SPECIAL NOTICE: Proposed Elimination of Duration of Status
George Mason Students and Scholars,
On September 25, 2020, a proposed rule, Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Nonimmigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors, and Representatives of Foreign Information Media, was published in the Federal Register. If this rule becomes final, it will affect F-1 and J-1 students and scholars and their dependents. There are many components to this new rule, which you can read at the link above. The major proposals include a restriction on the period of time that F-1/F-2 and J-1/J-2 visa holders can be admitted to the U.S. and a requirement for these individuals to apply for an extension of stay with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for additional time to complete their studies or work in the U.S.
The Office of International Programs and Services is monitoring the proposed changes carefully. At this time, this proposed rule is in a comment period and is not final. Many educational institutions, including George Mason, plan to comment on the negative impact this rule would have on our students, scholars, and their families. To read more about this topic and the efforts that are being made on your behalf, please see https://www.nafsa.org/professional-resources/browse-by-interest/proposal-replace-duration-status
If you, family, or friends would like to make a direct comment to the US government regarding this proposed rule, here is the link:
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DHS_FRDOC_0001-1933. Written comments and related material must be submitted on or before October 26, 2020.
We understand the concern and uncertainty that this proposed rule is causing you. We will continue to find ways to oppose this rule and will provide you with additional information as it becomes available.
Working With OIPS in Fall 2020
What Can I Do Online?:
- J Academic Training Workshop and Evaluation
- Cap Gap I-20 Request
- Concurrent Enrollment, Family Invitation Instructions, Verification of Status Letters
- F-2 Dependent Request Form
- I-20, DS-2019 Reprint and Travel Signature with Secure Email, First Class or E-ship Mailing
- International Student check in Form
- Online OPT Workshop, Instructions, and OPT Request Form (New)
- OPT/STEM OPT Online Update Form (For Students on OPT)
- Program Extension, Reduced Course Load Last Semester
- OIPS Withdrawal (Leave of Absence) and Return Forms
- STEM OPT Request Form and Instructions, Evaluation(s)
- Transfer Out
What Can I Do By Phone, WEBEX, or Email?
WEBEX or Phone Appointments for almost any student or faculty immigration concern. Please be sure you are able to access a computer to be able to view the information as the advisor speaks with you. Call 703.993.2970 to set up your appointment. Please be sure that you will be able to meet professionally with few interruptions from noise or family members.
Email Advising: You may find your answers on the OIPS Web Page under OIPS Self Service Center https://oips.gmu.edu/oips-self-service-center/
Graduate Admission I-20 Requests, Transfer In, Graduate Student Deferrals: email@example.com
On-Campus and Curricular Practical Training Employment, Program Extension, Reinstatements to Student Status, Change of Status to F-1, Transfer Out, Reduced Course Loads, and General Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org, or oips.gmu.edu
Leave of Absence and Return to the U.S., Course Load Requirements, Last Semester Reduced Course Load Advising: email@example.com
Optional Practical Training, STEM Optional Practical Training Advising: firstname.lastname@example.org
J-1 Student Advising: email@example.com
Educate, Celebrate and Serve!
The Office of International Programs and Services educates, celebrates and serves the Mason community, including international and domestic students, faculty and exchange visitors, by helping them reach their highest academic and personal goals. We:
- Inspire cross-cultural understanding and enrich the Mason experience by emphasizing global issues and themes. Provide meaningful opportunities for shared learning.
- Recognize individual achievements and milestones; and celebrate the richness of our community, its holidays, festivals, and traditions.
- Provide quality service and resources to assist with cultural adjustment and regulatory compliance.
Meet the Executive Director
We are here to help you
In addition to immigration advising, OIPS advisors endorse forms, recommend and approve immigration benefits, and process document requests. You can meet with an OIPS advisor during walk-in hours or you can schedule a 20-minute appointment. Click here to learn more.
OIPS self-service center
The OIPS self-service center features checklists, forms, workshop log-in instructions and processing times. This tool will guide you through complicated processes and help you understand important immigration regulations and benefits. We advise you to explore the OIPS self-service center before you meet with an OIPS advisor. Click here to get started.
The Office of International Programs and Services offers a variety of employment workshops for international students and scholars:
- Online OPT workshop: This online workshop for F-1 students is offered throughout the year. Click here to request access.
- Online Academic Training workshop: This online workshop for J-1 students is offered throughout the year. Click here to learn more.
- Immigration Options and Beyond workshop: This face-to-face workshop about H-1B, pathways to legal permanent residency (Green Card), and other employment visas for international students, faculty and scholars is offered in Fall and Spring semesters. Click here to learn more.
Graduation Process and Beyond
Graduation is not an automatic process. Students should apply to graduate no later than the application deadline set by the Office of the University Registrar. You must be in good financial standing with the University to receive your diploma. In addition, students in F-1 status MUST apply for a Last Semester of Study Reduced Course Load (RCL) in his/her last semester if fewer courses (less than full-time) are needed and required to complete the course of study. Click here to learn more about the graduation process and Last Semester of Study Reduced Course Load (RCL).
Students in F-1 status can engage in OPT after graduation (post-completion OPT). You do NOT need an employment offer to apply for OPT. Please note that you need to apply for post-completion OPT in your final semester. The process can take up to four months. Click here to learn more about OPT eligibility, OPT application process, timelines and deadlines.
We advise students to review the graduation process web page and/or the OPT web page BEFORE you meet with an OIPS advisor. In most cases, the information on the web pages will answer your question(s).
Take the FREE CliftonStrenghts Assessment!
George Mason University and Gallup have partnered to create a Strengths-based culture on our campus. To date, over 17,000 faculty, staff and students have taken the CliftonStrengths assessment (formally known as the StrengthsFinder), and have participated in hundreds of workshops/trainings to gain a deeper understanding of their results.