On January 29, 2020, SEVP issued Broadcast Message 2001-05, its first in a series of Coronavirus guidance messages. It is reproduced below, and available on the ice.gov website.

Make sure to read this first Broadcast Message in the context of the subsequent SEVP guidance that amends, clarifies and supplements it. Consult the ICE/SEVP COVID-19 Resource Page.

Broadcast Message: 2019 Novel Coronavirus and F and M nonimmigrants

To: All SEVIS Users
Date: Jan. 29, 2020
Number: 2001-05

General Information

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is receiving questions from schools and individuals about how the nationwide response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) will impact F and M students and their accompanying dependents.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is the primary resource for up-to-date information on all diseases and biological threats. CDC information about this virus is available at About 2019Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Additionally, many state and local government public health agencies are developing directions, and state educational systems are incorporating this information into their messaging for schools. Identify and refer to these resources in the management and enrollment of students traveling from 2019-nCoV impacted places. Additionally, advise students traveling from 2019-nCoV impacted places to refer to guidance from the CDC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection about specific port of entry screening processes.

If your school has international students who are currently outside of the United States in impacted places or who are exhibiting symptoms of 2019-nCoV:

  1. Initial students:
    1. Delay their program start date and issue a new initial Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status."
  2. Active students:
    1. You may authorize a medical reduced course load. The student will need to provide medical documentation from a doctor. The DSO would then register the student in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for a medically reduced course load with no course load.
    2. You may terminate their SEVIS records for authorized early withdrawal upon the student's request.
  3. Students on temporary absence:
    1. You may advise them not to travel to the United States until they can re-enroll in a full course of study.
    2. If the delay in a student's return from a temporary absence exceeds the five- month limit, you should provide details to the SEVP Response Center at [email protected]. SEVP will resolve these on a case-by-case basis.

If your school has students currently inside the United States who are exhibiting symptoms of 2019-nCoV:

  1. If it is not possible for the student to enroll for this term, please follow step 2a above to authorize a medically reduced course load.

  2. Please have the student follow the directions from the CDC: What to do if you are sickwith 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).


To comment on this Broadcast Message, please email [email protected] with “Broadcast Message 2001-05 Comment” entered in the subject line.


This Broadcast Message is not a substitute for applicable legal requirements, nor is it itself a rule or a final action by SEVP. It is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil or criminal matter.