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Center for International Students and Scholars (CISS)

Center for International Students and Scholars (CISS)

Helping international students and their families feel welcome

Bentley University offers a warm and inviting community for international students to learn, grow professionally, and engage with the world.

The Center for International Students and Scholars (CISS) offers resources for international students and promotes interactions between domestic and international students. CISS makes it possible for all Bentley students to gain both a global perspective and a broadened world view.

              CISS operations

              CISS is operating and conducting all business remotely. We are still working and providing all regular services, however all correspondence is now conducted via phone and email instead of in-person.

              Spring 2021 - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

              New international students FAQ

              Do I need to take a full course load? And can I take online or hybrid classes?

              Presuming new guidance remains the same as fall, new students entering the U.S. in F-1 status must register in at least one hybrid course (if you have not registered for a hybrid course yet, you will be able to update your schedule and can contact Academic Advising for assistance). This rule does not apply to you if:   

              1. You are a new initial student who will study outside the U.S. during the spring term;   
              1. You were in the U.S. in F-1 status on March 9, 2020 (this includes transfer students and students who were in F-1 status in another degree program last spring) and have maintained continuous F-1 status in the interim  

              When is the latest date I can enter the U.S.?
              New initial students must enter the U.S. before February 1, 2021 for CISS to register your F-1 record.

              If you were not able to arrive in time to attend our mandatory immigration session, please view a recording of the session here.

              Can I study online in the spring from outside the U.S.? What happens to my immigration status?
              If you are a new student at Bentley for the spring 2021 trimester, you may choose to begin your studies online from your home country. While you may begin your degree online outside of the United States, F-1 visa holders with “initial” I-20s will not hold F-1 visa status during this time (this does not apply to continuing students, SEVIS transfers or students with Change of Educational Level I-20s). CISS will defer your I-20 start date to August 2021, and you will begin in F-1 status when you arrive in the U.S. for the Fall 2021 trimester. 

              If you are a SEVIS transfer student (you have been in F1 status in the US previously and have arranged to transfer your SEVIS record) please communicate directly with CISS. Most likely we will need to reissue a new initial I-20 to you, but this will be reviewed individually for each student's situation.

              Please note that we are continuing to issue I-20s for the spring 2021 trimester so that you may plan to join us on campus for classes, which would activate your F1 status. However, if you are unable to secure a student visa in time to begin the spring trimester in the U.S., you can register and begin classes remotely and contact the CISS to obtain a deferred I-20 as detailed above.

              Can new students come to Bentley and study?
              Yes. You will be in active F-1 status as long as you are able to enter the U.S. for the start of the spring trimester and are registered full time (12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students). You will be required to take a portion of your course load in-person.

              Please note that if you plan to study in person, you must arrive in the U.S. and report your I-94 information and U.S. address to CISS either in person or electronically no later than February 1, 2021 in order to maintain F1 status for the spring 2021 trimester.

              Does Bentley University know when the U.S. Consulates and Embassies will be processing student visa applications?
              Many U.S. consular posts have suspended routine visa processing temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, we do not know when individual U.S. Embassies and Consulate posts will resume processing student visas. CISS will continue to issue and send I-20s to admitted students so you can be prepared to initiate your visa application as soon as the consular posts reopen. You should check your embassy or consulate’s website frequently for appointment availability.

              What are the travel restrictions for entering the U.S.?
              As travel restrictions change frequently, we recommend checking the NAFSA COVID-19 travel site for the most up-to-date information affecting international student travel.

              How will studying online or in a hybrid format during spring 2021 affect my OPT or CPT eligibility next summer?
              Your eligibility timeline for F-1 benefits (CPT/OPT) begins accruing once you enter the U.S. in F1 status. If you enter the U.S. to begin the spring trimester in F1 status, the spring trimester will count towards your one year of eligibility. If you choose to study outside of the U.S. for the spring 2021 trimester, you will not begin your F1 status nor start accruing eligibility for benefits until you enter the U.S. for the fall 2021 trimester.

              Please see our web pages on OPT and CPT eligibility to understand current eligibility requirements.

               

              Returning international students FAQ

              Do I need to take a full course load? And can I take online or hybrid classes?Continuing students entering the U.S. in F-1 status (or studying remotely from your home country) should enroll in a full-time course load (12 credits for undergraduates; 9 credits for graduates). Presuming spring guidance remains the same as fall, these courses can be online or hybrid or both – there is no in-person class requirement for continuing students. CISS will maintain your F-1 SEVIS record if you are enrolled full-time, regardless of your location in the U.S. or overseas. 

              I am taking all my classes from outside the U.S. What should I enter in Workday as my local address?
              We will still need a local (U.S.) address for all students by the start of the fall semester. If you are a continuing student who will study outside of the U.S., please enter your local address in Workday as follows:  

              175 Forest Street
              COVID-19 Remote
              Waltham, MA 02452  

              Can I study online in the spring from outside the U.S.? What happens to my immigration status?

              1. If you don’t take any classes or if you take less than a full load of credits, you will need to take a Leave of Absence and must remain outside of the U.S. Email loa@bentley.edu for Leave of Absence procedures. Because you will be on leave, your immigration status will be terminated and we will provide documentation so you can begin again in initial status when you return. The accrual of your one year of eligibility for CPT and OPT would begin again upon your return.
              2. Presuming spring guidance remains the same as fall, you can take a full load of courses remotely, and you will be able to maintain active F1 student status. Even if you are not in the U.S., as long as you are maintaining a full load of courses you will continue to be considered an active F1 student and we will register you in SEVIS accordingly.

              Can I come to Bentley and study?
              Yes. You will maintain your F-1 status as long as you are registered full time (12 credits for undergraduate and 9 credits for graduate students) regardless of the format of your classes. For housing inquiries pertaining to spring 2021, please contact housing@bentley.edu

              What are the travel restrictions for entering the U.S.?
              As travel restrictions change frequently, we recommend checking the NAFSA COVID-19 travel site for the most up-to-date information affecting international student travel. Additionally, there is a possibility that DHS will implement a new rule affecting "Duration of Status" (D/S). If implemented, this rule change could affect the length of time F-1 visas can be issued for and would also require students apply to USCIS to extend their program end dates when the time comes.

              How does this situation impact my work authorization?
              As long as you are maintaining status by taking a full load of courses, you will accrue eligibility towards CPT and/or OPT during spring 2021 because you will be maintaining your F1 status (presuming spring guidance remains the same as fall).  We have also compiled a comprehensive document to answer many of the questions surrounding OPT and CPT during COVID-19, including information on remote work and furloughs.

              How does the change to trimesters affect international students?
              The move to trimesters allows students to take a full load of courses during the summer, if desired. You are not required to take classes during summer as it is optional. The summer trimester is still considered the “annual vacation” period for F1 international students and does not count toward the two semester requirement for CPT or OPT eligibility. International F1 students must still take a full load of courses in both the fall and spring trimesters.

              What if I’m trying to leave the U.S. and am having difficulty getting a flight
              Check with your consulate or embassy in the U.S. – they may be able to assist you. If you are approaching the end of a grace period or no longer have F1 status, we recommend keeping detailed documentation of your efforts to depart the United States in a timely manner. This may include e-mails, texts and copies of any correspondence you have had with your airline. If you stay beyond the end of your grace period or accumulate too much unemployment time while on OPT, this documentation may be useful to show that you made every effort to depart the United States, but circumstances beyond your control prevented you from doing so in a timely manner.

              What if I need to return home before the end of the trimester when residential halls won’t be open and classes will be online?
              The latest guidance clarifies that you will maintain status regardless of the format of your classes. As such, you may either remain in the U.S. (off campus) or return home. As long as you are continuing your full course load, your will remain in F1 status, presuming spring guidance remains the same as fall.

              What if I need to arrive later than the start of classes for the spring 2021 semester?
              All new students must arrive on Bentley’s campus no later than February 1, 2021 in order to maintain F1 status for the spring 2021 trimester. Returning/continuing students, however, can maintain F1 status from both outside the US and inside the US as long as they are taking a full course load. As such, you can arrive in the U.S. at any point in the semester though you may face limitations and restrictions with housing arrangements.

              Travel New I-20s and Travel Signatures

              The government currently allows us to distribute I-20s electronically for certain purposes. To obtain an updated I-20 or travel signature, you will need to request a new I-20 on our website Depending on the issuance reason, we may either mail you the new I-20, or will share it with you in electronic format.

              OPT and STEM Extension (OPT Applications will be accepted electronically only)

              Fall 2020 graduate application window: Current until February 16th, 2021

              Spring 2021 graduate application window: January 30th until June 29th 2021

              Note: You may submit to the CISS for review as early as 1-2 weeks before the start of the application window.

               

              To submit documents to the CISS:

              • Please refer to the OPT section of our website for a list of documents and downloadable forms: https://www.bentley.edu/offices/center-international-student-scholars/optional-practical-training
              • Scan and email documents in a single email to GA_CISS@bentley.edu. When possible, please send in the form of a single, compact PDF document. Note that incomplete applications will not be accepted. You may omit photocopies of previously-issued I-20s.
                • Please include in the email subject line: [OPT/STEM OPT Application ] -- [Your Name and Bentley ID]
              • Please allow up to 7-10 business days for review and issuance of an OPT-recommendation I-20. Bentley CISS is working diligently to continue to provide services during this period, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation. Once processed, we will notify you of corrections and mailing instructions via email, and inform you of the mailing status of your I-20.

               

              FAQs related to Employment for F-1 students during COVID

              CPT Applications will be accepted electronically only

              Fall 2020 CPT Dates: Current - December 18th, 2020

              Spring 2021 CPT Dates: January 19th, 2021 - April 30th 2021

              EAD cards and I-797 receipt notices

              The Bentley mail room will continue to function and will alert CISS when these documents arrive. We will contact individual students to arrange for mailing or pickup as documents are received.

              Advising
              • CISS will offer twice daily Zoom virtual advising options. This zoom link will allow you to speak "face to face" with a CISS advisor for a quick 5-10 minute conversation during the following times:
                • Monday -- Friday 9am-10am (EST)
                • Monday -- Friday 2pm-3pm (EST)
              • As always, we are also available for advising questions via email at GA_CISS@bentley.edu  
              Additional FAQs
              • CISS is open and responding to phone (+1.781.891.2829) and email inquiries (GA_CISS@bentley.edu).
              • CISS offers twice daily zoom advising (Monday - Friday, 9-10am and 2-3pm, EST)
              • Bentley is closely monitoring travel restriction updates as well as updates related to COVID-19 and will continue to notify students as updates become available. Bentley's updates will all be posted at bentley.edu/coronavirus.
              • Important information for students (including a dedicated section for international students) is available at the Student FAQ page.

              Connections Beyond Borders

              Connections Beyond Borders connects international students with students, staff and faculty who are from the US. The pairs meet regularly for conversation or to attend University programs and events.

              Learn More

              CultureFest

              Each Fall, Bentley celebrates the rich cultural fabric of our University through a week-long celebration. CultureFest includes activities, food, music and presentations all around campus.

              Learn More

              WorldView

              Graduate international students educate the Bentley community about their home country, culture, and traditions through the WorldView program. The goal is to increase awareness and intercultural sensitivity for everyone by encouraging dialogue and global citizenship.

              Learn More

              711

              F1 Undergraduate Students

              569

              F1 Graduate Students

              97

              J1 Exchange Students

              CISS Staff

              Contact Us

              Student Center, Room 310 (currently remote)

              • Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
              • CISS will offer twice daily Zoom virtual advising options. This zoom link will allow you to speak "face to face" with a CISS advisor for a quick 5-10 minute conversation during the following times:
                • Monday -- Friday 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. (EDT)
                • Monday -- Friday 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (EDT)

              Phone: 781-891-2829 | Fax: 781-891-2845 | Email: ga_ciss@bentley.edu