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New Initial F-1 Students and Study at MCPHS

For the both the Fall 2020  and Spring 2021 terms , the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is using the March 2020-issued guidance. The MCPHS University Office of Immigration and International Support Services has prepared the following Frequently Asked Questions on that guidance for students in new or initial status. In addition, you may also refer to the latest SEVP FAQs for this guidance, which were issued on July 24, 2020.

Can I apply F-1 visa and study as an F-1 student in the MCPHS Hybrid program?

For the F-1 visa appointment, the decision as to whether an individual is eligible to apply for an F or M visa is made by the U.S. Department of State (not SEVP). However, per the March 2020 guidance, nonimmigrant students seeking to enroll in a program of study that includes in-person and online components that exceed the limitations at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G) (which contains a limitation on the number of online credit hours an F-1 student may take and have counted toward the student's full course of study requirement), are able to continue to maintain F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant status if pursuing such programs during the Spring 2021 semester.  

As a new initial F-1 student, can I take online-only classes and apply for an F-1 visa?

No. Currently, nonimmigrant students in New or Initial status will not be able to enter the United States, or obtain a visa, to enroll in a U.S. school for the Spring semester to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online.

Can I take online-only classes outside of the United States?

Yes, outside of the United States you can take online-only classes.

If my I-20 has already been issued, but I don’t come to the United States for the Spring 2021 semester, what will happen?

If you are planning on coming to MCPHS in-person for the Spring 2021 semester, please contact the Admission Office and Immigration and International Support Services to request that your I-20 start date be deferred to Fall 2021. Immigration and International Support Services will mail you your updated I-20 sometime in April or May for your F-1 visa appointment.

If my I-20 is deferred to the Fall 2021 semester, will I need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again?

No, you do not need to pay the fee again because your SEVIS Number will remain the same.

If I am already in the United States as an F-1 student, can I take online-only classes as a new F-1 student while in the United States?

If you are currently in the United States as an F-1 student and have completed your SEVIS transfer, and if you complete the SEVIS check-in with Immigration and International Support Services (more information to follow in August) you can enroll in either the hybrid program or online-only.

What if I am a new MCPHS F-1 student outside of the United States in my home country, I transferred my SEVIS I-20 record, and I have my new MCPHS I-20? Can I take classes online and still be in F-1 status?

Yes, you can take online classes. However, as set forth in the SEVP guidance issued in March 2020, your SEVIS record will not be registered for the Spring 2021 term.

How do I get my new I-20 for Spring 2021, if I am an MCPHS F-1 transfer student who started my Fall 2020 studies online outside of the U.S.?

If you are returning to the U.S. for the Spring 2021 semester,  before traveling to the U.S. you must contact Immigration and International Support Services at  internationalservices@mcphs.edu to request that your SEVIS I-20 be re-activated. Again, this must be done before your return travel to the United States, as you will need to have your updated I-20 record for Spring 2021.  ,

I am not planning on coming to MCPHS for Spring 2021 , but want to get a new I-20 for Spring 2021, and defer it to Fall 2021. Can I do this?

No, the SEVP Broadcast Message dated March 9, 2020 stated that Designated School Officials should not issue a Form I-20 for a student in new or initial status who is outside of the United States and plans to take fully online classes at a SEVP-certified educational institution. As a result, new or initial nonimmigrant students who intend to pursue a full course of study that will be conducted completely online will likely not be able to obtain an F-1 or M-1 visa to study in the United States under the current SEVP guidance.

Please contact Immigration and International Support Services at internationalservices@mcphs.edu if you have any additional questions.