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Update for international students with F-1 visas

an arcade at Stanford around the main quad, showing archways
Jason Leung/Unsplash
Jul 13 2020
Announcement, COVID-19, Education, Research, Stanford, Students

A letter to undergraduate and graduate students from Stacey Bent, vice provost for graduate education and postdoctoral affairs, Susie Brubaker-Cole, vice provost for student affairs, and Sarah Church, vice provost for undergraduate education:

Dear undergraduate and graduate students:

We are writing to follow up on President Tessier-Lavigne’s message on the U.S. federal government’s modifications to its rule for international students on F-1 visas. We would like to reiterate that Stanford is firmly opposed to these misguided changes, and we are deeply concerned for the well-being of our international students facing the distress and disruption surrounding this announcement. In this message, we offer updates on university support and resources. 

To begin, the university and 58 other institutions have filed an amicus brief in support of a Harvard/MIT lawsuit seeking to prohibit enforcement of the new rule. We expect a judge to rule on this case in the coming days. Additionally, Stanford has joined 19 colleges and universities in the western United States in a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to block implementation of the new rule.

Planning for your academic progress

At Stanford, we are developing plans to support international students in the event that the courts rule against these lawsuits. Our goal is to provide housing to all international students who are able to enter the United States and who have applied for housing, and to provide the coursework needed so that students can continue to make progress toward their degrees. 

International undergraduate students, regardless of cohort class year, will be eligible for campus housing fall, winter and spring quarters. Once international students are on campus, they will be allowed to enroll in classes for three consecutive quarters. Students should request campus housing during a quarter outside their designated quarters here by July 16.

Please bear in mind that, as with all planning for the coming academic year, we must work within the constraints of county health orders, which may impose new limitations on what we are able to do.

We also recognize that current COVID-related travel restrictions and consular closures may prevent many of our international students from entering the United States or obtaining a visa. We sincerely hope that these obstacles will also be resolved soon. We will do everything we can to ensure students who are unable to enter the United States can continue their education remotely.  

FAQs and town halls

Many of you have emailed us with specific issues of concern, and we are including this important feedback in our planning. Bechtel International Center has published a new set of FAQs on this situation.

Students with additional questions may email Bechtel at This is a dynamic situation, so we ask for your patience as the Bechtel staff responds with care to the many country- or program-specific aspects of student inquiries. 

In addition, several town halls are planned.

  • The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School will hold a virtual town hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST July 16. Please contact Professor Jayashri Srikantiah for more information (
  • The ASSU is planning a virtual town hall beginning at 1:30 p.m. PST July 16. More information is forthcoming from the ASSU.
  • Provost Drell will host a virtual town hall beginning at 8 a.m. PST July 23. More information is forthcoming from Bechtel.

Resources for students seeking support

Knowing that this is a tremendously uncertain and stressful time for international students, we encourage those in need to reach out for support. The following resources are available to all students (CR indicates confidential resources).

  • Counseling and Psychological Services on-call is available for all students 24/7 at (650) 723-3785. CR
  • Well-Being at Stanford offers coaching for students and many more resources. Visit the Well-Being website to schedule. For questions, email the office at
  • The Residence Dean on-call is available to help undergraduates 24/7 at (650) 504-8022.
  • The Graduate Life Office dean on-call is available to help graduate and professional school students 24/7 at (650) 723-7288. Provide pager ID number #25085 to the operator.
  • The First Generation and/or Low-Income Office is available to support international students. Contact information is available on the FLI Office website.
  • The Office for Religious Life offers pastoral care and spiritual guidance to students, faculty, staff and postdocs, and can be reached at (650) 723-1762. CR
  • The Bridge Peer Counseling Center offers counseling by trained students 24/7 at (650) 723-3392.

In closing

We would like to re-emphasize that you are all our students. To our international students, you enhance our university’s excellence and the richness of our community. We are here to support your health and safety as you continue toward realizing your academic dreams at Stanford. 


Stacey Bent
Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs

Susie Brubaker-Cole
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Sarah Church
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education