Delayed Arrival I-20s for New International Students

In light of the current public health crisis in Los Angeles and President Folt’s message to students asking them to delay coming to campus for several weeks, new students (summer 2020, fall 2020 and spring 2021 admitted students currently outside the U.S., and students returning from an LOA) now have the option to request an updated I-20 with a program start date of March 1, 2021.

The Office of Graduate Admissions will re-issue, by request, I-20s to those wishing to delay their arrival to the U.S. Students with the updated I-20 will be permitted to enter the U.S. as early as January 31, 2021, but no later than March 1, 2021. These students do not require an additional late arrival letter of support but should carry with them all required travel documents. Students choosing to travel to the U.S. should be made aware of the travel considerations listed on the OIS website and the required USC health and safety protocols for students living near campus.

The same immigration rules apply as previously stated: students in possession of an initial attendance I-20 must be enrolled full time and in at least in-person or one hybrid course for the entire Spring 2021 semester. Departments must ensure the 50% in-person component of the course can still be satisfied despite the late arrival.

If classes lose their hybrid designation on the USC Schedule of Classes due to orders from LA County Public Health, the student should not attempt to enter the U.S., as OIS will not be able to activate their SEVIS record upon arrival. The student would have to depart the U.S. or the department would have to find an alternate hybrid enrollment solution.

Students issued the updated I-20 will be denied entry to the U.S. if they attempt to enter before January 31, 2021. Issuance of this updated I-20 will invalidate the student’s previous I-20 with the January 15, 2021 program start date.

Students are required to complete the Passport Verification process upon arrival in the U.S. At that point, OIS will remove STU50/60 or OIS70 holds and activate the students’ SEVIS records.

Interested students should contact their academic department for guidance on arriving later in the semester. Advisors can request the updated I-20 on behalf of new students  by contacting the Office of Graduate Admission.

Continuing students returning from a Leave of Absence needing an updated I-20 for late arrival should contact OIS at

Employment consideration: Students receiving an updated I-20 with a March 1, 2021 program start date must enroll full time for the Spring, Summer and Fall 2021 semesters in order to be eligible for CPT or OPT in the Spring 2022 semester. Students who do not enroll in the summer session will become eligible for CPT or OPT in Summer 2022. Please note, if a student chooses to enroll full time for the spring, summer and fall 2021 semesters, their graduation date could be affected if they meet degree requirements earlier than expected.