International Student and Scholar Services

Its a llama

Update: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fall 2020 Guidance

July 24, 2020

The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has finally issued clarifying guidance for Fall Semester 2020.  We thank you so much for your patience.  It is overall positive news and it is very different from the previous guidance issued in early July.

Current students with Active F-1 SEVIS record will be allowed to maintain their F-1 status as long as they enroll FULL-TIME, regardless of what type of classes you take and where you are when you take them. 

We have outlined scenarios below, please read them carefully.

Active Student – Inside the United States for Fall Semester 2020

  • You must enroll full-time (9 credit hours for Graduate Students, 12 credit hours for Undergraduate Students).
  • You must continue to make normal academic progress towards your degree.
  • You may take any combination of courses you wish.
    • YES, fully online is allowed if it is available to you in your department.
  • If you intend to enroll less than full-time, the process and rules for underloads remain the same.
    • If you have an approved underload, all of your courses may be online.

NO NEW I-20 IS REQUIRED

Active Student – Outside the United States for Fall Semester 2020

Your record will remain active IF:

  • You must enroll full-time (9 credit hours for Graduate Students, 12 credit hours for Undergraduate Students).
  • You must continue to make normal academic progress towards your degree.
  • You may enroll in all online courses.
  • If you intend to enroll less than full-time, the process and rules for underloads remain the same.
    • You remain eligible for both Medical underloads and Final Semester underloads while maintaining an active SEVIS record.

NEW I-20 IS REQUIRED!!!!!! – In order to maintain an active SEVIS record we must issue a new I-20 with an annotation. We understand that you may have already completed the form that was created under the previous guidance. We ask that you please confirm you decision. Please email isfo@niu.edu with the following information:

  • Full Name, SEVIS ID, Z-ID
  • That you will remain outside the United States and that you will enroll full-time.


Please contact isfo@niu.edu with clarifying questions.

See frequently asked questions for more information.

Contact Us

International Student Scholar Services (ISSS)
Williston Hall

Phone: 815-753-1346
Fax: 815-753-1488
Email: isfo@niu.edu

Office Hours

8 a.m.-noon and 1-4:30 p.m.

If you need to meet with an advisor, please schedule your appointment by emailing isfo@niu.edu.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) advises and supports the university's international community with their visas, social and cultural adjustment to the United States as well as acts as a liaison with relevant government agencies. We collaborate with campus partners and advocate on behalf of our populations to promote global educational exchange and diversity in support of the university's mission.