I am in the last semester of my program and currently outside of the U.S. What happens to my F-1 status and OPT eligibility if I cannot return to the U.S. before graduation?

If you previously studied in the U.S. and are now approved to be enrolled abroad as a full-time student, your F-1 SEVIS record will remain active. However, you must be in the U.S. to apply for OPT. Please consult with OISSS about your specific case:

I have a valid Form I-20/DS-2019 but my F-1/J-1 visa is about to expire/has expired. Should I depart the United States to renew it?

Your visa can expire while you are in the U.S. without impacting your legal status as long as your immigration document I-20/DS-2019 has not expired and you are pursuing a full course of study. As of now we recommend that you stay in the United States and limit international travel to emergencies only until the travel and visa renewal situation has become more stable. 

If I am outside the U.S. and have been approved to enroll remotely, will the five-month out-of-country rule impact my F-1 status?

The five-month rule does not impact your ability to take classes remotely for continuing students with active SEVIS records, who are covered by the SEVP spring 2020 guidance. Until further notice, the five-month rule will not have an impact on your ability to take classes remotely while maintaining a full course load, as long as you meet all of the following requirements:

In case I cannot obtain a student visa in time for the start of fall classes, what steps should I take next?

Students who are unable to obtain a student visa in time for spring semester, should contact their academic units as soon as possible. Undergraduate students should contact the College ([email protected]), and graduate students should contact their respective academic department.