Frequently Asked Questions for F-1 Students

Please read the following frequently asked questions regarding advising, travel and student requests:

Admission Requirements

High School Graduation

English Language Proficiency


Financial Support Evidence

1. Do I need to show financial support evidence to be admitted for Fall 2020 even though I will be enrolling in online courses from my home country?   

Financial support evidence is not needed for new students who enroll in online courses from outside of the U.S. for Fall 2020. Financial support evidence will be required, however, to be issued an I-20 and obtain an F-1 visa for on-campus, in-person instruction for Spring 2021. Your college will communicate with you about this process.  If you are transferring from a U.S. institution, please contact the international office at your college for guidance about financial support evidence, a transfer I-20 and maintaining F-1 status. 

I-20s and F-1 Visas

1. Will DVC issue I-20s even if students are unable to apply for F-1 visas now?  

We are no longer issuing I-20s for Fall 2020 for new students outside of the U.S. given that we are planning for a combination of fully online and hybrid courses. Students who are transferring into DVC from other schools will be issued a DVC I-20.

4. What if I can’t get a visa appointment before the start of the Fall 2020 semester?

New students admitted for Fall 2020 who are outside of the U.S. should remain in their home country and, therefore, do not need a student visa. 

5. If I've already received an I-20 for Fall 2020, may I defer to Spring 2021?

Yes, an updated I-20 will be issued with a new program start date. 

8. If I defer to Spring 2021, do I need to prepare updated financial support documentation? 

If you have already been issued an I-20 for Fall 2020 yet have not obtained a visa, it is strongly recommended that you prepare updated financial support documentation for the visa appointment.  

9. If I’ve been issued an F-1 visa for Fall 2020, do I need a new visa if I defer to Spring 2021?  

Most likely not.  Please check the visa expiration date on your visa. You do not need a new visa if your current visa is valid past the date of entry into the U.S. 

10. When will I-20s be issued for Spring 2021?   
DVC will begin issuing I-20s in early August for Spring 2021.  

Online Instruction & Support

1. Will online classes be asynchronous (time zone difference does not matter)?

Mostly, though each class will have its own schedule. Students should check the scheduling notes to determine if a given class schedule includes synchronous instruction. Synchronous instruction would be on Pacific Standard (California) Time.   See #2 below.

2. How will students know which courses are asynchronous when looking at course descriptions?  
Asynchronous courses will have “ONLINE” included in the meeting days/times column, and no days or times will be listed. Also, the comments section will not include references to any required orientations or synchronous class sessions. Synchronous courses (offered only on specific days and on Pacific Standard Time) will list the days and times of instruction OR there will be specific synchronous meeting sessions listed in the comments section.  
3. What are operating system requirements for taking online courses?  
Students can use any operating system (PC, Mac, Android, iOS) for taking online courses.  
4. What are other technical requirements for taking online courses?  
It is recommended that students have access to a desktop or laptop with audio and video capability and reliable Internet access. Students may use mobile phones, though they will be expected to do extensive typing. 
5. What video software will online courses use?  
All courses will use Zoom software.  Students should contact course instructors to ask if any social media such as YouTube will be used that may be blocked (not accessible) in their region. 
6. How will students access online courses?  
All online courses will be on Canvas. Here are helpful Canvas and online learning links for DVC students:
9. Do students need to purchase textbooks for online courses? 
Yes, most online courses require the purchase of textbooks. Textbooks can be purchased online from the college’s bookstore or though Amazon, etc.  Some courses require the purchase of an online ‘course pack,’ which includes access to reading, exercises and quiz materials. Students are able to purchase online textbooks or course packs using a credit card. However, many courses use open online resources and do not require purchase of course materials. Those courses are designated as ZTC.   
10. How do I get counseling help to complete my student education plan? 

Students can book appointments online. Online drop-in counseling is also available. Please visit your college’s Counseling Center website for details. 

11. How do I register for online classes?  

Registration can be done online through InSite from your home country. Priority registration dates and times are listed in InSite under the Registration menu. Students may register for classes until midnight the day before the class begins. Fall 2020 classes begin August 24. 

12. Am I required to enroll in a full course of study (12 units) if I am outside of the U.S.?  

Newly admitted fall term 2020 students who are taking classes online from home are not required to enroll in a full course of study from outside of the U.S. However, we strongly encourage full-time enrollment due to the temporary provisions of U.S. immigration policy guidance during COVID-19. For additional questions, please contact the international student office at your college. 

14. By when do I have to pay the tuition for online courses?

Students should pay the tuition for their online classes as soon as possible. However, if they need to pay in installments or wait to pay, they will not be charged late payment fees. Students should note that if they have a balance on their account, a registration hold will be placed on their account, which will block them from being able to register for the following term. Once the tuition has been paid, this hold will be automatically removed from their account. 

15. Will students be allowed to attend the first few sessions of online courses before deciding whether to continue in or drop a course?  

Yes, students may try online classes for several sessions. Students are allowed to drop an online course at no charge. The deadline to drop a course is September 7 for the Fall 2020 semester. 

16. Will students be able to receive online tutoring?  

Yes, free online tutoring is available to all students through any Canvas course. 

17. How much time per week can students expect to spend for each online course?
Students can expect to spend 6 to 9 hours per week (on and offline) per every 3-unit course.  
18. What other online learning expectations should students be aware of?  
Students should be prepared to actively participate in online courses through frequent interactions with instructors and classmates. This includes contributing to online discussions.  


1. Will DVC offer an online orientation to replace the in-person orientation for Fall 2020?  

Yes. We will update future students (admitted for Fall 2020) when we have details about this online orientation.   

Health Insurance


Current International Students

How do I contact the International Student Office (ISO)?

Students must contact the ISO through the ISO email Please provide your full name and student ID number when emailing the ISO. You will receive a response in 1-3 business days.

PLEASE NOTE: All requests must be made using your DVC InSite email. Requests will not be processed if they are sent from a personal email address.

Stay connected:
Instagram: isoatdvc
Facebook: DVC International Student Office – ISO

What travel restrictions do I need to be aware of?

If you plan to travel outside of the US and are returning to the US, make sure to monitor travel restrictions and advisories:

Can I take classes online?

Due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, DVC is currently offering all courses and student services remotely. All summer term 2020 courses will be offered online. All fall term 2020 classes will be offered online or a hybrid format. Because courses will be offered online, students are permitted to take these classes online from their home countries or inside the US. Current students will need to maintain a full course load (12 units minimum) to maintain active F-1 status. 

Do I need a travel signature if I am leaving the US and planning to return?

You need to have the following documents with you when entering the US:

  • Valid passport and valid F-1 visa
  • Active I-20 (signature up to 1 year old is valid or signed copy)
  • Proof of enrollment (class schedule or transcript)

Due to COVID-19, Customs and Border Patrol (US Immigration)  is accepting I-20s with electronic or digital signatures and/or copies of signed I-20’s at the port of entry. Therefore, you can request a signed copy of your I-20 to be emailed to your Insite email account and you do not need to have your original document signed.

If I return to my home country, what happens with my I-20?

If you plan to return home, you must notify the ISO via email: . Include your full name and DVC ID number, as well as a description of your plan. We can keep your I-20 active if you continue full-time studies. During this time, you are permitted to be outside the US for more than five months and still keep an active I-20, as long as you are enrolled in at least 12 units.

Do I need a travel signature to travel outside the United States If I am not returning to the US?

No. Other than a valid passport, you do not need any documents or signatures to exit the US. You must inform the ISO via email if you plan to leave the US and discontinue or pause your studies.

As an F-1 student am I allowed to take my classes online?

Yes. Due to the current situation, US Immigration is allowing online instruction for F-1 students. You are permitted to take partial or fully online courses at this time. If and when schools resume normal in-person operations in a future term, existing F-1 regulations regarding online course limits will apply. 

How do I transfer my I-20 to my new university this fall if I am going back to my home country for summer?

You can request your SEVIS I-20 transfer process remotely, through email. Simply send us an email ( from your Insite email account. Attach a copy of your admission notice from the university in .pdf format (no .jpegs or other file types please).

Please include the following information:

  • Full name
  • DVC student ID number
  • School you will attend in the fall
  • Major
  • Home country
  • Other schools you were admitted to
  • Travel dates (when you will enter the US)

We will transfer/release your SEVIS I-20 record on the last day of the spring term (5/22/20).

Your new school will be in contact with you regarding sending you either a copy or original new I-20.

When you return to the US, you will need the following documents:

  • I-20 from the new school (copy or original)
  • Admission notice from your new school
  • Valid passport
  • Valid visa (it is ok if it says DVC or another school but it must not be expired)

After we receive your email request to transfer, we will reply to you with confirmation that the process is complete.

How do I transfer my I-20 to my new university this fall if I am staying in the US for summer?

You can request your SEVIS I-20 transfer process remotely, through email. Simply send us an email ( from your Insite email account. Attach a copy of your admission notice from the university in .pdf format (no .jpegs or other file types please).

Please include the following information:

  • Full name
  • DVC student ID number
  • School you will attend in the fall
  • Major
  • Home country
  • Other schools you were admitted to

We will transfer/release your SEVIS I-20 record on the last day of the spring term (5/22/20). Your new school will be in contact with you regarding sending you either a copy or original new I-20. After we receive your email request to transfer, we will reply to you with confirmation that the process is complete. 

 What if I get sick?

All international students are required to have health insurance. Therefore you do have health insurance and are currently covered through August 9, 2020.  If you are staying in the US for fall, you will be insured with a coverage start date of August 10, 2020. You will not be charged the insurance fee if you return home to study for the fall. 

If you have not downloaded your insurance card, you should do this now.

Please visit the GeoBlue Website to download your insurance card.

If you have any problems downloading your insurance card, please email the International Student Office at Please provide your DVC student ID number and full name.

Please visit the GeoBlue phone app or website for information on how to make an appointment to see a doctor.

How do I request documents: Enrollment verifications, letters, transfer eligibility forms, etc.?

Send an email to including your full name and DVC ID number. Please describe what you are requesting and attach any forms you need completed in pdf format. We will only accept requests and attachments from Insite email accounts (your school email address).

How do I submit my OPT application?
If you graduated in Spring 2020 or will be graduating in Summer 2020 and want to apply for OPT, schedule an appointment with an advisor using our online scheduling system: and select “Employment Information” as the appointment reason. Send an email to from your school email account with your full name and DVC ID number. Attach your completed I-765 form, G-1145 form, and G-1450 form (if paying fee by credit card). The advisor will review your documents during your phone appointment and create your OPT I-20 at that time. You will receive your OPT I-20 via email as a .pdf attachment and you will need to print and include it in your OPT application package.
How do I speak with an advisor? 

Zoom advising sessions will be available during regular advising appointment hours. Schedule a 15 minute appointment online through the website:

While advising services will be offered remotely, you will still be able to obtain authorization for below units (if eligible) as well as a full range of other advising topics and resources. Topics include: F1 Immigration Regulations, Travel, SEVIS Transfer, Employment Authorization (CPT & OPT), Health Insurance, and Below Unit Authorization (see "Can I get permission to be below 12 units" for more details.)

Can I get permission to be below 12 units?
In order to maintain F-1 status, international students are required to be enrolled full-time in at least 12 units during fall and spring semesters (summer enrollment is optional). Permission to drop below 12 units in fall or spring can only be granted for the following reasons: 
  1. First semester in the U.S.  
  2. Final semester in completing course of study: Degree or transfer program 
  3. Medical condition with letter from a doctor or off-campus counselor
Please note that authorization will not be given if the reason for dropping below 12 units is simply because a student does not want to take online classes or is not earning their desired grade in a class. If a student chooses to drop below 12 units and does not obtain the required authorization, they will be in violation of their F-1 status and their I-20 will be terminated. (Students inside the US will be required to exit and re-enter for a future term with an initial I-20. Students outside the US will no longer be in active status and will have to apply for an initial I-20 before they plan to return to the US).