Dear students and scholars,

I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on how the College will continue to support the TC international student and scholar community during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Online classes: Classes will be conducted online through the remainder of the spring semester. Be sure to check your TC email account for updates on classes and other matters. Be assured that your immigration status will not be affected in any way by this change in the delivery format of instruction. In addition, we want you to be aware that:

  • Full-time enrollment rules continue to be in effect for F-1 and J-1 students
  • You can temporarily engage in distance-learning either from within the U.S. or outside the country

The OISS staff is working closely with SEVP, the U.S. Department of State, and other pertinent U.S. government agencies to ensure that your immigration status remains valid.

International Travel: Given the fluidity of the response to the global outbreak, we recommend that you keep the following in mind, if you intend to travel outside the U.S.:

  • As of March 12, the U.S. has banned all travel from mainland Europe for the next 30 days. For additional information, please refer to the TC Emergency Preparedness website
  • The U.S. has implemented restrictions on reentry for non-citizens from the following countries: China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Turkmenistan. For additional information please refer to the TC Emergency Preparedness website
  • Travel restrictions can change very quickly. The College cannot predict which countries, if any, will be added to the list.
  • An absence of 5 months or more from the U.S. will require you to obtain a new I-20 or DS-2019 and would restart the clock on your immigration status, as per federal regulations
  • Be sure to visit the Department of State COVID-19 Country Specific page for information, including embassy/consulate closings
  • Review the Travel and Re-entry information on the OISS website for information on what documentation is needed to reenter the U.S.
  • Consult and contact your home country‚Äôs embassy/consulate updates

Pilot Work-from-Home policy: OISS staff will be working remotely until further notice. While our office doors are closed, we will be providing the following services from home:

  • Monitor and respond to all email communications, including requests for appointments
  • Offer appointments via Zoom teleconferencing
  • Review and process all applications submitted through TC-Compass
  • Respond to telephone inquiries
  • Provide Employment webinars via Zoom teleconferencing

Self-Care: we urge everyone in the community to practice self-care during this time in order to stay healthy. With that in mind, here are some additional resources available to you:

TC Student Health and Welness


TC Department of Public Safety: (212) 678-3333

Columbia Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS): 

 Columbia Health:

 Office of the University Chaplain:

Above all, stay healthy


Yocasta Brens-Watson

Director, OISS