December 18, 2020 Message from ISSSO regarding spring 2021 - University of Houston
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December 18, 2020 Message from ISSSO regarding spring 2021

Dear Student,

Based on the information from SEVP, F-1 students should continue to abide by SEVP guidance originally issued in March 2020 and August 2020. The guidance enables schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the public health emergency generated by COVID-19. The March 2020 guidance applies to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020 and are otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, whether from inside the United States or abroad. Any initial student that entered the U.S. and/or became F-1 since March 9th, 2020 should continue to have at least one face to face or a hybrid class.

To summarize the information,

  • Continuing F-1 students who were in active SEVIS status with the same SEVIS ID number since spring 2020 (including U.S. transfer students and UH students changing degree level after spring 2020 and remained in the U.S.).

You can choose to take any courses to fulfill your full course load requirement, as long as you are making normal academic progress in your degree program, either in the U.S. or abroad. At this time, all of your courses may be fully online.

If you do not plan to maintain your F-1 status, please complete the F-1 Student Early Withdrawal Form and submit it to prior to January 19, 2021.

If spring 2021 is your final semester, this is a reminder that you will not be able to apply for OPT while outside the U.S., and you cannot re-enter the U.S. after the spring term ends.

  • Newly admitted students (including summer, fall 2020 and spring 2021) who were not in the U.S. or not in active SEVIS status in the spring 2020.
    • If you entered the U.S. or changed your status to F-1 after spring 2020, you must enroll for a full course load with at least one face-to-face or hybrid class in spring 2021. HyFlex courses do not count as face-to-face for spring 2021.
    • If you plan to enroll 100% online courses, you should take the coursework outside the U.S.; or if you do not plan to take any classes.

If you have any questions, please email, including your student ID and your SEVIS ID numbers.

*Any students from Iran, Syria and Crimea Region must contact ISSSO if you plan to take online courses outside of the U.S.

** Students traveling from international destinations to the University of Houston must self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival per the CDC Guidelines for international travelers and University protocol. For those students and scholars arriving from international destinations and who have confirmed contracts with Student Housing and Residential Life to reside on campus, please contact the Housing Office at or by office phone is 713-743-6000 to arrange for a space for your self-quarantine. For those students and scholars arriving from international destinations who are living off campus, you will be responsible for providing your own self-quarantine accommodations.