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COVID-19: SEVP issues guidance for F and M nonimmigrant students

  1. Date Announced

    March 9, 2020

    COVID-19: The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) issued guidance on how schools affected by coronavirus can report procedural adaptations for F and M nonimmigrant students, including online instruction or alternate physical location. [ID #781]

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    March 9, 2020
  3. Subsequent Action

    March 13, 2020

    On March 13, 2020, SEVP issued follow-on guidance specifically addressing the status of students in three common scenarios: 1) A school completely closes and does not have online courses or other alternate learning procedures; 2) A school temporarily stops in-person classes but implements online or other alternate learning procedures and the nonimmigrant student remains in the United States; and 3) A school temporarily stops in-person classes but implements online or other alternate learning procedures and the nonimmigrant student departs the United States.

    COVID-19: Guidance for SEVP Stakeholders
  4. Subsequent Action

    May 21, 2020

    On May 21, 2020, SEVP added additional guidance on M students and schools to its FAQ.

    COVID-19 Guidance for SEVP Stakeholders May 21 Update
  5. Subsequent Action

    August 7, 2020

    ICE issues broadcast message stating that schools must provide notice of procedural changes made in response to COVID-19 within 10 business days of the date of the decision to make the change. If SEVP-certified schools have already submitted a procedural change plan, they do not need to submit an additional plan unless the school is substantively altering the plan. The broadcast message includes other requirements for filing the plans.

    Broadcast Message on Reporting School Procedural Adaptations to SEVP
  6. Subsequent Action

    August 18, 2020

    USCIS reminds F-1 noncitizens participating in post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), and their designated school officials (DSOs), that they must update the employer information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), including unemployment data. Federal regulations require F-1 noncitizens to notify their DSO within 10 days of any changes to their personal or employment information. In turn, DSOs must update SEVIS with the noncitizen's information within 21 days. This reminder helps ensure F-1 noncitizens and DSOs properly comply with existing requirements

    USCIS Reminds F1 Noncitizens and DSOs to input employer info in SEVIS
Status: Final/Actual
Type of Action: Agency Directive
Agencies Affected: ICE USCIS

Prior Policies

  • Previous guidance issued by SEVP on January 29, 2020 did not address the implications of procedural adaptations implemented by schools in response to COVID-19. The guidance specifically addressed what actions schools should take if they have international students currently located outside the U.S. in impacted places or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. The March 9, 2020 announcement supersedes this message.

    Broadcast Message: 2019 Novel Coronavirus and F and M nonimmigrants

Subsequent Actions

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