Important COVID-19 Information for International Students

Enrollment Requirements for International Students in the 2021-2022 Academic Year

(Last Updated: June 24, 2021)

All initial F-1 students MUST take at least one in-person course while taking a full course of study in the 2021-2022 academic year.

We strongly recommend all continuing students to take at least one in-person course while taking a full course of study in the 2021-2022 Academic Year.

National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

(Last Updated: May 13, 2021)

On April 26, 2021, the Department of State announced that certain travelers from “China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland now qualified for a National Interest Exception (NIE) under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9984, 9992, and 10143 related to the spread of COVID-19.

According to the DoS, students and academics subject to these proclamations due to their presence in China, Iran, Brazil, or South Africa, may qualify for an NIE only if their academic program begins August 1, 2021 or later.

Students with valid F-1 and M-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 or later do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel. They may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel.

Read more information about NIE for certain travelers.

ICE Continues March 2020 Guidance for the 2021-2022 Academic Year

(Last Updated: April 26, 2021)

On April 26, 2021, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced that SEVP will extend the March 2020 guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year. This guidance enables schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the continuing public health concerns created by COVID-19. The March 2020 guidance applies to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, and are otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, whether from inside the United States or abroad. Read SEVP’s full announcement on April 26, 2021.

Touro College ISO will provide updated enrollment requirements for international students in Fall 2021 at Touro College as soon as possible.

F-1 Students Seeking Optional Practical Training Can Now File Form I-765 Online

(Last Updated: April 12, 2021)

On April 12, 2021, USCIS announced that F-1 students can now apply for OPT online. F-1 students are eligible for this online filing if they are applying for OPT under the following three categories: pre-completion OPT, post-completion OPT, and 24-month STEM extension of OPT. According to USCIS: “The I-765 online filing option allows eligible students to file forms online in a more user-friendly fashion and increases efficiencies for adjudicators.”

It is important to note that USCIS will continue to accept paper OPT applications by mail.

Read more information about online OPT filing.

Spring 2021: Continuation of the SEVP Fall 2020 Policy Until Further Notice

(Last Updated: January 19, 2021)

As of January 2021, SEVP has not updated its guidance for Spring 2021. However, the DHS indicated in December 2020 that COVID-19 guidance from March 2020 is still currently in place until further notice.

Touro College ISO will update any changes and updates for Spring 2021 Guidance on its website. As of now, students should follow the SEVP’s latest SEVP Fall 2020 policy.

The SEVP’s Clarification on Fall 2020 Policy and Broadcast Message: Follow-up: ICE continues March Guidance for Fall School Term clarified the following:

  • Continuing F-1 students may remain in the U.S. to engage in a full course of study online or a hybrid program with both in-person and online components.
  • New or initial students who are currently outside the U.S. and intend to pursue a 100% online program are not eligible to enter the U.S. or obtain an F-1 visa and a Form I-20 for Fall.

Please note that students must follow their academic program’s instructional plan for the Spring semester. Some courses, such as labs, may not be conducted online, and students must attend these courses in person.

** If you plan to continue a full course of study outside the U.S. in the Spring 2021 semester, you must contact the International Student Office. SEVP regulations require the ISO to update your SEVIS record to indicate that you intend to maintain your status outside the U.S. in Spring.

**If you plan to travel, please continue following CDC recommendations, NYS Travel Requirements, and Touro College travel policy.

SEVP Fall 2020 Policy Status Quo Guidance

(Last Updated: July 24, 2020)

The SEVP Fall Guidance was retracted, and the policy is now returned to March Guidelines. On July 24, 2020, SEVP published the Clarification on Fall 2020 Policy and Broadcast Message: Follow-up: ICE continues March Guidance for Fall School Term.

This Guidance clarified the following:

  • Continuing F-1 students may remain in the U.S. to engage in a full course of study online or a hybrid program with both in-person and online components.
  • New or initial students who are currently outside the U.S. and intend to pursue a 100% online program are not eligible to enter the U.S. or obtain an F-1 visa and a Form I-20 for Fall.

Please note that students must follow their academic program’s instructional plan for the Fall. Some courses, such as labs, may not be conducted online, and students must attend these courses in person.

** If you plan to continue a full course of study outside the U.S. in the Fall semester, you must contact the International Student Office. SEVP regulations require the ISO to update your SEVIS record to indicate that you intend to maintain your status outside the U.S. in Fall.

SEVP Fall 2020 Guidelines for Fall 2020

On July 6, 2020 SEVP published Broadcast Message 2007-01 - COVID-19 and Fall 2020.
As you are undoubtedly aware, recently The Student and Exchange Visitor program (SEVP) released updated guidance for Colleges related to visas and studying in the United States in the Fall 2020 semester. We are currently in the process of reviewing and analyzing this guidance and how it relates to each Touro School and its planned program for Fall 2020. Please be patient as we develop and provide appropriate guidance for international students for Fall 2020. Thank you.

Updated SEVP Frequently Asked Questions
(Last Updated: June 4, 2020)

Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) provides answers to frequently asked questions from students and Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) stakeholders about the impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID19) on SEVP-certified schools and F and M students.

Travel Related Proclamations on Nonimmigrants to the U.S.
(Last Updated May 24, 2020)

COVID-19 Presidential Proclamation entry bans currently in effect as of June 2020 until terminated by the President. It affects the entry of international students and other nonimmigrants to the U.S. from certain countries. The current proclamations include China Travel Proclamation, Iran Travel Proclamation, European Schengen Area Proclamation, Ireland and United Kingdom Proclamation, and Brazil (Proclamation 10041 of May 24, 2020). 

Touro College International Student Virtual Town Hall: COVID-19
(Held on April 7, 2020)

Town Hall FAQs

Full Course of Study Requirements and Online Learning until Summer 2020

Under current conditions, active F-1 students are allowed to continue their full course of study online until the end of the Summer 2020 semester. They may continue their study overseas as well without risking their F-1 status until the end of Summer 2020. Students are still required to maintain their full course of study and make normal progress in their course study during this time.

Electronic Form I-20 issuance

Due to COVID-19, students may use an electronically signed I-20 for travel and other purposes.

Travel & Return to the United States

Students who continue to make normal progress in their course of study remain eligible for admission into the United States. However, due to rapidly changing travel restrictions, students should refer to the U.S. embassy’s website in their countries through the U.S. Department of State for any updates about visa issuance. Also, please check the information about current travel restrictions to the United States at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) websites before planning international travel.

Temporary COVID-19 Restrictions on U.S. VisaGeneral Suspension of Routine Visa Services

(Last updated March 20, 2020)

On March 20, 2020, the Department of State suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. More information regarding the suspension of routine visa services can be found at the U.S. Department of State website. Students should contact the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in their countries to seek guidance regarding future F-1 and J-1 visa interview appointments.

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