Office of International Students and Scholars
OISS Operating Hours Update, June 10, 2020
July 10, 2020
Boston College stands with colleges and universities nationwide in opposing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regulations that would prevent international students from securing visas if their schools choose to teach online exclusively in the fall.
The regulation undermines America’s well-earned reputation as the global leader in higher education and a welcoming place for students from across the world.
International students add so much to campus life and learning with their presence, talent, and experience, and they expand our collective knowledge and understanding of the world. We urge that the recent regulations announced from ICE be rescinded immediately, so that international students can continue to enroll in our schools and contribute to society here in the United States and across the globe.
July 09, 2020
The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) expresses grave concern about guidance for international students released by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday, July 6. We urge the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Hon. Chad Wolf, to withdraw this guidance immediately.
The impact of this proposed policy will be devastating for our nation’s standing in the world. And it will have an immediate, negative impact on the 17,000 international students who seek the opportunity to study, learn and grow at Jesuit institutions of higher education. Our association of 28 colleges and universities is dedicated to the formation of people for others by fostering Jesuit, Catholic identity and mission; educating for a faith that does justice; and supporting national, international and online collaborations between campuses. Jesuit education is a global endeavor with a centuries-old history of promoting peace, cooperation, reconciliation and justice.
This new guidance comes just months before our schools prepare to re-open for a new academic year, undermining our ability to provide continuity in instruction for international students, and ignoring the realities that colleges and universities are facing in trying to adjust to a landscape that changes by the day. Specifically, it prohibits students from entering the United States if they are taking classes exclusively online; does not provide clear direction for students attending schools adopting a hybrid model; and demands students return home or transfer to a school offering in-person instruction in the event that a school has to pivot to virtual instruction in the face of another deadly outbreak caused by the coronavirus. The guidance does not recognize the critical need for flexibility as we continue to battle a new, virulent and changing disease.
The ICE directive disregards previous guidance issued in the spring that recognized the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic and provided our schools the necessary flexibility to prioritize the academic needs of all students as they transitioned to a virtual learning environment. Moreover, it derails our mission-driven efforts to provide a quality Jesuit education by creating unnecessary and near insurmountable barriers for international students who come to study in the United States. We urge the Administration to rescind the guidance and recognize the contributions of international students to higher education and the nation.
Deanna Howes Spiro
Vice President of Communications
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
One Dupont Circle, NW Suite 405
Washington, D.C. 20036
Please note: If you need to reach me by phone, please e-mail me (email@example.com) for my cell phone number. Many thanks!
Please continue to take care of yourself and your fellow students during this challenging time.
OISS continues to remain closed to the public until further notice. Please understand this precautious measure is for your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of the OISS staff. However, the office will continue to respond to questions and process applications in the same timely fashion.
Advisors will no longer schedule in-person advising appointments or keep regular walk-in advising hours. Instead, we will transition all advising appointments to phone calls or online video calls. Please email the office to schedule an appointment with an advisor. OISS remains committed to fully supporting BC international students and scholars during this challenging time.
You can continue to communicate with us and get applications processed by doing the following:
1) Contacting us: If you have a question you can continue to call us at 617-552-8005 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org during normal working hours, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Note for phone calls: please allow the phone to ring multiple times as the call may be forwarded to another phone. We are also regularly checking the voicemail. Please leave your full name and the best way to reach you.
2) Travel signatures: We will no longer be signing I-20s in person for your safety and ours. If you are traveling outside the US and need a signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 (page 2 for I-20s and the corner of pg 1 for DS-2019 forms) please email us at email@example.com. Signatures are valid for one year, except for Canadians which require one every six months. The OISS will be in touch with you about mailing or outdoor pickup options for the day(s) we may be in the office. Please read the OISS FAQ pagefor more informaiton about the risks of travel at this time and consult an OISS advisor prior to travel. Note: You may have heard that scanned I-20s are accepted by the government. Since this information has not been confirmed by other agencies such as the Department of State (visa issuance) or Customs and Border Control, we will continue to send originals and will not be scanning I-20s.
3) Applying for OPT and CPT: If you need to apply for CPT or OPT please just scan your documents and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue to process OPT applications as soon as possible as they need to go to the immigration service to be approved. CPT applications for the summer will wait for now, as we can process them very quickly, and it is only March. Your academic adviser can send their approval to us via email at email@example.com. They do not need to sign the form.
5) Taxes: Please note that the tax deadline has been extended until July 15, 2020 for Federal Taxes. At this time the State filing deadline remains April 15th. Please see the OISS tax page for more informaiton.
We want to emphasize that we are still here to fully support you. We will just be doing it a bit differently for the next few weeks. We just feel the necessity to take these actions given the recent guidelines of the President, the CDC, and the Governor of Massachusetts.
6) For questions regarding COVID-19, please click HERE
The mission of the Office of International Students and Scholars is to work with the larger BC community to help ensure the academic and personal success of international students and scholars, and their families, at Boston College. The OISS provides information, support, and services so that international students and scholars can achieve their goals both in and outside of the classroom. The OISS aims to increase awareness of international student and scholar needs, promote intercultural competency across campus, and advocate for greater support for the international community of Boston College.
The OISS must be knowledgeable and updated on all immigration regulations, policies and procedures pertaining to international students and scholars and communicate them to both the international population, as well as relevant faculty and administrators, in a timely and effective manner. The OISS ensures that Boston College is in compliance with all federal government requirements for this population by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The OISS strongly believes it is the responsibility of the entire institution to adequately support its international community. The OISS therefore collaborates with both academic and student affairs partners throughout the university to provide resources, services, and programs to international students and scholars to help them successfully integrate to the Boston College campus. The OISS also offers opportunities for international students and scholars, and members of the BC community, to engage in meaningful dialogues and interactions which lead to increased cross-cultural curiosity and understanding.
Our professional organization, the National Association of International Educators (NAFSA), believes and OISS affirms that: “International education advances learning and scholarship, fosters understanding and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, is essential for developing globally competent individuals, and builds leadership for the global community. We believe that international education lies at the core of an interconnected world characterized by peace, security, and well-being for all.”
The mission of the OISS therefore aligns directly with the 2017 Boston College strategic plan, specifically strategic direction IV which states:
“Increase the University’s presence and impact in the City of Boston, the United States, and around the globe.”
By helping to provide a positive and enriching experience for international students and scholars, who then return to their home countries and share these with family, friends, universities, governments, organizations, etc., the OISS is significantly expanding and improving the presence, reputation, and impact of BC around the world.
OISS NEWS & UPDATES
NEW BC OPT FEES
Beginning August 26, 2019, Boston College will charge a $50 fee for POST-Optional Practical Training (OPT) applications and $200 fee for STEM OPT applications. These are in addition to the application fees required by the government. The OISS and BC are committed to providing the best support and advising to our international students and alumni. As OPT immigration procedures, advising and reporting have become increasingly time-consuming and complex, these fees will provide the OISS with the additional resources and staff to assist soon-to-be alumni and alumni with their OPT applications, well beyond their time as enrolled students. Post-completion OPT requires on-going OISS services after graduation such as advising, updating SEVIS records with address and employer information, issuing new I-20s for new employers and H1B cap-gap applications, and signing immigration forms for travel. STEM OPT reporting and advising is more complicated and requires processing an extension application, frequent validation reports to the government, advising students and employers on the required Training Plan, and then reviewing these documents, for up to three years after students have completed their degree. In both of these scenarios, the student is no longer at BC, and therefore not paying any tuition or student activities fees which would otherwise help financially support these continued services by the university. We look forward to continuing to provide you with this high level of assistance as you depart BC and embark on your professional careers. PAY HERE
Please Note: There are NO fees for Pre-Completion OPT or Curricular Practical Training.
ADVISING WALK-IN HOURS
Please read our walk-in hours policy. During walk-in hours you can speak to the on-call advisor on a first come, first serve basis. Appointments with advisors can also be made by calling (617) 552-8005.
Thea Bowman House
(Behind Lyons and Stokes)
72 College Road
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467