Frequently Asked Questions: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Updated July 22, 2020
Questions below address general concerns related to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, such as travel issues and questions related to remote learning.
Immigration regulations and policies are subject to change and may change rapidly without much advance notice. Students should routinely review our FAQs, the university’s Coronavirus Information page, as well as read all university emails sent to their Andrew account.
With CMU operating in hybrid mode this fall semester, will I be able to keep my F-1/J-1 status? How will this affect my future OPT/CPT/AT eligibility?
Please review our Fall Semester SEVP Guidance for Continuing F-1 Students FAQ page, where we have outlined in detail the various questions, including this one, that continuing students have regarding the new SEVP guidance for fall 2020.
Where can I find information about the current travel bans in place?
If an international student has been in their home country since spring semester and does not come back to the U.S. until fall semester, can they maintain F-1 student visa status? Does the 5 month rule applies to them?
International students who chose to return to their home country (or other non-U.S. location), are able to retain their current F-1 status provided they remained enrolled full-time and participated in their courses remotely and return to the U.S. for their next academic semester (fall 2020 for most students). The 5 month temporary absence provision does not apply to the students who meet the above requirement. Students who were not able to remain enrolled, who dropped classes and/or who remained outside the U.S. more than 5 months without being enrolled, may need to obtain a new I-20 and should consult with their OIE advisor.
If a student leaves the U.S. for a period of 5 months or more, will their I-20 be terminated or inactivated?
F-1 students who are enrolled full-time and participating in their courses with school authorization are allowed to study remotely and retain their status. F-1 students are also allowed to have temporary absences from the U.S. As long as students remain fully enrolled this semester and return for fall 2020, they will be able to retain their current F-1 status.
What will happen if students leave the U.S. and then cannot obtain visa appointments or receive their visas before the fall semester? Should students stay in the U.S. if they need visas?
OIE recommends that students (from all countries) consider international travel plans carefully as travel bans/restrictions may be in place at the time they want to return to the U.S. Visa processing may be delayed or unavailable due to health and safety concerns at many U.S. Consulates.
If I’m allowed to enroll remotely for the fall semester and I’m not able to return to the U.S. (I’m taking classes in the fall from my home country), will this affect my F-1 status? What about my future OPT/CPT eligibility?
Once we have any new guidance from SEVP, we will add it to these COVID-19 FAQs.