Updates and Reminders for Fall 2020
This email was sent on July 28, 2020 to all continuing students:
After the Fall 2020 SEVP Guidance was rescinded on July 14, ISSS wrote to celebrate this victory with you. We now want to follow up to make sure you understand how these changes impact you. The policy that was in place during the spring 2020 semester is in effect and the immigration requirements and exceptions are the same. This means that all current (SEVIS Active) F1 students can remain in active F1 status when they are enrolled in all online classes. Many of you have been asking how this will impact you and we hope to answer these questions below:
Current students inside the US: F1 students in the US can be in all online classes and stay in good immigration status. ISSS will keep your F1 record active for the fall. Students are expected to remain enrolled full-time, a minimum of 6 units for graduate and 12 units for undergraduate.
Current students outside of the US: F1 students outside of the US can stay in good status as long as you remain enrolled full-time (a minimum of 6 units for graduate and 12 units for undergraduate) for the fall semester. You will also need to remain enrolled in a full course load for the fall and ISSS will be able to keep your SEVIS record active. Since the SEVIS record will be active, students will continue to be eligible for OPT and CPT (see below).
SEVIS Change of Levels: SEVIS change of level students (changing from one USF degree to another) will also be able to stay in the US and enroll in all online classes. Students in this status who are outside of the US will be treated like new students and will not be able to return to the US unless you have a in-person course. If you are not in the US, ISSS would need to turn your F1 record off and turn it back on. If you are a change of level student currently outside of the US please contact your ISSS advisor.
How this will impact your OPT or CPT: Students who remain in active F1 status, from inside or outside of the US, will continue to gain eligibility toward CPT and OPT. Students in their last semester of study can apply for OPT 90 days prior to their program end date.
Electronic I-20s: Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will allow universities to temporarily issue electronic I-20s. These I-20s should be accepted at US Consulates, airport immigration, and with USCIS when applying for OPT. Starting this week, ISSS will begin emailing I-20s to you instead of requiring shipping. This change will eliminate the shipping costs for students and help you get your documents sooner. When you receive an electronic I-20, you will need to print it and sign the student attestation section for it to be valid. You need to present the printed version for travel, visa appointments, and to other administrative offices in the US.
Traveling to the US: Students are advised to stay in the US. If you need to depart the US for personal reasons, keep in mind that currently international travel is unpredictable and you may not be able to return to the US in a timely manner. In the past week we have heard from students who were traveling and were asked for proof of in-person classes. Although this is not necessary for continuing students, due to changing immigration policy, it is possible that US immigration officers and consulates may require additional documents. We recommend that students check-in with ISSS before travel and avoid any unnecessary travel. If you decide to travel, please read the information on the ISSS webpage about documents needed for travel and the Customs and Border Protection inspection information. Current USF students with an Active SEVIS record should download and print this letter for travel.
You do not need a new I-20: Now that the Fall 2020 SEVP Guidance was rescinded you do not need an I-20 with the remarks about your course of study. Your current I-20 is still valid. If you are currently outside of the US and plan on re-entering for the fall, be sure you have a valid travel signature on your I-20 and read the ISSS travel page linked above.
Health Insurance: International students who remain outside of the US for the fall 2020 semester can waive the USF student health insurance requirement. To waive the insurance requirement, students must submit the Health Insurance Waiver, and verify their Local Residence address through MyUSF (see below). For additional questions about health insurance, please contact Health Promotion Services.
Verify your Address: In order for ISSS to verify your immigration status in SEVIS you need to verify where you will be studying this fall. When you log in to myUSF, you will be asked to verify your address. If you need to update it later, follow these steps:
- Login to MyUSF https://myusf.usfca.edu
- Click on “Banner Self-Service (Student)” box
- Click on the “Personal Information” tab
- Change Local Residence Address through the “Addresses and Phones” link
- Make sure that you update the address and country code if your address is outside of the U.S.
Please visit the ISSS COVID-19 FAQ web page for up-to-date information on a variety of topics including visas and travel, online courses, work authorizations, and more. You will also find previous announcements sent to USF international students regarding the fall 2020 semester on this web page.
We understand that the changing immigration regulations have created some confusion and uncertainty. ISSS wants to make sure you know that the rescission of the July 6th SEVP guidance has provided the same flexibility for continuing F1 students that there was in the spring semester. If you have additional questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or make an appointment with your ISSS advisor.
The ISSS Team
Marcella Pitcher DeProto
Ying-Sing (Cynthia) Lai
Nina Gordon Lopes