International Student & Scholar Services

A Home Away from Home

ISSS Appointments

Please follow this link to schedule time with an advisor:

Appointments are currently done via Skype for Business (login with your AU username '') or by phone.

COVID-19 Resources

General FAQ from American University

The General FAQ covers many issues, including those impacting international students.

Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

Will international students with full time enrollment in face-to-face classes be allowed to take more than one online class, since immigration regulations normally limit the amount of online instruction?

Under the circumstances, the Department of Homeland Security published guidance permitting international students to maintain full time enrollment by taking online classes while the university is providing online education only.

Do I need to maintain full time enrollment while pursuing online education outside the U.S.?

International students must maintain full time enrollment unless they have been previously authorized for reduced course load (RCL) by ISSS. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security temporarily granted permission to international students to take more than one on-line class to maintain full time enrollment under the extenuating circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will international students be able to return for summer courses?

The university has not made a decision on summer classes yet. Therefore, international students must not make travel plans until further notice from the university. ISSS is also monitoring the immigration guidance both from Department of State (DOS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) along with the CDC guidance and advising students accordingly.

How does retroactive withdrawal affect international students?

International students must not be allowed to withdraw retroactively as this causes loss of immigration status from the beginning of that past semester and consequent serious ripple implications for their future.

Can international students obtain reduced course load authorization (RCL) for fall 2020 course enrollment during the pre-registration period while abroad?

Yes, this is possible and will need to be coordinated with academic advisors.  Alternatively, they can request RCL when they are back at the university during the add/drop period.

I am outside the United States and cannot return to AU for my Fall 2020 classes on time. What should I do?

Currently enrolled F-1 and J-1 students should contact their academic advisor to discuss the possibility and the academic implications of taking a temporary leave in the Fall semester. Students should also contact ISSS to discuss all immigration implications of taking a temporary leave before making a final decision.

Can international students come back with their current visa in their passport?

According to DHS, Students returning to the United States to resume their studies after an authorized temporary absence will not need to renew their visa, if the visa is still valid. DOS’ policy is that a student does not need to apply for a new F-1 visa if the student’s current visa is still valid, regardless of length of time outside the United States.  Please also note that a valid visa does not guarantee entrance into the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the U.S. port of entry ultimately make the decision to admit people into the country, not DOS.

The U.S. state department suspended non-immigrant visa services in all countries. How will this affect me?

Unless a students’ visa will have expired by the time they are ready to return, there will not be any adverse impact from the recent visa suspension. Please refer to the link below for more information on embassies’ operating status.

Is it ok for me to go back to my home country and come back next semester?

At the moment there is a travel ban for certain countries. Students who do not live on campus are not required vacating on campus housing, thus they should make thoughtful decisions about leaving the U.S. For travel inquiries and up-to-date information on travel bans, please visit

I live off campus, should I leave the united states to go back to my home country?

Only students living on campus were asked to leave the dorms. For others, AU never required them to leave the U.S.

Can I stay in the United States with an expired F-1/J-1 visa?

Yes. International students can stay in the United States with an expired F-1/J-1 visa if their passport and I-20/DS-2019 have not expired.

Can international students do remote/telework inside or outside the U.S. to fulfil their internship requirements for credit internships?

Assuming the academic unit is in agreement for keeping the internship intact for academic reasons, DHS is temporarily allowing international students to ask employers for alternative work arrangements such as telework, flex work etc. The ultimate goal is for these students to complete academic requirements.  ISSS authorizes employment for credit internships applying towards degree completion, thus this is an academic activity for DHS, which is the justification for the temporary flexibility they are permitting under the circumstances.  

Can international graduating students apply for post completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) from outside the U.S.?

Current Federal regulations affecting F-1 student do not allow OPT applications from outside the U.S. If DHS introduces any flexibility, we will update the community. 

How will ISSS assist graduating international students who are currently in the U.S. for OPT applications?

We have made OPT workshops and intake process fully on-line. Academic Advisors will be able to verify program completion through an E-form initiated by students. We will make individual virtual appointments for students to arrange delivery of your application packet.  More information can be found Here.

I am an international student with authorized off-campus employment for an internship or practical training.

Students with authorized practical training off campus are encouraged to consult with their employer to seek alternative ways to maintain employment, such as teleworking or other arrangements.

Will ISSS authorize me for summer CPT?

There is no change in the current CPT policy or the authorization process.

I applied for Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) based on my Spring graduation. What happens if I cannot finish my degree requirements on time?

Students are encouraged to work with their faculty and academic department for options to finalize their academic work on time.

The information in this section will be updated regularly.

Scam Alert

Recently, there has been an increased scam threats targeting international students.
Details Here

Incoming Students

Immigration Process

Congratulations on your decision to attend AU! ISSS is here to help you obtain your immigration documents, provide you with orientation upon arrival, and make sure you are adjusting to life in the United States.

Learn about the process

Before You Arrive

Moving to a new country is both exciting and difficult. Our pre-arrival guide is designed to help you prepare for arrival in the United States.


Log in to iEagle

Read the Pre-Arrival Guide


International Student Orientation covers important immigration, employment, and cross cultural sessions, as well as academic information specifically of interest to international students.

Attend Orientation

Current Students

Immigration Responsibilities

F-1 and J-1 students are responsible for understanding and complying with immigration law. Advisors in our office are here to help - please stop by ISSS or email us with any questions.

Know your responsibilities

International students pointing at a map

Get Involved with ISSS

Join your fellow international students and take part in ISSS events on campus!

Explore Activities

Graduating this Semester?

If you are graduating this semester, it is important you understand your options for Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 students and Academic Training for J-1 students.

Learn about OPT

Learn about Academic Training

J-1 Scholars & Student Interns

AU is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to bring exchange visitors to the United States to research, teach, and intern. Learn about the J-1 Scholars & Student Intern program at AU

International students from 119 countries attend AU

This year there are 2,282 international students enrolled at AU

ISSS welcomed 850 plus international students to campus in Fall 2019