Resources & Emergency Protocol
For life-threatening emergencies, contact 911 if you are off campus or Emory Campus Police at 404.727.6111 if you are on campus.
ISSS has created wallet-sized emergency contact cards for you to carry for reference in the event of an emergency. Pick one up from our office!
Please note that these instructions only apply to individuals in F or J status.
If you are reviewing this information during an official Emory University closure, please note that ISSS will review travel signature/validation requests upon the reopening of the office. If you are in need of a travel signature/validation, please submit the Travel Information Update e-form (found under the General Services tab in ISSS Link). Additionally, please review the information below for further guidance.
Did you forget to obtain a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 before departing the US? Or are you unable to locate your I-20 or DS-2019?
Please see below for instructions regarding what to do if you are missing a travel signature or if you do not have your I-20/DS-2019.
Can I enter the US using a tourist visa?
Please do not attempt to enter the US as a tourist. US immigration law prohibits taking classes while on B or Visa Waiver (aka ESTA). Doing so will have immediate and long-term negative consequences. Also, changing immigration status within the US normally takes 8-12 months, and during the application pending period, enrolling in courses is not permitted.
If I do not have my I-20 or DS-2019 with me, will I be able to re-enter the US?
If you do not have your I-20 or DS-2019, it is possible that your airline will not let you board a US-bound airplane. If possible, ISSS recommends that you change your flight schedule so that you will have your original I-20 or DS-2019 with you as you board your US-bound flight.
If time permits, you may request to have a new document sent to you. In addition to completing the Travel Information Update e-form, request a replacement document by completing the I-20 Update/Replacement Request (F-1 students) or the DS-2019 Replacement Request (J-1 students and scholars) in ISSS Link.
You may also request to have a family member/friend/colleague pick-up the document on your behalf or arrange to have ISSS ship the document directly to you at your own expense, by creating an eShipGlobal shipping request. Instructions can be found here.
If you are unable to change your flight and/or have a new document mailed to you, ISSS recommends that you log into ISSS Link and print a screenshot of your ISSS Link homepage which contains your SEVIS ID number, SEVIS status, program level, program dates, and the ISSS contact information. You can present this information to the immigration officer. This screenshot is not a replacement for the original immigration document, but may help the officer more easily locate your record in their system. See below for more information on entering the US without your immigration document.
What will happen if I try to enter the US without an I-20/DS-2019 and/or a valid travel signature?
If your airline allows you board the plane without your immigration document and/or a valid signature, there could be three (3) possible outcomes at the US airport upon arrival:
- The immigration inspector might just rely on your electronic SEVIS record in their system and admit you into the US for “D/S” which means a full duration of status/studies.
- The immigration inspector might admit you for 30 days under the I-515A temporary admission provision.
- If this happens, please come and meet with you ISSS advisor immediately (within two business days) as this is time-sensitive.
- The immigration inspector might not let you enter the US.
Can ISSS send me a digital copy of my I-20/DS-2019?
The US government doesn’t permit distributing/sharing copies (scanned, faxed, emailed, etc.) of immigration documents. We may only share a copy with the US Department of State and Department of Homeland Security. So, if an airport in your home country has a DHS office (as some international airports do), a US DHS officer could request a copy of your I-20/DS-2019 from ISSS.
What should I do if I experience difficulties when going through US Customs?
Should you encounter any difficulties at the airport, please calmly ask an immigration officer to call Emory ISSS at 404-727-3300 (during business hours) or 404-727-6111 (outside of business hours). The latter number is available 24/7 as it connects to Emory Police, and they know how to reach an ISSS on-call person.
What to do if you experience an immigration-related emergency, such as:
- Loss of your passport or other important documents while overseas
- Visit by government officer at home or on campus (note: do not sign anything. Politely ask a government officer if you can call Emory ISSS or your home country consulate)
- Detainment at U.S. port of entry like airports (note: do not sign anything. Politely ask an immigration officer if you can call Emory ISSS or your home country consulate)
- Threat of deportation (note: do not sign anything. Politely ask an immigration officer if you can call Emory ISSS or your home country consulate)
If during normal office hours (8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.), call ISSS at 404.727.3300.
If outside of regular office hours, call the Emory Police Department at 404.727.6111 and their dispatcher will connect you with an ISSS staff member.
If you are on campus, contact Emory Police Department at 404.727.6111. If you are off campus, call 911.
You may experience an emergency such as:
- Car accident
- Criminal activity
- Missing persons
- Suicidal thoughts
- Homicidal thoughts
- Natural disasters (tornado, flood, etc.)
- Sexual assault and misconduct
- Other incidents
ISSS is here to help you during our office hours, but you may want to take advantage of these resources on campus for other issues such as:
- Culture shock
- Conflicts with classmates or professors
- Financial problems
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