A Q&A for Our International Students

Returning Together

Following our Instagram Q&A on July 6, 2020, the Student and Visitor Exchange Program (SEVP) released updated U.S. immigration regulatory guidance for the Fall 2020 semester.  On July 14, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) withdrew that guidance. The most up-to-date- statement from the College is included below. As you review our Q&A, keep in mind that we are continuing to receive new information, and will update as we know more.

“Last week, we spoke out in opposition to guidance from the DHS that would have adversely impacted international students. Today, DHS withdrew that guidance.

Babson signed on to the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration amicus brief in an effort to prevent the government from enforcing the DHS rules. We were proud to join hundreds of colleges and universities across the country in advocating for international students. The DHS directive would have prohibited international students from returning to or remaining in the United States if their college or university moved to online-only instruction. Today’s decision by a Boston court rescinds the fall semester guidance. While the decision references that the previous March policies will remain, the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) team is awaiting additional information and will continue to communicate with our international students.

Babson is a proudly global community, enriched by a multitude of cultures and perspectives. Our international students face unique complexities in light of COVID-19. We will continue to provide support and guidance while we closely monitor changing immigration and visa regulations.”


The second installment of our Babson Together Instagram Q&A series was hosted by the College’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) team, and focused on questions we’ve received from our undergraduate and graduate international students around the world.

Visit the Babson Together site to find answers to additional questions, and follow along as we cover a variety of plan-related topics this month.

As a continuing international student, will I be able to return to the U.S.?

In order to return to the U.S. this fall, and maintain immigration status, you must take a full course load. For undergraduates, MBA, and MSEL students, this equals 12 credits. For MSF, MSBA, and CAM students, this equals 9 credits.

At least one course must be a hybrid course where in-person attendance is required (as permitted by College health and safety guidelines).

Students should plan to live on-campus or within commuting distance.

A new Form I-20 will be issued from ISSS electronically for all students returning to the U.S. in early August.

If I can’t return, how might this impact my immigration status for future semesters?

If you are not returning to the U.S. this semester, your immigration status will be terminated and a new F-1 visa may be required in order to return.

However, you can, and are encouraged to, continue your Babson studies 100% online.

Email us at isss@babson.edu if you have any questions.

I’m an admitted international student. Will I be able to come to the U.S.?

Congrats! Please follow our guidance for incoming international students. We are in contact with grad and undergrad students and will work as quickly as possible to provide your Form I-20/Form DS-2019 to you. Visa issuance and global mobility are still a concern. Please review your local visa wait times and U.S. student visa procedures at your U.S. consulate or embassy.

All international students in the U.S. take a full course load and at least one course must be hybrid where in-person attendance is required. See question No. 1.

Incoming (new) international students who are not able to arrive by the start of classes may need to remain outside the U.S. and have their immigration record deferred to the next term. Beginning your program online may be possible.

Can international students take online classes?

Yes! However, those returning to the U.S. must take at least one hybrid class (see question No. 1). Students that remain outside the U.S. can take courses 100% online for the entire fall semester. You can pursue as many or as few courses as you desire to continue making academic progress.

Your immigration status will be terminated, and you may need a new F-1 visa in order to return for future semesters.

Can students choose to attend hybrid classes online?

Students who take 100% online classes also have the option to register for hybrid classes. All classes will be accessible to all students.

Will there be a mandatory quarantine for returning international students?

Anyone concerned about needing to quarantine is encouraged to arrive early, to be ready for the start of class. Information about applying for early arrival will be shared mid-July.

As global guidelines continue to change, we will continue to update our arrival plans. Currently, Massachusetts requires a 14-day self-quarantine for all visitors arriving from outside of the state with the exception of NY, NJ, CT, RI, NH, VT, and ME.

If I don’t get a student visa on time, what option do I have for moving back to campus?

Continuing students who are enrolled full-time may have additional flexibility to arrive past the start of classes, however to meet U.S. immigration reporting deadlines, students will need to communicate with ISSS if they anticipate arriving past Add/Drop.

What measures are in place for students who can’t arrive on time?

Through Babson’s hybrid and online course offerings, students will have to begin courses remotely or as needed throughout the semester. Again, at least one hybrid course is required for students returning to the U.S. Guidance may vary slightly by education level or degree. ISSS will be providing updates to students for those who are not able to arrive for the start of classes.

How will CPT or OPT be impacted if I can’t return for the fall and take online classes?

Off-campus employment authorization eligibility requires two full semesters of presence in the U.S. on a student visa. A delayed start to your immigration status will impact when you are eligible to obtain CPT or OPT work authorization.

Continuing students who are not able to return for the fall semester and have their immigration record terminated will lose CPT or OPT eligibility unless they have the two semesters in F-1 status before graduation.

Who do we reach out to with further questions about the fall semester?

For answers to your case-specific immigration questions, please email the ISSS at isss@babson.edu.

To discuss academic questions, concerns, or to get advice about class selection, please contact the academic teams at gradacademicservices@babson.edu (graduate) or academicservices@babson.edu (undergraduate).

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