Dear New International Students,

We hope you and your family are doing well. We appreciate you taking the time to read our messages and continuing to communicate with us. It is a great pleasure for us to assist you. We have received many questions from new international students and your parents regarding the ability to defer your admission and I-20 start date. We wanted to share our official policy with you.

ISSS Deferral Policy

Purpose: In order to provide international students with additional opportunities to apply for a visa, make travel plans, obtain a visa, and enter the U.S., ISSS will implement a deferral policy for the purposes of changing the I-20 start date to a future semester. It is important to note that there is a difference between deferring an I-20 start date and deferring the admission. The I-20 start date is the basis for the initiation of the F-1 visa status. The admission date is the basis for the student to begin their enrollment. In most cases, the I-20 start date and the admission date will coincide. However, during extreme circumstances (COVID-19 or other emergencies), it may be necessary to defer the I-20 start date but not the admission start date, especially where a student may begin their enrollment online from their home country.

Policy: New international students who have been issued an initial I-20 may have their I-20 start date deferred to the following semester, year, or summer session. The deferral request must be initiated by the student with ISSS no later than 5 days before the first day of classes for the semester in which the student is admitted. New international students who do not communicate with ISSS and do not enter the U.S. by the last day to add a course or register within the semester they have been admitted risk losing their valid I-20 and/or F-1 status. Deferring the I-20 start date does not prevent the student from beginning their degree program and enrollment online. Deferring the I-20 start does delay the time period in which the student’s F-1 or J-1 visa status will begin. An international student in the F-1 or J-1 visa status may not enter the U.S. to begin a degree program online.

We have specific instructions on our ISSS website regarding the process to request a deferral of your I-20 start date. Please know that we understand how difficult this decision is for you and your families. We will make every effort to be flexible with deadlines, but we are limited to regulatory timelines. Please review our website and contact us if you have any questions.

Your ISSS Team