UMD: A Globally Connected University

Recent Communications to Scholars

Recent Communications to Scholars

Sent 4/16/2020

As we confront the challenges of COVID-19 right here in the United States, we can only imagine the difficulties it poses for you and your family abroad. International Student Scholar Services is here to support you and we are working for you during this period of social distancing.  Please reach out to us if you need assistance. 

ISSS has been working remotely since March 18th, and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. We are not holding in-person meetings as per CDC and State of Maryland health guidelines. Our virtual community is as strong as ever. We are available to listen to your questions, concerns, or ideas about adjustments to your planned activities. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us and let us know how you are doing. No matter what tomorrow brings, we look forward to continuing to work with you.


ISSS online support services

Starting March 18, 2020 through until the University announces it will resume on campus activities, ISSS provides all necessary support services online to international scholars.

  • Appointments will be offered via phone or online via the Webex platform. 
  • Staff continue to access and respond to email and phone calls. In addition, we have a dedicated customer service phone line at (301) 405-1617. Ashley Reynolds will assist you with general questions Monday - Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
  • New Service: Online chat will be offered for quick questions.  This chat is available Monday - Friday, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.
  • ISSS will continue to process requests for J-1 extensions and amendments.


Address, phone, and email updates

COVID-19 has caused many of us to relocate.  Please remember that J-1 regulations require your SEVIS record to contain your correct home address and phone number. To update address or phone please follow the instructions below. As a reminder, you are required to update your information within 10 days whenever it changes.

  1. Go to
  2. Click Login in the left box labeled “International Students/Scholars/Employees with ACTIVE UMD Directory ID”. 
  3. A new window will open and you will log in with your UMD Directory ID and password.
  4. From the left hand menu, click J-1 Scholar Servicesthen select J-1 Scholar Address Update.
  5. Review the information and enter any updates/changes to your local address and phone number. If your information is correct and up-to-date, no action is needed.
  6. Click Submit. You will receive a confirmation email.  ISSS sends the updated information to SEVIS within a two day period. 

Please note: If you are a paid employee, you will also update your address through the Human Resources website. Please contact your department payroll coordinator if you have questions.


New  process to request travel signatures

Before you travel on University of Maryland sponsored travel, we ask that you carefully review the University of Maryland's guidance on travel restrictions.

Due to our remote work environment ISSS is not able to give in-person travel signatures. Travel signatures are valid for one year or if the enddate of your DS-2019 is earlier than until that enddate. If you need an updated signature, scholars can request a new DS-2019 for travel by visiting iTerp and using our “Travel Signature Request” e-form.

  1. Go to
  2. Click Login in the left box labeled “International Students/Scholars/Employees with ACTIVE UMD Directory ID”.
  3. A window will open and you will log in with your UMD Directory ID and password.
  4. From the left hand menu, click J-1 Scholar Services then select Travel Signature Request.
  5. Complete the e-form with your travel plans.
  6. Click Submit.
  7. ISSS will review your e-form. It takes 5 business days to approve the form.  ISSS will send you an email to generate a shipping label via eshipglobal. You will need your credit card to complete the order.
  8. ISSS will print the shipping label and ship the document.

Should you need to travel for an emergency, please remember that you do not need a valid travel signature to depart the U.S. You will have the option to have the DS-2019 sent abroad.


J-1 and J-2 health insurance and medical evacuation & repatriation coverage

ISSS has received numerous requests for J-1 extensions due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.  As we process these requests, you will need to extend your health insurance and medical evacuation & repatriation coverage through the extension period.  The University Health Center has created an online process to extend your coverage. Please click on the link below for the type of insurance you are interested in purchasing.  You will need a credit card to complete the order.


J-1 exchange visitors and their embassy 

The U.S. Department of State is continuing to closely monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on our exchange visitors, including the opportunity to return home.? As part of this effort, the Department has?received guidance from several embassies which have asked that exchange visitors contact the appropriate embassy or consulate at the website.? The Department will continue to provide and update this and other helpful information on:?

J-2s with an expiring employment authorization card (EAD)

For persons in J-2 status with an expiring EAD, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will reuse previously submitted biometrics in order to process valid Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) extension requests due to the temporary closure of Application Support Centers to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  


Please stay safe and healthy!

ISSS Faculty/Scholar Advising Team