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CISS

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

The CISS office is operating in a hybrid format.  We are located on the top floor of the Student Center, Suite 310. We are accepting drop-ins visits during our in-person advising hours. Please see "Contact Us" section below for more details about our in-person and virtual advising schedule. You may also contact us by phone, email, or via Zoom. During the summer, CISS is open Monday - Thursday from 8:00am - 5:30pm. We are closed on Fridays.

Spring 2022 New International Student FAQs

Do I need to take a full course load?  

Yes, new students wishing to maintain F-1 status must remain enrolled in a full course load. This means 12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students.  Exceptions to this rule include students with pre-authorized reduced course loads and special student relief, and students in their final semester completing all remaining degree requirements. If you have remaining questions about your ability to take a full time course load, please contact the CISS at GA_CISS@bentley.edu

New students studying outside of the U.S. without maintaining F-1 status are not required to follow full-course load requirements (see below section entitled: “Can I choose to take a completely online course load from my home country?”)

Can I take online or hybrid classes?  

According to updated guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, to begin your F-1 status, new students must have an in-person component to their program of study. This means that if you are entering the U.S. for the first time for the Spring 2022 semester, you must be enrolled in at least one in-person course or a hybrid course with in-person options or components. Students enrolled in hybrid courses with optional in-person class sessions should track their in-person attendance using an Attendance Verification Form. If you have not yet registered for an in-person or hybrid course, you should update your schedule and contact Academic Advising for assistance. 

Can I take a completely online course load from the U.S. or my home country?  

While you may be able to take a completely online course load, new students will not be eligible to begin their F-1 status or enter the U.S. while taking an online course load. If you choose to take a completely online course load from your home country, you should contact the CISS at GA_CISS@bentley.edu so that we can defer your I-20 / F-1 status start date to a future semester. Please note that your 12 month eligibility requirement for off campus work benefits (OPT/CPT) will not begin until you enter the U.S. in F-1 status. Please see our web pages on OPT and CPT eligibility to understand current eligibility requirements. 

*Online course availability may vary by graduate/undergraduate program. You should check with Academic Advising to confirm course online course availability based on your program of study.  

*Please note that SEVIS transfer students and Change of Educational Level (e.g. Bachelors to Masters) students must be in the U.S. by January 24th, 2022  for your new F-1 program to be registered, but may be eligible for remote study within the U.S.  based on your status in March 2020. Please see below section in Fall 2021 Returning F-1 Student FAQ, “Can I take fully online classes?”) 

When is the latest date I can enter the U.S.?  

All new students, including SEVIS transfers and new educational level students wishing to start their F-1 status must enter the U.S. before January 24th, 2022 for CISS to register your F-1 record. However, we highly encourage all students to arrive before this date to get settled and attend orientation. If you are unable to attend orientation, including CISS’ mandatory immigration session, you must contact GA_CISS@bentley.edu for a recording of this important information.  

Spring 2022 Returning F-1 International Student FAQs

Can I take fully online classes?

If you already have active F-1 status / are a continuing F-1 student, you may or may not be eligible to take a fully online course load, depending on your F-1 status at the beginning of the COVID-19 national emergency in March 2020:  

  • If you were in the U.S. in F-1 status on March 9, 2020, (including SEVIS transfer students and students in previous degree programs) and have maintained continuous F-1 status since: Yes, updated guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program states that students maintaining continuous F-1 status since March 2020 can maintain F-1 status whether enrolled in a full online, hybrid, or in-person course of study. *Please note that SEVIS transfer students and Change of Educational Level students must be physically in the U.S. to have your new F-1 program registered (see below section entitled “As a returning student maintaining F-1 status, when must I re-enter the U.S.?”)  
  • If you were not in the U.S. in F-1 status on March 9, 2020 (including students who began F-1 status on or after Fall 2020): Updated guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program states that you cannot take an entirely online course of study. This means that you must be enrolled in at least one in-person course or a hybrid course with in-person options or components. Students enrolled in hybrid courses with optional in-person class sessions should track their in-person attendance using an Attendance Verification Form.  If you have not yet registered for an in-person or hybrid course, you should update your schedule and contact Academic Advising for assistance. 

Can I study remotely from my home country?  

Yes, depending on online/hybrid course availability, you may be able to study remotely from your home country or another non-campus location. However, studying remotely may affect your F-1 status:  

  • If you were in the U.S. in F-1 status on March 9, 2020 (including SEVIS transfer students and students in previous degree programs) and have maintained continuous F-1 status since: You will maintain your F-1 status regardless of whether you are taking your classes from inside or outside of the United States.  This also means that you will continue to accrue eligibility towards CPT/OPT. You must remain enrolled in a full-time course load (see below). 
  • If you were not in the U.S. in F-1 status on March 9, 2020 (including students who began F-1 status on or after Fall 2020): While you may be able to take online classes from outside of the U.S. depending on online/hybrid course availability, you will not maintain F-1 status. If you plan to pursue an online course of study, you must notify the CISS at GA_CISS@bentley.edu so that we can terminate your F-1 record. This means you will need to apply for a new initial I-20 with a new SEVIS number to return to the U.S./Bentley University for a future semester, and your one academic year requirement for CPT/OPT will start over from the date on your new I-20.  

Do I need to take a full course load?  

Yes, continuing students wishing to maintain F-1 status must remain enrolled in a full course load. This means 12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students.  Exceptions to this rule include students with pre-authorized reduced course loads and special student relief, and students in their final semester completing all remaining degree requirements. If you have remaining questions about your ability to take a full-time course load, please contact the CISS at GA_CISS@bentley.edu

  • Students studying outside of the U.S. without maintaining F-1 status are not required to follow full-course load requirements. However, you must contact the CISS so that we are aware of your plans and can terminate your F-1 status accordingly.
  • If you choose not to take any classes, 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. As previously mentioned, your F-1 status will be terminated, and you will need to obtain a new I-20 and F-1 visa to return for a future semester. The accrual of your one academic year eligibility requirement  for CPT ad OPT will start over when you return to Bentley. (See previous section entitled “As a returning F-1 student, can I study remotely from my home country?”) 

When must I re-enter the U.S.? 

Classes begin on January 24th, 2022. Students beginning new F-1 programs or starting a new degree program, including SEVIS-transfers and students changing educational level (e.g. Bachelors to Masters degree) must arrive by this date so that the CISS can register your new F-1 record. For all other continuing students, your hybrid/in-person class schedule may determine when you need to be on Bentley’s campus (see previous section entitled “As a returning F-1 student, can I study remotely from my home country?")  

How should I list my local address in Workday if I am studying remotely from outside of the U.S.?  

You will still need to list a local (U.S.) address by the start of the fall semester, regardless of whether you are studying full time or part time remotely. 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   

*Please see previous section entitled “Can I study remotely from my home country?” for more information. 

Are there any changes to OPT/CPT/On-Campus Employment Eligibility and Requirements?

You will accrue eligibility towards CPT and OPT during Spring 2022 as long as you maintain F-1 status by taking a full-time course load and adhere to any in-person vs. online course restrictions and requirements as determined by your status in Mach 2020.  

Based on SEVP guidance, 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. 

There have been recent changes in eligibility for Special Student Relief and associated employment benefits for Syrian, Burmese, and Venezuelan nationals. Please contact GA_CISS@bentley.edu if you would like further information about this program. 

Visa, Travel, and Vaccination Requirements for New & Returning Students (Updated December 7th, 2021)

When will Consulates and Embassies re-open? 

Many U.S. consular posts suspended routine visa processing temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the CISS does not have detailed information about when individual U.S. embassies and consular posts will resume processing student visas. CISS will continue to issue and send I-20s to admitted students so that you are 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 current travel restrictions for entering the U.S.? 

[Last updated 12/07/20201]

On October 25th, 2021, the United States issued a proclamation regarding the resumption of global travel. Based on this proclamation, as of November 8th 2021, the government has lifted certain country-specific limitations on entry to the U.S. AND now requires that visitors provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the U.S. from any other country.

November 26th, 2021 Update: On November 26th, 2021, the President of the United States issued a Proclamation (Presidential Proclamation 10315) that suspends boarding a flight and entry to the U.S. by non-U.S. citizens who have been physically present in any of the following countries within the prior 14 days: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe. The restrictions on travel from these countries became effective on November 29th, 2021, and will remain in effect until terminated by President Biden.

There are limited exceptions to this proclamation. See here for a full list of exemptions. U.S. Customs and Border Control (CBP) has confirmed that currently NO “National Interest Exemptions” (NIE) exist for F-1 and J-1 visa holders.

What are the current quarantine, testing, and vaccination requirements? 

U.S. Requirements: As of November 8th, 2021, country-specific travel restrictions were lifted in favor of proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. All travelers entering the U.S. from any other country must present proof of vaccination. Acceptable types of proof of COVID-19 vaccination can be found here on the CDC website. If you are traveling soon and will need to re-enter the U.S., you must carry a verifiable vaccination record (digital or paper) with you. There are limited exceptions to this new vaccine requirement for individuals entering the U.S. for the first time from countries with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability (see list of countries here).

The vaccination requirement does not replace the testing requirement. In addition to proof of vaccination, all travelers must present a negative COVID-19 viral test (nucleic acid amplification tests [NAATs] OR antigen tests) or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days. Detailed information on the types of tests permitted for re-entry are listed here. As of December 2nd, 2021, U.S. President Biden announced that all travelers to the U.S. must have a negative COVID-19 test no more than 1 day (24 hours) prior to travel by air to the U.S. This 1-day testing requirement became effective on Monday, December 6th and replaced the previous 72-hour requirement.

For more information about new requirements for travel, please review these additional sources:

  1. Center for Disease Control (CDC)
  2. The White House: Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  3. Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers

The CISS continues to advise that students and scholars travel cautiously at this time. If you do travel, remember to take the below documents for re-entry:

  1. Valid unexpired F-1/J-1 visa in passport
  2. Passport (valid at least 6 months from date of re-entry)
  3. Most recent I-20/DS-2019 with travel signature signed within last 12 months for students (6 months for OPT/STEM OPT)
  4. OPT Applicants: EAD Card (or I-797 Receipt or Approval Notice)
  5. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and viral COVID-19 test

 

Local/State Requirements: Each state or even city may have their own requirements for domestic and international travel. You can find state and local requirements, including Massachusetts specific information by using the CDC’s travel planner tool

Bentley University Requirements: You can find Bentley’s updated information on testing, vaccination, and quarantine requirements on the Back to Bentley website. Please check the website and your Bentley email regularly for important updates as more information becomes available. 

Travel, New I-20s, and Travel Signatures

You may still come to our office (Student Center 310) to obtain a travel signature on your current I-20.

The government also now allows us to distribute I-20s electronically. If you are unable to come to campus, the CISS can issue you a new I-20 for you to print, sign, and use for travel. To obtain an updated I-20 or travel signature, you can request a new I-20 on our website.

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.

Open ("Drop In") Advising Information

 

                   Tuesdays: 9:00am - 11am (EST)

                   Thursdays: 9:00am - 11am (EST)

  •  IN-PERSON ADVISING (Student Center, Suite 310) - During Semester, ENDING May 18th

                   Wednesdays: 1:00pm - 3:00pm (EST)

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

We are located on the top floor of the Student Center, Room 310.*

*Please note that we are currently operating in a hybrid format.

CISS Summer Hours (beginning week of May 23rd): Monday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Open Advising Schedule:

              Tuesdays: 9:00am - 11am (EST)

              Thursdays: 9:00am - 11am (EST)

  • IN-PERSON ADVISING (Student Center, Suite 310) *

              Wednesdays: 1:00pm - 3:00pm (EST) -In-person advising hours will end after May 18th for the summer. Zoom hours will continue as usual.

 

 

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