Some students choose to conduct research towards the dissertation outside the United States for a variety of reasons. International students in F-1 and J-1 status must consider their immigration requirements when deciding to pursue research abroad. In order to maintain a current immigration record in the United States, students must register full-time (at least 9 credits) by the end of the add/drop period and maintain that registration throughout each semester they are outside the United States. An international student conducting research abroad must also ensure that he or she has a valid travel signature when returning to the United States as well as a valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp. Students will need to arrange for mailing of documents in some cases and should therefore review ISSS policies and procedures on express mailing. Detailed information about international travel and re-entry requirements is available in our Travel section. An international doctoral student who will re-enter the United States at various times during periods of research abroad may wish to consider carrying a letter from the mentor stating that he or she is aware of and fully supports the student's plans to conduct research outside the United States.
If an international student will leave the United States but will not continue full-time research while abroad, then he or she should request a leave of absence from the academic program in order to ensure ample time to complete the degree upon return to the United States. For more information on the immigration implications of a leave of absence as well as details on procedures for the request, please review our Leave of Absence page. Please also be sure to meet all program and graduate school requirements regarding the processing of a leave, including completion of the official LGS Leave of Absence Form.
Please note: Emory University strongly recommends registration with International SOS (ISOS) when conducting research in another country. This coverage is immediately available to students, faculty, and staff members traveling internationally on Emory business; there is no need to enroll. Graduate students receiving Professional Development Support Funds are required to register. You may log into their portal by choosing "International SOS" from the left navigation bar on the Emory International page to find out more about the health, security, and safety services they offer.