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International Student Services


COVID-19 INFORMATION

Eastern Oregon University is monitoring the global coronavirus (COVID-19) health situation actively and is collaborating closely with local public health experts and university leaders to provide prevention, response and travel information as well as additional resources to the EOU community.

At this time, we are not aware of any cases directly connected with the EOU community and the risk to students and employees appears to be relatively low. We are actively monitoring developments at the local, state and national levels. EOU officials are also working with the public health department and are part of a statewide response group.

For up-to-date announcements and information, please visit www.eou.edu/coronavirus/.  Information on that page is intended to serve as a resource for EOU community members and will be updated as the evolving global health situation changes.

Please click here to download important information on the COVID-19 virus.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) – Frequently Asked Questions

The University recognizes international students face uncertainty and may have questions about travel, remote learning, and immigration status during this global health emergency. While each student’s situation is unique, below are answers to common questions. EOU is continually updating the main FAQ page as new guidance and information is shared from local, state, and federal health authorities – please check the institution’s main FAQ for a complete list.

For specific advice related to your academic status and progress at Eastern Oregon University, please contact the University’s International Student Services Office (ISS) at (541) 962-3406 or mnmorton@eou.edu.

Any information shared by the International Student Services office at Eastern Oregon University is general information and provided as a service to international students and does not constitute as legal advice on Department of Homeland Security policies, regulations, and other matters. Immigration laws are constantly changing; please consult with your local U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate if you have any questions. 

Is remote learning allowed for F-1 and J-1 students? 

Yes, due to some temporary governmental changes in light of COVID-19, international students can participate in remote learning. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has announced that schools may temporarily adapt their programs and school operations to manage public health needs. Normally, international students are restricted in taking no more than one online class that can count toward their full-time enrollment requirement.

This means that international students (F-1 Visa) must continue to be enrolled full-time and be making normal progress toward their degree/program. Please note that this is a temporary accommodation in place until this global health crisis ends and in-person classes resume. If international students choose to drop any of your courses, this could negatively impact their immigration status.

The University will notify SEVP of our need to move classes remotely for Spring Term 2020, and will continue reporting via the Student Exchange and Visitor’s Information System (SEVIS) for international students who are enrolled at EOU but otherwise maintaining their immigration status and enrollment requirements.

If I leave now and am out of the country for more than 5 months, will this be a problem for my immigration status? What happens to my SEVIS record and my I-20?

Current guidance from the Department of Homeland Security’s Student Exchange and Visitor’s Program (SEVP) indicates international students can temporarily engage in remote learning, whether in the United States or abroad, and still maintain their legal F-1 immigration status. This is relevant for international students who remain enrolled full-time and complete their course requirements as scheduled. The International Student Services office will continue to maintain the international student’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record.

I’m expecting to graduate at the end of Spring term. Will I still be able to apply for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

An F-1 student must be physically present in the U.S. at the time they submit their Optional Practical Training (OPT) application.

The University’s International Student Services Office recommends that graduating students interested in OPT work permissions either:

  1. Apply for OPT prior to departing the US, or
  2. Plan to remain in the U.S. to complete the current term remotely in valid F-1 status.

Viability of these options may vary; please discuss with them with the International Student Services office. Due to the fluid nature of COVID-19, international students who have applied for or obtained OPT work permission may have difficulties to return and pursue U.S. work opportunities in the coming months. The International Student Services office will continue to monitor and share relevant guidance from government agencies.

Will I be able to return to the University for the fall semester?

There is a lot of uncertainty around travel for the time being. Please continue to monitor University communications (https://www.eou.edu/coronavirus/), and online resources for implications on travel, including your Consulate/Embassy in the United States. If the ability to return to the U.S. by a certain timeframe is particularly important to you, please carefully consider whether you will remain in the country for now.

What happens if my F-1 visa expires? Do I need to depart the United States, or can I remain in the country? Will I be able to renew my visa stamp?

International students can remain in the U.S. with an expired visa sticker in their passport, as long as they are maintaining their F-1 status and full-time enrollment at EOU. However, if international students depart the U.S. and their visa has expired, they MUST renew the visa before they will be allowed to re-enter the U.S. as an F-1 student.

Currently, the U.S. Department of State has closed some consular locations and/or suspended certain visa services, and additional restrictions are possible. When visa processing resumes, there is uncertainty about processing backlogs and possible delays. If international students are unable to renew the visa before they intend to return, they will not be able to travel and will have to adjust their plans. Depending on personal circumstances, some international students may prefer to remain in the U.S. with an expired visa to preserve certain immigration permissions and options.

Do I need to visit the International Student Services before I depart the United States or get a new travel signature? Will the International Student Services office remain open?

If international students at EOU are currently in La Grande, and planning to leave shortly, thet]y certainly have the option to obtain a new travel signature on your I-20 document before they go. Please reference your I-20 to determine if your current signature was issued in 2019; signatures are valid for one year.

The International Student Services office is planning to implement changes in how support services are delivered, while following University and federal/state protocols. Please connect with the International Student Services office by phone (541-962-3406) or email (mnmorton@eou.edu) to figure out what works best.

If I am unable to return home at this time, will University resources like housing and dining remain open?

Yes! Please follow guidance from the Residence Life office. If international students have specific questions related to their housing and dining contract, please contact the Residence Life office directly at: reslife@eou.edu.

The University understands and is preparing for students who are unable to travel home for a variety of reasons, including international students. 

I currently live in the residence halls, if I leave to go home for the spring term can I be released from my housing & dining contract?

The 2019/2020 Room and Dining Contract is an annual contract that ends June 12, 2020. If international students wish to request a contract modification they may do so at the Office of Residence Life and Housing Operations.

Contract modifications are considered on a case-by-case basis. Students should identify a preferred outcome of the contact modification request prior to submitting one.

How are dining schedules impacted? 

The Mountie Cafe will maintain its regularly scheduled service hours and days. The last meal for Winter Term will be dinner on Thursday, March 19. The first meal of Spring Term will be dinner on Sunday, March 29.

Mac’s Grill is closed for the remainder of the Winter Term and Spring Break.

International Students who are self-isolating in the Residence Halls over spring break may request meal service by contacting 541-962-3037.

I’m currently on my OPT period. What happens if I can’t report to work?

Similar to schools having a need to shift classes remotely, the recent Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announcement recognizes that workplace requirements may impact students pursuing practical training. International students must consult their employer about options to maintain employment via remote work arrangements. Decisions and details on such plans should be documented as part of your immigration records, in case it is requested. 

I will graduate in June 2020, and my plan was to return to my home country. After I graduate, I would prefer to stay in the United States for now. What are my options?

International students have three options:

  1. Remain in the U.S. and apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  2. Remain in the U.S. during the grace period after your program end date (which you can find on your I-20). The grace period is 60 days for F-1 students.
  3. Pursue another degree in the United States and transfer (if eligible) your SEVIS record to another institution.

If I vacate my current on or off campus residence and relocate to a new address, do I need to report it within 10 days? Where do I report?

Yes, the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA § 265, 8 U.S.C. 1305) requires all nonimmigrants and permanent residents, including international students, scholars, and their families, to report any change of residential address in the U.S. to the federal government, within 10 days. Please report address changes to the International Student Services office within 10 days.

Welcome Students

Eastern Oregon University’s International Student Services Office hosts international students from around the world who bring a cultural perspective that enriches the entire La Grande community. We are the primary contact for immigration matters students may face during their time studying in the US and are committed to the internationalization of Eastern by providing support and services to meet the unique needs of our international students.

Every year Eastern students are invited to study abroad on some of the best programs available, allowing them to explore the world, make new friends and have an unforgettable experience! If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Coordinator for Student Diversity & Inclusion and International Student Services, Mika Morton, at 541-962-3406 or mnmorton@eou.edu.

Not admitted to EOU? Want to be? Apply today for admission to EOU’s excellent and affordable education programs. We hope to see you in Eastern Oregon.