Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Students

Last updated on August 26, 2020

We are continually updating these FAQs. If you have a question that isn’t answered in this FAQ, please email intl@uoregon.edu.

Current ICE/SEVP Policy

Changing Rules on International Student Online Enrollment

What online enrollment rules should I be aware of at this time? 
The Trump administration has rescinded the ICE/SEVP plan that would have limited the ability for international students to study entirely online in the U.S. This means that for fall 2020, those who are in the U.S. are allowed to take an unlimited number of online classes (as was the case for spring term) provided you were enrolled winter and spring terms 2020. For more information about how UO was instrumental in this action, read the Around the O article

What is the current ICE/SEVP policy? 
Continuing international students in the U.S. - may enroll in fully online/remote courses and remain in the U.S. for fall term 2020. This guidance, however, only applies to F-1 students who were actively enrolled winter and spring 2020. and are otherwise in compliance with the terms of their nonimmigrant status. If you were not enrolled winter and spring 2020, please contact ISSS for further instructions at intl@uoregon.edu

Continuing international students who left the U.S. and are returning to the U.S. - may enroll in fully online/remote courses and remain in the U.S. for fall term 2020. This guidance, however, only applies to F-1 students who were actively enrolled winter and spring 2020, and are otherwise in compliance with the terms of their nonimmigrant status. If you were not enrolled winter and spring 2020, please contact ISSS for further instructions at intl@uoregon.edu

Continuing international students who left the U.S. and will remain outside the U.S. - may enroll in fully online/remote courses and remain outside the U.S. for fall term 2020. Students outside the U.S. enrolled full-time will keep an active SEVIS record (I-20) for re-entry to the U.S. in the future. Students enrolled part-time or taking a gap term will have their SEVIS records closed but can contact ISSS to have their SEVIS records re-activated when they are ready to return to the U.S.

New international students - must enroll in at least one in-person course for fall term 2020 if they are able to get a visa and enter the U.S. in time for the start of fall term. New students who remain outside the U.S. can enroll in fully online/remote courses or take a gap term/year.

FAQs for Continuing Students

Since fall term is primarily remote/online, what does that mean for me?
Continuing international students who were enrolled during Spring 2020, may enroll in all online and remote courses without any risk to your visa status (per the July 24 guidelines from the U.S. government). For more information, read the full guidance for continuing international students.

What do you mean by online, remote, and hybrid?

  • In-person: instruction via live, face-to-face classes
  • Online: asynchronous instruction entirely by web-based platform; no in-person, scheduled live interaction
  • Remote: instruction via live, synchronous interaction at a scheduled time, but via digital connection like Zoom or Teams, not live and in-person
  • Hybrid class: combines some in-person, some remote, and some online elements
  • Hybrid model or mode of instruction: university instructional model with a variety of means of instruction (some classes, in-person, some online, some remote, etc).

If I am currently in the U.S. and never left the U.S. since last winter or spring, do I need to do anything?

As long as you were enrolled winter and spring 2020 and are enrolled full-time for fall term 2020, there is nothing you need to do.

If I left the U.S. within the last 6 months, do I need to do anything?

Please go to https://isss.uoregon.edu/continuing-f-1-students and follow the instructions regarding fall term updates.

I am a continuing F-1 student enrolled in the 1-credit, in-person Success in Online Learning class. Do I need to stay enrolled in this class to maintain legal F status?
If you are a continuing or returning F-1 student, you can take classes in various modes: in-person, hybrid, or fully online/remote and remain in the United States. The July 6 ICE directive that would have required international students to be enrolled in at least one in-person class was rescinded and no longer applies.

Can I enroll part-time if I’m in the U.S.?
It depends. F-1 international students are required to enroll full-time while in the U.S., or request approval for a reduced course load through the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) office. For reduced course load exemptions, go to https://isss.uoregon.edu/reduced-course-load-exemptions.

Can I enroll part-time if I'm outside the U.S.?

F-1 international students can choose to enroll part- or full-time while outside the U.S. However, if you want to apply for Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training in the future, you must remain enrolled full-time fall term and you can only apply for these employment benefits from inside the U.S. If fall term is your final term and you will complete your degree from outside the U.S., you will lose your OPT eligibility. 

Can I enroll in online/remote courses if I am not in the U.S. and will it count towards my degree?
Yes, students who are outside of the U.S. may enroll entirely in online or remote classes and continue making progress towards their degree. We recommend you consult with an Academic Advisor to make an academic plan for the 2020-21 academic year. You can connect with an Academic Advisor at https://advising.uoregon.edu

Do I have to be enrolled full-time if I’m outside the U.S.?
No, you are not required to enroll full-time if you remain outside the U.S. However, you must enroll full-time to keep your F SEVIS record active and maintain eligibility for employment options like Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training

How to I drop below full-time or completely withdraw from fall term if I'm outside the U.S.?

You need to notify ISSS of your intention to do a partial or complete withdrawal from the term. To do this, please log into iConnect international student portal and submit the "Temporary Leave from U.S." eform where you will indicate if you are requesting a partial or complete withdrawal from the term. The add/drop and complete withdrawal deadlines still apply if you are outside the U.S., so pay close attention to the academic and refund calendars for fall 2020 posted on the Office of the Registrar’s website at https://registrar.uoregon.edu/calendars

I am taking all online classes fall term. Can I come back to the U.S. winter term 2021 with the same I-20 or do I need a new I-20? 
As long as you remain enrolled full-time fall term, your SEVIS record will remain in “active” status which means you can use your current I-20 for re-entry to the U.S. Please make sure you have a valid travel signature on your I-20 before returning to the U.S. We strongly recommend you contact ISSS (intl@uoregon.edu)at least one month before your return to the U.S. to verify your SEVIS status.

If you are not enrolled fall term, your SEVIS record will be terminated for authorized departure from the U.S. and you will need to contact ISSS (intl@uoregon.edu)to request a new initial I-20 to return to the U.S.

Will I be able to graduate if I take online/remote classes only outside the U.S.?
As long as you are making normal progress toward your degree and have met all major and general education requirements, you should have no problem finishing up your degree online from outside the U.S. Please consult with an academic advisor about completing your degree online from outside the U.S. to make sure you have fulfilled all requirements. You can contact an academic advisor remotely at https://advising.uoregon.edu/resources-uo-students-during-covid-19#how-….

    I am a continuing international student who is NOT enrolled fall term and will take one or more gap terms in my home country. What do I need to do?
    If you plan to take a gap term in fall or more than one gap term without enrolling, please submit the "Temporary Leave from U.S. Request" eform at iconnect.uoregon.edu. Provide your departure date and expected return date. ISSS will confirm receipt of your request and communicate with you next steps for returning to the U.S. in the future.

    What if I am a continuing F-1 international student with an active SEVIS record who is out of the United States for more than 5 months?

    The 5-month temporary absence rule does not apply to F-1 international students who remain in active SEVIS status while outside the U.S. Active SEVIS status requires you to maintain full-time enrollment while outside the U.S. When the COVID-19 crisis is over and tthe UO returns to normal operations, students must return to campus to maintain active SEVIS status.

    How does the 5-month rule apply to F-1 international students who are transferring from another SEVIS-approved school?

    The five-month SEVIS transfer rule does not apply to students affected by COVID-19. SEVIS transfer students who exceed the 5-month period should contact ISSS at intl@uoregon.edu. Depending on the circumstances, an international student adviser may have to request a data fix from SEVP.

    If a student transfers their SEVIS record to the UO for fall 2020 will they be considered a continuing or new student for enrollment purposes?

    • If the transfer student is already in the U.S. or enters the United States and checks in with ISSS, the student would be considered a continuing student for enrollment purposes.

    • If the transfer student is outside of the U.S. and does not enter the U.S. for fall 2020, their SEVIS record will remain in initial status and the student must contact ISSS at intl@uoregon.edu for further instructions.

    Where can I get support? What mental health and legal counsel services available to me?

    • For mental health support, you can call the Counseling Center at 541-346-3227 to discuss your options. They will have the next available counselor return your call.
    • The American Immigration Lawyers Association provides a list of immigration attorneys and information on how to select an immigration attorney.
    • TheBestSchools has also published a helpful guide for fall 2020 considerations under the new rules.

    FAQs for New Incoming Students

    Since fall term is primarily remote/online, what does that mean for me?
    New international students, both undergraduate and graduate, must enroll in at least one in-person course in order to obtain your visa and enter the U.S. We suggest “Success in Online Learning,” offered as UGST 399 or GRST 610 and taught in-person for new students. If you plan to remain outside of the U.S. for fall term, you can enroll in entirely online/remote instruction. For more information, read the full guidance for new international students.

    I am a new international student scheduled to start my studies at the UO in fall 2020. Will I be able to start my studies as planned?

    Yes, if you are able to get a visa, you are eligible to come to the U.S. because the UO will not be entirely online for fall term. But you must enroll in at least one in-person or one hybrid class with some in-person component. An Academic Advisor will work with you in August to register for at least one in-person or hybrid class. You may want to consider registering for the Success in Online Learning class being offered fall term.

    I am a new international student but I may not be able to come to the U.S. due to visa and travel delays. What are my options?

    1. You may start your program and enroll in online or remote classes, part-time or full-time. Registration for fall term courses will take place remotely in August after you have gone through the summer student orientation program, IntroDUCKtion. If you are not attending IntroDUCKtion sessions, please contact ISSS immediately at intl@uoregon.edu.Keep in mind that remote classes may include synchronous meeting times which could pose a challenge due to the time difference between the Pacific time zone and your home time zone. Your F SEVIS record will not be activated until you are able to enter the U.S., but the I-20 program end date will need to changed. New students who remain outside the U.S. but enroll while overseas should request an updated I-20 from ISSS by completing the Deferred Arrival eForm in the iConnect international student portal by October 1, 2020.
    2. You may defer your program start date with no enrollment. To defer, undergraduate students must email the Office of Admissions (uoglobal@uoregon.edu). Graduate students must contact their UO Department and send an email to Becky Megerssa, SEVIS Manager, with plans to defer. Once admitted to a future term, Becky will adjust the program start date on your I-20 and email you the updated I-20.
    3. #NoVisaNeeded Program - Check out some alternative enrollment solutions for international students located outside the U.S. For details go to https://international.uoregon.edu/no-visa-needed

    ​​What if I start the fall 2020 term enrolled in an in-person or hybrid class but the class then moves to online during the term?

    According to the July 24, 2020 guidance, students pursuing studies in the U.S. for the fall 2020 term will be able to continue studying from within the U.S. if the UO moves all instruction online.

      If a student transfers their SEVIS record to the UO for fall 2020 will they be considered a continuing or new student for enrollment purposes?

      • If the transfer student is already in the U.S. or enters the United States and checks in with ISSS, the student would be considered a continuing student for enrollment purposes.

      • If the transfer student is outside of the U.S. and does not enter the U.S. for fall 2020, their SEVIS record will remain in initial status and the student must contact ISSS at intl@uoregon.edu for further instructions.


        Additional Frequently Asked Questions

        Travel Information 

        I'm currently outside the U.S. When can I return to the U.S.?
        You may travel back to campus, but you must follow all guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority. Please find additional information and instructions on this CDC website.

        Can I return to the U.S. with my current I-20, even if I have been gone for more than 5 months?
        The 5-month temporary absence rule has been suspended for students with “active” SEVIS records. Unless ISSS has notified you via email that your SEVIS record has been terminated, your I-20 is still "active" for re-entry to the U.S. but you should check the following:

        • Do you have a valid travel signature on page 2 of your I-20? Travel signatures are required if your I-20 has never been signed on page 2 or if the last travel signature date is more than one year old.
        • Is your visa still valid for re-entry to the U.S.?
        • Is your passport still valid for at least 6 months into the future?
        • Are there travel restrictions from your country to the U.S.? Please contact the airlines and monitor travel restriction updates on our website at https://isss.uoregon.edu/international-news-updates-and-faqs-0.

        My visa has expired. How can I get my visa renewed to come back to the U.S. to finish my degree?
        U.S. embassies and consulates are beginning the phased resumption of routine visa services. The dates for each embassy or consulate will depend on local conditions. We are unable to provide details for each location. Please monitor the embassy or consulate website for updates. For more information, read the announcement from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.

        Travel to and from Canada, Mexico & Adjacent U.S. Islands
        Under normal circumstances, F-1 students may travel to Canada, Mexico, and Adjacent U.S. Islands and re-enter the U.S. on an expired F-1 visa if the trip does not exceed 30 days and the purpose of the trip is not to apply for a new F-1 visa at one of the US consulates located in these countries. This is referred to as an automatic visa revalidation. Currently, travel between Canada/Mexico and the U.S. is limited to “essential” travel. International students entering the U.S. to attend the UO should be considered “essential” travel but we strongly recommend you check with the airlines and U.S./Canada border before traveling. 

        Last-Minute Travel Issues for F-1 Students
        If you are a continuing international student traveling outside the U.S., and notice that your travel documents are missing, lost, or outdated, please contact ISSS by phone (541-346-3206) or email (intl@uoregon.edu) and an international student advisor can assist you.

        Travel within the U.S.
        While traveling inside the U.S. outside of Oregon or your local area, you are strongly recommended to carry original identity documents (passport, I-20, and I-94 admission record), even if you do not have to go through immigration inspection for domestic travel. 

        If I have a terminated SEVIS record, what should I do?
        Send an email to intl@uoregon.edu with your name, UO ID and we will instruct you on the steps to take to get a new I-20 for re-entry to the U.S. For more information, go to https://isss.uoregon.edu/returning-students.

        I’m planning to leave the U.S. and stop my studies and I don’t know if or when I will return. What should I do?
        If you need to stop your studies temporarily for one or more terms, please just send an email to ISSS at intl@uoregon.edu and an international student advisor can advise you remotely on your options and next steps.


        Academic Information

        The university currently intends to return to in-person, on-campus instruction this fall. Our fall plans will comply with Governor Kate Brown’s emerging strategy to reopen Oregon and will be informed by guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and Lane County Public Health.

        I am a graduate student with a GE for fall term and may not be able to return to the U.S. to work. Will I be able to work remotely?
        Please contact your UO department for information about working remotely as a Graduate Employee.

        I’m outside the U.S. but being charged for the student health benefits plan. How can I get a refund?
        If you are registered for fall term (even for online courses), you will be automatically enrolled in and billed $942 for the student health insurance plan. To be dis-enrolled from the health insurance plan, you must notify ISSS that you are not in the U.S. by submitting the "Temporary Leave from U.S. Request" eform at iconnect.uoregon.edu. ISSS will then notify the Health Center to remove you from the student health insurance plan and a full or prorated refund will be applied depending on when you submit your request.

        I need help with my housing
        If you are unable to return to the U.S. and need help communicating with UO Housing or landlord on your contract or lease, please send an email to ISSS at intl@uoregon.edu with an explanation of your situation.

        I need help financially
        If this COVID-19 pandemic has created a financial hardship for you there are two resources:

        1. Student Crisis Fund, details at https://dos.uoregon.edu
        2. Emergency Financial Aid, details at https://isss.uoregon.edu/financial-assistance

        How do I drop all my courses?
        If you need to completely withdraw from a current or future term, you must log in to Duckweb and request to completely withdraw from the term under Registration. You will be temporarily blocked but the request will be recorded for refund purposes. To remove the block, send an email to intl@uoregon.edu with your name and UO ID. ISSS will review your request and, if approved, notify the Registrar’s Office to drop your courses. For refund schedule, go to https://registrar.uoregon.edu/calendars/refund-schedules?ts=201903


        Visa Information

        I have been outside the U.S. and still have a valid F1 visa, but I’ve been issued a new initial I-20 for return to the U.S.? Do I need to apply for a new visa with the new I-20?
        No. If your F1 visa is still valid for when you plan to return to the U.S. you do not have to apply for a new visa with a new I-20. However, if your F1 visa has or will expire before your return, you will have to renew your visa.

        The U.S. embassies and consulates are closed in my country. How can I apply for a new visa or renew my expired visa?
        U.S. embassies and consulates are beginning the phased resumption of routine visa services. The dates for each embassy or consulate will depend on local conditions. We are unable to provide details for each location. Please monitor the embassy or consulate website for updates. For more information, read the announcement from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.

        Can I use an I-20 I received electronically via email to renew my visa?
        As a temporary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, ICE/SEVP has authorized DSOs to issue an electronic version of Form I-20 to students, in lieu of a mailed Form I-20.  As long as this temporary measure is in place, consular officers at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide will be accepting a printout of an electronic version of the Form I-20 for the purpose of adjudicating of an F or M visa application.

        How do I get an updated I-20?
        Send an email to intl@uoregon.edu with your name, UO ID and the reason you need a reprinted I-20. ISSS will reprint your I-20 and email it to you. ISSS can now send signed I-20s electronically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

        Can I apply for OPT if I’m completing my UO degree outside the U.S. spring term?
        No. You will not be eligible to apply for OPT. You must be in the U.S. your final term to be eligible to apply for OPT.


        ISSS Newsletter Archive

        Spring 2020