Global Programs Office

Message of Support to Our International Students

(UPDATED July 15, 2020)

The Department of Homeland Security rescinded the SEVP Policy for Fall 2020 that would have threatened many International Students to Leave the U.S.

SFAI joins the higher education community in praising the result of the July 14’s hearing in court in a lawsuit brought by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, and joined by many other institutions across the country. In response to this lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT, the government agreed to rescind the guidance. At the hearing, the Department of Homeland Security revoked the July 6 policy directive (as well as an associated FAQ released July 7) requiring international students to have in-person coursework in order to remain in the U.S. The rescission means that the government reverts to guidance (issued in March 2020) allowing international students to remain in the U.S. while taking online full-course load only during the Fall 2020 semester.

We continue to strongly advocate on behalf of our international students to provide the necessary support they need to successfully engage in full-time study. Ana Suek, our Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) will continue to be available for individual inquiries as well:


For more information on Immigration Law and Policy updates, please visit the Announcements page.

The Global Programs Office is your resource to navigate the rules and regulations related to international student immigration status for F-1 student and J-1 participant visa holders. We are here to support you throughout your experience at SFAI, and welcome questions about any aspect of student life.

For questions or issues, please email the Global Programs Office to make an appointment.

F-1 Student Visa Holders

There are several U.S. government agencies responsible for maintenance of F-1 student visa status. The Study in the States website is your official U.S. government access point for all agencies involved with international student regulations and policy administration. It is the best resource for anything related to maintaining F-1 student visa status.

For specific SFAI policy information and international student requirements, please review the SFAI International Student Handbook.

J-1 Participant Visa Holders

SFAI J-1 participant visas are sponsored through the Institute of International Education (IIE), and an advisor from the IIE San Francisco office is assigned to our students.

Detailed information for J-1 participants may be found at the J-1 Visa Participants website.

SFAI has authorization under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students.