GEMS Blog for Advisors

January 23, 2019

Updates to Autumn Quarter Start Date for International Students

The below is reposted from the e-mail sent by GEMS Director Julia Carlson on January 8, 2019:

The official autumn quarter program start date issued for new international students on F-1 visas will be notated on the Form I-20 as the first day of instruction.  This differs from the past few years, where the official autumn quarter program start date on Form I-20s was two weeks prior to the first day of instruction. The date has always been the first day of instruction for winter, spring and summer quarters (those dates will not change).  The impetus for changing the date is to protect students from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new policy that makes it easier for international students to accrue “unlawful presence.”Accruing unlawful presence potentially jeopardizes student benefits such as Optional Practical Training (OPT), future entry to the United States, and changes to other immigration categories.

Students continue to have 30 days to enter the country before their official program start date. With careful planning from your programs, students will still be able to attend required activities such as orientation sessions prior to the first day of instruction. Students must report to their school by the program start date listed on the Form I-20. However, it is best if students contact their school immediately after entering the country so that there is no question of their arrival.  Please let GEMS know if you have any questions regarding this change.