ICE Update on Fall 2020

Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has released guidance for Fall 2020 and we want to immediately provide you with the key points covered in the guidance.

First and foremost, we want to state that the university and OISS remain committed to the health and safety of our international students. We pledge to do everything possible to help students maintain their F-1 status so that they can safely and successfully pursue their academic goals.

In order to understand the guidance, it is important to know that Washington University has made a commitment to offering both in-person and online coursework this Fall semester 2020. From an immigration standpoint, this means that we are a “hybrid” university.

Here are keys points from the Clarify Questions for Fall 2020 based on March 9 Spring Guidance Broadcast issued on July 24, 2020 (This guidance does not represent the opinions of the university or of OISS).

  • New F-1 students who will be attending a hybrid university are eligible to enter the U.S. to begin their academic program this fall.
    • From this guidance, it appears that new students will be required to enroll in at least 1 in-person or hybrid course this fall, but there are still some outstanding questions about how that applies to transfer students or students doing a change of level. We will be posting more information about this soon.
  • Continuing F-1 students who are in the U.S. are able to continue their studies this fall by taking a mixture of in person and online courses or all online courses.
  • Continuing F-1 students who left the U.S. after March 9th and maintained a full course load in Spring, may reenter the U.S. to continue their studies with a mixture of in person and online courses or carry a fully online schedule for Fall 2020.
  • Continuing F-1 students who left or leave the U.S. after March 9, 2020, and continue to be enrolled full-time from abroad, will be considered maintaining their status.
  • For continuing F-1 student who are studying from abroad for Fall 2020, their I-20 will need to be updated with a notation “Outside the United States due to COVID-19”. (We will create a way for students to report if they are studying outside the U.S.)
  • If the school switches from hybrid instruction to fully online instruction, F-1 students pursuing studies in the U.S. may remain in the U.S. legally. Their F-1 status will be maintained. These students will not be deported.

You can read the ICE FAQ of July 24, 2020 here.

If you have questions please submit them to We will address those questions via updates to the FAQs on our website next week.

We know that this has been a particularly difficult time for international students and additional changes, even if there is some positive news, is stressful. We are here to help you understand these changes.