International Student FAQ

This Information page will be updated frequently. Please revisit often.

  1. I am an international student. Do I have to leave Penn?

    Depopulating campus and completing the semester with virtual classes is an important step Penn is taking to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    International students from Level 3 countries who are living in University housing will be permitted to stay on campus.  All other international students living in University housing must plan to return home unless there are special circumstances that necessitate that they remain on campus. Students requesting to remain in residence must fill out a form at this portal (  by Noon, Saturday March 14. The deadline to leave campus housing is Tuesday, March 17 at 8:00pm.

    International students who live off campus are encouraged to leave the area. Penn is aware that these are economic and personal decisions for international students. Please consult with your family and landlord.

  2. I am an international student. Do I have to leave the US?

    There is no requirement for you to leave the US.

  3. I am planning to leave the US. What immigration documents do I need to have before leaving?

    Check that the travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019 is valid. Ensure you have your original immigration documents (passport and visa) and that they are valid.

  4. How do I get a travel signature?

    Follow the normal travel signature procedure by completing the travel signature request e-form in iPenn. ISSS staff will sign the form, process it, and mail it to you. Please do not come to ISSS. Practice social distancing.

  5. Will the five-month out-of-country rule impact my immigration status if I leave the US?

    As long as you maintain a full course load online and make normal progress towards your degree, the five-month rule will not impact your immigration status.

  6. Will the online courses impact my immigration status?

    Due to the extenuating circumstances, SEVP guidance dictates that you may continue to maintain a full-time course load in an online format without negative implications for your immigration status.

  7. Will ISSS be open for the rest of the semester?

    Please check our website ( for up-to-date hours of operation.

  8. If I am abroad, but have a summer internship, can I apply for CPT?

    Yes. You may apply for CPT as your school allows as long as you have a confirmed internship offer and you meet the CPT requirements for the summer.

  9. If I am abroad, can I apply for OPT?

    You must be in the US at the time of your OPT application. If you are completing your degree program this May, you must return to the US by May 18th, 2020.

  10. If I have already applied for OPT, can I leave the U.S.?

    We do not recommend leaving due to widespread and rapidly changing travel restrictions.

  11. I applied for OPT and I am abroad, should I come back to the U.S.?

    This is dependent on the current travel restrictions and your personal housing situation.

Page last updated March 12, 2020 - 10:31am