On This Page:
As a result of COVID-19, the U.S. government has made temporary changes and allowances to F-1 and J-1 regulations. These allowances continue through the 2022 – 2023 academic year.
Guidance for the End of COVID Emergency
Guidance for Students and Campus Partners
- Effective May 11, 2023 the SEVP COVID flexibilities are no longer in effect.
- Active F-1 students will be able to complete the 2022-2023 Academic Year (through Summer quarter) under the previously issued SEVP COVID flexibilities.
- As of autumn quarter 2023, continuing international students will no longer be allowed to count more than one fully online course towards the full-time F-1 full-time enrollment requirements. Limits to online coursework allowed under F-1 federal regulations will return to pre-COVID exceptions.
- Incoming, new students will not be able to take advantage of the previously issued SEVP COVID flexibilities and will not be able to count more than one online course towards the F-1 full-time enrollment requirements.
- International students must be enrolled in degree programs that are structured for in-person, full-time enrollment.
- Under F-1 federal regulations, students will no longer be allowed to count more than one fully online/remote course per quarter towards full-time enrollment requirements.
- Students with active F-1 SEVIS record who remain outside of the U.S. and are taking online courses will need to return to in-person instruction to maintain their F-1 status and benefits.
- International students can continue to take online classes from outside the U.S., but they will not be eligible for an I-20 or F-1 visa.
- For currently enrolled F-1 international students, there is no change to the spring and summer quarters. DHS will allow the continuance of COVID flexibilities through the end of the Summer 2023 quarter.
- For international students beginning a new degree program for Summer 2023 quarter, COVID exceptions under the previous guidelines are not in effect. Incoming, new students will be required to register full-time and cannot count more than one online course towards the F-1 full-time enrollment requirements.
Under the Department of State guidelines, J-1 students are not permitted to count fully online courses towards the full-time enrollment requirements for J-1 status. International students at the UW with a J-1 visa should not register for online courses unless they are already meet J-1 enrollment requirements.
The UW is changing COVID-19 policies after the end of spring quarter. Learn more. Masks remain recommended in facilities where they aren’t otherwise required.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Yes. The SEVP guidance allows you to work part-time while on approved OPT. This part-time employment does not count as unemployment/underemployment.
Yes. Students can work remotely on OPT and STEM OPT. Students on STEM OPT do NOT need to submit a new I-983 form with remote work details. Students should keep accurate records of where they are working for their future reference.
Previous Announcements & Updates
SEVP has communicated temporary changes to F-1 policy and practice through different communications. ISS continues to use this guidance as we advise students on their F-1 status during COVID-19.
- May 12 Termination of COVID Flexibilities
- March 9, 2020 Policy Directive
- July 14 news rescinding the July 6 SEVP guidance
- July 24, 2020 Broadcast message, the
- Frequently Asked Questions for SEVP Stakeholders dated November 1, 2021, and
Students can also read COVID-19 Guidance from the government directly on the following websites:
- Department of Homeland Security – Study in the States: COVID-19 Resources
- Department of State guidance for J-1 students – Exchange Visitor Program Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)