Carnegie Mellon University
July 17, 2020

Important Update on Fall 2020 SEVP Guidance

At CMU, international student matters and regulations that impact our students are highly anticipated across the entire institution, because everyone - from the president, provost, vice presidents, deans, student organizations, and individual students - are mindful of the impacts for our international students who are such a vital part of our university community. In OIE, we carefully review each new government release so that we can interpret- accurately and carefully – the potential impacts on all CMU students, so that students feel supported and as confident as possible about the most recent U.S. government guidance.

As many of you have heard over the past day or two, the U.S. government rescinded the SEVP fall 2020 guidance issued on July 6, largely due to the outpouring of advocacy efforts of many, including CMU’s students, Graduate Student Assembly, leadership, and our community, as well as the efforts of OIE staff. SEVP will instead return to the policy guidance originally issued on March 9 with an addendum issued on March 13. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding this guidance can be found on the SEVP website.

While we celebrate this positive development, we also realize that it raises new questions which is frustrating for students and families since uncertainties still persist, making it difficult for students to finalize fall plans.

Positive developments of which we are clear include:

  • Mass I-20 re-issuance by August 4th is no longer required. Because of the reversal of the July 6 guidance, OIE no longer needs to issue new I-20s to continuing students with COVID-19 notations. So the vast majority of CMU students can continue to use the I-20 that they have already.
  • Note: For students who cannot or will not arrive on time for the Fall start date on August 31, OIE likely may need to issue new I-20s to new students reflecting an arrival date in Spring 2021 or beyond.
  • We are pleased to hear that some CMU students have obtained visa appointments in the near future. We have outreached to State Department officials regarding conflicting information provided to students about visa issuance and travel to the U.S. and will provide updated guidance once we receive new information.

Unfortunately, in this rapidly changing environment, conflicting information is being distributed by different government offices. The OIE staff share your concerns and frustrations and are working to obtain answers to the outstanding questions to be able to both understand and communicate how these changing policies will impact Carnegie Mellon students. We will communicate any new information or government guidance that clarifies or answers these questions – typically, we post first to the OIE website (for easy reference by the entire CMU community) and then by direct email as quickly as is possible.

Overall, we’re happy that SEVP reconsidered it’s burdensome, inflexible guidance from last week, but we will continue our work in addressing the questions that remain. The OIE FAQs will be updated as we learn more. While we try to anticipate your questions, we know there may be others we have not considered, so please do not hesitate to let us know by emailing

In closing, we would like to thank all of you for your patience and partnership during this challenging time and in the weeks and months ahead.

Best Wishes,
Linda Gentile