Spring 2021 Guidance from Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP)

 

Revised on December 18, 2020

International Student and Scholar Services has confirmed updated guidance from the U.S. government regarding international students and distance learning for the Spring 2021 semester.


All F-1 undergraduate students have to register for 12 credits total and graduate students need to register for 9 credits to maintain their F-1 status.


Please note the following rules and requirements:

  • Current students who were enrolled March 9, 2020 or earlier:
    Students who were enrolled in a U.S. academic program on March 9, 2020 and have continued to maintain F-1 visa status may study fully online while in the U.S. Also, if you are studying full time from your home country, ISSS may keep your SEVIS record active while you are gone, even if your total absence exceeds 5 months.
  • Current students who arrived after March 9, 2020:
    Students who arrived in the U.S. to begin your program after March 9, 2020 were required to take at least one in-person or hybrid course during Fall 2020 as part of your full-time enrollment. In Spring 2021, this requirement continues, and you must haveat least one in-person or hybrid course as part of your Spring 2021 full time course load. Hybrid courses are NOT considered online.
  • New students for Spring 2021:
    Students who will travel to the U.S. to begin a program for Spring 2021 must have at least one in-person or hybrid course as part of your full-time enrollment. Hybrid courses are NOT considered online.

Special Situations:
  • Former students returning to the U.S. on an initial attendance I-20: Students who were present and enrolled in a program of study on March 9, 2020 but have not maintained continuous F-1 status will need a new I-20 to return to the U.S. Since their I-20s are issued for initial attendance, they must enroll in at least one in-person or hybrid course if returning to the United States for Spring 2021. If the former students plan to starttheir new programs online from their home country, they do not need an initial I-20.
  • SEVIS Transfer Students: Students who are new to their program at NMSU for Spring 2021, but were in the U.S. on March 9, 2020 studying at another institution and have continued their F-1 status through the SEVIS Transfer process may study fully online while in the U.S.
  • Change of Education Level Students: Students who are new to their program at NMSU for Spring 2021, but were in the U.S. on March 9, 2020 in a different NMSU program, and have continued their F-1 status through the Change of Education Level process may study fully online while in the U.S.
  • Change of Visa Status Students: Students who are requesting a change of visa status to F-1 with an I-20 start date of Spring 2021 or earlier should enroll in at least one in-person or hybrid course as part of your full-time enrollment. While this situation is not directly addressed in the government guidance, we suggest you followthis, even if you were present and enrolled at a U.S. institution in another visa status on March 9, 2020.
  • J-1 Visa Students: If you are in the U.S. on a J-1 student visa for study, we anticipate the same rules will apply as noted above. We are still awaiting official guidance from the Department of State on this matter, but in past semesters the Department of State has mirrored the guidance for F-1 students.

 

 

Helpful FAQs

 

Yes, you can register for all online classes from your home country or in the USA and continue to maintain your SEVIS record. Currently, SEVP has continued with the exception for Spring 2021 semester. All F-1 Undergraduate students have to register for 12 credits total and Graduate students need 9 credits to maintain their F-1 status.

International students who arrived in the US to begin their programs after March 9, 2020 must enroll in at least one hybrid class.

ISSS strongly encourages all new international students who will take classes while in the U.S. to work with their Academic Advisor to enroll in at least one hybrid class.

Students may take some online courses as long as they are needed for degree completion. Hybrid courses are not considered online.

New students outside of the US can take all online classes and they will not need an I-20 for Spring 2021 semester.

All undergraduate students have to register for 12 credits total and graduate students need to register for 9 credits to maintain their F-1 status.

Synchronous Zoom is still an online class because there is no classroom component. Hence, it is considered online class.

If NMSU, in the middle of Spring 2021, changes to offering an all “online mode of instruction” due to the pandemic, you can take all online classes and continue to maintain status. You don’t need to leave the USA if you are in the USA.

Yes, if you have continued to maintain your F-1 status you are eligible to take RCL in your final semester. Please complete the Reduced Course Load form and email ISSS at isss@nmsu.edu before February 1st.

Your SEVIS record needs to be corrected by SEVP. Please contact us by email at isss@nmsu.edu and submit all required I-20 documents to request a new I-20.

If you are in your home country and are not planning to enter the US until the beginning of August 2021 then you will not be charged for insurance for Spring 2021. But, we highly recommend that you continue to have insurance for Spring 2021 if you have any pending claims with the insurance company as they may not pay for your claims or plan to visit US during the semester.

If you are in your home country and are not planning to enter the US until the beginning of January 2021 then you will not be charged for insurance for Fall 2020. But, we highly recommend that you continue to have insurance for Fall 2020 if you have any pending claims with the insurance company as they may not pay for your claims or plan to visit US during the semester.

 

For further questions about course load guidance, please contact isss@nmsu.edu

 

8/5/20 Webinar on course load guidance and student questions for the Fall 2020 semester:

 

8/17/20 – for NEW international students – Webinar on how to make a smooth transition and navigate the Fall 2020 new normal in immigration and university guidelines: