ISSO COVID-19 Newly Admitted Student FAQs

Please find below answers to immigration-related questions. Be aware that this situation is fluid and federal guidance may change. We will update this information as needed.

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Newly Admitted Student FAQs

Applying for a Visa

On July 14th, 2020, the Department of State indicated that U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services. For the latest status of visa processing at your nearest U.S. Embassy, refer to the U.S. Embassy website for details and check the Department of State's U.S. Visa News.

If you have an unexpired visa in your passport, you do not need to apply for a new visa. You may enter the U.S. with the unexpired F-1 entry visa, even though the previous institution’s name is listed on it. Bear in mind that the F-1 entry visa is valid to enter the U.S. only until the expiration date listed on the F-1 entry visa. You will still need to apply for an I-20 issued by Columbia.

Arriving for Fall B or Spring 2021

The ISSO will reach out to you in August to provide you with instructions on obtaining a new I-20 electronically. You will not need to pay the COE Processing Fee again.

The ISSO will reach out to you in August to provide you with instructions on obtaining a new I-20 electronically. You will not need to pay the COE Processing Fee again. Note: this program structure of Fall A and Fall B may not pertain to your program.

Change of Status

Review the information on applying to change your status in the U.S. Typically the ISSO recommends that you travel abroad to apply for your F-1 visa. Given the current uncertainties regarding visa processing and travel restrictions, if you are considering changing your status in the U.S., the ISSO strongly encourages you to work with an experienced immigration attorney.

Deferring Admission Offer

If you are unable to obtain a visa or will arrive late you should contact your department and request information on your options for attending at a later time.

You should contact your department and request information on your options for attending at a later time. We are currently accepting I-20 applications for Fall 2020 only. We will begin accepting I-20 applications in October 2020 for Spring 2021, and in March 2021 for Fall 2021.

You should contact your department and request information on your options for attending at a later time. The ISSO will reach out to you in August to provide you with instructions on obtaining an updated I-20. You will not need to pay the COE Processing Fee again. Your SEVIS ID number will remain the same. Therefore, if you have already paid the SEVIS Fee, you will not need to pay it again.

You should contact your department and request information on your options for attending at a later time. The ISSO will reach out to you in August to provide you with instructions on obtaining a new I-20. You will not need to pay the COE Processing Fee again.

Transfer Students

The ISSO will issue your transfer I-20 as long as your current SEVIS record is active and can be transferred to us by your current institution. As of July 15th, 2020, you should be able to stay in the U.S. and take classes in a hybrid or online only format. When we have further information we will email all our impacted students and will update this page as well.

At this time we are still waiting for updates from the government confirming transfer students' ability to study remotely. However, studying virtually from overseas and maintaining an active SEVIS record does not seem likely. When we have further information we will email all our impacted students and will update this page as well.

If you are abroad, given the current uncertainties regarding visa processing and travel restrictions, the ISSO is unable to predict when the restrictions will be lifted and when students will be permitted to re-enter the U.S. When we have further information we will email all our impacted students and will update this page as well.

Transfer Students for Programs that Offer Fall Term A and B

Transfer students in the U.S. must enroll in the next available term. Therefore, you should start your program in Fall A. You cannot choose to begin your program in Fall B. Note: this program structure of Fall A and Fall B may not pertain to your program.

Transfer students in the U.S. must enroll in the next available term. Therefore, you should start your program in Fall A. You cannot choose to begin your program in Fall B. Note: this program structure of Fall A and Fall B may not pertain to your program.

If you are currently employed on OPT, you may choose to transfer for Fall B. Your OPT will end when your record is transferred to us. Students on OPT cannot begin a new program prior to their transfer date (you may not begin your program online during Fall A). Note: this program structure of Fall A and Fall B may not pertain to your program.

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Related Resources

Please refer to the University’s COVID-19 Resource Guide for an official announcement and reach out to your school.

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