International Student Services

Home Country Emergency Situations for International Students

There may be times that an emergency may arise in your home country. The United States Department of Homeland Security works closely with universities and students to make sure that they are provided information should a student have to travel home for an emergency. Make sure to be in contact with your DSO and the International Programs team if you feel you need to travel home.

In cases of a natural disaster, political unrest, or a family tragedy, a student’s first response may be to go home and be with their family. However, students must make sure that their visa will allow travel and that circumstances are safe before they go. The International Programs team can help you determine the status of the state of emergency and if it is prudent to travel. These choices can also greatly impact your course of study, immigration status, and financial situation. The student wellbeing in all of these areas is Goodwin’s first priority.

However, if you must urgently travel home due to a personal or family illness, death, or other urgent matter, please do not delay in making plans to depart the United States. If the IPO is closed, please follow these steps:

  1. Email your academic advisor and DSO/International Programs Office with your concern. Also include a trusted friend or family member in the U.S. who can help if needed while you are abroad.
  2. The International Programs Office will respond to your email with a more detailed plan on how to return to the United States to continue academic study or continue Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment if you are eligible.

The following are common requirements for reentry to the United States. Required documents may vary depending on the situation, you may need some or all of the following. Remember to bring these documents, even if you are in a hurry.

  • Unexpired I-20 (if you meet the requirements a new travel I-20 may be printed for reentry)
  • Unexpired multiple entry visa (you may not be absent from the United States for more than five months or your visa will be electronically cancelled)
  • You may need proof of your circumstances for leaving in the middle of the semester such as a letter from your advisor permitting you to return to the United States, and/or a bank statement and/or a death certificate. (Depending on the circumstances other documents may be required.)
  • If you are employed with OPT, there will be additional requirements which will be required.

In addition to this, the International Programs Office can help with the following:

  • Referring our students to mental health counselors
  • Putting students in touch with local immigrant communities in the Hartford area that can offer more information on the student’s home country
  • Provide consulate and embassy contact information for the student to check on their home country status
  • Assist the student in contacting their home if standard methods prove ineffective

We understand that emergency situations can be stressful and the International Programs and Student Services teams are here to help.