Dear Colleague,

These past few weeks have been particularly challenging for our international student community in regards to the Broadcast message released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on July 6. But, as you are aware, that guidance has been rescinded and will no longer take effect. 

Based on the court resolution, ICE agreed to revert to a policy that existed in March and just a few days ago, on July 24, ICE issued Clarifying Questions for Fall 2020.  In an effort to prepare for fall and best support our international students, I’m writing to summarize our interpretation of the latest ICE guidance and share other pertinent updates and information.

New Students

  • New international students with an initial SEVIS I-20 may enter the United States to study if the student’s schedule is not 100% online. Students with I-20 marked “initial attendance” taking at least one in person class may study in the United States.
  • New international students outside of the US may take classes 100% online while they remain outside of the US.  International students do not need an F-1/J-1 visa or legal status in the US to begin their programs from overseas. Their legal status will be activated when they come to the US in a future semester.
  • New students in the US (transferring their SEVIS record to Rutgers or changing status to F-1/J-1 for the fall) may take classes 100% online and maintain their legal F-1/J-1 status.

Returning/Continuing Students

  • Returning/continuing students outside the US may take a full course-load of online credits offered by Rutgers and can maintain their legal F-1/J-1 status while abroad.
  • Returning/continuing students in the US may take classes 100% online and maintain their legal status. 

Visa Services 

The Department of State announced a phased resumption of routine visa services on July 14, 2020. The resumption of visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis so long as it safe for Department of State personnel to return to work. Students should check with the specific consulate site to its operations by going to

The proclamations from the White House restricting certain travelers from entering the United States due to COVID-19 remain intact. Notably, the Department of State announced on July 16, 2020 that F-1 international students would be exempt from the proclamations banning certain travelers from the Schengen Area, UK, and Ireland.

International Student Fall Plans Survey

OIS will be administering a survey to all international students regarding their Fall 2020 Plans. The survey, which should take only a few minutes for each student to

complete, requires the following information:

  • Contact information (name, RUID, preferred email address, preferred phone number, and optional WeChat account)
  • Academic information academic level, school, and approximate date of completion)
  • Current location (inside or outside the United States, as well as plans for international travel)
  • Enrollment plans for Fall 2020

The information gathered from this survey will be used by OIS to support students and prepare for the fall semester. Based upon each student’s response, the OIS will take appropriate action and we will reach out to individual students for personalized follow-up when necessary. For any students who do not respond to the survey, the OIS will construct a plan

for individual outreach, and we may call upon our colleagues in the academic departments for your assistance.

International Student Orientation

Our international student orientation program will take place during the last week of August. This year’s program will be presented on WebEx and Canvas.

I think that’s all for now. As new information becomes available, we will be sure to keep you posted and update the OIS website and FAQs accordingly. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my team at Thanks and have a good rest of the week!


Elizabeth Atkins, Associate Dean