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Newsletter for F-1 international students.
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The Frontier

A newsletter for F-1 international students
October 2021
News & Updates

COVID vaccine proof required for F-1 intl. students entering the U.S. starting Nov. 8

If you are planning to travel for the holidays, please note that you will be required to show proof of vaccination in addition to a negative COVID-19 test before boarding your return flight to the U.S. 
 
U.S. federal authorities recently announced that the U.S. will lift the geographic restrictions on air travelers but, starting on Nov. 8, will require proof of vaccination in addition to a negative COVID-19 test (taken within three days prior to departure for the U.S.) for any non-U.S. citizens who are nonimmigrants. (This includes international students on F-1 visas.) This CDC webpage has details about air travel for non-U.S. citizens, nonimmigrants.

You can also check your airline and local embassy and consulate websites. In addition, this webpage of the NAFSA Association of International Educators connects to many federal agencies and provides very current information.  

Augusta University is offering the COVID vaccine to all students. If you have not yet been vaccinated, we encourage you to do so.
Request travel endorsement in AU International before traveling

If you are planning to travel, remember to request travel endorsement.
  • Log in to AU International using your AU network ID and password
  • On the menu on the left, click F-1 Student Services
  • Then, click on F-1/F-2 Travel Endorsement Request

Graduating? Here's when you should apply for OPT

Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows you to work in the U.S. for at least one year after graduating.

If you're planning to apply, you'll want to keep the following in mind. The earliest that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept your application is 90 days before your graduation date. The latest that they will accept your application is 60 days after your graduation date. You are not required to have a job to apply for OPT. 
For students graduating in December 
Earliest date: September 12, 2021
Latest date: February 8, 2022
For students graduating in May
Earliest date: February 14, 2022
Latest date: July 12, 2022
(Note: If you are completing your program before the end of a semester, please contact our office for guidance.)

You are encouraged to apply for OPT before graduation. If you do not apply before graduation, you are encouraged to apply:
  • within the 45-day period after graduation so that your application will reach USCIS on or before the 60th day after graduation.
    AND
  • prior to exiting the U.S. If you exit the U.S. during the grace period after you graduate or complete your program requirements, USCIS may determine that your F-1 status has ended and you are ineligible for OPT. 
For more information, see the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's OPT webpage.

When you are ready, you can start the OPT Application in AU International. (Click on F-1 Practical Training in the menu, then click on OPT Application.)
Reminders 

Enroll in a full course of study

As an F-1 student, you are typically only allowed to count one online course toward the F-1 full course of study requirement. However, due to COVID-19 emergency protocols that are still in place, you can take as many online courses as you'd like for Spring 2022 as long as you have one course that meets face-to-face at least once a week

F-1 students still must be enrolled in a full course load. 

Full course of study requirements

  • Graduate students: at least 9 credit hours
  • Undergraduate students: at least 12 credit hours

If you are considering enrolling in less than a full course of study for Spring 2022, please contact Beverly Tarver at btarver@augusta.edu or 706-721-0670 as soon as possible.  

Employment at Augusta National Golf Club for Masters

Remember, as an F-1 student, you need prior authorization to work. If you're thinking about getting a job during Masters Week, please request an appointment as soon as possible. You must have employment authorization before you begin working.

Extend your I-20 if necessary

Please pay attention to the "program end date" on your I-20. (Click the image above to see a larger sample I-20.) If you plan to graduate later than the end date on your I-20, please request an extension appointment

Check your passport

Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months at all times.

Please check the expiration date on your passport. If you are close to having only 9 months left on your passport,  you should apply for a new one through your embassy or consulate.

Moved recently? Make sure your address is updated

If you have moved recently — even if you have just changed apartment numbers or room numbers in the residence hall — please be sure that your address is up-to-date. 

If you are an enrolled student or a student who recently graduated
  • Log into Pounce 
  • Update your address and contact information if necessary
  • The address, phone number, and personal email that you enter in Pounce will automatically be pulled into AU International, and we will update your information in SEVIS.
If you are on OPT or STEM OPT
  • Log into AU International (Limited Services) using your student ID number, date of birth, and your password. (If you have never logged in to Limited Services or don't know your password, click on the "Email me my Limited Access PIN" link at the bottom of the page.)
  • On the menu on the left, click on F-1 Practical Training
  • Then, click on OPT Reporting. Update your address and any other information that needs updating using this form. We then will update your information in SEVIS.
Important note: All students are still required to notify USCIS of your address change within 10 days after you move by filling out the Form AR-11 online.)
Resources for International Students 

New mental health resource available for students who are abroad

AU students who are outside of the U.S. can connect to mental health support 24/7, thanks to a new resource provided by the unversity. 

The Student Connect Program offers students access to a team of highly-trained and qualified counselors by phone, email, or via an app called iConnectYou. View the Student Connect Program flyer for more details.

Other on-campus resources for students

Augusta University also has a variety of other student support and advocacy services on campus, including the Academic Success Center, Testing & Disabilities Services and Student Health Services. View this brochure to learn more about these and other services. Many of these services are being offered virtually due to the pandemic.
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