the U.S. from a banned country. We recommend you contact your embassy for guidance on this, as there is conflicting information on whether an NIE is needed for entry directly from a banned country. Even if you were granted a NIE, remember that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) always has the discretion on whether you are granted lawful admission to the U.S.
According to current USCIS guidance, you cannot apply for OPT from outside of the United States. If you want to obtain OPT, we recommend that you complete your last semester from within the U.S. and do not travel outside of the U.S. until after you have applied for OPT and you receive your EAD card, and/or the travel restrictions for reentry have been lifted.
Please communicate with your supervisor to determine what steps you need to take to end or adjust your employment. Send firstname.lastname@example.org an email to confirm your plans and receive direct advice regarding your visa status.
We have reached out to SEVP for additional guidance on this issue. For now we recommend reporting unpaid or volunteer work related to your field to avoid using unemployment days. If you need help finding this kind of work, contact your academic department for ideas on unpaid or volunteer employment in your field.
USCIS has made the I-765 available for F-1 OPT and STEM OPT online filing. Online filing of the I-765 is available for F-1 students applying for OPT or STEM OPT. Online filing is still a new option and ISSS can only offer limited advising on this process.
USCIS may require that you appear for an interview or provide biometrics (fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature) at any time to verify your identity, obtain additional information, and conduct background and security checks, including a check of criminal history records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), before making a decision on your application or petition. After USCIS receives your application and ensures it is complete, we will inform you in writing if you need to attend a biometric services appointment.
Disclaimer: U.S. immigration laws are very complex. The information contained on this website is designed specifically for students and scholars at Wake Forest University. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly evolving; we will attempt to keep this site up-to date, but we cannot guarantee their completeness or accuracy. The information contained herein is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship nor can it be construed as legal advice.
Serving: Reynolda Campus based students, scholars, and employees.
Center for Global Programs & Studies
1834 Wake Forest Road
Reynolda Hall, Room 116
Winston Salem, NC 27109
Hours: Monday – Friday | 8:30am- 5:00pm
Serving: Health Sciences Campus based J scholars and H-1 employees.
4th Floor, Piedmont Plaza 1
1920 W. First Street
Winston Salem, NC 27104
Contact: Ms. Pamela Redmond, Immigration Specialist
Serving: Bowman Gray based F Graduate Students
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1001
Contact: Ms. Beth Whitsett