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The Impact of COVID-19 on International Employees

I am a J-1 Exchange Visitor and my department has instituted work from home practices. How will this impact my Research Scholar, Short-term Scholar, or Professor DS-2019 program?

As long as Drexel University, as well as federal and state governments, continue to authorize work from home practices, your status will remain active while you work from home in pursuit of the objectives outlined in your DS-2019. You will need to make necessary work-from-home arrangements with your department and supervisor to ensure that you continue to pursue the objectives set forth in your DS-2019. If your department has determined that work-from-home arrangements are not possible for you, please reach out to isss@drexel.edu to discuss implications to your J-1 status.

I am a Research Scholar, Short-term Scholar, or Professor and am unable to return to my home country due to travel restrictions. What should I do?

Please contact the embassy or consulate of your home country to update them on your circumstances. View a list of foreign countries' embassies and consular posts inside the U.S.

In the meantime, you may speak with your sponsoring Drexel department to discuss extending your DS-2019 program end date if your end date is approaching. Information on extending the DS-2019 can be found on the ISSS website.

Additionally, please reach out to our office at isss@drexel.edu to discuss your situation.

I am planning to begin my J-1 Research Scholar, Professor, or Short-term Scholar program at Drexel as soon as possible; however, I cannot travel to the U.S. due to visa processing disruptions, travel bans, or more. What can I do?

Drexel ISSS can amend your DS-2019 program start date to a future date. This will provide you with more time to apply for and receive a valid J-1 visa for entry into the U.S. and to make necessary travel arrangements. If you do not amend your DS-2019 within the 30 days following your DS-2019 program start date, your DS-2019 will cancel and you will need to reapply for a new DS-2019 with Drexel ISSS and your department. Unfortunately, Drexel ISSS cannot intervene on your behalf with embassies or consulates to expedite your visa processing.

I am a new J-1 Research Scholar, Professor, or Short-term Scholar who has just entered the U.S. and arrived at Drexel. How can I complete my J-1 check-in appointment with ISSS?

Congratulations and welcome to Drexel University. In order to complete your J-1 check-in and validation of your DS-2019 with the U.S. State Department, please reach out to isss@drexel.edu to schedule a Zoom appointment. This appointment should happen immediately upon your arrival to Drexel and absolutely no later than 30 days following your DS-2019 program start date. Please be sure to have PDF copies available of the following documentation for this meeting:

  • Valid Passport
  • J-1 Visa and stamp from airport
  • DS-2019 form
  • I-94 document (You can retrieve this one day after you enter the U.S. and print it from the website.)
  • Proof of health insurance

I am a foreign national pursing employment with Drexel University while I remain outside of the U.S. What must I do to ensure that I can onboard with Drexel University and begin my employment, while I remain abroad?

Drexel Human Resources [HR] has partnered with a Professional Employer Organization [PEO] to assist with the hiring, onboarding, and retention of employees of the University who will remain outside of the U.S. for 90 or more consecutive days, or 180 days or more per year. Please visit the Drexel HR website to learn more. Your Drexel hiring unit will also need to address its PEO obligations with HR before you may onboard and begin your work for the University.

I am an H-1B, O-1, L-1, or TN visa holder. If I wish to leave the U.S. and return to my home country during the pandemic, will I be able to do this and maintain my status?

Chances are that you may be able to leave the U.S. during the pandemic and maintain an active status; however, please communicate any travel plans to isss@drexel.edu before making travel purchases to discuss your responsibilities and potential immigration considerations.

Recent Executive Orders and Proclamations may impact some foreign nationals' ability to reenter the U.S. once they have exited, even if they have active status. Please review our Notice to Drexel Community: U.S. Immigration Policy Changes for a summary of who is affected by policy changes and any future updates. The ISSS will continue to closely monitor the development of this situation and will communicate when additional and appropriate information is available.

Will I have trouble getting back into the U.S. even if I have a valid immigration status?

It is crucial that you stay up to date on the list of countries whose citizens may face difficulties entering the United States; these restrictions are constantly changing as the situation develops. Please see the CDC's webpage on travelers prohibited from entry into the United States for the most current guidance.

Recent Executive Orders and Proclamations may impact some foreign nationals' ability to reenter the U.S. once they have exited, even if they have active status. Please review our Notice to Drexel Community: U.S. Immigration Policy Changes for a summary of who is affected by policy changes and any future updates. The ISSS will continue to closely monitor the development of this situation and will communicate when additional and appropriate information is available.

How do I know if my home country has enacted travel restrictions/bans?

Before you make any travel plans, it is your responsibility to confirm that neither your destination nor any transit countries have put in place restrictions that could affect your itinerary.

How does President Trump's "...Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States," impact me and my status?

Recent Executive Orders and Proclamations may impact some foreign nationals' ability to reenter the U.S. once they have exited, even if they have active status. Please review our Notice to Drexel Community: U.S. Immigration Policy Changes for a summary of who is affected by policy changes and any future updates.

The ISSS continues to closely monitor the development of this situation and will communicate when additional and appropriate information is available. Updates will be made available on the ISSS website.

Other Information and Campus Resources

Do I have to be in the U.S. to file my taxes? Can I file them from abroad?

You do not have to be physically present in the U.S. to file your taxes. As long as you have the required documents, you may complete your tax return in your home country and mail it to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Please refer to Drexel's Office of Tax Compliance for more information about the tax filing process and a list of required documents.

Am I eligible to receive the 2020 Recovery Rebates in the amount of $1200 distributed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of the "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act," or the "CARES Act"?

Foreign nationals who do not meet the IRS definition of "resident alien" are not eligible to receive CARES Act Economic Impact Payments. However, if those foreign nationals filed their tax returns on the wrong form, then they may have mistakenly received the Economic Impact Payments. Please note that any incorrectly filed federal income tax returns should be amended immediately. Please see the Office of Tax Compliance website here for more information.