International Students

Visa status while participating on online classes 

The U.S. government confirmed that students can temporarily engage in distance learning, either from within the U.S. or outside the country, in light of COVID-19. More information can be found here. This allows the Office of ISS to keep F-1 and J-1 SEVIS records active for students studying online full-time, either in the U.S. or at home. 

Are you thinking about traveling to your home country? 

  • Look at CDC’s recommendation on traveling and make an informed decision. Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19. 
  • Check the situation in your home country. Are there any travel restrictions? Are there any mandatory quarantines/self-isolation? How will that affect your academic performance?  
  • Make sure you will have the ability to access online classes and email from your home country.  
  • Consider the time difference. Will you be able to complete the assignments on time?  
  • If you are planning to graduate in spring and start Optional Practical Training (OPT), the immigration regulations currently require you to be in the U.S. by the end of the semester to apply for OPT.  
  • We do not know how long these travel restrictions will last and what additional countries may be added. With the growing number of cases in the U.S., additional restrictions could be implemented without much notice. 
  • If you decide to travel, be prepared, understand the risks, and be advised that you might not be able to return to the U.S. for an unknown period of time. Your trip could be disrupted, or you may be quarantined upon your return. 

Have you decided to go home? 

  • Take care of business as if you will remain home the rest of the summer: pay tuition, return books to the library, make plans if you have a vehicle that you will leave here, etc. 
  • If your U.S. cellular number does not work in your country, set up your One Time Passcode to be sent to your email instead of phone. You can do that by visiting this link
    • After entering your username and password, there will be an option on the page that says email address. You will need to enter your non-UWS email there.
    • When on a page that requires a one-time passcode, under where you enter the code there will be blue text that says "Switch OTP Delivery Method." Click on that and then select email and the OTP will be sent to the email.
    • If you need any assistance, you can contact the Help Desk at   
  • Complete the Departure Form before you leave. 
  • Travel signatures are not required to depart the U.S. They are required for re-entry only. You can leave the U.S. and then request that we mail you a new I-20 that will include an updated travel signature, or make an appointment at to come in for a signature.  

Are you currently abroad? 

At this point, it’s best for you remain abroad in your home country. However, if you are planning to come back to the U.S., please follow the guidelines below: 

  • Check CDC's travel recommendation to see if you are able to return to the U.S.  
  • Complete the Departure Form  
  • Make appropriate arrangements to take care of business.  
  • Follow quarantine guidelines if you are traveling back from an affected area.