Carnegie Mellon University
August 26, 2021

Course Modality Requirements & OIE Service Enhancements

In the midst of the excitement of a return to campus, the Office of International Education (OIE) knows some students are concerned about the rise of COVID cases in the U.S. in recent weeks. While there remains some uncertainty, our team is confident  that Carnegie Mellon is continuing to prioritize our collective health and safety. To that end, please make sure you familiarize yourself with the university’s expectations and what you need to do, personally, to help mitigate the spread of COVID.


As we return to in-person instruction this fall, students are expected to take in-person classes and we are, therefore, returning to “normal” immigration regulations. This means that:

  • Students are required to be studying at the school/location where they are authorized to attend, as listed on their I-20/DS-2019, and
  • F-1 students are limited by federal regulation to only one “online or distance education” course that may count toward full-time enrollment requirements (36 units).

For immigration purposes, “online or distance education” courses are courses that are delivered in a modality that has no in-person component, such as those listed as REO in Student Information Online and the Schedule of Classes. Students taking more than 36 units may be able to take more than one remote course, as long as they are permitted by their academic department. Please note, however, that enrollment in REO courses this fall may be limited and/or restricted. Course delivery modes that have some in-person expectation (such as those listed as IPR or IPP), are considered to be “in-person” courses for immigration regulations, and international students should attend the in-person components of their courses to be in compliance with immigration regulations. View additional details.


OIE implemented a number of service enhancements during this past year (online appointment system, online CPT/OPT information/application sessions, more e-Forms). These service enhancements will continue and we plan on making additional e-Forms available this year.

The U.S. government continues to allow schools to issue I-20 forms electronically.  Unless or until original I-20s are required by the U.S. government, OIE will continue to issue I-20s by email to students’ Andrew email accounts. If you have received your most recent I-20 via email from OIE, please print and sign that I-20 to use as your current valid I-20. Current students who need a travel signature, may submit the new I-20 (Travel) signature e-Form via the MyOIE portal.  Students on OPT who are not reporting a change of employer may submit the Student/Scholar Request for OIE Services.  Once a request is submitted, we will email you an I-20 for travel. 

The OIE office, located in the first floor atrium of Cyert Hall, is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and OIE staff will be working both in-person and remotely this fall. We are expecting almost 3,900 new international students to arrive this fall and join our continuing international students. So, to serve you all most efficiently:

We hope you have a safe and productive fall semester!