SEVP Rescinds July 6 Guidance – F-1 Students May Study Remotely

SEVP Rescinds July 6 Guidance – F-1 Students May Study Remotely

On Tuesday, July 14, SEVP rescinded its guidance of July 6, 2020, which would have prohibited all F-1 students from taking only online courses while remaining in the US.  Schools may now follow the updated  SEVP guidance of July 15, 2020.  

Continuing students who are present in the US may continue their studies, even if they will pursue a remote course of study.

Continuing students who are outside the US may keep their SEVIS records active so long as they are otherwise maintaining the conditions of F-1 status.

Please continue to check back for up-to-date guidance related to possible future changes.   

What happened? 

In March, SEVP announced that in response to the COVID pandemic, certain requirements related to remote enrollment and remaining enrolled while abroad would be relaxed to allow students to study safely, without having to appear in-person.  On July 6, 2020, SEVP then announced that it would no longer provide these exemptions for international students taking classes remotely due to the pandemic during the fall 2020 quarter.   Several universities, including the University of California filed suit to stop this, and on July 14, in response to a joint suit by Harvard and MIT, the July guidance was rescinded.  Students are now able to remain in the US even if all of their classes will be remote and can remain outside of the US with an active SEVIS record.  

All of my classes are offered remotely. Will I have to leave the United States? 

Per the most recent guidance, continuing students who are already present in the US may remain in the US so long as they are meeting the conditions of their F-1 status, which includes being enrolled in a full course-load.  Students will be considered to be fully enrolled even if all of their courses are delivered remotely . 

Can an international student in the US take a full course load remotely?

Yes.  Per the most recent guidance, students will be considered to be fully enrolled even if all of their courses are delivered remotely. 

I am an international student scheduled to start my studies at UC Santa Cruz in Fall 2020. Does this policy change affect me? 

If you are a new international student and currently outside of the US, and you may enroll and attend classes from outside of the US.  You will be issued an I-20 with a Winter quarter start date and will be able to enter the US within 30 days of that start date.  
If you intend  to travel to the US, we encourage you to think realistically about the risks and possibility of entering the US in time for Fall 2020.  Challenges such as US Consulates remaining closed, delayed visa appointment times, current travel restrictions prohibiting entry to the US, limited flight options, and SEVP guidance updates make entering the US very difficult at this time and into the foreseeable future.  

If I am a continuing student outside of the US and I take a full course load remotely, what happens to my SEVIS record? 

Per the SEVP FAQs on July, 15  2020, continuing students may remain in Active SEVIS status while studying remotely, outside of the United States. 

Will my visa be cancelled if I am studying from my home country? 

If you have an F-1 visa, your visa would not be cancelled if you are studying from your home country even if your SEVIS record is terminated. The SEVIS termination would not affect your F-1 visa. 

Do I need to get a new I-20 to show I will be taking classes remotely in the United States? 

Per the most recent guidance, there is no longer a requirement that you be issued a new I-20 that indicates you will be taking classes remotely  in the United States.

Where can I find more resources?

In this section

Last modified: Jun 10, 2023