The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance remains in place for Spring 2021
OISS continues to monitor and update this page as we gain new information. Below are some common questions regarding online learning. Please check this page frequently for updates.
If you are an admitted LMU student (including transfer students) who has not yet entered the U.S. and established valid F-1 status due to Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) restrictions, you should not attempt to enter the U.S. if you are unable to enroll in at least one in-person or hybrid course. You will be in violation of your student visa requirements upon arrival to the U.S. if you are not enrolled in an in-person course and LMU will be unable to validate your F-1status, even if you have an valid F-1 student visa, an F-1 admission stamp in your passport, and an updated Form I-20. Continuing LMU international students who have already established their valid F-1status in the U.S. are exempt from the in-person course enrollment requirement, and can enroll in all online classes for the Spring term without impacting their visa status.
LMU will provide all students the ability to complete their classes online from outside the U.S. if they wish. Based on guidance received from DHS’s SEVP, we can confirm that student visa status will not be impacted by the transition to distance learning for normally in-person classes. International students can engage in distance learning, either from within the U.S. or outside the country. However, F-1 visa regulations still apply, and international students must continue to enroll full-time and make normal degree progress as required by federal regulations.
While the temporary measures related to COVID-19 are in place, students deemed to be maintaining status if they are making normal progress in their course of study. For that reason, the five-month temporary absence provision will not apply for students who remain in Active status.
Those students who do not wish to take courses online from their home country can file for a leave of absence by filling out the request for Leave of Absence form in MyStatus and the Request for Leave of Absence form through the Registrar’s office.
Please view the Spring 2021 communication for transfer students abroad.
Please view the Spring 2021 communication for students currently on a leave of absence.
In guidance issued by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) on July 24, 2020, it was confirmed that continuing F and M nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, who subsequently took full-time courses online while outside of the country, can re-enter the United States, even if their school is engaged solely in distance learning.
You should have the following with you when you return:
- I-20 with a valid travel signature
- Passport (valid for at least six months from the date you plan to enter the U.S.)
- Valid visa stamp (unless Canadian)
- We suggest that you print out a copy of the ICE guidance issued on July 24, 2020 found here and bring it with you.
- Enter the U.S. through one of 15 airports.
More information about what to do after arriving to the United States is available on CDC’s Returning from International Travel webpage.
*According to the U.S. Department of State, students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with a valid F-1 visa, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel and will be allowed to enter the United States even as PPs 9993 and 9996 remain in effect.
Travel Signatures are valid for twelve months. If students need a travel signature, please complete the Travel Signature Request Form in MyStatus as soon as possible. OISS staff will process and email electronic I-20s, as allowed by the government during COVID-19. Electronic I-20s with electronic signatures will be honored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporarily.
Yes, OISS can email secured electronic I-20s only to the student’s official school email address. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has authorized electronic issuance and signing of I-20 Forms for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Students who are issued electronic I-20s may only download, print, and sign the student attestation section. Tampering with the Form I-20 is a federal crime (18 U.S. Code § 1546. Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents).
Please refer to the list of U.S. travel restrictions for the most updated list of countries from which travelers are currently restricted from entry to the U.S.
*According to the U.S. Department of State, students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with a valid F-1, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel and will be allowed to enter the United States even as PPs 9993 and 9996 remain in effect.
According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all students returning to campus will need to spend 14 days in self-quarantine. All students and LMU community members must log into the Lion Health Check daily to screen for potential COVID exposure; the app will ask whether individuals have traveled outside the US in the 14 days prior to completing the screen. Campus access will not be granted until this 14 day period has passed. Please view the instructions for downloading and completing your daily Lion Health Check.
For those with confirmed housing assignments on campus, you may quarantine on campus. You will receive communication coordinating meals, laundry, mail, and trash pickup services, as you will not be able to leave your space for any of these reasons. In addition, you are allowed one caregiver, this individual may not enter your room but can drop off items at your door.
An OISS Registration Hold will automatically be placed on international students after the add/drop period and lifted the day after the last day to withdraw from classes and in plenty of time for registration.
Why the OISS Registration Hold is Used:
The OISS Registration Hold doesn't allow international students to add/drop classes after the last day to add/drop classes. This is to protect international students from falling out of status due to less than full time enrollment (a federal regulation). Undergraduate students enroll in a minimum of 12 units. Graduate students must enroll in a minimum of 6 units.
*You must remain enrolled Full-time even if you are taking classes outside of the US to maintain F-1 status*
How to Remove the OISS Registration Hold:
- If you need to ADD a course, please contact the Registrar's office at firstname.lastname@example.org
-If you need to DROP a course and will still remain enrolled full-time, please fill out the Hold Removal e-form in MyStatus. Once it is approved, you will be sent an email with instructions for having the hold temporarily lifted.
Reduced Course Load
- If you meet the requirements to drop below full-time enrollment, you must fill out a Reduced Course Load eform in MyStatus, must be approved by your Dean's Office Dept Chair or Academic Advisor, and wait for OISS approval.
*This hold will repeat every semester*
Sponsored students can request an enrollment verification by submitting this form through the Registrar’s Office.
Information regarding access to course materials for students living abroad during Fall semester
Students living abroad for Fall 2020 may have difficulty obtaining their required physical course materials due to shipping or other logistical issues ordering materials to their country of residence. The Office of International Student Services, the William H. Hannon Library, and the LMU Bookstore are committed to helping students get the content they need to learn, and will work together with the student and professor to find a solution.
Students living abroad:
- Immediately notify your professor if you are having logistical challenges obtaining required course materials. Be specific about what barriers you're encountering while trying to rent or purchase the content.
- You are welcome to reach out the library directly, but we recommend cc'ing your professor, since we will work with them to help you gain access to the texts. Please let us know what you have done so far to try to acquire the required materials.
- Email Jamie Hazlitt (email@example.com) and Kathryn Ryan (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the name of the required course materials and (if you know it), what the student has done to try to acquire the text so far
- Although it may be too late for this semester, we encourage you to communicate with the LMU Bookstore and Hannon Library early in your planning for Spring semester: we can help to maximize the options for access to course materials for your students.
The library will work with the student and their professor to come up with a solution, which may include:
- Acquiring an e-book with library licensing (although we can only buy what the publishers will sell us)
- Contacting the publisher to see if they'll sell us an e-book with library licensing, or if they will make an individual e-book available for the student to purchase
- Working with the professor and existing best practices in electronic course reserves to make portions of the texts available through Brightspace
We recognize that the expense of course materials is a significant barrier for many LMU students, but the library is not able to digitize entire copyrighted works based on cost alone. We encourage international students to communicate with Csilla Samay at email@example.com or the Dean's office for your school/college if you need to discuss options for financial support to get the learning materials you need. Faculty interested in learning more about affordable and accessible alternatives to traditional course materials should visit the Open & Affordable Textbook Initiative guide.
The SEVP Guidance issued on July 6 has been rescinded in its entirety. Students in F-1 Visa status may study online and remain in status as long as they enroll full-time.
LMU faculty are committed to your continued success and understand that our international students may be taking courses in different time zones and life situations. While they are prepared to support you and are exhibiting flexibility, we offer these tips for a successful semester:
- Remember that you are responsible for successfully completing your work, regardless of the format of your courses (synchronous or asynchronous) or your circumstances.
- Understand that you need to be focused on your classes, just as you would be if on campus and in person.
- If at all possible, schedule your courses so that you avoid having to take courses at times that are challenging for you to attend (eg, 3AM in your time zone).
- Block out the time that you are in class accordingly-don’t expect that you can join a class while driving, traveling, working, etc.
- Connect with your professor and let them know where you are taking the course from, and what your concerns are about being able to complete your work if any.
- Communicate early if you are struggling.
- Seek help as you would if on campus, from OISS, the Academic Resource Center (ARC), and others. Note that the ARC is offering virtual tutoring, with several international students serving as tutors, with one based in southeast Asia. The tutoring schedule is available via the Writing & Course Tutoring link (found under the Academics tab on myLMU), and offer additional appointments for online tutoring outside of normal PST operating hours. Asynchronous consultation is also available via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Make sure that you maintain full-time enrollment as per student visa regulations.
Yes, students can take online classes from abroad without having F-1 status. Students will establish F-1 status once they enter the U.S. in valid F-1 status.
Please view the Spring 2021 communication for first year and initial students.
Have more questions? Contact us.
Please note OISS will continue to update our FAQs as any circumstances change. Schedule an advising appointment for questions related to your specific situation that are not addressed here. Any visa-related questions can be sent to Visasupport@lmu.edu. All other questions can be emailed to email@example.com. We appreciate your patience as we work through more of these details.