What Does the New SEVP Guidance Mean for My Study Plans?

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By Shorelight Team
Last updated on July 7, 2020

If you are an international student planning to study in the US this fall, new visa requirements have been challenging. Luckily, many Shorelight partner universities have flexible start options in place for Fall 2020.

A female international college student holding textbooks and wearing a face mask stands outside on a college campus

July 14 update: The Trump administration has rescinded last week’s new SEVP regulations, announcing that international students will not be required to attend in-person classes in order to be eligible for an F-1 visa.

More than 180 universities and seventeen states joined a lawsuit to challenge the recommendations, and this reversal sends a strong message: The US values international students and is committed to championing access to our educational institutions, for all who want to study here.

We will continue to update you as the situation evolves, and if you have immediate questions, please reach out to a Shorelight representative


July 7:

With visa availability and travel plans impacted by the coronavirus, as well as new regulations from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), you may have questions about your Fall 2020 options. Can you start on campus? Will you need to study virtually from home? The answer will depend on your circumstances.

SEVP regulations for Fall 2020

As of July 2020, SEVP regulations require that all US-based students with an F-1 visa must take at least one in-person class this fall. (OPT students are exempt.) Students who are in English-language programs may have additional minimum-credit requirements. 

Luckily, most Shorelight university partners (with the exception of American University, American Collegiate at American University, American Collegiate Los Angeles, and the University of Massachusetts Boston) are offering hybrid or in-person Fall 2020 options for students. This means the majority of our partner universities are in compliance with the new guidelines. We are confident that existing students across these campuses will have the ability to retain their F-1 visa status. 

For prospective students and/or students who are affected by the new SEVP rules, we are working closely with university leadership to develop solutions, and will share those as soon as possible. 

COVID-19 impacts and Fall 2020 start options

In response to COVID-19 concerns and travel impacts, many Shorelight university partners are offering both on-campus and virtual Fall 2020 start options, as well as late starts. Click each university link below to get full details. 

Additionally, for first-year international students, starting your classes virtually with American Collegiate Live can also keep you on track with your studies.

As always, our students’ safety and security are our top priority, and we are committed to ensuring international students will be able to pursue their dream of a US university degree. This is a fluid situation and we expect more details to emerge soon. We will continue to provide updates as this situation evolves. 

In the interim, if you have questions about your specific study plans, please reach out to a Shorelight enrollment counselor. We are here to help!

Learn how Shorelight can help with visa and travel services