Deciding Whether to Return to Your Home Country During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The decision whether to return to your home country is a personal one and should be considered carefully, in consultation with family when possible. The University wants you to be where you will feel most comfortable in the coming weeks. Classes will be held remotely the remainder of the semester and you will receive more information in the coming weeks as to how final exams will be administered.

The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has confirmed international students may temporarily take classes online during USC’s period of modified instructional format, either from within the US or outside the country, without impacting their immigration status. USC will not take any specific action to end student records for individuals who remain enrolled full time and are outside of the US for more than five months. Students who continue to make normal progress in their course of study remain eligible for admission to the US when travel restrictions are lifted. The allowance for 100% online coursework is temporary, and will no longer apply once the university returns to regular in-person instruction.

International students are still required to maintain a full course load during this temporary transition to online instruction. You should not fall below the full course requirement unless you have been permitted to do so either through a Reduced Course Load (RCL) or Leave of Absence (LOA) approved by OIS.

If you choose to return to your home country, please review the travel section of the OIS website. Please keep in mind that international travel is in a fluid state, and new travel restrictions could arise at any moment. In the event you cannot return to USC from your home country, your academic program will assess your options. The University is committed to supporting your academic progress.

We know this situation has caused a great deal of uncertainty and many questions within the international community. USC provides helpful information for international students on the COVID-19 website, including a FAQ section to answer common inquiries. This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

You do not need an I-20 to depart the US. We can mail it to you if necessary. Travel signatures are valid for one year, so please check your current I-20 before requesting a new one. 

Please see the instructions below:

  1. Download the I-20 Request Form.
  2. Email the completed form to ois@usc.edu for processing. There is no need to send us your current I-20.
  3. Use the express mail service, eShipGlobal, to arrange for your document to be mailed to you. Choose “All Other Requests” from the drop down menu when creating your shipment. Please remember to indicate your eShipGlobal order number on your I-20 request form.

We look forward to seeing you again soon when campus life at USC begins to return to normal. In the meantime, please stay safe and follow best health practices.