Immigration Information for New International Students

These FAQs will provide answers to questions you might have about enrolling at Towson University as a new student. Below is immigration information for newly admitted students. NOTE: the information provided is subject to change as we receive updated or new guidance from the government.

Spring 2021 SEVP Guidance for New Students (No change from fall 2020)

Spring 2021 sees no change in the application of  SEVP guidance of March 9, 2020  and March 13, 2020. SEVP COVID FAQs last updated August 7, 2020 continue to apply.

New transfer students who are in the US, and who have remained in the U.S. between program completion at their previous institution and beginning their program at Towson are permitted to enroll in a full course load of online classes and remain in the U.S. 

New initial and new transfer students who are entering for the Spring 2021 semester from outside the U.S. will need take at least one in-person/hybrid course to enter the U.S. and maintain status. Learn more. 

New spring 2021 students— Listen to recording of ISSO Town Hall 

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Learn about TU’s COVID-19 response and planning.

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Can I have all online classes and still come to the U.S. to study?
As TU will return to in-person classes in Fall 2021, international students should enroll in a full-time in-person course of study. You may take one online class as part of your full-time course load in the fall. Students who anticipate needing to enroll in more than one online class must consult the ISSO directly. 

I have an assistantship or on-campus employment for the Fall 2021 semester. Can I complete my work from outside the U.S.?
Students have to be physically present in the U.S. to have an assistantship or on-campus position.  

Are U.S. Embassies and consulates open? Can I apply for an F-1 visa?
Each embassy/consulate will announce when they will re-open (if still closed) and when appointments will be available.  You will need to check the website of a particular embassy or consulate for the most up to date information about visa appointment availability. You will need an I-20 for your visa appointment.

Is the ISSO sending out hard copies/originals of I-20s to students?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has approved electronic signatures and documents.

We will be uploading the signed I-20 to your ISSO portal and sending it to your Towson University email address. Students entering the U.S. must print and sign their I-20 before traveling to re-enter the U.S.

The Department of State and DHS's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have confirmed that they will accept the print–out of electronic documents for visa appointments and for entry into the U.S.

NOTE: This is subject to change. The ISSO will keep you informed.

Will I be able to enter the U.S.? Am I allowed to enter the U.S.?
Please check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for restrictions on the entry of certain travelers into the U.S.

How do I stay updated about my F-1 or J-1 changes?
Incoming international students are encouraged to regularly review the ISSO website and to check their e-mail messages from the ISSO. Any changes or new guidance will be reported on these platforms.

Transfer Students

What are the current restrictions on traveling and returning to the U.S.?
Many countries still have travel restrictions in place. If you choose to travel outside the U.S., you may be unable to return as soon as you would like (see I am currently outside of the U.S., will I be able to enter the U.S.? question) and/or may be subject to COVID testing and/or quarantine requirements upon your return.

Additionally, if you need to renew your visa while at home, U.S. embassies and consulates visa services are still delayed. Check the website of the particular embassy or consulate for the most up to date information about visa appointment availability. 

You should review the travel information from the U.S. government and from your own government for additional information and guidance. 

I need to renew my visa. When will U.S. Embassies and Consulates reopen?
Please see the question above: Are U.S. Embassies and consulates open? Can I apply for an F-1 visa? 

Last Updated May 17, 2021.