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For coronavirus information for the UCLA community, please visit the Ashe Center website and UCLA’s information page.

UCLA Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars

Newly Admitted Initial F-1 Students

1. Can I request an electronic I-20 from the Dashew Center?

Yes. U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that they will allow the electronic issuance and signing of I-20 Forms for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Both the U.S. Department of State, which oversees U.S. Embassies/Consulates, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees admission of non-immigrants to the U.S. at ports of entry, have also confirmed that they will accept electronic I-20s and signatures for visa processing and entry to the U.S. for the same duration. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), who oversees processing of benefits petitions, such as OPT, STEM OPT Extension, Change of Status, etc., has also announced flexibility in their ‘wet signature’ requirement. It is not clear if state and federal agencies such as Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Social Security Administration will accept electronically issued I-20s.

The Dashew Center will provide the option of electronically issued I-20 Forms for the following requests:

  • Lost/damaged/stolen
  • Change of major/name/citizenship
  • Change of funding
  • Change of education level
  • Extension
  • Return from leave of absence
  • CPT
  • OPT
  • STEM OPT Extension
  • Newly admitted I-20 (initial attendance and transfer)

Students who are issued electronic I-20s may only download, print, and sign the student attestation section. Tampering with the Form I-20 is a federal crime (18 U.S. Code § 1546. Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents).

Students can continue to request paper-format I-20s from the Dashew Center for the reasons listed above, but must submit a completed F-1 Document Shipping Request Form with their request and are responsible to cover I-20 shipping fees.

2. Can I apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate?

As global conditions evolve, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services. The resumption of routine visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis. See the U.S. Department of State's website for more information.

3. What is UCLA's mode of instruction for fall 2021?

UCLA has not yet finalized the mode of instruction for fall 2021, but expects to offer in-person instruction for a substantial majority of fall courses, as well as most labs. Please continue to check the UCLA Schedule of Classes for updates on fall 2021 course offerings.

On-site classes are listed in the UCLA Schedule of Classes with a meeting location displayed as a building and room number.

4. What is the definition of an in-person/on-site class?

An in-person/on-site class is when course instruction is delivered in-person, with students and instructors physically present in a learning environment. The meeting location is displayed as a building and room in the UCLA Schedule of Classes.

To count toward the in-person enrollment requirement for F-1 status requirements, all class sessions for the course must be delivered in-person. If a class changes from in-person instruction to remote instruction before the start of the term, enrollment in that class will not fulfill the in-person course enrollment requirement to maintain valid F-1 status in the U.S.

5. Where can I find an official approved list of in-person classes for fall 2021?

UCLA has not yet finalized course offerings for fall 2021, but expects to offer in-person instruction for a substantial majority of fall courses, as well as most labs. Please continue to check the UCLA Schedule of Classes for updates on fall 2021 course offerings.

On-site classes are listed in the UCLA Schedule of Classes with a meeting location displayed as a building and room number.

6. Can I fulfill the in-person course enrollment requirement with in-person, concurrent enrollment at another U.S. institution?

No, UCLA F-1 students must enroll in an in-person course at UCLA to fulfill the in-person course enrollment requirement to maintain valid F-1 status in the U.S.

7. How many in-person classes must I be enrolled in for fall 2021 to be able to enter the U.S. and maintain valid F-1 visa status?

To maintain valid F-1 status, F-1 students with SEVIS records in 'Initial Attendance' status are required to enroll in a minimum of one in-person class.

8. How do I obtain a document or letter verifying my in-person course enrollment at UCLA?

You can print a 'Study List' from your MyUCLA account to carry with you when entering the U.S., in case you are questioned about your enrollment for fall 2021.

9. Can I take an entirely online course load for fall 2021 from abroad without having F-1 status?

Yes, students can take online classes from abroad without having F-1 status. Students will establish F-1 status once they enter the U.S. in valid F-1 status.

10. Can I defer my admission term?

Undergraduate students, please contact UCLA Undergraduate Admission for more information. Graduate students, please contact your academic department for more information.

11. What if I am unable to enter the U.S. by the start date indicated on my I-20 due to enrollment in only online classes for fall 2021, COVID-19 travel restrictions, delays in F-1 visa issuance, and/or flight cancellations?

Please contact the Dashew Center at UCLAi20@saonet.ucla.edu if you are unable to enter U.S. due to enrollment in only online courses, COVID-19 travel restrictions, delays in F-1 visa issuance, and/or flight cancellations. If you have signed a housing contract for the fall term, please contact Housing directly.

12. If my F-1 visa is approved after the fall quarter start date (as indicated as on my I-20), what should I do?

Students should first check with their academic departments to find out if a late arrival will affect their in-person course enrollment.
Please contact the Dashew Center to see if you will be eligible for a late arrival to the U.S. To request an updated I-20 with late arrival date, please email UCLAi20@saonet.ucla.edu with the following information:

  • Last Name, First Name
  • Bruin UID
  • Email Subject line: Updated I-20 for late arrival for fall 2021
  • Proof of in-person course enrollment for fall 2021

Please allow us 15 business days from date of submission to issue the updated I-20.

13. Can I engage in on-campus employment from abroad?

Please contact your hiring department or the UCLA Central Resource Unit for information about remote work eligibility.

14. If I am unable to enter the U.S. by my program start date, how will this affect my CPT/OPT eligibility?

Currently, F-1 students become eligible for CPT and OPT after completing one full academic year in valid, active F-1 status. The one year requirement for CPT is waived for academic programs that have practical training as a required part of their established degree curriculum. For a complete list of programs that have practical training requirements, please see our CPT Guidelines. In order to establish F-1 status for fall 2021 you must enter the U.S. in F-1 status by your I-20 start date. Please note: It is not possible for students to establish their F-1 status from abroad.

15. What is the processing timeline for newly admitted student I-20 requests? Is there a deadline to submit the request?

Our current processing time is 15 business days from the submission date. While there is no strict deadline for submitting your I-20 request, keep in mind that you will need your I-20 to schedule an F-1 visa interview (Canadian citizens exempt) and enter the U.S. before your I-20 start date.

16. My I-20 request status has been updated from “Under Review” to “Visa Eligibility” in the portal, what does this mean?

This means that your submitted documents are sufficient and your I-20 request is being processed.

17. How can I check the status of my I-20 request after the submission?

If there is no update on your request after 15 business days from your date of submission, email UCLAi20@saonet.ucla.edu the following information:

  • Last Name, First Name
  • Bruin UID
  • Email subject line: I-20 request status update

18. What are acceptable proof of funding documents?

Students can provide one or multiple sources of funding. Acceptable documents for proof of funding are:

  • Family/personal bank statement (must be no older than 6 months from the issuance date, and in the form of liquid funds, such as a checking or savings account)
  • UCLA funding
  • Loans for education purposes and/or
  • Government funding/scholarship

If you are submitting a bank statement in a foreign currency, you must provide the converted funding amount in U.S. dollars on the Confidential Financial Statement. Students are only required to provide proof of funding for one academic year when requesting an I-20.

19. What should I expect once my I-20 request has been processed?

We will email you an electronic I-20 once your request has been processed. Graduate students who are in self-supporting programs (MBA, MSBA, MAE, MFE, LLM, MS AUD, MAS, and MSS) will obtain their I-20 from their department.

20. When will COVID-19 related travel restrictions be lifted?

We do not have an estimated timeline from the federal government. We will provide updates as they become available.

21. Is it possible that the travel restrictions due the COVID-19 outbreak will be expanded?

This is a fluid situation and other countries could be added to the list of travel restrictions as more COVID-19 cases are detected.

Newly Admitted SEVIS Transfer F-1 Students

1. I was a full-time student and held valid F-1 status at my previous (SEVIS transfer-out) school. I have a SEVIS-transfer-in I-20 from UCLA. Am I subject to the in-person class enrollment requirement if I wish to enter the U.S. or remain in the U.S. in F-1 status?

As a newly admitted SEVIS transfer-in F-1 student for fall 2021, you will be subject to the in-person class enrollment requirement to enter the U.S. in F-1 status and maintain F-1 status for the fall term.

2. What is UCLA's mode of instruction for fall 2021?

UCLA has not yet finalized the mode of instruction for fall 2021, but expects to offer in-person instruction for a substantial majority of fall courses, as well as most labs. Please continue to check the UCLA Schedule of Classes for updates on fall 2021 course offerings.

On-site classes are listed in the UCLA Schedule of Classes with a meeting location displayed as a building and room number.

3. What is the definition of an in-person/on-site class?

An in-person/on-site class is when course instruction is delivered in-person, with students and instructors physically present in a learning environment. The meeting location is displayed as a building and room in the UCLA Schedule of Classes.

To count toward the in-person enrollment requirement for F-1 status requirements, all class sessions for the course must be delivered in-person. If a class changes from in-person instruction to remote instruction before the start of the term, enrollment in that class will not fulfill the in-person course enrollment requirement to maintain valid F-1 status in the U.S.

4. Where can I find an official approved list of in-person classes for fall 2021?

UCLA has not yet finalized course offerings for fall 2021, but expects to offer in-person instruction for a substantial majority of fall courses, as well as most labs. Please continue to check the UCLA Schedule of Classes for updates on fall 2021 course offerings.

On-site classes are listed in the UCLA Schedule of Classes with a meeting location displayed as a building and room number.

5. Can I fulfill the in-person course enrollment requirement with in-person, concurrent enrollment at another U.S. institution?

No, UCLA F-1 students must enroll in an approved, in-person course at UCLA to fulfill the in-person course enrollment requirement to maintain valid F-1 status in the U.S.

6. How do I obtain a document or letter verifying my in-person course enrollment at UCLA?

You can print a 'Study List' from your MyUCLA account to carry with you when entering the U.S., in case you are questioned about your enrollment for fall 2021.

7. What is the processing time for newly admitted SEVIS transfer student I-20 requests? Is there a deadline to submit the request?

Our current processing time is 15 business days from the submission date. While there is no strict deadline for submitting your I-20 request, keep in mind that you will need your I-20 to schedule an F-1 visa interview (Canadian citizens exempt) and enter the U.S. before your program start date.

8. My I-20 status has been updated from "Under Review" to "Visa Eligibility" in the portal, what does this mean?

This means that your submitted documents are sufficient and your I-20 request is being processed.

9. How can I check the status of my I-20 request after submission?

If there is no update on your request after 15 business days from your date of submission, email UCLAi20@saonet.ucla.edu the following information:

  • Last Name, First Name
  • Bruin UID
  • Email subject line: I-20 request status update

10. What are acceptable proof of funding documents?

Students can provide one or multiple sources of funding. Acceptable documents for proof of funding are:

  • Family/personal bank statement (must be no older than 6 months from the issuance date, and in the form of liquid funds, such as a checking or savings account)
  • UCLA funding
  • Loans for education purposes and/or
  • Government funding/scholarship

If you are submitting a bank statement in foreign currency, you must provide the converted funding amount in U.S. dollars on the Confidential Financial Statement. Students are only required to provide proof of funding for one academic year when requesting an I-20.

11. What should I expect once my I-20 request has been processed?

We will email you an electronic I-20 once your request has been processed. Graduate students who are in self-supporting programs (MBA, MSBA, MAE, MFE, LLM, MS AUD, MAS, and MSS) will obtain their I-20 from their academic department.

12. Can I take an entirely online course load for fall from abroad without having F-1 status?

Yes, students can take online classes from abroad without having F-1 status. Students will establish F-1 status once they enter the U.S. in valid F-1 status.

13. When will COVID-19 related travel restrictions be lifted?

We do not have an estimated timeline from the federal government. We will provide updates as they become available.

14. Is it possible that travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak will be expanded?

This is a fluid situation and other countries could be added to the list of travel restrictions as more COVID-19 cases are detected.

15. Can I request an electronic I-20 from the Dashew Center?

Yes. U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that they will allow the electronic issuance and signing of I-20 Forms for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Both the U.S. Department of State, which oversees U.S. Embassies/Consulates, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees admission of non-immigrants to the U.S. at ports of entry, have also confirmed that they will accept electronic I-20s and signatures for visa processing and entry to the U.S. for the same duration. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), who oversees processing of benefits petitions, such as OPT, STEM OPT Extension, Change of Status, etc., has also announced flexibility in their ‘wet signature’ requirement. It is not clear if state and federal agencies such as Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Social Security Administration will accept electronically issued I-20s.

The Dashew Center will provide the option of electronically issued I-20 Forms for the following requests:

  • Lost/damaged/stolen
  • Change of major/name/citizenship
  • Change of funding
  • Change of education level
  • Extension
  • Return from leave of absence
  • CPT
  • OPT
  • STEM OPT Extension
  • Newly admitted I-20 (initial attendance and transfer)

Students who are issued electronic I-20s may only download, print, and sign the student attestation section. Tampering with the Form I-20 is a federal crime (18 U.S. Code § 1546. Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents).

Students can continue to request paper-format I-20s from the Dashew Center for the reasons listed above, but must submit a completed F-1 Document Shipping Request Form with their request and are responsible to cover I-20 shipping fees.

16. Can I apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate?

As global conditions evolve, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services. The resumption of routine visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis. See the U.S. Department of State's website for more information.

17. Can I defer my admission term?

Undergraduate students, please contact UCLA Undergraduate Admission for more information. Graduate students, please contact your academic department for more information.

Continuing F-1 Students

1. What is UCLA's mode of instruction for fall 2021?

UCLA has not yet finalized the mode of instruction for fall 2021, but expects to offer in-person instruction for a substantial majority of fall courses, as well as most labs. Please continue to check the UCLA Schedule of Classes for updates on fall 2021 course offerings.

On-site classes are listed in the UCLA Schedule of Classes with a meeting location displayed as a building and room number.

2. I am a continuing F-1 student at UCLA and will return to campus from abroad for fall 2021. Is an enrollment verification letter required for re-entry into the U.S.?

While enrollment verification is not a required document for re-entry to the U.S. in F-1 status, you may be questioned about your enrollment when re-entering the U.S. or applying for an F-1 visa from an overseas U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Continuing F-1 students may request the F-1 Certification of Status (CoS) letter from Dashew Center. The combination of the CoS letter and a printout of your full-time fall course registration should be sufficient as supporting documents in case a visa post or port of entry officials ask for such verification. Please allow us 15 business days from the submission date of your request to process your CoS letter.

3. How do I obtain a document or letter verifying my in-person course enrollment at UCLA?

You can print a 'Study List' from your MyUCLA account to carry with you when entering the U.S., in case you are questioned about your enrollment for fall 2021.

4. Can I continue to take online classes from abroad and maintain valid F-1 status during fall 2021?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a part of U.S. Department of Homeland Security will continue to allow F-1 students who established their F-1 status with UCLA prior to March 2020 to maintain valid F-1 status with full-time enrollment in online courses within the U.S. or overseas. The Dashew Center will notify students of any announcements from SEVP through Dashew Center listserv emails and updates to our COVID-19 Updates page.

5. I am a continuing F-1 student and have requested/will be requesting a Change of Education Level I-20. Will I be able to maintain valid F-1 status with full-time online enrollment for fall 2021?

Yes, F-1 students with a Change of Education Level I-20 starting in fall quarter 2020, winter quarter 2021, spring quarter 2021, or fall quarter 2021 and full-time online enrollment will be able to maintain valid F-1 status within the U.S. or overseas.

6. I am a returning F-1 student with a new, 'initial attendance' I-20 with a new SEVIS ID number from a leave of absence (LOA) for fall 2021. Will I be able to maintain valid F-1 status if my classes are entirely online?

No. To maintain valid F-1 status, F-1 students with SEVIS records in 'initial attendance' status are required to enroll in a minimum of one in-person class. Undergraduate students may consult with their academic counselors, and graduate students may consult with their academic department SAOs for class availability and registration information.

7. Can graduate students be on filing fee status and maintain valid F-1 status during fall quarter 2021?

If you are a student who will be on filing fee for fall quarter and are currently in the U.S. or plan to re-enter the U.S. from abroad, it is important that the details of your academic activities during your filing fee quarter are documented as you will not be enrolled in any coursework.

The purpose of this documentation is to explain your academic activities in compliance with recent SEVP guidance. You will not be required to submit this documentation to the Dashew Center; however, you should have it on file to submit to immigration authorities (e.g. CBP, USCIS, ICE, etc.) in case of any of questions or inquiries pertaining to your filing fee quarter.

8. Will my F-1 status be terminated if I drop my classes, declare non-attendance, or file for a leave of absence?

Yes, F-1 students who are not enrolled full-time for fall quarter will not be able to maintain their F-1 visa status and their SEVIS records will be terminated by the end of the add/drop deadline for fall quarter.

9. Does the 5-month rule apply to me if I continue to take online classes for fall 2021 from abroad?

If you maintained valid F-1 status through continuous full-time enrollment while overseas, the 5-month rule does not apply to you.

10. Do I need to apply for a new F-1 visa if I have been outside of the U.S. for more than 5 months?

If you maintained F-1 status through continuous full-time enrollment while overseas, you will not be subject to the 5-month rule and will not need to apply for a new F-1 visa, if your F-1 visa will be valid for your planned re-entry to the U.S. The 5-month rule only applies if you did not maintain F-1 status while overseas and does not apply to visas. For more information about the 5-month rule please see the Study in the States website.

11. I am currently abroad with an expired F-1 visa. Can I apply for a new F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate?

As global conditions evolve, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services. The resumption of routine visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis. See the U.S. Department of State's website for more information.

12. Do I need a new travel authorization signature before departing the U.S.?

No, you do not need a valid travel authorization signature to depart the U.S.

Please remember that each travel authorization signature is valid for 1 year from the date it was last signed and must be valid at your time of re-entry to the U.S. You do not need to request a new travel authorization signature if the most recent travel signature on your current I-20 will be valid for your return to the U.S.

13. How can I request a new travel authorization signature?

Please submit an Online Travel Authorization Request Form to request a new I-20 with a new travel authorization signature. Your new I-20 will be issued electronically and emailed to you or issued in paper-format and shipped to your address. If you would like a paper-format I-20 shipped to you, please include your FedEx account number or eShipGlobal order number in your Online Travel Authorization Request; you will be responsible to cover shipping fees. For more information about I-20 shipping, please see our Shipping and Mailing Options.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You may submit an online travel authorization request only if the travel authorization signature on page 2 of your I-20 will be older than one calendar year (6 months if on OPT/STEM OPT Extension) at the time you plan to re-enter the U.S. A valid travel signature is NOT required to depart the U.S.

14. Can F-1 students engage in remote work for on-campus employment?

Please contact your hiring department or the UCLA Central Resource Unit for information about remote work eligibility.

15. Can I apply for CPT and work remotely?

We have changed our CPT request procedures due our transition to remote work. To apply for CPT, please submit a completed CPT Request Form and a copy of your employment/internship offer letter (must be issued on company letterhead and include: start date, end date, number of hours per week, and description of job duties demonstrating direct connection to student’s major and degree level) to dcissf1unit@saonet.ucla.edu . Please allow 15 business days for processing.

F-1 students may engage in CPT during their time abroad, provided they are:

  • Enrolled in a program of study in which CPT is integral to the program of study;
  • Their DSO authorized CPT in advance of the CPT start date; and
  • Either the employer has an office outside the United States or the employer can assess student engagement and attainment of learning objectives electronically.

16. How can I apply for OPT?

We have changed our OPT request procedures due our transition to remote work. To apply for OPT, please request an OPT I-20 from the Dashew Center and follow the OPT Application: Preparation and Mailing Instructions to mail your OPT application to USCIS. For more information, please see the OPT Online Workshop and the OPT Guidelines.

17. Can I travel abroad after applying for OPT?

Per recent communication from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you may depart the U.S. after USCIS receives your OPT application, but traveling during this time should be undertaken with caution. It is strongly recommended that you wait to receive your Receipt Notice in the mail from USCIS before departing the U.S. Please be aware that USCIS may send you a request for evidence while you are away, however, so you would want to make sure you have provided a correct U.S. address both to your DSO and on the application and would be able to send in requested documents. Also, if USCIS approves your OPT application, you will be expected to have your EAD in hand to re-enter the United States. Like a request for further information, USCIS will only mail EAD cards to U.S. addresses (including residential and P.O. Box addresses). If your OPT application is approved, your OPT start date has been reached, and you do not have qualifying employment while you are overseas, you will start to accrue unemployment time from your EAD card start date. Please visit ICE's website for more information.

18. Can I apply for OPT while outside the US?

USCIS has not issued any COVID-related accommodations that will allow OPT application filing while students are physically overseas.

19. Can students on OPT and the STEM OPT extension work remotely?

Students currently participating in OPT or the STEM OPT Extension may work remotely if their employer has an office outside of the United States or the employer can assess student engagement using electronic means. Students participating in STEM OPT do not need to submit an updated Form I-983 to report remote work.

20. Will there be an extension or suspension of the 90-day/150-day allowed period of unemployment for OPT and STEM OPT during the COVID-19 emergency?

U.S. Department of Homeland Security is evaluating this issue but has not yet determined whether to implement a specific exemption for exceeding the regulatory limits for unemployment of 90 days for OPT and 150 days for STEM OPT.

21. What if students on OPT are now working fewer than 20 hours a week due to the economic impacts of COVID-19?

For the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, SEVP considers students who are working in their OPT opportunities fewer than 20 hours a week as engaged in OPT. Students must be working at least 1 hour per week in a position that is directly related to their field of study, appropriate for their degree level, and does not violate U.S. labor laws.

22. How long will it take the Dashew Center to issue my OPT I-20 after I submit my request?

Our current processing time for OPT I-20 requests is 15 business days. Your I-20 will be sent to you via email or shipped to you via FedEx or eShipGlobal. For more information about OPT I-20 shipping, please see our Shipping and Mailing Options.