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REVISED Fall 2020 Guidance for F-1 Students

[This message was sent to all JHU students with an active, initial, change of status or transfer-pending F-1 record at JHU on July 16, 2020.]

Dear Johns Hopkins International Students:

We are writing to provide important updates to our message from July 7.

First, please accept our sincere gratitude for your incredible efforts to raise awareness of the devastating impact the SEVP guidance released on July 6 would have had on international students at Johns Hopkins and beyond. Your activism helped bring global attention to the plight of international students seeking to continue their academic programs in the fall and was instrumental in the government’s decision to reverse that guidance this week. The rules governing online courses for F-1 visa holders now incorporate needed flexibility for international students to continue their studies this fall in a manner that is aligned with the best public health guidance.

As you may know, Johns Hopkins was one of many universities that challenged the July 6 guidance in court, and while the issue now appears to be moot, we have chosen to keep our complaint open in case the situation should change. Please view the message from President Daniels regarding the legal outcome here.

We apologize for the delay in responding to the high volume of inquiries we received from students in recent days. Please understand that we remain steadfastly focused on supporting our international students in every way possible, and we hope that these updates will answer many of your questions.


JHU expects that all schools will make significant use of online and remote teaching and learning for fall 2020 due to COVID-19. The guidance the government adopted in March and reinstated this week provides sufficient exemptions to SEVP’s regular in-person enrollment requirements for current students in F-1 status and transfer students already in the U.S. in F-1 status. However, no exceptions have been made for new students or transfer students outside the U.S.


We have updated the Fall 2020 SEVP Student Impact Grid that details the impact for each student situation. Please review this grid in advance of seeking assistance from OIS, as it will help focus discussion on questions relevant to your specific circumstances.


On July 14, the Department of State announced a phased resumption of routine visa services. Please view that announcement here.


We understand that this is an incredibly stressful time and all the changes and uncertainly throughout 2020 are likely to impact your life in ways far beyond your visa status. For additional support, we strongly urge you to take advantage of all the various health and wellness resources for JHU international students. Additional information is available at a newly-launched website just for international students.

The continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the recent announcement by SEVP, travel restrictions, consular closures, lack of available flights, and the ensuing legal action and outcome have made planning incredibly difficult for fall 2020. It has required students, schools, and our advisors to perpetually revisit and update plans each time new information becomes available. Hang in there! Together we will get through this. We remain committed to providing you transparent, thorough, up-to-date guidance to assist you during this crisis. Please continue to direct your specific questions to [email protected] or 667-208-7001.


The Office of International Services

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