Post-COVID-19 FAQs- New Students
Effective May 11, 2023, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) ended its Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) guidance, consistent with the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, following the end of the COVID-19 National Emergency on April 10, 2023.
For the 2023-2024 academic year, regulations will revert back to pre-COVID, requiring enrollment in in-person courses with the exception of one online course per semester.
I am a new student outside of the United States. Can I enter the U.S. to pursue my studies in fall 2023?
Yes, absolutely. If you intend to travel to the U.S. to pursue your studies, you will need to be enrolled full-time (e.g. 12 units for undergraduates and 9 units for graduates). This means that all F-1 students need to be enrolled in a fully in-person or hybrid course load, with allowance for only one online course per semester. In other words, enrollment in all online courses will create an issue for F-1 students to maintain their immigration status. If you are not able to travel to the United States for fall 2023, you can then attempt to obtain your F-1 visa stamp and to physically join us in spring 2024. If you choose this option, our admissions office will be in touch with you in early fall (October-November) and will provide you with a new I-20 with a January 2024 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 September 8, 2023.
If I can't get a visa for fall 2023, will I be able to take online classes and then arrive on campus in spring 2024 to continue with my studies?
Yes, you may enroll in online classes at SJSU while in your home country for fall 2023 and then obtain a visa based on a spring 2024 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.
I am a new student outside of the United States and plan to start my courses online in fall 2023 and join SJSU in person in spring 2024. Is there a minimum number of units I need to enroll in for fall 2023?
When enrolled in classes online from abroad, you are not considered to be in F-1 status yet and are therefore 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 the new guidelines affect my immigration status?
You will need to be physically present in the U.S. by September 8, 2023 and need to be enrolled full-time. This means that you will need to be enrolled in a fully in-person or hybrid course load (12 units for undergraduates and 9 units for graduates), with allowance for only one online course per semester. In other words, enrollment in all online courses will create an issue for F-1 students to maintain their immigration status.
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. However, if you have an expired F-1 visa stamp, you can legally remain in the U.S. as long as your I-20 is valid.
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. by August 21, 2023 to be able to complete the check-in process. Part of the check-in process requires showing your most recent I-94, which is not issued until you enter the U.S.
For fall 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 2024, 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 fall 2023 application to spring 2024? 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 spring 2024, 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 are NOT possible. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
If I am a new student starting my classes online from my home country in fall 2023, do I still need to purchase health insurance?
No, you do not need to purchase health insurance unless you are physically in the United States.
I am a new student starting my classes in fall 2023. Is there an extension on submitting my immunization records?
Please start gathering your immunization records and submit them by August 21, 2023 (which is the first day of classes for fall 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 U.S. travel rules for COVID?
Please go here for the most up to date information.