COVID-19 Updates

General Information

The following is information for F-1 Students:

A priority of the Office of International Students and Scholars is the health and safety of all of our students. Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 around the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of State (DOS) travel advisories, and President Trump’s Proclamation on March 11, 2020, California Lutheran University is working to modify our operations in response to the developing situation. Campus updates are provided through the Cal Lutheran Covid 19 website.

Campus updates are provided through the Cal Lutheran Covid 19 website.

 Below are some FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) that are prepared for our international F-1 community members. OISS is available via:

We do not have walk-in office hours at this time.

Please review our updates below. Do not hesitate to outreach to us with any questions!  


Since my classes are administered in a virtual format, can I leave the country and maintain my F-1 visa status? 

Yes. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has made an exception during this time that allows you to continue your courses using a virtual format from outside the U.S.A. and maintain an active F-1 visa and SEVIS record. This fall courses will continue in a virtual format for all students. International students must continue to take a full course load in order to maintain their F-1 visa status whether within the U.S. or abroad.  Note: The 5-month out of country regulation has been suspended for students maintaining their F-1 visa status by being fully enrolled an registered in SEVIS each term/semester.

Do I have to move off-campus? 

No, the University’s Campus Housing will remain open for students who continue to need housing even if the campus were to close. As such, international students who live on campus are eligible to remain on campus. Food service remains available as well from Sodexho as a "to go" option.

Is the OISS open and can I access the services needed for my immigration status?

Yes, the OISS remains open to meet all your immigration needs,but not through a walk-in process. There is an advisor available for phone appointments. Letters and new I-20s will be emailed during this COVID-19 crisis time unless you request an original document to be mailed and provide a U.S. address only.  Email OISS Sr. Director Dr. Juanita Hall at for guidance on submission of paperwork.


NOTE: The general university resources will be available, however, many will not be offered in-person. Most offices are including phone, email, and virtual options to access campus resources (e.g., library, counseling, academic services, international services, etc.). The gym/fitness center and aquatic center are closed due to county policy. Please go online and/or call the office you require support from before physically going to their office location.   


If I leave the United States, will I be allowed to return? 

It depends. The U.S. government keeps expanding the list of travel bans without extensive notification. The best course of action is to check the Department of State’s Travel Registry updates regarding Covid 19 and/or the specific country-reference information available online. Those allowed to enter the country will be subjected to a 14-day self-quarantine unless from a few select countries.

What do I do if I travel overseas and then want to return to campus?

First, the ability to return is not guaranteed.  If you left the USA and/or went to a high-impact area in the United States, please note that before returning to use the Cal Lutheran campus resources, all travelers (faculty, staff, and students) need to follow CDC guidelines for self-quarantining for 14-days. Various airports are designated for screening sites. Students with on-campus housing can quarantine on campus in the designated quarantine halls.  Check with residence life at for details.  Others can quarantine in their off campus accommodations or a local hotel.

How is California Lutheran University monitoring this situation on-campus? 
For the latest updates on the University response to the COVID-19 please continue to monitor your Cal Lutheran university email account for messages from the university. You should also visit the Campus Alerts webpage to read Cal Lutheran’s COVID-19 updates:  



Can I collect unemployment if I get laid off?

Each state has its own eligibility requirements.  If you meet the general eligibility requirements as determined by California Employment Development Department (EDD), you may be eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits (usually partial benefits) notwithstanding your F-1 visa status.  While USCIS has relaxed pubic charge considerations related to receipt of certain government-provided medical benefits related to COVID-19, it has not relaxed those considerations with regard to government-provided income replacement benefits, such as unemployment insurance.  These decisions are made by government entities, the EDD and USCIS, on a case-by-case basis using criteria that are subject to change. As such, Cal Lutheran strongly recommends that you understand the pros and cons before applying for government-provided benefits of any kind.  As a reminder, Cal Lutheran cannot change decisions made by either California's EDD or USCIS.



Am I eligible for a stimulus check?

The U.S. government stimulus checks are intended for U.S. tax payers who are filing as residents.  Most international students file as non-residents in accordance with the tax laws.  On occasion, students mistakenly file as  U.S. residents using such programs as Turbo Tax.   In other cases, international students who have established legal presence for tax purposes (beyond 5 years in U.S.) will file as residents.  In the case of a mistaken filing, the student is not entitled to the stimulus check.  Sprintax (software for international students) has provided the following guidance to determine eligibility: 

a.       US Residents for tax purposes
b.      Adjusted Gross Income between $75,000 and $99,000 (increasing for head of household and married filing jointly)
c.       Valid social security number
d.      Not claimed as dependent on someone else’s return
For additional information, check out these links:
What if my country's border is closed and I graduate or complete OPT?

International students have a 60 day grace period following graduation and at the end of OPT.  If your country has travel restrictions that prevent you from traveling home you have 3-4 options:

1. Contact your Embassy to assist you with travel arrangements.

2. File for a change of status with USCIS to obtain a tourist visa before the end of the 60 day grace period, hiring an immigration attorney to help you with the process. 

3. Apply for OPT if just graduated even if you do not plan to work.  You would need to apply before the end of the 60 day grace period and it will buy you and additional 3 months.  The cost is $410 plus an application appointment.

4. Be accepted into a new educational program during that 60 day grace period and be prepared to begin the program with the next available start date.