Assistantship Appointments for Students Outside the US (updated 5/22/20)

Updated 5/22/20

When the campus closed to non-essential services and classes moved to online instruction in mid-March 2020, some students chose to leave the Ithaca area to be with family or return to their home communities.  Graduate students who were appointed to Spring 2020 assistantships were encouraged to continue their activities remotely, and there was no interruption in Spring 2020 stipends.

However, Cornell is a US-based entity and is generally unable to sponsor work authorization in other countries. The University normally expects and requires that students on TA, RA, GRA, or GA appointments be on campus or performing duties at an approved US location.   During the COVID-19 disruptions, the University has developed a framework for allowing qualified students to proceed with anticipated summer and/or fall assistantship appointments if they are temporarily stranded outside the US due to government-imposed travel restrictions and are delayed in returning to Ithaca at the time of their planned assistantship. 

To be eligible, students must meet the following conditions:

  • Students must be in good academic standing, registered with the University, and enrolled in remotely-offered courses or in research credits. Students are expected to make normal academic progress towards their degree during the assistantship period.
  • The student must be able to perform the duties of the assistantship remotely. Some assistantships may not be conducive to remote activities once the campus begins to reopen.
  • The assistantship supervisor and any associated funding sources must allow activities from a foreign location. Some funding agencies limit international activities or require special permissions.
  • The student must have returned to his or her home in the country of residence during or prior to the spring 2020 COVID19 closures, or currently be in temporary accommodations while stranded in a third country (not USA or home country) as a result of COVID19. The option to be on a remote assistantship from outside the US is not available to students who elected to leave the US after spring 2020 for personal travel, but may be approved if students are compelled to leave the US to renew a passport or to meet immigration requirements.
  • Students must be in an active visa status and able to maintain visa status for the appointment period. This option is only available to students who are authorized to return to the US and resume their studies once travel restrictions are eased.
  • This option is only available to students who are prevented from returning to the US to perform their scheduled assistantship duties by a government-mandated travel restriction prohibiting or limiting travel out of current country or entry into USA as a result of COVID19 at the initiation of the appointment period.
  • The student must have a US bank account or be able to receive payments through direct deposit, and International Pay Card (Cornell will issue, and this acts like debit card), or via paper check to be sent by courier.

This is a limited, temporary exception to support students until they can return to campus.  Students who meet the above criteria and plan to be supported as a TA, RA, GRA, GA or GTRS in the summer or fall should contact their graduate field for more detailed information about eligibility.

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