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Date: Aug 2021

The following message was emailed to new and continuing international students on 8/26/21.

Welcome to Fall 2021. We hope you are prepared for the start of the term.

For the past 17 months, the Office of International Services (OIS) has operated fully virtually to serve your immigration, visa, and travel needs by providing guidance, issuing required documentation, and fulfilling government reporting requirements. We have learned a lot about how we serve you and how we can serve you even better in the future.


In short, we will continue to provide you with services and guidance in a fully virtual setting going forward as we are now working off-site permanently. For advising questions, you may email us anytime at ois@jhu.edu, or call 667-208-7001 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday from 9am-12pm or 1pm-4pm Eastern Time to speak with an advisor. You may submit requests via our iHopkins system, as well as review the extensive immigration information available on our website, which we work to improve every day.

Working remotely throughout the pandemic allowed us to focus on phone and email advising, and in doing so, we learned we could serve more students faster on average, regardless of their location in the world, while maintaining our high standards for providing competent, thorough guidance. By serving everyone remotely, we have established equity in service levels to students regardless of location, particularly in locations at which we did not have an office open on a full-time basis. We were able to decrease average email response times and significantly increase our individualized advising hours. Virtual advising also enables us to add additional advising call support immediately during peak times, something we could not easily do at all of our locations. And we hope you enjoy the ability to reach us from anywhere, without the need to visit a physical OIS location when it is too hot or cold or rainy or snowy outside!

We remain dedicated to providing you with the best immigration, visa, and travel guidance available anywhere, and look forward to serving you this academic year and beyond. We wish you a successful fall semester.

Sincerely,

The Office of International Services Staff

The following message was emailed on 8/13/2021 to students with a pending or requested OPT application as well as to all students with an I-20 end date prior to 2/1/2022.

You are receiving this email because the Office of International Services (OIS) recently issued you an I-20 with an OPT or STEM OPT recommendation and your request is still in Pending or Requested status OR because you have an I-20 with an end date prior to 2/1/2022 and you may be eligible to apply for OPT in the coming months.

As a result of a recent court order, USCIS is extending prior flexibilities to some OPT and STEM applicants. Please carefully review the full USCIS statement online.

The flexibilities for students who are in the process of applying for OPT or STEM OPT include:

• Providing students with a full 12-month period of OPT even if the OPT end date will extend beyond the allowed period of 14 months after the end of the student’s program. This provision also allows students with an approved period of less than 12 months to request a corrected EAD with a new end date. This is a continuation of USCIS’s February 26, 2021 flexibility.

• Allowing students whose initial application was rejected between 10/1/20 and 10/31/21 to reapply even if it’s beyond the required application timeframe as long as the refiled application is received by USCIS by 11/30/21. A new I-20 from OIS is not required when reapplying. This is a continuation of USCIS’s February 26, 2021 flexibility but extends the refiling deadline from 5/31/21 to 11/30/21.

• Issuing a request for evidence (RFE) for applications that have been receipted and have missing or deficient signatures instead of denying the application. This is a continuation of USCIS’s February 26, 2021 flexibility.

The flexibilities for students who are planning to apply for OPT include:

• A new provision in USCIS’s July 29, 2021 alert appears to allow all students applying for the initial 12 months of OPT to file their applications with USCIS up to 120 days before their program end date instead of the usual filing timeframe of 90 days before the program end date. This applies to applications received by USCIS through 10/31/21. It does not apply to students filing an I-765 for the OPT STEM Extension, those students are still required to submit their application to USCIS within the 90-day period preceding the end date of their OPT.

If you believe you are eligible for one of the flexibilities being afforded by USCIS, please reach out to us at ois@jhu.edu to discuss your situation. It is important that OIS is aware of your plans so we can advise you and help ensure that your F-1 SEVIS record is properly updated.

If you have not applied for OPT and are interested in doing so, you must meet the standard OPT eligibility requirements detailed on our website. Please contact us at ois@jhu.edu if you have any questions about OPT eligibility after reviewing the website.