Follow Up to USC’s 8/5/2020 Message About Fall Semester

On August 5, USC’s senior administration announced plans for the Fall 2020 semester that included some important changes, due to the continuing public health emergency impacting our community and campuses.

Important Highlights about USC’s Fall 2020 Plans:

  • All instruction will begin online for Fall 2020, with only a small number of exceptions in certain clinical education situations.
  • Students currently registered for in-person or hybrid classes will receive an update from their academic unit shortly.

What Does This Mean for New International Students Outside the U.S.?

New students who are outside the U.S. should not travel to the U.S. on an F-1 student visa. USC is moving to 100% online instruction for most students, and current DHS-SEVP guidance clearly states new international students are not eligible to enter the U.S. on a student visa for 100% online instruction. This guidance also applies to all students in possession of an initial attendance I-20 for the Fall 2020 semester (i.e. transfer students, students returning from a Leave of Absence, students traveling to reinstate their status, and recently graduated students pursuing another degree at USC).

What Does This Mean for Continuing International Students Outside the U.S.?

Continuing students who are in active status remain eligible to return to the U.S. even though the Fall 2020 semester will begin fully online. Currently, practices at U.S. ports-of-entry are mixed, with some returning students being allowed entry, and others being questioned extensively during the immigration process at LAX and other U.S. ports-of-entry. Continuing students who choose to travel to the U.S. should prepare for possible delays at airports upon entry.

Students detained by U.S. immigration officials at an airport or land border port-of-entry, may call the USC Immigration Clinic Emergency Hotline at (213) 740-7435 and leave a detailed message including name, date of birth, nationality, current location, airline and flight number, phone number and email address. A representative from the Immigration Clinic will provide initial guidance.

OIS looks forward to supporting USC’s international student community during the coming semester. We know the past few months have been very difficult, especially with so many uncertainties impacting international students. As we approach the start of fall classes, we want to wish everyone a successful and enriching semester, and we will stay in touch with more updates in the coming weeks.

Please keep an eye on we-are.usc.edu for exciting out-of-class experiences designed to engage students of many interests, backgrounds, passions and tastes. These include the new student Welcome Experience, opportunities for international students, open houses at individual schools and centers, job skills workshops, and the upcoming student portal, which will serve as a “virtual quad” for information, updates, connections and community.