COVID-19 FAQ for Viterbi International Students
Updated March 24, 2021
I understand your aspirations, your tenacity, and your dreams. We will continue pursuing all possible avenues and options to ensure that your education and degree progress will be affected as minimally as possible by the unprecedented pandemic and the ensuing actions.
2021 Summer/Fall First Semester Student
ISE and ITA Exam: The International Student English (ISE) Exam and International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Exam are free placement exams given to assess the English proficiency of international students at USC.
To find out if you are required to take the exams, check your letter of admission or I-20. Registrations are open now! After you sign up, you will receive more detailed instructions regarding taking the exams online. Students are either released from any ALI requirement (ALI 01 hold) or receive an ALI placement based on the exam results.
All new international students are required to complete Passport Verification (PPV) with the Office of International Services (OIS) before they can register for classes. The information and instructions below are based on the guidance provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the spring 2021 semester. DHS may change its guidance for summer 2021 without advance notice.
Students Admitted to USC for Fall 2021 — Information will be available in the next few weeks.
Students Admitted to USC for Summer 2020, Fall 2020, or Spring 2021 – Currently Outside the U.S.
The following information is intended for students who started their USC program from abroad and plan to remain abroad for summer 2021.
- Register for summer 2021 classes via Web Registration during your scheduled appointment time.
- Students who started their USC program from abroad in either summer 2020, fall 2020, or spring 2021 will see an OIS70 hold on their account. This hold does NOT prevent course registration.
- Complete PPV immediately upon entry to the U.S.*
- The OIS70 hold will be removed once you enter the U.S. as an F-1 student in the future and complete PPV.
USC does not defer admission, but you can have your application updated within one year of your original application term. Admission is not guaranteed, and updating your application requires review and admission for the new term. Please email the following information to the Viterbi Graduate Admission team(firstname.lastname@example.org) to request the update
- Student name and USC ID
- Date of birth
- The major you want to update admission term
As of spring 2021, as long as continuing students enroll in a full course load and maintain their immigration status, USC keeps their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records active even if they are outside the United States for more than five months.
Guidelines for Fall 2021 will be available soon.
For students who were admitted to Fall 2020 and/or Spring 2021 and took coursework online outside of the United States during the COVID-19 emergency:
In order to provide you a new I-20 for the semester you intend to arrive in Los Angeles for on-campus coursework, please make sure you complete this I-20 request form. Please make sure you follow the instructions on the from and complete it as soon as possible as it is a necessary step for USC to create your new I-20. If you have questions about the I-20 process, please contact USC Graduate Admission at email@example.com.
RCL - CPT - OPT
You can enroll in the online courses if you are outside of the U.S..
Current regulations state that you must be present in the United States when submitting your Optional Practical Training (OPT) and OPT STEM applications. You cannot mail your application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from abroad. You must be present in the United States at the time USCIS issues a receipt number to acknowledge acceptance of your packet.
The application requires an I-94 number, which is only valid while you are in the United States. If you depart the United States, you will not have a valid I-94 and your application will likely be rejected. If you are able to re-enter the United States before your I-20 program end date, you can apply for OPT up to 60 days after the program end date listed on your I-20.
USC and other universities have made this issue known to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and have urged the agency to provide special accommodations for OPT application rules due to the COVID-19 situation. We will share any updates as soon as they become available.