DHS Guidance on Remote Learning and SEVIS Reporting Requirements for Foreign Students

Carlton Fields Coronavirus Resource Center

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is the Department of Homeland Security program that administers the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVP manages data related to nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors to preserve national security and provides oversight to schools authorized to enroll F and M nonimmigrant students.

  • SEVP confirms that F-1 students can temporarily engage in online learning, either in the United States or outside the country.
  • SEVP has provided guidance to SEVP-certified schools that have adapted procedures to minimize the impact of COVID-19 while maintaining progress in a full course of study as required by federal regulations. SEVP has indicated its intention to be flexible with these adaptations, but it is requiring schools to notify SEVP of changes within 10 business days.
  • SEVP has also posted an optional coronavirus school reporting template that schools can use to report temporary procedural adaptations.
  • Other considerations for foreign students:
    • Schools may request reduced course load designation in SEVIS for F-1 students who are unable to continue their studies due to illness.
    • F-1 students who are outside the United States may check on travel restrictions at the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Embassy in their country.
    • Special Student Relief (SSR) is a regulatory designation that may provide relief for foreign students. Regulatory requirements that may be suspended or altered for an F-1 student include duration of status, full course of study, and off-campus employment eligibility. SSR has not yet been designated in connection with the COVID-19 crisis.


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