The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) issued a Broadcast Message and a new FAQ document today to clarify the type of study allowed for the fall semester. We’re sending this message to all students, so you are aware of the how it impacts you. The key factor in determining this is to ask whether you were enrolled in a course of study in the U.S. on March 9, 2020.
If you were enrolled in a course of study in the U.S. on March 9 you may continue to maintain your legal F-1 status as long as you enroll full-time. It is ok if you end up taking all online classes, or if you have a combination of in-person and online classes. You can also maintain your status if you take Ohio University online classes from outside of the US. If you choose to study online from outside of the US, you must notify ISFS via email so that we can add an annotation to your SEVIS record.
The one exception is for students who are outside of the U.S. and have changed degree levels between the end of the spring semester and the start of the fall semester. (For example, students moving from OPIE to Pathway, Pathway to degree program, Master’s to Ph.D., etc.) Since you will be entering the U.S. to start a new program you will need to follow the guidance below.
If you were not enrolled in a course of study in the U.S. on March 9 then you are likely a new student looking to the enter the U.S. for the first time in F-1 status. You must have at least one in-person class during the Fall 2020 semester to be eligible to enter the U.S. An updated I-20 form that reflects the plans of the university should be sufficient for entry, but it will be your responsibility to ensure you enroll in at least one in-person course after you arrive.
Please note that according to the clarifying FAQ (linked above), all students will be able to maintain status when the university moves to all online classes after November 20, as planned. If the university is forced to move online earlier in the semester due to COVID-19 conditions, students will still be able to maintain their legal status.
Please let us know if you have questions about this information.
International Student and Faculty Services