Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Please refer to Mason’s Coronavirus COVID19 information page (https://www2.gmu.edu/coronavirus) for the most up-to-date information on coronavirus and links to other resources, including Student Health Services, the Virginia Department of Health, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Summary Advice

  • Follow guidance on preventing the spread of flu and coronavirus.
  • Promptly read OIPS e-mails for updates on maintaining your legal status.
  • Visit https://www2.gmu.edu/coronavirus for University updates.
  • Consult with websites (below) for the most up-to-date travel information..
  • Stay home if you’re sick, and contact your physician for advice.
  • Conduct business by phone and e-mail when possible.
  • Schedule virtual appointments with OIPS advisors if you have questions.

Information Specific to International Students and Scholars

Departing the US Anyone who wishes to depart the United States is always free to do so. Through the summer, all GMU instruction will occur online.  This means that as long as you have reliable internet access, you can complete your coursework from anywhere in the world.

Entering/Re-entering the US: As the progression of the global pandemic is uncertain, we cannot offer reliable travel advice for the future. Restrictions on entry to the US and many other countries change frequently and without advance notice.  Many international airports have closed. Visit the web page of your country’s embassy for the latest information.

If you need a new F-1 or J-1 entry visa:   Since mid-March, all US consular posts worldwide have closed.  It is not possible to request a US entry visa at this time, and we do not know when visa interview appointments will be available.  If you need an F-1 or J-1 entry visa, please monitor the website of the US embassy and/or consular post closest to your residence to learn when they will be open to accept visa applications and interviews.

COVID-19 US Entry Restrictions:  Currently, entry restrictions apply to individuals who have lived or visited the following places within the past 14 days:

  • The Schengen area of Europe
  • The United Kingdom
  • The Republic of Ireland
  • Iran
  • Brazil
  • China

Note that these restrictions apply to most individuals who have visited these areas, irrespective of citizenship or national origin. US citizens, lawful permanent residents, and certain other classes of non-US persons are exempt.

Travel within the US is also subject to local and state restrictions on non-essential movement. Visit the city, county, and state websites of areas where you may be traveling to learn about these restrictions. Unless your intended travel is urgent and essential, you should stay where you are. This is for your own safety and the safety of those around you.

Additional details about international travel restrictions, travel-related health notices, and port-of-entry screening procedures can be found on the following sites:

US Department of State:                                                https://travel.state.gov
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:           https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection:                            https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/ports-entry

New J-1 Scholar Arrivals:  Every new scholar needs to check in with the J-1 Responsible Officer in OIPS and receive orientation materials.  This is part of your responsibility for maintaining your J-1 legal status in the United States.  Please e-mail ichizhov@gmu.edu for instructions.

J-1 Program Extensions: For Exchange Visitor students and scholars whose programs may be ending but who cannot return home at this time, the US Department of State has authorized some flexibility with respect to program extensions.  Please consult with a member of the J-1 advising staff in OIPS if you need a program extension.

Mailing Documents to OIPS: To increase safety for students and staff during COVID-19, pick-up and drop-off services are not available. We will continue to give and receive documents by other methods.  We cannot accept delivery of your EAD card from USCIS. Do NOT use the OIPS address as the mailing address on your OPT application. Consider setting up a P.O. Box at USPS: https://www.usps.com/manage/po-boxes.htm

Connecting with OIPS Advisors: OIPS is currently delivering services virtually. Because of the health emergency, to protect both staff and students, our offices in Fairfax and Arlington are not open to walk-in visitors.  Advisors will be available for appointments by phone and will respond to e-mails.  Please use the e-mail addresses that appear at the bottom of this notice.

Please call OIPS or e-mail us to schedule an appointment or ask a question. You can reach the OIPS receptionist at 703-993-2970 on weekdays (Monday-Friday) from 9.30 am-noon, and from 1.30 – 4.00 p.m.

  • For Appointments and General Questions:                            oips@gmu.edu
  • F-1 Status Questions:                                                             oipsregs@gmu.edu
  • J-1 Student Questions:                                                           cbodziak@gmu.edu
  • J-1 Scholar Questions:                                                           ichizhov@gmu.edu
  • OPT Questions:                                                                     oipsopt@gmu.edu
  • Events/Activities/Orientation:                                                 oipsprog@gmu.edu
  • New Student I-20 Questions:                                                oipsadmi@gmu.edu
  • INTO Mason Visa Questions:                                                oipsinto@gmu.edu
  • Mason Faculty H-1B Questions:                                            mthapa4@gmu.edu
  • Mason Faculty LPR & Invoices:                                             ichizhov@gmu.edu