COVID-19 FAQs- New Students

On April 18, 2022, the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) confirmed that the March 2020 guidance will continue for the 2022-2023 academic year. ISSS will email you and update our website if there are any changes. At this time, we ask that you take extra precautions and review the CDC guidelines regularly before you travel. We strongly encourage you to remain in the United States and to not travel abroad. 

I am a new student outside of the United States. Can I enter the U.S. to pursue my studies in spring 2023?

In light of the fluid nature of the current immigration world and the many health concerns due to the pandemic, it depends on the COVID situation in your home country and the availibility of visa appointments.

If you do intend to travel to the U.S. for the first time in order to pursue your studies, you will need to be enrolled in at least one hybrid or in-person course, as per the SEVP guidance for spring 2023.

If you are not able to travel to the United States for spring 2023, you can then attempt to obtain your F-1 visa stamp and to physically join us in fall 2023. If you choose this option, our admissions office will be in touch with you in early spring (February-March) and will provide you with a new I-20 with a August 2023 start date. Due to the amended I-20 start date, you will not be able to arrive in the U.S. more than 30 days before this date. Your SEVIS fee (I-901 payment) will remain valid as your SEVIS ID number will not change. If you have paid the DS-160 visa application fee, you can apply for the F-1 visa for up to a year after that payment.

If I am successful in obtaining my F-1 visa stamp, how late may I enter the U.S.?

You should try to enter the U.S. by the I-20 start date. However, if you are late in obtaining your visa, you would need to enter the U.S. by February 13, 2023. Please note that this guidance may change, as we learn more.

If the U.S. Embassy in my country remains closed and I can't get a visa for spring 2023, will I be able to take online classes and then appear for a visa interview later when they resume services to arrive on campus in spring 2023 to continue with my studies?

Yes, you may enroll in online classes at SJSU while in your home country for spring 2023 and then obtain a visa based on a fall 2023 I-20 start date. This would allow you to begin your studies on time and still enjoy the benefits of in-person study on the SJSU campus when you are able to be here. The fee you pay for the DS-160 (visa application) is valid for one year. 

Admitted International Graduate Students:

I am a new student outside of the United States and plan to start my courses online in spring 2023 and join SJSU in person in fall 2023. Is there a minimum number of units I need to enroll in for spring 2023?

Since you are not in F-1 status yet, you are not bound by F-1 visa regulations. As such, you may enroll in as few or as many classes as you wish, as long as it is approved by your academic department. Once you enter the U.S. in F-1 status, you will be bound by the full-time enrollment requirement (i.e. 12 units for undergraduates and 9 units for graduate students).

I am a new transfer student in the United States. How does switching to hybrid instruction affect my immigration status?

Under normal circumstances, F-1 students are limited by immigration regulations to taking a maximum of one course (3-4 units) online to meet the full-time enrollment requirements. However, due to COVID-19, SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) has made a continued exception for the 2022-2023 allowing a full load of online coursework. 

I am a new transfer student in the United States. Do I need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and the DS-160 visa application fee?

No, those fees (I-901 and DS-160) are only for new students with new SEVIS records. As long as you are a SEVIS transfer student, your SEVIS ID remains the same and there is no need to pay the I-901 fee again. The DS-160 application fee will need to be paid only IF you need to renew your visa when you leave the U.S. next.

I am a new transfer student outside of the United States. Can I complete the check-in process with ISSS from outside the U.S.?

No, as a SEVIS transfer-in student, you need to be physically in the U.S. to be able to complete the check-in process. 

For spring 2023 admits, will taking online classes outside of the U.S. have any effect on students' CPT or OPT application in the future?

Yes. Current immigration regulations state that in order to be eligible for CPT, you have to be in F-1 visa status (in the U.S.) for one full academic year (e.g. fall and spring academic semesters) and in good academic standing. 

Therefore, as is most likely, if you arrive in the United States and begin your F-1 status in  spring 2023, you would be eligible for CPT after one academic year from when you entered the U.S. in F-1 status.

Will I be able to defer my spring 2023 application to fall 2023? If allowed, do I have to request a new I-20 and pay a new SEVIS fee?

Deferral requests need to be made with the Admissions Office. If they authorize your deferral to fall 2023, then they would need to amend your I-20 start and end date. The deferral of I-20 dates would NOT require you to pay a new SEVIS fee. An amended I-20 would need to be sent to you. 

For undergraduate students, deferrals to fall 2023 are NOT possible. Please email with any questions.

For graduate defferal requests, please refer to GAPE's deferral webpage or email


If I am a new student starting my classes online in spring 2023, do I still need to purchase health insurance?

No, you do not need to purchase the health insurance unless you are physically in the United States.

I am a new student starting my classes in spring 2023. Is there an extension on submitting my immunization records?

Please start gathering your immunization records and submit them by January 25, 2023 (which is the first day of classes for spring 2023. You will need to submit immunization records before the first day of classes per University policy. Please go here and scroll to the bottom of the page for more information on this. All incoming students are strongly encouraged to submit their immunization records.

What are the new U.S. travel rules for COVID?

Please go here for the most up to date information.