FAQs for Most Recent SEVP Guidance for Fall 2020
Q: If I am a new student planning to enter the U.S. to attend Georgia State University for Fall 2020, can I enroll in online-only courses and travel to the U.S.?
A: Based on the latest SEVP guidance, new students planning to enroll in online-only courses should remain outside the U.S.
Students should report their intent to enroll online via the “eLearning” e-form in iStart. ISSS will update the program start date on the SEVIS record and reissue a new Form I-20 by 09/13/2020. Students receiving an updated program start date will not be required to pay the I-901 fee again or reapply for a visa if they have already received one.
Q: If I am a new student planning to enter the U.S. to attend Georgia State University for fall 2020, what are my enrollment requirements?
A: Based on SEVP guidance issued on July 24, New Students entering the U.S. are required to be enrolled full-time and at least one class must be a blended (b) or face-to-face (f) course for the fall
Q: I am a new student planning to enroll full-time in blended and face-to-face courses and will enter the U.S. for fall 2020. Do I need an updated I-20 with remarks showing I am enrolled full-time in hybrid instruction to enter the U.S.?
- The latest SEVP guidance rescinded prior guidance requiring all students to receive updated Form I-20 reflecting enrollment plans for the term; however,
- New Students entering the U.S. are required to be enrolled in at least 1 blended (b) or face-to-face (f) course Fall 2020 and should contact their respective campus to request their Form I-20 be updated with the necessary enrollment language. Email:
Atlanta Campus: firstname.lastname@example.org Perimeter College: email@example.com
Q: If I am transferring my SEVIS record to Georgia State but plan to enroll online only from outside the U.S., will my SEVIS record be Active in Fall 2020?
A: If you do not plan to re-enter the U.S. for the Fall semester, ISSS will defer your start date on the transfer Form I-20 to the Spring 2021 term. In this situation, you will not be required to pay the I-901 fee again and will not need to apply for a new visa if the previous F-1 visa is not expired.
Students should report their intent to enroll online via the “eLearning” e-form in iStart. ISSS will update the program start date on the SEVIS record and reissue a new I-20 by 09/13/2020.
Q: Is a transfer student, who is living in the U.S, required to pick up I-20 in person from ISSS and report to campus?
A: Transfer students will complete the International Student Check-In process online via the iStart portal and will not be required to physically report to the institution to complete international student check-in.
Instructions regarding Orientation and Immigration Check-In will be sent to your GSU student email. Be sure to check your GSU student inbox daily.
Q: Can a transfer F-1 student take courses remotely from inside the US?
A: Georgia State is offering a blended learning model for fall. Based on the latest SEVP guidance students who are unable to take a full schedule of face-to-face or blended courses due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to enroll in online sections to maintain status during the pandemic.
Q: I am planning to enroll online this Fall term from outside the U.S. Will I be able to keep my SEVIS record Active?
A: Yes, students planning to enroll in full-time coursework outside the U.S. can maintain Active SEVIS status for the Fall term. Additionally, under the same guidance, the 5-month rule requiring students to apply for a new Form I-20 and visa to return is suspended.
Continuing students planning to study outside the U.S. are required to report their intent to enroll online via the “eLearning” e-form in iStart. Time accrued towards practical training benefits would not be lost due to enrolling online from outside the U.S. under the latest SEVP guidance.
Q: I departed during the spring/summer term. I am planning to enroll entirely online this fall term and arrive at campus in the Fall semester. Will I be able to enter?
A: Yes, based on the latest SEVP guidance continuing students enrolled fully online are able to enter the U.S. with a current Form I-20.
Be sure to request an updated Travel Signature via iStart if your current signature will be more than 6 months old upon re-entry. Your Form I-20 will be digitally endorsed and emailed to your GSU student email. Note also that there are still international travel restrictions in place.
Q: I am planning to remain inside the U.S. to study this Fall. Will I be required to enroll in full-time coursework?
A: Yes, F-1 student visa holders maintaining status while enrolled inside the U.S. or outside the U.S. should maintain full-time enrollment in all required academic terms in order to keep the SEVIS record Active.
Q: I am planning to remain inside the U.S. to study this Fall. Am I allowed to enroll fully online and maintain an Active SEVIS record?
A: Georgia State is offering a blended learning model for Fall. Based on the latest SEVP guidance F-1 students who are unable to take a full schedule of face-to-face or blended courses due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to enroll in online sections to maintain status during the pandemic.
Q: I am planning to take a Leave of Absence during the fall 2020 term, what occurs with my SEVIS record, and how do I report this to ISSS?
A: F-1 students not planning to enroll in the Fall term must submit the “F-1 Departure” eform in iStart to report that they will not enroll in fall. F-1 students not enrolled for the Fall 2020 term will be required to depart the U.S.
Prior to re-entering the U.S, you need to request reactivation of your SEVIS record by emailing their respective ISSS campus with the following information:
- Request for Reactivation
- Degree program
- Date of departure from the U.S.
- Reason for Leave of Absence
- Name and email address of your academic advisor/graduate coordinator so that we can confirm your expected graduation date
Atlanta Campus: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perimeter College: email@example.com
Based on the latest SEVP guidance, the rule requiring the student to apply for a new visa and I-20 if outside the U.S. for more than 5 months is currently suspended. Due to the suspension of this rule, F-1 students planning to return in Spring 2021 should not be required to apply for a new visa if their prior visa is unexpired. We encourage students to contact their U.S. embassy or consulate for more information on visa validity concerns.
Q: Do we need to take in-person classes next semester if we are medically vulnerable to getting severely ill from COVID-19? Is there a way around this for medically vulnerable students?
A: F-1 students with medical conditions preventing a full course of study in fall term are encouraged to complete the iStart “Medical Reduced Course Load” e-form to request support with an authorized reduction of course load for the Fall term from ISSS.
Q: CPT in fall 2020: Can I have part-time CPT in another U.S. city and take Georgia State classes remotely as long as I am enrolled for 12 or more credits?
A: Students interested in this option will need to consult with an ISSS adviser in an individual advising appointment to review CPT eligibility for the term.
Q: I received notification from USCIS that my EAD card is being processed, but I have yet to receive the EAD card. What can I do?
A: USCIS announced a delay with printing EAD cards on July 21, 2020. The announcement can be found here. Students will need to continue working directly with USCIS to receive EAD cards.