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Immigration guidance for CCA Spring 2021 hybrid classes (October 2020)

Immigration has not updated its policies for spring 2021, and so this information is based on guidance for fall 2020. There is no anticipated date for the issuance of spring 2021 guidance, which may be more lax, more restrictive, or the same as for fall 2020.

If policies remain the same for spring 2021, current Homeland Security guidance will restrict the ability of new international students and students returning from leave of absence to enter the United States if they are enrolled in 100% online classes. This impacts any CCA international student who is currently outside the United States who was not attending in-person classes at CCA before the pandemic. Such students can be issued I-20 paperwork to apply for the F-1 student visa to enter the US only if they are enrolled in a course with an in-person requirement.

ISAP is receiving feedback that students are being asked during visa interviews to show documentation of specific details related to the in-person requirements of their hybrid classes. Immigration officials are taking this very seriously. ISAP is recommending that students take documentation of their CCA hybrid class with them to their visa appointment and that the stated requirements of in-person meetings be very clear.

So that students can demonstrate that their courses are truly hybrid, instructors should identify in-person requirements in their course syllabi or course section page on Portal. This will make it easier for a student to prepare for a visa appointment or for a chair or ISAP staff member to draw from documentation if asked to provide a letter for immigration officials confirming that a course is hybrid.

What criteria are immigration officials likely to look for in a hybrid class?

  • The course must include both in-person and online required components.
  • A student enrolled in a hybrid course must only be able to meet the in-person requirements with physical presence.
  • The in-person component is integral to successful completion of the course.
  • All students enrolled in the hybrid course are subject to the same in-person requirements. Students that are unable to meet the in person requirements of the course should be enrolled in an online only course.

Instructors are advised that a class that a student can successfully complete without in-person attendance would not be a suitable means of fulfilling the hybrid-class requirement for student visa purposes. For example, a class that only requires three in-person meetings with an instructor but allows the student to miss multiple meetings without negative impact on grading essentially renders in-person attendance to be optional rather than required. Such courses raise issues for international student enrollees and/or CCA’s authorization to host future international students.

Information for employers: Applying for a social security number (SSN) during COVID-19

For employers: Since COVID-19, the Social Security Administration has requested that students have evidence of employment, such as a letter from their employer. You must sign and date the letter and it must include the following details:

  • Student's job title
  • Employment start date
  • Number of hours the student will be working
  • Supervisor’s name and phone number

We have created a template on CCA letterhead for employers to follow and it can be found in the Resources section of this page. Please make sure to alter the letter and replace the highlighted sections so that it reflects the student’s position.