COVID-19: Update on Fall 2020 Guidance

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student and exchange visitor program

This is a special message from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). This message provides useful information for the international student and academic communities.

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Update on Federal Guidance for the Fall 2020 Semester

F and M students and schools certified by SEVP should abide by guidance issued in March 2020.

The guidance enables schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the public health emergency generated by COVID-19. The March 2020 guidance applies to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9 and are otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, whether from inside the U.S. or abroad. SEVP will not issue a temporary final rule impacting nonimmigrant students for the fall school term.

In accordance with March 2020 guidance, nonimmigrant students in new or initial status after March 9 will not be able to enter the U.S. to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online. Additionally, designated school officials should not issue a Form I-20 to a nonimmigrant student in new or initial status who is outside of the U.S. and plans to take classes at an SEVP-certified educational institution fully online.

Visit for the latest COVID-19-related information and guidance. Please continue to refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the latest COVID-19 information, specific port-of-entry screening processes, as well as any travel restrictions.

Read the full announcement for more information and to access resources for stakeholders. 

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