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Return to the Regular F-1 Visa Regulations


Starting in March 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS) implemented some exceptions to the normal F-1 regulations.

The pandemic exceptions were related to:

  1. The full course of study (FCS) requirements of the F-1 regulations, including a relaxing of the number of online credits that a student could count toward FCS.
  2. The option for continuing students to study 100% online from outside the U.S. without SEVIS record termination.
  3. Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment outside the U.S.Return to Normal F-1 Visa Regulations

On May 12, 2023, SEVP announced that the F-1 visa Covid-19 exceptions would end immediately.  

This means that normal (non-pandemic) F-1 regulations are now effective and that none of the pandemic exceptions are available to students with F-1 visas. 

GEO’s Updated Guidance

GEO’s guidance on this page has been updated to reflect the normal (non-pandemic) F-1 visa regulations.   In other words, the F-1 visa guidance at GEO’s website is current with U.S. government guidance.

Questions or Concerns

If you have any questions or concerns about the F-1 visa regulations, please send an email to GEO Immigration Services ( and one of our advisors will respond to you shortly.