Back to top

Coronavirus COVID-19

International Center Updates for Students, Faculty and Staff

Last Updated 8/4/2020

The International Center continues to monitor the worldwide situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety of our students and employees abroad, and of international students and scholars on campus, is our highest priority. We are in communication with the CSU, campus stakeholders, and the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) at Cal Poly in our response to the novel coronavirus.

Study Abroad Programs

  • Effective June 4, 2020, all Fall 2020 study abroad programs that operate entirely abroad are suspended. All Fall 2020 study abroad and internship programs that are offered entirely virtually will be allowed to proceed.
  • Study Abroad programs with late fall in-country experiences will only be allowed to move forward once the Department of State and CDC travel restrictions are lowered — and after the International Center (in concert with CSU and campus risk management) has done a thorough review of the health and safety situation abroad and finds travel and study abroad reasonable. All travel will continue to be run through President Armstrong for approval.
  • Students preparing for any future programs abroad should consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and  U.S. Department of State for ongoing recommendations.
  • For any future university-related travel, travelers should wait to purchase airfare for all programs and should monitor how the global health situation develops. At the time of purchase, participants should insure their flights against trip disruption and/or cancellation or have fully refundable tickets.

New Virtual Internship & International Study Opportunities

Students have opportunities to gain valuable work experience in international settings from the comfort of their own homes. Our study abroad partners are offering virtual internship programs in various disciplines. Summer options included public health in Kenya, engineering in Germany, and event planning in China and Italy!

Virtual study abroad coursework opportunities are also abundantly available for the fall. Students can browse Virtual Programs for fall 2020 on the Study Abroad website at

International Students & Scholars

  • Continuing F-1 students should stay enrolled full-time to maintain F-1 visa status whether in the U.S. or outside the U.S. By keeping active status, you will maintain eligibility for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the future. However, students who are graduating this fall and want to maintain eligibility for OPT are advised to return and take classes within the U.S. for the fall quarter.
  • Newly admitted F-1 students for fall: Following the latest FAQ released from Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), it may be advisable that any new student currently outside the U.S. delay entry to the U.S. and instead enroll online. We can re-issue I-20s for students to start F-1 status beginning with the next quarter that they are able to attend classes in person.
    International students with an Initial SEVIS I-20 may be able to enter the United States if their courses are not 100% online. Students who have not left the U.S. and are transferring their SEVIS record from their previous school to Cal Poly may enroll 100% online. We are requesting that all new students complete this survey no later than August 30th in order to inform us of your enrollment plans for fall.
  • Waiver of fall international student health insurance: Students who will be enrolled in Cal Poly classes while outside the U.S. for the fall quarter can submit a waiver request form by September 3rd.
  • J-1 visiting scholars and student interns will only be issued a DS-2019 to apply for a J-1 visa if the campus is open, is able to host them and physical presence is necessary to achieve their academic goals.

All University Travelers

  • Strategic Business Services made an announcement on May 7, 2020, regarding Cal Poly travel — namely that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel restriction has been extended for state and auxiliary organizations for all international and non-essential domestic travel to July 31, 2020. In addition, they requested that all travel expenses go through the Concur process.
  • For all faculty/staff international travel, the employee will now be responsible for completing a travel request through the Cal Poly International Center (Step 1) and Concur (Step 2). Note that what was the Travel 1A or Travel Pre-authorization form is now through the Concur Travel System. SBS indicates that travelers start international travel requests with the International Center 60 days prior to travel.
  • Similar for study abroad participants, any university travelers should wait to purchase airfare for travel and should monitor how the global health situation develops. At the time of purchase, travelers should insure their flights against trip disruption and/or cancellation or have fully refundable tickets. Additionally, lodging should be refundable.

Out of an abundance of caution and care, the International Center office continues to operate virtually, and staff are happy to serve you in the following ways: