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Dear International Students,

The ISS staff and I understand how difficult and frustrating the last few months have been for all of you. We sincerely appreciate your patience, grace, and understanding through all of these changes and the continuous government updates. I wanted to reach out to you again to provide an update on the U.S. government’s guidance for autumn quarter 2020 and provide you with additional details as you make your plans for beginning your classes in September.

On July 24, the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) released a broadcast message and clarifying FAQs outlining updated guidance for autumn 2020.
  • International students previously enrolled in March will be allowed to stay in or return to the U.S. for either online or in-person courses. Continuing students are not required to register for an in-person course and can maintain F status while taking online courses. Continuing students who wish to remain outside of the U.S. for autumn quarter and take online courses will also be allowed to maintain F status as long as they register full-time for autumn quarter and continue to follow all F regulations. Students with a transfer-pending I-20 and were enrolled at another institution in March and have not (or will not) traveled outside the U.S. before classes begin, will be considered continuing students.
  • Initial or new students who were not previously enrolled in March may be eligible for an F visa and entry to the U.S. if you are registered for at least one in-person course. Initial or new students may not take 100% of their courses online if they plan to begin their studies on-campus in September. For students with a transfer pending I-20 who are now outside of the U.S., we recommend that you register for an in-person course based on our interpretations of the SEVP guidance. The UW is finalizing an in-person course to accommodate any international student who needs to register for an in-person course. Additional details about the course and how to register will be sent in the coming week to new international students not yet registered for an in-person course.
  • New international students who wish to take online courses from outside the U.S. for autumn quarter may do so, but the I-20 issued by the UW will need to be updated when the student plans to return to campus in a future quarter. Additional instructions about how to request an updated I-20 for a later term will be sent in September by the Office of Admissions or Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS).
The updated July 24 SEVP guidance also confirmed that U.S. institutions are not required to re-issue any I-20 forms or add remarks on the I-20 about the mode of instruction. U.S. consulates and embassies, as well as Customs & Border Patrol, have been sent this communication, as well. The ISS has received many requests from students asking for confirmation or a letter stating the UW’s mode of instruction for autumn quarter. Although this confirmation is not required for travel or for visa appointments, the ISS has created an online form to request a travel support letter. Once you complete the form, you will receive an auto-generated email from the UW ISS with additional information.

We recommend you continue to review the ISS Coronavirus information for F & J students for new information or updates before classes begin in September. Be sure to also review the updated Planning for Autumn Quarter 2020 FAQ with answers to many of the questions we have received. You can also join the ISS staff for an online webinar where we will be answering your questions. Register in advance at ISS Events.

Our international students are a vital part of the UW community and you bring a wealth of global experiences and perspectives. The ISS staff, UW leaders, deans, faculty, advisers, staff, and your peers are doing everything we can to ensure you can continue or begin your studies at the UW in September. Whether you decide to travel to Seattle for in-person courses on-campus or you prefer to take courses online from outside the U.S., the UW community is here for you and look forward to seeing you soon!

With warmest regards,
KL Trans Sig
Kim Lovaas
Director of International Student Services