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Office of International Affairs

Welcome to the Office of International Affairs

The Office of International Affairs works to advance North Park University’s commitment to international education. To that end, we provide support for international students and scholars, as well as individual advising for students who wish to enrich their education through international study and intellectual and cultural exchange.

The Office of International Affairs is here for you! We are available Monday through Friday to answer your questions and meet with you. Here is the best way to contact us:

Email Dr. Sumie Song   Virtual Meeting with Dr. Song

Email Tessa Zanoni Virtual Meeting with Tessa

FAQ for International Students during COVID-19

Updated October 26, 2020

*We are awaiting guidance from the Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for the Spring 2021 semester, regarding travel and course registration (in person or online) for international students. More information will be updated here and sent to your NPU email as it becomes available.

Yes, international students will be able to apply to stay on campus over the Thanksgiving and/or Winter Break periods. You will need to apply through Residence Life for permission to remain on campus after November 25, 2020. Please contact housing@northpark.edu for more information.

Most students on an F-1 visa are able to travel between the U.S. and their home country as of 10/26/20, however, restrictions could be updated at any time. Students are responsible for checking travel and quarantine restrictions for their destinations. Any student who leaves the U.S. for winter break could  be prohibited from re-entering the U.S. if new travel restrictions affecting F-1 visa holders are implemented before their return.

Here is a current list of travelers prohibited from entry to the United States. Please check your country’s official travel website for information about any restrictions on travel to the U.S. You may also be able to find relevant information on the U.S. Department of State Travel website.

Any student who returns to campus from abroad must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to class or campus activity, per CDC guidelines. Students who travel to COVID hotspots outside of Illinois are also required to self-quarantine for 14 days, per City of Chicago guidelines.

Please plan to arrive back to Chicago/NPU on or around January 4th, in order to complete self-quarantine by the start of classes on January 19, 2021. If you live on-campus, please contact housing@northpark.edu to notify Residence Life of your arrival date and to make arrangements for self-quarantine. We understand that all students may not be able to arrive on January 4th, but you will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks regardless of arrival date.

Travel signatures are valid for one year and must still be valid on the date you’re re-entering the country. Please contact the Office of International Affairs if you think you need a travel signature. We will email you a new copy of your I-20 with an updated signature for travel. You are currently permitted to travel with printed copy of your I-20 – just don’t forget that you also need to sign it!

You must have a valid visa in order to re-enter the U.S. for the start of the semester, so you’ll need to start the renewal process as soon as possible. Please contact the Office of International Affairs as soon as possible for more information about the visa renewal process and to receive a letter of support.

You can search for your country, here, and navigate to the page containing information on visas to the U.S. Please contact the U.S. Consulate/Embassy in your country for more specific information about how to schedule an appointment. Some students have been able to schedule appointments.

The answer will depend on your student status and location:

  • I am a NEW STUDENT with an INITIAL I-20. I am unable to come to the U.S. in the fall. 

You may begin your studies online from your home country. Your F-1 visa status will be “deferred” until Spring 2021. (Your visa status will begin when you physically enter the U.S. next spring.) International Enrollment will send you an updated I-20 for the spring 2021 semester.

  • I am a NEW STUDENT with an INITIAL I-20. I plan on studying in the U.S. in the fall.

You must enroll in at least 1 in-person or hybrid (3 credit) class to enter the U.S. and maintain your F-1 visa status this fall.

  • I am a NEW STUDENT with a TRANSFER PENDING I-20. I have remained in the U.S. since March 2020.

You are permitted to take 100% of your courses online.

  • I am a NEW STUDENT with a CHANGE OF EDUCATION LEVEL I-20. I departed the U.S., but plan on returning to the U.S. in the fall.

You must enroll in at least 1 in-person or hybrid (3 credit) class to enter the U.S. and maintain your F-1 visa status this fall.

  • I am a NEW STUDENT with a CHANGE OF EDUCATION LEVEL I-20. I have remained in the U.S. since March 2020.

You are permitted to take 100% of your courses online.

  • I am a RETURNING STUDENT with a CONTINUED ATTENDANCE I-20. I departed the U.S., but plan on returning to the U.S. in the fall.

You are permitted to take 100% of your courses online.

  • I am a RETURNING STUDENT with a CONTINUED ATTENDANCE I-20. I have remained in the U.S. since March 2020.

You are permitted to take 100% of your courses online.

This will depend on your status and location. We are still awaiting guidance from SEVP, regarding course registration for next semester. Please plan to register for 12+ credit hours in order to remain a full time student and we will communicate more information as it becomes available. If you are required to make changes to your schedule in order to take a certain number of in-person courses, we will notify you immediately and assist you with making those changes.

If you have maintained your F-1 student visa status (on the same SEVIS record) for at least one academic year, you are eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training. OIA will host workshops on how to apply for OPT at the beginning of the spring semester. You must be physically present in the U.S. to apply for OPT.

At this time, we do not know if returning students will be permitted to study online, from their home country. We suggest students who want to maintain their visa status make plans to study in the U.S. next semester. If you decide to take a semester/year off and not return to campus until the Fall 2021, you will need to request a new I-20 and repay the I-901 SEVIS fee. Please note that you may lose any benefits accrued on your current I-20, such as eligibility for CPT and OPT. Please contact Dr. Song or Tessa Zanoni to inform them of your plans or ask questions. If you plan to take a “gap” semester, they will help you begin the process of applying for an Academic Leave.

Please contact Dr. Song or Tessa Zanoni for more information about your situation. Taking a gap semester could negatively affect your ability to participate in CPT or OPT in the future. If you plan to take a “gap” semester, they will help you begin the process of applying for an Academic Leave.

Please talk to your school or faculty/academic advisor to see if there are any modifications planned to the experience. If you are in the U.S., you will need to obtain authorization for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Please contact the Office of International Affairs if you have questions about your specific situation.

Yes, the North Park international student plan covers the cost of COVID-19 testing. The North Park plan also includes a telemedicine policy. If you plan on purchasing another insurance plan, make sure it covers COVID-related expenses.

If you already were authorized for campus employment and your hiring department still wishes to have you work, you may work from your home country. Payment must be made to a U.S. bank. Payroll cannot deposit funds in a foreign bank account or send checks overseas.

Please refer to the North Park University Updates page for more information about the Fall 2020 semester.

International Students

The Office of International Affairs provides assistance to future and current North Park students who are not citizens or legal residents of the US. We will help you make the transition to Chicago and support you throughout your time here.

International Student Support

Study Abroad

In the Office of International Affairs, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to study abroad. Learn about our study abroad programs, locations, and how to apply.

Study Abroad Support

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