Student Advisory - July 30 Student Advisory - July 30

Embassy of India Student Hub
Washington D.C.

30 July 2020

In continuation of advisories issued on 17 June and 9 July 2020, the Embassy of India Student Hub issues the following advisory based on information available on 30 July 2020 for Indian students studying in or enrolling to study in the United States:

  1. The Embassy of India Student Hub is cognizant of challenges being faced by the Indian students in securing visa appointments with the US Embassy/ Consulates in India. It may be noted that due to the current pandemic situation, US Consular Services’ operations in India remain suspended and currently, US Embassy and Consulates across India are processing visa applications only for emergency cases (i.e. death, funeral, medical treatment, etc). The Embassy of India in Washington DC has already taken up this matter with the concerned U.S. authorities and continues to follow up with them.
  2. For details on impact of COVID-19 pandemic for students on F-1 status, students may refer to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)’s “Frequently Asked Questions for SEVP Stakeholders about COVID-19” issued on 15 July 2020 (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/coronavirus/covid19faq.pdf) and “Clarifying Questions for Fall 2020 Based On March 9 Spring Guidance Broadcast” issued on 24 July 2020 (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/fall2020faq.pdf).
  3. F-1 Indian students on post-completion Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) are again advised to exercise due caution towards offers from third-party consultancies that ask payment for issuing employment letters, certifications, or company placements. F-1 OPT students may refer to U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s information in this regard: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0243-job-scams#job%20placement.
  4. F-1 students on post-completion OPT are also advised to review university guidance as well as official OPT guidelines issued by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and SEVP, including:

General requirements for post-completion OPT include:

  1. OPT “employment” must directly relate to student’s major area of study (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/optDirectlyRelatedGuidance.pdf);
  2. OPT employment must be for a specific duration and technically at least 20 hours per week. Please note that “[f]or the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, SEVP considers students who are working in their OPT opportunities fewer than 20 hours a week as engaged in OPT,” as per 15 July 2020 SEVP FAQs;
  3. Student must apply for and get “approval notice” for an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD card”) before start of any post-completion OPT employment;
  4. Student should be able to provide evidence, acquired from employer, to verify that he/she legitimately worked at least 20 hours per week during the period of employment; and
  5. Student can volunteer or can secure an unpaid internship, so long as such “employment” is directly related to his/her major area of study.
  1. Students are further advised to consult their respective university’s Designated School Official (DSO), International Student & Scholar Office (ISSO) and/or concerned faculty for additional guidance on all post-completion OPT matters - including permissible volunteering opportunities and/or internships.

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