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COVID-19 Updates

We know you all have been receiving a LOT of e-mails regarding Covid-19. Our hope is to help you find all recent information pertaining to students with F-1 visas in one place.
Fall 2022 Updates
Traveling to the U.S.:  
  • As of 12:01AM ET on June 12, 2022, CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. For more information, see Rescission: Requirement for Negative Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Result or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 for all Airline or Other Aircraft Passengers Arriving into the United States from Any Foreign Country.
  • COVID – Earlham continues to require full vaccination and boosting for employees and students, except for those with documented exemptions. We will remain mask-optional on campus; in classrooms, faculty and students will determine whether to mask (but there must be consensus), and we encourage masking during large indoor gatherings. Please be mindful of any COVID-related symptoms.
  • Students should consult with Health Services if they need testing. Self-tests and Wayne County Health Department are also testing options, and we encourage you to order free self-tests at We will not require reporting of test results as we expect those within our community to act with the best interests of all in mind. We will continue to monitor local trends of viral spread and respond accordingly. We are moving from a pandemic response to an endemic response.

If you plan to travel internationally, check out these websites for international updates related to travel and immigration: 

Make sure your I-20 has a travel signature that is valid for your planned date of return. The travel signature is on page 2 of your I-20 and it is good for 1 year from the date it was signed. To request a new travel signature, go to our F-1 Requests page and submit an "I-20 Reprint Request". At the moment, we will be sending new I-20's electronically as it is temporarily permitted due to COVID-19.

F-1 Visa Status Guideline Exceptions during COVID-19: 
  • We are now issuing digital I-20's with digital signatures; however, you must print and sign the student attestation portion in ink before you use it for travel purposes.

Housing: (Remember, all students who move/live off campus, even temporarily, need to notify our office of their new U.S. addresses within 10 days. You can do so with our Address Update Form).
Letters about Missing Documents or Payments:
  • If you receive a letter from the IRS about missing tax documents, simply reply with the requested items. 
  • Come see us if you receive a letter about missing payments so we can help verify if there is truly money owed.
IRS Scams:
  • Be aware of IRS impersonation calls, texts, and fraudulent emails about stimulus payments under the CARES Act.  It's important to know that the IRS will not call, email or text an individual to verify financial, banking, or personal information.
  • The official IRS website is; please be aware that there are fake websites attempting to obtain personal and/or banking information.  These calls, emails, and texts target individuals by offering assistance to a taxpayer with obtaining a tax refund or stimulus payment faster; the taxpayer is asked to verify personal and/or banking information.  Please DO NOT click on internet links or open attachments in suspicious-looking emails.
  • For more information, please refer to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration's webpage.

Maintaining F-1 status
Remember that returning students must check-in with our office every semester. This year, this will be accomplished by completing the Current Student SEVIS Registration form (accessible through TerraDotta) for the current semester.

You are still maintaining F-1 status, whether you are in the U.S. or not, as long as you follow the F-1 visa regulations and continue to participate in all of your classes online.

Per the regulations, you must update your address with us anytime you move.  Please note that current students should update the "Exempt" address category in Self-Service for off-campus addresses within the U.S. Students who have graduated should update the "Home" address category in Self-Service.

An important part of the regulations to remember is that you cannot work more than 20 hours a week while school is in session. Even though we have moved to online classes, this regulation still applies.

Remember that you still cannot drop under 12 credits because that would be a violation of your F1 status. SEVP has made an exception to this rule for students who become ill with COVID-19.  If that, or any other issue, might hinder you from completing at least 12 credit hours this semester, please reach out to one of us as soon as possible.

Let us know if you will reach the end of your grace period (60 days beyond graduation or OPT) and cannot leave the U.S. due to border closures, lack of flights, etc. While we cannot extend your program, we need to document the reason in SEVIS with the hopes of avoiding negative consequences in the future. You could also consider applying for a Change of Status to a B2 Visitor visa. Your application must be received before your grace period ends and you can find information on how to apply here:

Electronic signatures by school officials have been permanently approved by all pertinent government organizations (SEVP, USCIS, CBPT).  Therefore, we are now issuing I-20s with digital signatures and sending them via Box and TerraDotta. You will get an email notification with a link to the file in Box. You will also find a copy of your I-20 in TerraDotta. Please let us know if you do not have the ability to print the new I-20 so we can send you a copy by mail or Fed-Ex. Be aware that electronic signatures by students are not accepted - you still need to sign your I-20 in ink.

Students on OPT are allowed to work remotely, even from outside the U.S., during COVID-19 crisis, although this may be discontinued at any time.

U.S. Visas
U.S. Embassies or Consulates have slowly resumed processing visas and a have slowly issued information about when they will resume visa processing.

For those of you who are still in the U.S. and have a visa that is either already expired or that will expire before the you plan to return to the U.S.:
  • Consider this fact if you may leave the U.S.
  • Remember that, as long as you follow all of the F-1 visa regulations and have a valid I-20, you are able to stay in the U.S. and maintain your F-1 student status with an expired visa.
For those of you who are already outside of the U.S. with an expired or expiring visa:
  • We assume that there will be a flood of requests now they have begun processing visa applications again, so we recommend that you prepare your documents early and periodically check the website of the consulate or embassy where you apply for your visa so that you may submit your visa renewal application as soon as possible.
  • Please also carefully read any notifications they have posted about the process of applying for visas, as it is possible that they may make changes or accommodations due to the circumstances.
Contacting International Student Advisers