International Students and Scholars Office

International Student COVID-19 FAQs

DHS Extends Existing Guidance for the 2021-2022 Academic Year

 

Dear Students:

As CPP plans for a return to campus for the Spring 2022 semester with primarily in-person classes (77% of courses will include an in-person component), the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) would like to share some information to help international students determine their academic plan.

Please read the rest of this message carefully, as it contains important information pertaining to international student enrollment requirements during the 2021-2022 academic year.

There are several factors that will influence international students’ plans for Spring 2022:

1. Guidance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

On April 26, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) clarified that for the 2021-2022 academic year, F-1 students should abide by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance originally issued in March 2020, which was also applied to the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. This guidance allows distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the public health emergency generated by COVID-19.

2. The mode (i.e. in-person, hybrid, or online) of course instruction CPP is permitted to offer per Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines

The university is currently in Phase 3 of its reopening plan, which includes an expanded model of on-campus and online learning with moderate physical distancing protocols in place, as well as increased on-campus operations. The university plans to offer increased opportunities for in-person activities for the Spring 2022 semester; however, any plans CPP makes are subject to change pending public health guidance.

3. Travel restrictions and embassy closures due to the pandemic

We understand that difficulties securing a student visa or dealing with some existing U.S. entry restrictions due to COVID-19 may make it difficult for some students to get to campus for Spring 2022. Travel considerations are outlined in detail at the end of this document.

Travel considerations

  • Continuing students who are currently in the U.S. in F-1 status and will remain in the U.S. for the Spring 2022 semester may continue to take online classes if offered by their academic department. These students will maintain an active Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record as long as they enroll in a full course load and otherwise maintain their immigration status.
  • Continuing students who are currently in the U.S. in F-1 status and will be outside of the U.S. for the Spring 2022 semester may continue to take classes online if offered by their academic department. These students will maintain an active Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record as long as they enroll in a full course load and otherwise maintain their immigration status.
  • Continuing students who are currently in the U.S. and do not intend to enroll in the Spring 2022 semester should consult with their academic advisor regarding the possibility of taking a Leave of Absence (LOA). Students must submit a Leave of Absence (LOA) form by the start of the Spring 2022 semester. Students on an LOA must leave the U.S. for the duration of the leave period, except for absences based on documented medical reasons. The five-month temporary absence provision will begin on the date of departure from the U.S.

  • Continuing students who are currently outside the U.S. in F-1 status and will remain outside the U.S. for Spring 2022 may continue to take online classes if offered by their academic department. These students will maintain an active Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record as long as they enroll in a full course load and otherwise maintain their immigration status.
  • Continuing students who are currently outside the U.S. in F-1 status and wish to return to the U.S. for Spring 2022 may continue to take online classes if offered by their academic department. To re-enter the U.S., these students must have a valid F-1 visa, an I-20 endorsed for travel and all other documents listed on the travel section of the ISSO website. These students will maintain an active Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record as long as they enroll in a full course load and otherwise maintain their immigration status.
  • Continuing students who are currently outside the U.S. in non-F-1 status – which includes students admitted for the Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021 semesters who began their programs from outside the U.S. – and wish to enter the U.S. for Spring 2022 may not take 100% online classes. These students may only enter the U.S. if they are able to obtain an F-1 visa and can confirm enrollment in at least one hybrid or in-person course for the Spring 2022 semester. This will require you to have at least one hybrid class on your schedule of classes on the first day of classes for the summer or fall semester. If you enter the U.S. with the expectation of hybrid courses and are unable to demonstrate enrollment in a hybrid class on the first day of classes, the ISSO will not be able to activate your SEVIS record, which may result in you having to depart the U.S. After the student arrives in the U.S. and completes the immigration check-In, these students will maintain an active Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record as long as they enroll in a full course load and otherwise maintain their immigration status.
  • Continuing students who are currently outside the U.S. in non-F-1 status – which includes students admitted for the Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021 semesters who began their programs from outside the U.S. – and will remain outside of the U.S. for Spring 2022 may continue to take online classes in non-F-1 status if offered by their academic department. 
  • Continuing students who are currently outside the U.S. and are returning from a leave of absence with an initial attendance I-20 for Spring 2022 may not take 100% online classes. Please refer to the Returning from Leave of the ISSO website for instructions on how to request an I-20 from the ISSO and how to register for Spring 2022 courses. This will require you to have at least one hybrid class on your schedule of classes on the first day of classes for the summer or fall semester. If you enter the U.S. with the expectation of hybrid courses and are unable to demonstrate enrollment in a hybrid class on the first day of classes, the ISSO will not be able to activate your SEVIS record, which may result in you having to depart the U.S.
  • Continuing students who are currently outside the U.S. and have an initial attendance I-20 for purposes of traveling to change their status to F-1 and who wish to return to the U.S for Spring 2022 may not take 100% online classes. These students may only enter the U.S. if they are able to obtain an F-1 visa and can confirm enrollment in at least one hybrid or in-person course for the Spring 2022 semester. This will require you to have at least one hybrid class on your schedule of classes on the first day of classes for the summer or fall semester. If you enter the U.S. with the expectation of hybrid courses and are unable to demonstrate enrollment in a hybrid class on the first day of classes, the ISSO will not be able to activate your SEVIS record, which may result in you having to depart the U.S. After the student arrives in the U.S. and completes the immigration check-In, these students will maintain an active Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record as long as they enroll in a full course load and otherwise maintain their immigration status.
  • Continuing students who have an initial attendance I-20 – including students returning from a Leave of Absence (LOA), traveling to change their status to F-1, or to change their degree level – who will remain outside the U.S. for Spring 2022 may continue to take online classes in non-F-1 status if offered by their academic department.
  • Continuing students who have an initial attendance I-20 for reinstatement purposes but will remain outside the U.S. for the Spring 2022 semester may take online classes in non-F-1 status if offered by their academic department. 
  • Continuing students with an active or initial attendance I-20 who will remain outside the U.S. for the Spring 2022 semester and will not be enrolled in classes must file for a Leave of Absence (LOA). The five-month temporary absence provision will begin on December 13, 2021, for students who are enrolled in the Fall 2021 semester.

  • Spring 2022 admitted students who are already in the U.S. and are transferring their SEVIS record to CPP may enroll in 100% online classes so long as they do not depart the U.S. before their CPP SEVIS record has been activated. To activate their SEVIS record, transfer students must first complete the Immigration Check-In. Students who have not yet requested their CPP transfer I-20 must submit I-20 e-Request by November 15, 2021.

  • Spring 2022 admitted students who are currently outside the U.S. and wish to enter the U.S. with an initial attendance I-20 may not take 100% online classes. These students may only enter the U.S. if they are able to obtain an F-1 visa and can confirm enrollment in at least one hybrid or in-person course for the Spring 2022 semester. To activate their SEVIS record, students must complete the Immigration Check-In upon entry to the U.S. This will require you to have at least one hybrid class on your schedule of classes on the first day of classes for the fall semester. If you enter the U.S. with the expectation of hybrid courses and are unable to demonstrate enrollment in a hybrid class on the first day of classes, the ISSO will not be able to activate your SEVIS record, which may result in you having to depart the U.S. Students who have not yet requested their CPP I-20 must submit I-20 e-Request by November 15, 2021
  • Spring 2022 admitted students who are currently outside the U.S. and will remain outside the U.S. have two options:
    1. Begin academic program from abroad as a non-F-1/J-1 student.
      • Submit an Insurance Waiver to temporary lift Health Insurance Hold and F-1 Mandatory Workshop Hold for Spring 2022. 
    2. Inquire about possible options for beginning your academic program in a future semester.

Other considerations

  • Students facing challenges getting to campus for Spring 2022 classes due to travel difficulties should contact their academic advisor to discuss remote enrollment options.
  • Any plans for returning to the U.S. may be disrupted due to difficulty acquiring a student visa, travel/entry restrictions, or for some students, lack of available hybrid or in-person classes in your academic program.
  • On January 12, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order requiring all air passengers arriving in the US from abroad to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight.
  • On September 15, 2021, the U.S. Department of State updated their resources for travelers, although the information is largely the same as the previous Presidential Proclamations from earlier this year. Please monitor the travel restrictions as they may change. The proclamation restricts entry into the U.S. of all non-U.S. citizens who were physically present within certain countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry to the U.S. The following countries/regions are currently impacted:
    • Brazil
    • People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau)
    • Ireland
      Islamic Republic of Iran
    • Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland)
    • South Africa
    • United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe
  • On September 20, 2021, the White House announced beginning in early November, all adult foreign nationals will be required to be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 prior to boarding a U.S.-bound international flight. Fully vaccinated aircraft passengers departing from any foreign country with a destination in the United States will continue to be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure (or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 and a letter from a licensed health care provider or public health official stating that the passenger has been cleared for travel). 
  • Many U.S. embassies and consulates are still closed, although some have begun a phased resumption of routine visa services on a post-by-post basis and are beginning to prioritize student visas. Continuing students who need a new visa are eligible to apply; however, issuance of the visa is at the discretion of their local U.S. embassy or consulate. Many students with confirmed visa appointments have had their interviews postponed multiple times or canceled.
  • Traveling with all the required documents gives students the best chance to enter the U.S. without incident; however, should any student experience problems at an airport or land border port-of-entry, they may call the ISSO and leave a detailed message including their name, date of birth, nationality, current location, airline and flight number, phone number and email address. A representative from the office will provide initial guidance.
  • A travel advisory from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health states the following for individuals arriving in Los Angeles County:
    • For fully vaccinated individuals (≥2 weeks following a single-shot vaccine, the second shot of a 2-dose vaccine, or series of COVID-19 vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization such as AstraZeneca/Oxford and Sinopharm):
    • For unvaccinated individuals:
      • Follow the CDC domestic and international travel guidance for unvaccinated people.
      • Testing is not recommended if you have recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 in the past 90 days AND you are currently without symptoms. “Recovered from COVID-19” means you had a positive COVID-19 viral test (swab or saliva) result and you have completed your isolation. See LACDPH’s “When does my home isolation end” webpage for more details.

  • As long as continuing students in F-1 status enroll in a full course load and maintain their immigration status, CPP will continue to keep their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records active even if they are outside of the U.S. for more than five months.
  • The ISSO is not able to register SEVIS records for students who are currently outside of the U.S., enter the U.S. on an initial attendance I-20, and are enrolled in 100% online courses. This includes:
    • New students
    • Students returning from a Leave of Absence (LOA)
    • Students traveling to reinstate status or change status to F-1
    • For us to register your SEVIS record, you are required to have at least one hybrid class on your schedule of classes on the first day of classes for the Spring semester. If you enter the U.S. with the expectation of hybrid courses and are unable to demonstrate enrollment in a hybrid class on the first day of classes, the ISSO will not be able to activate your SEVIS record, which may result in you having to depart the U.S.

  • An F student accrues eligibility for practical training whether they are inside or
    outside of the United States during the COVID-19 emergency if the student is in
    Active status in SEVIS and meets CPP requirements.
  • Students must be present in the U.S. at the time of applying for OPT. Students are not permitted to apply for OPT from outside the U.S.
  • Students can engage in CPT remotely in the U.S. or abroad for a U.S. employer, provided the student is authorized to engage in CPT and either the employer has an office outside the US or the employer has the means to assess student engagement and attainment of learning objectives remotely.
  • Graduates working on OPT are permitted to work remotely for a U.S. employer within or outside of the U.S. with the permission of the their employer.

  • Most questions about academics will need to be addressed by your professors or academic department.
  • CPP provides a VPN to all students but you will likely have access to many campus resources (Blackboard, etc.) without a VPN. Zoom has some restrictions in China, but there is a workaround so you can access Zoom from China.

  • Questions about on-campus housing and dining should be directed to those offices for the most up-to-date information.
CEU Footer