Return to Campus - Fall 2021

This webpage provides updates and guidance for all new and current Seattle Colleges international students.

- Last updated on September 2, 2021 -

Seattle Colleges will return from remote operations and begin offering limited on-campus classes and services in Fall Quarter 2021. Our three colleges, including our International Programs (IP) offices, will be open for in-person services starting on September 14, 2021. The schedule for the IP offices is below. Hours of operation for other on-campus offices and departments will vary.

Through Monday, September 13, 2021, Seattle Colleges and the IP offices will remain in remote operations. This means that campus buildings and offices are closed to the public, and all services are being offered virtually. IP staff remain available to assist students via email, phone, and through virtual online appointments. Our team is committed to supporting all new and current students towards completion of their academic goals and maintenance of their immigration status.

In Fall Quarter 2021, Seattle Colleges will offer classes in a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online formats. Students are encouraged to check the online class schedule for their campus (North | Central | South) to know the instructional format of their chosen class section.

In its continuing response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Seattle Colleges will put the following health and safety protocols in place:

Process and procedure details for Seattle Colleges to meet the vaccination guidelines are currently being developed and we will share more information when available. Please follow Seattle Colleges' current health and safety protocols. Students who need to come to campus must follow the campus access procedures outlined on our websites: North | Central | South.

Please click on the appropriate tab(s) below for further guidance. The information provided here is correct pending new announcements from Seattle Colleges.


International Programs offices will be open for limited in-person services starting on Tuesday, September 14, 2021. Hours of operation are detailed in the schedule below.

    October 04 through October 29    
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Virtual Services In-Person
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Virtual Services Virtual Services



On April 26, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announced that new and continuing international students should continue to follow the guidance issued in March and July 2020 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The following information is based on that guidance.

New Students

Starting Fall Quarter 2021, new students with an initial I-20 form will be allowed to enter the United States to study for in-person or hybrid classes. In order to maintain legal immigration status, new Fall students must take at least one in-person or hybrid class.

Students who will start in a program with face-to-face classes listed in the section below must come to the United States to take classes. Many classes will continue to be offered online.

Students who decide not to travel to the United States for Fall Quarter 2021 can still start their academic program by taking classes not on the list of face-to-face programs. An I-20 form and F-1 visa are not required to study online from outside the United States.

Issuance of Acceptance Materials

Admissions will provide digital copies of acceptance letters and other materials. At this time, the International Admissions Office is issuing I-20 forms for Fall Quarter 2021 and all future quarters. An I-20 form, and F-1 visa are not required to take online classes from outside of the United States. Students enrolling in one of the face-to-face programs below must travel to the United States and will require an F-1 visa and I-20 form.

All acceptance materials, including the I-20 form, will be issued in digital format. The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has made an exception to its normal policy and has allowed schools to send I-20 forms electronically to their students. I-20 forms are signed using a secure and encrypted digital signature. This I-20 form may be used to apply for a student visa just as you would use a paper form with an original signature.

English Proficiency Test

During the Covid-19 pandemic, ETS and IELTS are temporarily offering at-home editions of their proficiency tests. The tests are identical to ones offered at a test center, but taken on your own computer at home and monitored by a human proctor online. For more details, please visit and

Orientation and Placement Testing

Orientation and immigration check-in are required of all students before their first quarter of enrollment. To sign up for orientation, please visit

Orientation and placement testing activities will take place September 20 through September 24, 2021. All mandatory orientation and testing sessions will be provided online and we will have optional opportunities for students to come to campus.

Students without direct college placement must take a placement test before registering for classes. They will be able to register for classes once their test results are available.

If you need to contact our International Programs offices, please email:

North Seattle College -
Seattle Central College -
South Seattle College -



Online classes can be taught in two different ways:

- At the same time every day (called "synchronous" class, listed in the schedule as "virtual")
- At no specific time: students can do the work at any time (called "asynchronous" class)

Each instructor will decide how the class will be offered. Some will choose one way or the other, and some may teach the class in both ways. Students can try to contact the class instructor to find out if a class will be taught synchronously or asynchronously.

To prepare for both placement testing and online classes, students must have the following technology:

- Computer (desktop or laptop)
- Reliable internet access
- Web camera
- Speakers and microphone

In addition, students may want to have access to a printer, as students may be asked to print some class materials.

NOTE: Students should not plan to rely on a smart phone alone to participate in online classes.

Many teachers will use Canvas, an online learning system, and ask students to join the class through video-conferencing (Zoom/Skype/Google Meet/Microsoft Teams). Instructors will provide detailed expectations for their class and directions on how to set up / use these online systems.


Fall 2021 Classes

As noted above, continuing students who have been enrolled since March 2020 and have maintained status can continue to enroll in online classes in Fall Quarter 2021.

Continuing students who are outside the United States, have maintained full-enrollment, and have an active SEVIS record, can travel back to the United States for Fall Quarter 2021. They are encouraged to register for classes before travelling, bring a printed copy of their class schedule with them, and take precautions noted in the Travel section below.

Students who have not maintained an active SEVIS record should contact their advisor before they travel. If they need a new initial I-20 form, they must follow enrollment requirements for new students and register for in-person or hybrid classes.

Health Insurance


Health insurance is mandatory for F-1 students studying at Seattle Colleges and will automatically be added to your account when you register.

Students who are studying outside the United States may request to have the insurance charges waived. To request a waiver, students must attest that they will be outside the United States for the entire quarter, that they understand they will not have insurance coverage until the first day of the next quarter, and that they will not be covered for pre-existing conditions until 90 days after they resume coverage. Students interested in the waiver should contact the IP Office:

- North Seattle College:
- Seattle Central College:
- South Seattle College:

Staying Healthy

If you are sick, the most important thing you can do is take care of yourself in partnership with your doctor. As an international student, you have access to health insurance through the Lewer agency. Treatment of the coronavirus is covered under your healthcare plan, like other illnesses.

You have access to 24/7 medical advice by calling MyNurse (1-866-549-5076) to speak with a consulting nurse, or Teladoc (1-800-835-2362) to speak with a licensed doctor. For accelerated customer service, you can also use the Teladoc mobile App (IOS or Android) or website to request a visit, or to review information that will help you evaluate personal risk of COVID-19 and related complications.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, we recommend that you use the services listed above first, rather than go directly to a doctor's office. Also, make sure to set up your account on the website or mobile app, and provide your medical history. This will help accelerate your request(s) and allow doctors to prepare for your call/visit. If you do go to the doctor, you will need your health insurance card.

You also have access to Morneau Shepell (mySSP), an international counseling organization, offering culturally relevant mental health support to international students. MySSP is available 27/7 to support students, and can provide the following:

a. Advisors who speak the member's language and understand cultural needs.
b. Complete confidentiality, and availability for as many appointments as needed.
c. Accessible support via mobile interface, web chat and over the phone.

Students can download the mobile app, "MySSP", or call 1-866-743-7732. To initiate a mobile chat, students should visit, select their school and country of origin, then begin the chat.

Free Covid-19 Testing Sites

There are a few locations in King County that offer free COVID-19 testing, even if you have no insurance. You can find a location via the King County website:

Additional Student Resources

Seattle Colleges has information on additional resources for international students impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. For more details, review our dedicated PDF.



Students planning to travel should proceed very carefully. In response to the spread of coronavirus, many countries have implemented travel restrictions or bans, and/or quarantine orders.

Effective January 26, 2021, all air passengers two years of age or older arriving to the United States must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test or proof of receovery from Covid-19 before boarding. More information about the testing requirement is on the CDC website. You can refer to the CDC website for other restrictions on entry to the United States, and for guidance on how to travel safely during the pandemic.

Effective February 01, 2021, all travelers on transportation traveling into or within the United States must wear masks. More information about the mask wearing requirement is on the CDC website.

Students should check with their airline to see if they will be able to complete all portions of their itinerary, particularly if transit through another country is required before coming to the United States. Some countries have imposed restrictions related to Covid-19. The International Air Transport Association has a website providing travel restrictions by country.

If students plan on returning home and then coming back to the United States, we recommend that they check the website for the U.S. embassy in their country regularly, to stay up-to-date with any new developments.

Also, in case they cannot return, or choose to stay in their home country after returning home, students should contact their primary advisor to let him/her know of their situation. In order to maintain their immigration status, students may need to apply for a vacation quarter or leave of absence.



Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our Marketing and Outreach staff has shifted its efforts to online platforms at the present time and is actively participating in remote events and webinars. If you have any questions, inquiries, or proposal for us, please email



The following programs include face-to-face classes to satisfy regulatory or accreditation requirements. Students enrolling in one of the face-to-face programs below must obtain an I-20 form and F-1 visa and travel to the United States.

North Seattle College

- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Electronics
- Medical Assisting
- Pharmacy Technician
- Watch Technology

Please visit North's class schedule for more details.

Seattle Central College

- Boatbuilding and Repair
- Cabinet Making and Architectural Woodworking
- Carpentry
- Culinary Arts
- Dental Assisting
- Dental Hygiene
- Medical Assisting
- Nursing
- Nursing Assistant
- Respiratory Care
- Specialty Desserts and Breads
- Surgical Technology
- Visual Media

Please visit Central's class schedule for more details.

South Seattle College

The following Career Training programs will be offered in a hybrid model, in accordance with public health and social distancing guidelines:

- Automotive Technology
- Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT)
- Culinary Arts
- Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology
- Landscape Horticulture
- Welding Fabrication
- Wine technology

Please visit South's class schedule at for more details.


Enrollment in Classes

Q1: I am a current international student with an active SEVIS record. Can I study online for Fall Quarter 2021?

A1: Current students with an active SEVIS record may enroll in all online classes depending on their circumstances.

- Are you inside of the United States? If you are a current student with an active SEVIS record, you can take all online classes and maintain your visa status, as long as it is not your first quarter in the United States. You must enroll full time, or be officially approved for a reduced course load by your advisor. If Fall 2021 is your first quarter in the United States, you must take at least one in-person or hybrid class.

- Are you outside of the United States? If you are a current student with an active SEVIS record, you can enroll in online classes and maintain your visa status. You must enroll full time, or be officially approved for a reduced course load by your advisor.

- Are you enrolled in one of the programs with face-to-face classes? If you are enrolled in a program which requires in-person classes (listed above in the "Programs offered on-site / in-person" section), you must be in the U.S. to continue studying in this program.

Q2: I am a new international student admitted to Seattle Colleges for Fall 2021. Will I be able to start my studies as planned?

A2: Yes! You may study in Fall Quarter 2021, with the following conditions:

- International students with an initial I-20 form may enter the United States for Fall Quarter 2021. As a new student, you must take in-person or hybrid classes.

- If you are planning to enroll in one of the programs requiring in-person classes (listed above in the "Programs offered on-site / in-person" section), you will be eligible to enter the U.S. for study, as long as you have a valid visa.

- New international students may take classes 100% online from outside of the United States. You do not need an I-20 form or an F-1 visa to study online from outside the United States.

Q3: I am a new international student for Fall Quarter 2021 and I am transferring my SEVIS record from another college or university. Will I be considered a continuing student, or a new student?

A3: If you are admitted for Fall Quarter 2021 with an initial transfer pending I-20 form and you are already in the U.S., and have been enrolled in active status since March 9, 2020, you will be able to continue enrollment in online classes.

If you are admitted for Fall Quarter 2021 with an initial transfer pending I-20 form, but are outside of the U.S., we recommend that you enroll for in-person or hybrid classes.

Q4: I am a new international student but I cannot travel to the United States. I plan to study online. Do I need to do anything with my I-20 form?

A4: If you plan to study online for Fall Quarter 2021, you will not need an I-20 form or an F-1 visa. If you plan to enroll remotely from home but will travel to the U.S. for a future quarter, contact your primary advisor for assistance.

Q5: Can I enroll concurrently at another college for Fall Quarter 2021?

A5: Yes, concurrent enrollment practices remain the same.

Q6: How can I take my classes online in Fall quarter 2021 if I do not have access to a computer and/or internet?

A6: Since many classes are hybrid or online, you must have access to the internet to complete them successfully. Please communicate with your primary advisor if you are in your home country and have trouble accessing the internet.

If you are staying in the U.S., contact the International Programs office at your campus to inquire about options for borrowing technology.

Q7: I am in my final quarter of study and I only need one class to graduate. Can I take it online?

A7: Yes. Please communicate with your primary advisor about your course selection. Remember to request permission for reduced course load for your graduating quarter.

Q8: I am in my final quarter of study. Can I complete my degree in my home country by taking all online classes?

A8: Yes, please make sure to communicate your plans with your primary advisor.


Q9: If I enroll full time while in the U.S. and my visa expires, do I need to renew my visa?

A9: No, your F-1 visa can expire while you are in the U.S. As long as you remain in the U.S., you do not need to renew your visa. You are allowed to stay in the United States if you have a valid I-20 form and you maintain your visa status.

Q10: If I am a continuing student and remain outside the U.S., do I need to get a new F-1 visa if my current visa is still valid?

A10: No. If your F-1 visa is still valid, you do not need to apply for a new visa regardless of your SEVIS status.

Q11: Are U.S. consulates currently issuing student visas?

A11: This varies by country. Check with the local U.S. embassy or consulate in your country for the most up-to-date information.

Covid-19 and Vaccine Requirements

Q12: What if I am not vaccinated? Can I still study with Seattle Colleges?

A12: Seattle Colleges strongly encourages all students to get vaccinated by the first day of the quarter, and requires all students to report their vaccination status or file an exemption by November 1, 2021. Students may request exemptions for medical or religious reasons. Students who do not register their vaccination status or claim an exemption by November 1, 2021 may be unable to register for Winter Quarter 2022 classes.

Q13: How do I report my vaccination status?

A13: You can report your vaccination status in ctcLink. New students must be admitted and must activate their ctcLink account first. To report your vaccination status in ctcLink:

  1. Log in to ctcLink
  2. Select your student homepage from the ctcLink menu
  3. Select the Immunization Attestation tile, enter your information, and hit the submit button

Step-by step instructions are available on the ctcLink website.

Note: If the Immunization Attestation tile does not appear, clear the web browser cache, close the browser, and then reopen the browser. Or log in to ctcLink in a different web browser, such as Chrome or Firefox, to see if that fixes the issue. Contact the IT Help Desk if you encounter problems with ctcLink.

Q14: Can I get vaccinated after I arrive in the U.S.?

A14: Yes! If you plan to get vaccinated after arrival, we recommend you enter the U.S. as soon as possible (F-1 visa holders can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date listed on their I-20) to start the process.

Make plans in advance to minimize your health risks. You can even make an appointment before you arrive in the country. In the U.S., vaccines are free and available to everyone.

Check the CDC website to learn more about the three vaccines currently approved for use in the U.S.. Pfizer is fully approved by the FDA and the other two have Emergency Use Authorization and are awaiting final review and approval.

Note that each vaccine has a different timeline from the first shot until fully vaccinated status. Also, per CDC guidelines for international travel, students should self-quarantine for 7 days and get tested on the 3rd day after their arrival.

Vaccine 1st Dose 2nd Dose Fully Vaccinated Status
Comirnaty (Pfizer - BioNTech) after 7 or 10-day self-quarantine
(depending on whether you got tested)
3 weeks after 1st dose 2 weeks after 2nd dose
(35 days from 1st shot)
Moderna after 7 or 10-day self-quarantine
(depending on whether you got tested)
4 weeks after 1st dose 2 weeks after 2nd dose
(42 days from 1st shot)
Johnson & Johnson after 7 or 10-day self-quarantine
(depending on whether you got tested)
N/A 2 weeks after 1st dose
(14 days from 1st shot)

Note that at this time the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine approved for use in people under 17 years of age. Source: FDA.

- J&J: Get the vaccination on 9/13. Fully vaccinated by 9/27/21.
- Pfizer/Comirnaty: Get the first dose on 8/21. Get the second dose on 9/13. Fully vaccinated by 9/27/21.

Q15: Where can I get the vaccinations in Seattle?

A15: Most all pharmacies and clinics have Covid-19 vaccinations readily available, some without an appointment. For a full list of locations, see the WA Vaccine Locator. Enter the zip code for for your home or campus and the list will sort for that area.

Q16: What if I am not fully vaccinated by the start of the quarter?

A16: We urge all international students to become fully vaccinated by the first day of the quarter. If you have had the first shot and are not able to become fully vaccinated by the required date, you should have at least scheduled the date for the second vaccination shot. We ask you to complete the second shot according to that schedule.

Important: Masks are required! Regardless of your vaccination status, all students are required to wear a facial mask anytime you are indoors on a college campus. This policy applies whether you are taking classes or meeting with faculty, a staff member, or friends. This stems from the recent executive order issued by the Governor of the State of Washington. Violators may result in a disciplinary action. Until you are fully vaccinated, you will also want to maintain social distance.

Q17: Which vaccines count towards being fully vaccinated? Does my vaccine count towards this requirement?

A17: Seattle Colleges is accepting all Covid-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). Please check the WHO list to determine if the vaccine you have received qualifies.

Q18: What if I received a vaccine that is not on the World Health Organization's approved list?

A18: If you have received a vaccine that is not on this list, please consult with your health care provider to determine if it is safe for you to receive one of the approved vaccines.

Q19: What is the process for documenting a vaccine exception reason?

A19: Students are allowed exemptions for medical and religious reasons. More information detailing the vaccine verification and attestation process will be provided in follow-up emails and posted on the Welcome Back website.

Q20: When I arrive in the United States, will I be required to quarantine for 14 days?

A20: Currently, the Washington State Department of Health does not require individuals to quarantine at home unless they test positive for the coronavirus. This is in line with the CDC guidelines after international travel. F-1 students can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start of orientation. Please factor in that you may need to quarantine into your travel plans.

Due to the fluid nature of the situation, this could change. Please check for any restrictions before you travel.

Employment and Practical Training

Q21: If I complete my degree online in my home country, will I still be eligible to apply for OPT?

A21: As long as you are enrolled in full-time classes (or authorized for reduced course load for graduation) and you otherwise meet requirements for Optional Practical Training (OPT), you may apply for OPT. Please follow regular OPT application requirements in communication with your primary advisor.

Please be advised that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not changed the regulation requiring students to apply for OPT while inside the United States. When you sign the I-765, you are certifying that you are filing the form from inside the U.S. The I-765 form requires a mailing address in the U.S., to which any correspondence and your EAD would be sent.

Q22: I am a new international student starting in Fall Quarter 2021, and I plan to enroll remotely from outside the U.S. for my first quarter. Will I be eligible for an internship (Curricular Practical Training - CPT) or to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) in Summer Quarter 2022?

A22: No, according to the most recent guidance, you will not be eligible for CPT or OPT. To be eligible for practical training, you must be enrolled full time for one academic year (i.e., 9 months/3 quarters). Since you will not enter the country in Fall Quarter 2021, we cannot register you in SEVIS and count Fall Quarter as part of the academic year. This means you will not have studied long enough by Summer Quarter 2022 to qualify for CPT or OPT.

Q23: What should I do if I am on OPT and my place of work closes because of Covid-19?

A23: If your place of work closes, communicate with your employer about opportunities to work remotely to maintain your employment. If you are not able to work remotely, consider any volunteer opportunities in your field of study which you could engage in. Remember that volunteering in your field will also count toward full-time employment. Be sure to update any changes in your employment in the OPT portal, or by contacting your primary advisor. For the duration of the Covid-19 emergency, SEVP considers international students who are working in their OPT opportunities fewer than 20 hours per week as engaged in OPT. You will only begin to accrue days of unemployment if you are not working at all.

Q24: The college says that part-time employees who are not working can apply for unemployment. How does this apply to me as an international student?

A24: Generally, international students are not eligible to collect unemployment benefits. If you have another visa status in addition to your F-1 status, we recommend you consult with an immigration attorney before collecting benefits.

Q25: If I have completed my program of study or OPT, but travel restrictions prevent me from returning to my home country, can I stay in the United States longer than the sixty-day grace period?

A25: At this time, the grace period benefit has not changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If your program has ended, you will still be required to take action within your 60 day grace period: Apply for OPT, depart the U.S., transfer out, change your education level, or apply for a change of status. If your OPT has ended, you will still be required to take action within your 60 day grace period: Depart the U.S., transfer out, change your education level, or apply for a change of status. Please contact your primary advisor to discuss specific plans.

Q26: As an F-1 student employee, can I work from another country while the colleges are in remote operations?

A26: No. Our Human Resources Office has advised us that international students may not work for Seattle Colleges from outside of the United States during the college closure.

Travel Questions

Q27: Am I able to travel to the U.S. at this time?

A27: As noted above, new students with an initial I-20 form will be able to enter the country to study in Fall Quarter 2021.

We recommend to both new and continuing students to check the Center for Disease Control's website for updated restrictions related to COVID-19 before traveling. Note that there may be restrictions on transiting through a country. If any of your flights transit through a country on this list, you should check with your airline to see if you will be able to complete all portions of your itinerary.

Q28: I left the U.S. without a valid travel signature on my I-20. What should I do?

A28: Please email your primary advisor and include information about when you plan to travel, or you can request an I-20 reprint on SCDGlobal. Your advisor can email a digitally signed copy of your I-20 to the email address listed in SEVIS.

Q29: If I was enrolled in classes for a previous quarter in 2020, but violated my F-1 status and I'm now back in my home country, can I return to the U.S. to study all online classes using a new initial I-20 for re-entry for Fall quarter?

A29: In this case, you would be treated as a new initial student. Therefore, we suggest that you do not travel to the U.S. to engage in 100% online study this fall. You are encouraged to enroll in online classes from your home country. Please contact your primary advisor if you have questions about regaining status through re-entry.

Links and Resources

ICE / SEVP Information:

- Study In The States Coronavirus Pages
- ICE / SEVP Broadcast Message March 9, 2020
- ICE / SEVP Broadcast Message Follow-Up, July 24, 2020
- ICE / SEVP Coronavirus FAQs

Coronavirus Information Pages:

- Seattle Colleges
- North Seattle College
- Seattle Central College
- South Seattle College