As many of you are aware, this past summer witnessed considerable regulatory uncertainty regarding Fall 2020 visa and immigration requirements for international students. While this uncertainty was largely resolved by the end of July, the International Center wants to take this opportunity to confirm the following guidelines for international students holding "F-1" student visa status. These guidelines may be considered established until further notice and apply only to the Fall 2020 semester.
All F-1 international students who are studying in the US this fall, or participating in a Tufts study abroad program (Tufts@Oxford or Tufts@BNU), are expected to maintain full-time enrollment as a condition of maintaining valid F-1 student status
Reduced course load exceptions for first-semester academic adjustment difficulties or for documented illness may be granted with the approval of the International Center
New F-1 students who are planning to come to campus this fall are required to take a minimum of one in-person class or one hybrid class requiring at least partial physical attendance in instructional activities
New students who are unable to come to the US or who choose to remain outside the US this fall are not subject to full-time enrollment or instructional modality requirements, although they may be advised to study full-time for academic purposes
Continuing F-1 students are eligible to maintain their current immigration status by enrolling full-time in any set of courses, regardless of instructional modality, that will assist them in making normal progress toward degree completion
Continuing students can maintain active immigration status either by taking full-time classes inside the US or remotely from outside the US
Transfer students who are coming to campus directly from another US institution are treated in the same manner as continuing students
Students in Other Visa Classifications
While the majority of our international students enter and reside in the the US as F-1 students, other students may come to the US on the basis of other visa classifications and as such are not generally subject to the above requirements. Academic advisors are not responsible for ascertaining the immigration status of individual students, but should be aware that international students holding F-1 visas will be required to meet the requirements indicated above in order to maintain their immigration status.
The International Center is currently advising international students regarding their enrollment requirements for the Fall 2020 semester. However, please feel free to refer any student with visa or immigration related questions to the International Center, or arrange to have them contact me directly at Andrew.Shiotani@tufts.edu.
Andrew K. Shiotani
Director, Tufts International Center