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Immigration Advice and Resources

Cornell offers many resources to support our international community. On this page, you'll find answers, advice, and allies for your immigration-related concerns, including campus resources for internationals, immigration emergency aid, university statements of support, and more.

Learn about how the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs advocates for Cornell's international community.

Monthly Immigration Update

Updated May 13, 2024

Leaving Cornell

If you’re an F/J student who’s graduating and leaving the U.S. or going to another university, here are some tips to help you get organized!

Are you a J-1, H-1B, or other Cornell-sponsored employee planning to leave Cornell? If you’re leaving before the end date on your DS-2019 (J-1) or I-797 approval notice (H-1B and O-1), you must complete the Leaving Cornell form so that Cornell can meet the federal requirement to notify the government of your departure.

OPT Reminder

F-1 students graduating in May: If you have not applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT), there’s still time! You must be in the U.S. when you file your application. Find out more about F-1 OPT.

CPT Internships

Do you have a summer internship? Be aware that authorization is required for off-campus work! Start by checking out our page on F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) to see if you are eligible.

Remember: All off-campus employment must be approved on your I-20 before you begin working. If you’re on the Ithaca campus, work with International Services. Cornell Tech students should seek authorization from Cornell Tech Student and Academic Affairs.

Summer Jobs On Campus

Did you know that you can work full-time on campus during the summer if you are a continuing student and not registered for the summer term? You can start your full-time job on May 27, the first day of the summer term. If you are registered for summer, you may only work 20 hours per week.

F-1 students do not need special authorization to work on campus. You can work at any type of job on campus. J-1 students must obtain a J-1 student on-campus employment authorization letter from International Services before starting work. Visit On-Campus Work to find out more.

Summer Travel for Students 

International travel plans this summer? Be sure to bring the appropriate Travel Documents for Students to be able to reenter the U.S. You may need to request an I-20 reprint for a new travel signature before you reenter.

If you want to travel outside the country while your OPT application is pending, or after it has been approved, review Travel on OPT before making plans. You need to follow certain rules and carry specific documents in order to reenter the U.S.

Need to apply for a new visa? Visa appointments can have long wait times. It is best to take the earliest available appointment time—even if the appointment is after your planned arrival date in the fall—so that you can apply for an expedited visa request. You need to have a scheduled appointment before you ask to have the appointment expedited!

Summer Travel for Scholars

International travel plans this summer? You may need to apply for a new visa stamp if you have recently changed your status or if your current visa stamp has expired. Be sure to carry all necessary travel documents with you. 

  • If you are in J-1 or J-2 status, you’ll need a valid travel signature on your DS-2019 in order to reenter the U.S. 
  • If you are an H-1B or O-1 employee, submit your I-94 in myStatusonce you are back in the U.S. Find H-1B/O-1 Employment Eligibility Review under University Employment.
  • If you have an H-1B or O-1 petition pending with USCIS, email us to make sure your travel plans won't disrupt your pending petition.

Got a New Place? Update Your Address

If you’re an active F-1 or J-1 student or scholar, you must report changes in U.S. address, phone number, or email address to International Services within 10 days. This time frame is a legal requirement. F-1 students should use the F-1 student address update form, and J-1s should use the J-1 SEVIS address update form. Everyone else must notify USCIS of address changes.

Protests and Your Rights

Do you feel passionate about a cause and want to get involved? As an international visitor in the United States, you have rights to protect you—but also some risks and restrictions when it comes to participating in demonstrations and protests.

How to Avoid Scams

This is a regular reminder to be cautious about potential scams. Scams can take many forms, and international students may be particularly targeted. Scammers often pose as police or government agents. They may contact you using what looks like a Cornell email or even hack an official Cornell email address.

There is little the university can do to help a victim recover money once it is lost in a scam. Be sure to read our page on Avoiding Scams to protect yourself and your friends.

Don’t reply to emails, and hang up and block contact if you receive a text or phone call from anyone threatening to arrest you or asking to collect fines or bail. The scammer will most likely move on. If you are concerned, visit the Cornell Police in Barton Hall, which is open 24 hours a day.

International Services Student FAQ

Find more answers to questions about student travel, visa status, employment rules, and more.

Support at Cornell

International Services

Cornell’s Office of Global Learning International Services is here to help students and scholars from around the world thrive at Cornell. Talk with International Services staff about general immigration information, including visas and jobs, finding your niche in Ithaca, campus resources, and more. Get advice from International Services.

Emergency Assistance

If you are a current student, faculty, or staff member experiencing an immigration-related emergency, find out how to get the help you need at any hour on International Services' Stopped at the Border page.

Legal Assistance

Cornell Law School Clinical Programs provide free immigration legal advice and/or referrals for Cornell students on specific issues such as asylum and naturalization. Income guidelines may apply. Reach out to the clinical faculty team by email at or call the clinic at +1-607-255-4196.

Cornell Law’s immigration clinic handles immigration cases for the Cornell community. Contact Jaclyn Kelley-Widmer, associate clinical professor of law, by email to discuss your case. In addition, the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School publishes free online law materials to help people understand the law.

Resources for undocumented and DACA student support can be found on the Student and Campus Life website.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Belonging at Cornell provides diversity, equity, and inclusion resources, including anti-racism resources, resources to combat Antisemitism and Islamophobia, and other biases due to religion, to the university community.

University Statements​ of Support (select)

Explore the complete archive of university statements.

Guidance and Counseling

  • Part of Cornell Health, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) includes the Let’s Talk program. Talk confidentially with a trained healthcare professional and find support for stress, loneliness, anxiety, depression, adjustment challenges, relationship difficulties, questions about identity, managing an existing mental health condition, or other issues. Call CAPS at +1-607-255-5155 to speak with a staff member.
  • Cornell's Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives offers general advising on personal and academic support, as well as planning for academic and professional aims and referrals for undocumented students as part of the trailblazers program.
  • Cornell's Office of Graduate Student Life serves the Cornell community in many capacities: discussing student concerns, providing available resources and services, and sharing options for handling difficult academic and personal situations. Contact Janna Lamey to identify appropriate resources.
  • The staff in the Dean of Students office is available for support, advice, and guidance in navigating various circumstances. Contact the office by email or call +1-607-255-1115.
  • Cornell's Faculty and Staff Assistance Program offers free, confidential guidance and support to benefits-eligible employees and their partners to address issues that may be affecting their personal lives and job satisfaction or performance. This resource is part of Cornell's broad commitment to foster and support the mental health and well-being of the campus community.

Housing in Ithaca

  • If you're an international student concerned that visa issues will limit your ability to travel to your home abroad during university breaks, on-campus housing may be an option. Send an email in confidence to find out more.
  • International Services provides general housing information on its website. Visit Your First Week and Student Resources.

Support from Off-Campus

Hotline to Combat Coronavirus Hate Crimes and Xenophobic Rhetoric

New York's Attorney General Letitia James created a hotline to report hate crimes and bias-based incidents. The hotline comes in the wake of rising reports of harassment and assaults, as well as rhetoric against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The attorney general urges those experiencing hate crimes and bias report an incident by email or by calling +1-800-771-7755. Learn more about the initiative.