LAST UPDATED 3/19/2020
This FAQ is for general information purposes only and is subject to change. Please discuss your individual circumstances with Lauren Seo, Senior International Student Advisor (email: Lauren.Seo@woodbury.edu, phone: 818-252-5265) if you plan to travel or in advance of any change in the terms of your approved program or practical trainings.
On March 2, 2020, the U.S. President imposed travel restrictions for immigrants and non-immigrants who have been in China or Iran during the 14 days prior to attempted entry to the United States. While this is expected to be a temporary measure, it is unknown how long this restriction will be in place and if it will be extended to include other countries.
On March 11, President Trump signed a proclamation that restricts travel to the United States from foreign nationals who have recently been in the 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). This does not apply to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
On March 14, President Trump signed a proclamation that restricts travel to the United States from foreign nationals who have recently been in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This does not apply to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
International travelers are facing tighter restrictions at airports as the number of countries denying entry to passengers who have recently visited China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Japan and other countries with reported cases of coronavirus increases.
To minimize risk, International Student Services provides the following travel guidelines for international students:
Yes, the Department of Homeland Security issued notices of arrival restrictions on February 2, 2020, and March 2, 2020, directing all inbound flights to the U.S. from China and Iran to be re-routed through one of the following airports:
CDC has issued several travel advisories concerning coronavirus (COVID-19) as follows:
Countries that have a Level 3 Travel- Avoid Nonessential Travel Health Notice (widespread, ongoing transmission):
You are strongly encouraged to reconsider any nonessential international travel plans, including Spring Break plans. A decision to cancel traveling should be based on advice and situation reports from the World Health Organization, advisories from the U.S. State Department, and notices from CDC. You can search for official updates on the country where you intend to travel on the CDC’s Travel Health Notice page and monitor airline service and immigration policy updates to consider alternative plans, if warranted.
If you are not able to cancel your travel plans and are not considered to be at high risk for severe illness, please keep in mind that there is a possibility you may get stuck in a foreign country. This may be due to a country’s restriction on where individuals can visit or whether anyone is allowed to enter from affected areas.
If you do decide to still travel to an impacted area:
There are very limited options for international students with F-1 visas to keep their SEVIS status active while outside the U.S. during an academic term (Fall and Spring)
You should contact your faculty advisor and/or academic advisor to discuss whether any academic contingency plans are feasible while you are abroad. In some cases, it is possible to take classes online while abroad to avoid disruptions and delays, if available.
Another option may include obtaining a leave of absence (LOA). If you plan to request for an LOA, contact the Lauren Seo, Senior International Student Advisor (email: Lauren.Seo@woodbury.edu, phone: 818-252-5265) immediately to discuss the immigration implications and procedures. The Department of Homeland Security has yet to make any exceptions for students who cannot return to the U.S. because of the current travel restrictions.
You may submit a request to Lauren Seo, Senior International Student Advisor (email: Lauren.Seo@woodbury.edu, phone: 818-252-5265) for consideration of a reduced course load for medical reasons. This is an exception to the normal full-time enrollment requirements for students who are unable to maintain their full-time studies for a medical reason. Currently, there is no new regulatory relief under U.S. immigration law or regulations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
You have three options:
|Final semester at WU||Last day of 60-day grace period|
|Spring 2020||July 14, 2020|
|Summer 2020||October 15, 2020|
|Fall 2020||February 13, 2021|
You may stay in the U.S. on an expired F-1 visa as long as you maintain the immigration status by having a valid I-20 and meeting enrollment requirements. A valid visa stamp is only needed at the time of entry into the U.S., with very limited exception.
Please contact the Senior International Student Advisor via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 818-252-5265 if you have questions regarding your visa or immigration status.
Generally no, but discuss your specific situation with the Senior International Services Advisor. International students on an F-1 visa are generally permitted to remain in the U.S. during the transfer pending period, including the summer between completion of one program and the start of a new program, if the following criteria are met:
You should avoid travel to China, South Korea, Italy, Iran or any other regions with CDC Level 3 travel warnings, if at all possible unless you are willing to accept the travel restrictions above. Finding a flight to one of these regions may be challenging, based on current restrictions and limited airline operations. If you are able to get to one of these regions, understand that you will likely be subject to the travel restrictions and may not be able to return to the U.S. as planned. If/when the travel restrictions are lifted, there could be difficulty obtaining a flight to return to the U.S. Additionally, if you need a new visa from the U.S. Embassy/Consulate, there could be a backlog which could increase the time it takes to get a visa.
Unfortunately, there is no regulatory relief available to students in this situation, and such individuals are expected to depart the U.S. by the end of the grace period. Discuss your limited options with the International Student Advisor immediately, which may include:
WU adheres to the guidance from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which is a unit within the Department of Homeland Security that oversees the F-1 international student visa program. Due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, SEVP recently issued guidance to universities that allows for increased flexibility to ensure international students can continue their academic progress. Universities can implement temporary adjustments such as moving to online instruction without negatively impacting the immigration status of enrolled international students.
We recognize that the situation with COVID-19 may be stressful for members of our community, especially those with family and friends in other areas of the world. The Woodbury University community is here to support you. International students can find resources at woodbury.edu/student- life/living/safety-security or get in contact with the Senior International Student Advisor at Lauren.Seo@woodbury.edu or 818-252-5265, or email HelpDeskCampusSecurity@woodbury.edu
U.S. Department of State COVID-19 Country Specific Information