International Students and Scholars

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 iss@nullwfu.edu, or call 336-758-5938 to request an appointment.

As a reminder, please contact iss@nullwfu.edu 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.

ISSS FAQs

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions regarding recent changes in campus or regulatory procedures.

    9/25/2020 New DHS Proposed Rule

  • Duration of Status

    On September 25, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposal to replace Duration of Status (D/S) for F and J visa holders. It is important to note that this is a proposed rule and does not have an immediate effect. This rulemaking is currently in the notice and comment phase and the government has given until October 26, 2020 for the public to provide comment on this proposed rule. In addition to directly impacting our future international students, these rules will have devastating and long term effects on our current international students, alumni, and international employees if passed into law.

    For more information our national professional organization, NAFSA, has a comprehensive summary of the D/S proposal on their web page.

  • What is Duration of Status (D/S) and why is it important to our F-1 and J-1 students?

    The D/S allows F and J visa holders to remain inside the U.S. for the length of their I-20 or DS-2019. The I-20 or DS-2019 are issued by ISSS for the length of the degree program and currently school officials within ISSS are able to extend the I-20 or DS-2019 as needed, to allow the student to complete their degree program, receive employment authorization, and maintain their F or J visa status. 

    DHS is proposing to change the duration of status into a specific date linked to the students I-94. The I-94 is issued by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the time of entry into the U.S. This means that F and J visa holders will be given a specific end date by CBP for their visa status and school officials within ISSS will no longer be able to extend the I-20 or DS-2019 if a student needs more time to complete their degree program. This eliminates the flexibility and role that school officials have in providing additional time for students to complete their degree program or apply for employment authorization.

  • What are some of the other changes included in the proposal to replace D/S?

    Date-Specific admission of F and J nonimmigrants:

    • Limit period of authorized stay to the I-20 or DS-2019 end date, for a period of no more than 4 years.
    • Some F and J visa holders will be subject to a 2 year period of authorized stay. These include:
      • Individuals born in or who are citizens of countries on the State Sponsor of Terrorism List (currently: North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Syria).
      • F and J visa holders from Countries with a greater than 10 percent overstay rate.
      • This limited period of stay can be initiated based on U.S. national interest, as determined by the Secretary of DHS (meaning the list of countries this applies to, is subject to change).
      • Students attending schools that are not accredited.
      • Students attending schools that do not participate completely in E-verify.
    • Shortens the post completion grace period for F visa holders from 60 days to 30 days. The J grace period remains the same at 30 days.

    Academic Related Restrictions:

    • Places limits on pursuing new F-1 programs at the same educational level
    • Places limits on “reverse program matriculation” by F-1 students
    • DHS incorporates new standards on defining acceptable reasons for requesting a program extension 

    Extension of stay mechanics and eligibility requirements: 

    • Meet specific and complex filing deadlines to file extension requests
    • F visa holders must provide proof of sufficient funding to request extensions directly to DHS
    • F visa holders (and their dependents) would be required to submit biometrics and possibly have to complete an in-person interview with USCIS

    Employment Related Issues:

    • F visa holders working on-campus could continue working while their extension of stay is pending, but only for 180 days
    • No continuation  of CPT and other types of employment are allowed while the extension is pending

    General Questions

  • Where can I get the latest information regarding the Coronavirus?

    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.

  • Will ISSS be open?
    The International Student & Scholar Services office will continue to operate remotely for the fall semester until further notice. We will continue to support efforts to de-densify the campus during this time of transition.
    ISSS is available via email iss@wfu.edu and virtual appointments through https://calendly.com/isss-appt with an advisor.
    Remember to take care of your health and wellness, wear a mask, and refrain from large gatherings.
  • Will ISSS be operational over winter break?

    WFU will be closed from 12/23/2020 – 1/4/2021 and ISSS is included in this closure. However, for any international students, faculty, or staff who experience an emergency over the winter break, you may contact WFU campus police at 336-758-5911. Please identify yourself as a member of our international community seeking assistance from ISSS. Examples of an emergency include hospitalization, arrest, detainment at an airport, injury, and/or a family emergency.

  • What should I do if I begin to feel sick?

    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.”

  • If I take a COVID-19 test when I arrive in the U.S. and it comes back negative can I attend on campus classes without going through a quarantine period?

    Please contact Residence Life and Housing for specific quarantine and housing-related questions:  housing@wfu.edu 

  • Can I go to my visa appointment and enter the United States with an electronic copy of my I-20?

    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.

  • The Spring 2021 start date has changed, what does this mean for F and J students?

    For continuing students there will be no change in I-20, if you plan to attend Spring 2021 on campus you need to make sure you arrive in time to start Spring 2021 classes. Please contact RL&H at housing@wfu.edu for details about move in and out days. 

    For new students who will start their on campus programs in Spring 2021 you will receive an updated I-20 with the new start date. Email iss@wfu.edu for more information.

  • I am having trouble with the SneezSafe app.
    If you are having trouble registering for the Sneezsafe app because you have an international phone number, please follow these steps below to enroll.
     
    To get enrolled and start using SneezSafe, you should enter (336) 336-3336 as your phone number during registration and then after registration, send an email to contact@sneezsafe.com with your international phone number (including the country code) so that your actual number will be added to the SneezSafe record. 
     
    Then to complete the Daily Wellness Survey, follow these steps:
     
    2. Click on Daily Wellness Survey
    3. Enter your SneezSafe User ID, which will be your first initial and last initial followed by the number 3363363336. For example, my User ID would be PP3363363336
    In the short-term, you will not be able to receive daily survey reminders. However, SneezSafe is working on getting students with international numbers set up with an email reminder and will send an update soon.
    If you have any questions, email contact@sneezsafe.com

    Status Maintenance

  • What if I go home this semester and take online/remote courses and am outside of the United States for more than 5-months? Will I be able to come back to campus this fall on my current visa and I-20?

    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.

  • Will Spring 2021 be held on campus?

    Wake Forest Plans to offer a hybrid model of instruction for Spring 2021.

  • If I decide to not enroll (take a semester or gap year), what should I do?

    Undergraduates who have decided to take a semester or gap year and do not plan to return to campus for the fall 2020 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 iss@wfu.edu if you do not plan to return for the Spring 2021 semester so that we can accurately update your immigration status.

  • Can I take all online classes for Spring 2021?

    The SEVP guidance for Spring and Fall 2021 has been extended to Fall 2021. Continuing international students with Active SEVIS records may enroll in exclusively online courses this Spring semester from your home country in order to maintain your academic progress and visa status.

    Students who will reside in the U.S. this fall should enroll in as few online courses as possible while maintaining academic progress. Wake Forest is providing a hybrid model this Spring so some on-campus enrollment is strongly recommended for international students who are in the U.S. to maintain their visa status. This is an extra layer of protection to ensure that you are compliant with any current or future immigration requirements.

    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.

  • Do I need to apply for a new visa if my SEVIS record is terminated?

    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.

  • If I enroll in a Wake Forest Study Abroad program this Spring will my SEVIS record remain Active?

    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 studyabroad@wfu.edu. This option is not available for students who have been issued I-20s for Initial Attendance.

    Travel

  • If I need to update my travel signature for my I-20 or DS-2019 while ISSS is operating remotely, what should I do? How will I receive a new I-20 or DS-2019?

    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 iss@wfu.edu if you are having any trouble.

    Currently, ISSS is uploading all I-20/DS-2019 reprint requests to students’ ISSDeacs account.

  • If I am traveling internationally to arrive on campus this fall do I have to quarantine?

    Students should email Housing housing@wfu.edu for details.

  • I need to prove that I will be attending on campus classes for my visa interview or for my trip back to the U.S. to attend Spring semester.

    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.

  • When will visa services resume?

    The Department of State has not made an official announcement that visa services have resumed on a global scale yet.  Scheduling an appointment will be available on a post-by-post basis.  Please use this resource for country specific information on the ability to schedule an appointment. 

  • Travel Restrictions

    Travel Restrictions

    There are currently five 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.  

     

    UPDATE:

    The President has not terminated the Presidential Proclamation banning entry to the U.S. from the Schengen area, the UK, and Ireland at this time.  However, we’ve heard reports that some students who already have a valid F-1 visa may be eligible for a National Interest Exception (NIE) which would allow them to possibly enter the U.S. from one of these countries.   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 the Schengen area, the UK, and Ireland.  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.  In the absence of an official announcement from the Department of State, Customs and Border Protection, and the White House, entry at this time from the Schengen area, the UK, and Ireland remains risky. 

I am a…

  • Services Overview
    • Immigration Advising for F, J, and certain employment based nonimmigrant visas
    • Programming for academic, social, and professional adjustment to life in the United States

    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.

  • Reynolda Campus Contact Information

    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
    Phone: +1-336-758-5938

    Hours: Monday – Friday | 8:30am- 5:00pm

  • Health Sciences Campus Contact Information

    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
    Phone: +1-336-716-1194
    Email: predmond@wakehealth.edu

  • Bowman Gray Campus Contact Information

    Serving: Bowman Gray based F Graduate Students

    Medical Center Boulevard
    Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1001

    Contact: Ms. Beth Whitsett
    Phone: +1-336-716-4224
    Email: bwhitset@wakehealth.edu