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July 27, 2020 SEVP Final Guidance for Fall 2020 F-1 International Students


On July 24 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) issued final guidance for fall 2020 study for international students in F-1 status. To review the guidance see

Summary of SEVP Guidance

For Fall 2020, SEVP will continue the flexibility it allowed in spring and summer 2020 for international students to enroll in either hybrid or online study. This flexibility exceeds the limit of one online class per semester normally permitted by F-1 regulations.

Continuing Students

Continuing students with an “active” SEVIS record who were enrolled in a full-time program of study on March 9 will have the flexibility to enroll as follows:

  • In-person study at Illinois Tech and remain active in SEVIS

  • Hybrid (“flex”) study in the United States and remain active in SEVIS

  • 100 percent online study and remain in the U.S. in “active” SEVIS status

  • 100 percent online study and keep an “active” SEVIS record from out of the U.S.

The guidance clarifies that continuing students enrolled in online study from abroad are “likely” eligible to apply for a visa and to enter the U.S. provided the student “was enrolled in a course of study in the United States on March 9, 2020, but subsequently left the country.”

Return to Campus 

Please note that the Illinois Tech campus will be open this upcoming semester, and we would encourage you to start making plans to be on campus as the fall semester begins next month. The upcoming fall semester schedule is available below, highlighting almost half of our classes in hybrid format:

Furthermore, Illinois Tech is preparing all living and classroom spaces on campus to foster a healthy community during these times. You may refer to the re-opening website for more information about those plans here:

Additional Clarifications

Additionally, the SEVP guidance offers the following clarifications:

  • Students in the U.S. will be able to remain in the U.S. if we move to online-only study in the middle of the semester due to an escalated health outbreak.

Thank you for your patience in the past few weeks as we awaited this news from the U.S. government. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at


July 22, 2020 Consulates begin ‘phased resumption’ of visa services, depending on local conditions

The State Department has announced a "phased resumption of routine visa services." The dates that visa services will resume in individual countries will depend on local conditions.

The International Center encourages you to review this announcement and the accompanying FAQSs, and to monitor the website of the embassy or consulate where you plan to apply for your visa. Remember that once visa issuance resumes there may be significant delays due to backlogs and new physical distancing protocols at embassies and consulates.

Although many travel restrictions are still in effect, some webpages from consulates in the Schengen region, such as this example from Slovakia, indicate that students and J-1 scholars from the Schengen region can now apply for visas based on a “national interest exception.” It is imperative that you research your local consulate immediately and make an appointment if possible. We are looking for confirmation that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will allow entry to the U.S. under these circumstances. CBP is a separate agency which determines admissibility to the U.S., and may not allow entry while the Presidential Proclamation is still in effect.

This announcement will be updated once we know more.

For further information, please contact us at +1 (312) 567-3685 or by email at

July 22, 2020 Visas and Travel for Students from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

The Department of State has announced that F-1 and J-1 students from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland can now travel to the U.S. even though Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland) restricting entry remain in effect.

Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland who currently have valid F-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel. Students from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland who need to apply for an F-1 visa can follow the normal visa application process.

Students from those areas who are applying for or traveling on a J-1 visa should contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate a national interest exception (NIE) request.

Review the information your embassy or consulate provides carefully since you may be required to fly into one of 15 specifically designated airports. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois is one of the designated airports.

Please note that although the Department of State (the embassies and consulates) issues visas, a different agency, Customs and Border Protection (part of the Department of Homeland Security), makes the final determination of whether a person can be admitted to the United States, and their policies could vary. Since the Presidential Proclamations are still in effect, there may be some risk of being denied airplane boarding or admission at the US Port of Entry.

The International Center understands that these changing policies are confusing and frustrating. We share your concerns and will provide updated information as it becomes available. As always, the International Center continues to value and support international students and scholars, to work with all areas of the university community to advance international education, and to advocate for immigration policies that best serve international students and scholars.

For further information, please contact us at +1 (312) 567-3685 or by email at

July 14, 2020 Update to ICE Guidance for F-1 International Students

I would like to share the good news that, under pressure from multiple lawsuits, the federal government today dropped its plans to remove visas from international students who are taking only online courses. As a national co-chair of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration , I am happy to report that we took a leadership role in supporting the legal challenge, organizing an amicus brief that was joined by 180 colleges, universities, and institutions. Illinois Tech will continue to support all of our students and will work to ensure that we remain a welcoming campus for all.

Thank you for your continued contributions to our university


Alan W. Cramb
President, Illinois Institute of Technology

June 22, 2020 Presidential Proclamation

President Trump issued a Proclamation and a fact sheet on June 22, 2020, suspending entry to the United States of foreign nationals in certain temporary visa categories.  

Who is affected by the Proclamation?

The Proclamation bars H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and certain J-1 Exchange Visitors (and their dependent family members) from entering the United States starting June 24, 2020 through the end of the year. 

Who is NOT affected?

The following people are NOT covered by the Proclamation:

  1. F-1 International Students on CPT, OPT and STEM OPT are not affected;
  2. Key J-1 categories for academic institutions were thankfully spared, including specialists, short term or long term scholars, and J-1 Student categories;
  3. Anyone in the United States on June 22, 2020;
  4. Anyone with a valid visa stamp in their passport on June 22, 2020;
  5. Anyone with a valid travel document on June 22, 2020;
  6. Green card holders (Lawful Permanent Residents);
  7. The spouse or minor child of a US citizen;
  8. Anyone “whose entry would be in the national interest” as determined by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The International Center will continue to keep all members of the Illinois Tech community apprised of information regarding this executive order as it becomes available.  For any clarification or inquiries, please contact us at OR + 1 (312) 567-3680.