Updated federal guidance for international students

Federal guidance for F-1 students was received today. These are modifications of the federal regulations for F1 students, due to the global pandemic, and apply to fall 2020. This page will be updated when federal guidance for spring 2021 is issued.


  • All continuing F1 students enrolled in Oxy online courses in fall 2020 will remain in active student status, whether inside or outside the United States.
  • You must take a minimum of 12 units of online courses at Oxy and maintain progress towards your Oxy degree.
  • Students actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, who subsequently took Oxy courses online while outside of the country can re-enter the United States, even if their school is engaged solely in distance learning.
Find information on travel restrictions--there may be changes at any time. Contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate and your airline with questions. Visa processing is being reinstated in a phased manner.
Option 1: I want to enroll in remote learning as an Oxy Student.
  • If you remain enrolled in a full load of remote classes, your SEVIS record will remain active, whether you are inside or outside the United States.
  • You will be able to maintain progress toward your degree.
  • You will be able to maintain benefits earned (OPT, CPT, internships)
  • You are eligible to travel to the United States.
Option 2: I want to take a leave of absence.
  • Complete the Registrar's Leave/Withdrawal Form. Be sure to complete the top part of the form, then scan and send by email to all departments listed for electronic signatures (including the Registrar's Office).
  • When you are ready to return to Oxy in spring 2021, complete the Returning Student Application, then scan and send it to the Registrar's Office. If you wish to return in Spring 2021, you must submit the application by November 1. Please also alert the IPO about your intention to return.
  • Your SEVIS record will be terminated.
  • Your earned benefits of F student status may be interrupted.
  • You must leave the United States.


“F students in new or initial status will not be able to enter the United States to enroll in a U.S. school for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100% remote." (ICE Federal guidance, 7/24/2020)


Option 1: Enroll at Oxy.

  • You may enroll in a full course of online study at Oxy from home. You will maintain progress toward the Oxy degree.
  • Your F student visa record and I-20 will be deferred for spring 2021 arrival.
  • If you are already in the United States, you may stay in the U.S. if you enroll in a minimum of 12 units of online Oxy coursework.

Option 2: Take a gap year

  • If you want to take a gap year, please contact the Admission Office.
  • Your SEVIS record will reflect the new arrival date.
Make an advising appointment here.
Study in the States continues to be a good resource website for F1 international students. Be well, Tigers!
Marisa Grover Mofford
Associate Director, International Programs