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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS RELATED TO COVID-19

 
Fall 2022- updated as of July 21, 2022
Recently, the federal March 2020 COVID-19 guidance on immigration exceptions was clarified on who is eligible for online enrollment exceptions. If your I-20 has a start date that is after March 9, 2020, you must have at least 9 credits of in-person or hybrid credits (undergraduate) or 6 credits (graduate) of in-person or hybrid credits in Fall 2022 semester. Please review the following question carefully to assess your situation.

In addition, more details have been sent to your university UMail on Friday, July 22nd. Please review your course enrollment to ensure you are compliant with your F1 visa with this clarification.

 

Please note the enrollment requirement for Fall 2022 semester:

You must enroll full-time, which is 12 credits for undergraduates, and 9 credits or 3 thesis credits for graduate students.

ADDITIONALLY: For Undergraduates, 9 out of those 12 required credits must be in-person orhybrid. For Graduates, 6 out of those required 9 credits must be in-person or hybrid.

 

Please read the following carefully:

  • How do I know if I need to be enrolled in at least 9 credits of in-person this Fall 2022 semester? Please take a look at your most recent I-20 from the University of Utah. If your I-20 has a start date that is after March 9, 2020, you must have at least 9 credits of in-person or hybrid credits (undergraduate) or 6 credits (graduate) of in-person or hybrid credits in Fall 2022 semester.

 

  • What if I was studying before March 9, 2020 and left the U.S. and came back on a new I-20? Because you left the U.S. and your most current I-20 has a start date later than March 9, 2020, you must abide by the AFTER March 9 rule, which means you must have at least 9 credits of in-person or hybrid credits (undergraduate) or 6 credits of in-person or hybrid credits for graduate students (or 3 thesis in-person).

 

  • What if I was studying before March 9, 2020 and left the U.S. and came back on the same I-20? Because you did not receive a new I-20 and your most current I-20 has a start date before March 9, 2020, you may abide by the BEFORE March 9, 2020 rule, which means you may enroll in any mix of online and in person courses for Fall 2022.

 

  • What if I changed degree levels? If you started your first degree inside the U.S. before March 9, 2020, and then proceeded to change levels while staying in the U.S. after March 9, you may abide by the BEFORE March 9, 2020 rule, which means you may enroll in any mix of online and in person courses for Fall 2022.

 

  • What if I was inside U.S. on or before March 9, 2020? Please take a look at your I-20. If your I-20 has a start date before March 9, 2020, it means you can continue to follow the COVID exception and to be enrolled in more than 3 credits of online credits for the fall 2022 semester. Please continue to monitor any updates for spring 2023 semester.

 

  • How do I know if my courses are offered in in-person, online, or hybrid? Please refer to the modality page from the Registrar’s office.  Only the courses coded as Hybrid or In-Person will count towards the in-person requirement. Any courses coded as IVC or Online are not counted as in-person. If you have trouble finding whether your courses are online or in-person, please reach out to your major academic advisor directly.

 

  • What do I do if I am currently enrolled in less than 9 credits of in-person for Fall 2022 semester? If your I-20 has a start date that is on March 9, 2020 or later, there is no exception to this policy. You must change your current enrollment for Fall 2022 or add more classes to meet the in-person credit requirement. If you have trouble finding courses, please reach out to your major academic advisor directly.

 

  • Are there any exceptions? No. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to the federal enrollment requirement.

 

  • What if I have more questions? Please refer to the ISSS FAQ page for more information. If your questions are not answered on the FAQ page, please reach out to ISSS at international@utah.edu. We are also open Monday to Friday from 8am-5pm.

 

  • What about Spring 2023? Please wait for more information from ISSS for Spring 2023 and future semesters.

Last updated: July 21, 2022 3:06 P.M.This webpage is being updated regularly, and we encourage you to check it frequently for important updates. 

pinned notePLEASE NOTE:Further University of Utah resources related to COVID-19 for students, including general travel advisories, current phase of return to campus, and details on mandatory wearing of face coverings on campus, can be found at COVID-19 Central @TheU.

ISSS OFFICE UPDATES

The University of Utah is fully operational. However, many offices (including the ISSS office) may be open for in-person drop-in visits, but have limited in-person advising hours. Most advising will continue to be conducted virtually. Our office will have a phased approach to re-opening in-person services throughout the Fall 2022 semester. As changes occur ISSS will inform students by email, and updating this webpage.

International Student and Scholar Services is now available for limited in-person and drop-in visits to the main office in the Union building, room 410. There is a limit of 3 persons at a time within the office - please expect possible delays when visiting in-person. We will also have limited in-person advising as we gradually reopen our office to in-person services. 

Current Office Hours: 

  • Open in-person office hours - Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
  • You may contact us at international@utah.eduor call us at 801-581-8876 for general questions. While we are receiving a high volume of emails at this time, we will respond to your email within 24-48 hours.  
  • If you need to speak with an international student advisor, you may call our office (801-581-8876) to schedule a phone or virtual appointment, or email us at Appointment@utah.edu.
  • Our office is open Monday-Friday except for University of Utah approved holiday closures. See the academic year calendar for campus holiday closures.  

Virtual advising appointments are available by phone or Zoom. Make an appointment with an international student advisor by emailing or calling our office. 

Please refer to question #1, “Will offices on campus, including International Student & Scholar Services, be open for the Fall and 2022-2023 academic year?” in order to find the most updated information on virtual office hours.

If scheduling an appointment via email (Appointment@utah.edu), please include the following information: 

  • Your full, official name 
  • Your UnID
  • Your U.S. phone number
  • Your preference for a phone or Zoom appointment
  • Your specific availability (date and time, between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM MST, Mon-Fri). 
  • A description of what you wish to discuss (the more detail you provide, the better we can assist you) 

Due to current DHS policy guidance exceptions resulting resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, I-20s may be issued electronically. Therefore, we will not be mailing physical copies of I-20s or other documents at this time. *This is subject to change.*

How to receive a requested I-20, including a travel signature:

The U.S. government has announced, during this COVID-19 period, that digital I-20 forms with a scanned DSO signature will be allowed and can be sent electronically to a student for official use. Once the I-20 has been processed you will be able to access the completed document in your UAtlas portal. You will need to print your I-20, and complete the “Student Attestation” section of the I-20 for it to be valid. 

If you need a travel signature, you can complete the E-form “I-20 reprint request” in UAtlas and we will process a signed electronic copy of your I-20. Please refer to the "STUDENTS OUTSIDE OF THE U.S. & ENTERING THE U.S. BEFORE THE UPCOMING SEMESTER" section for further details on travel signatures. 

*If you are traveling into the U.S. please refer to the recommendations for travel below. 

How to receive a letter request:

Most letter requests will be made available to you electronically through your UAtlas portal. If you need an original signature on a letter request, such as the work authorization letter for a social security number, then please request this in your e-form in UAtlas in the “additional comments” section. There are some letter requests that we are aware of that must be with an original signature. We will work directly with you in order for you to receive this letter for those exceptions.

*If you are reentering the U.S. please be aware of travel guidance domestically or internationally at this time. Any travel you choose to do during this time is at your own risk. At this time, due to COVID-19, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol as well as USCIS are allowing the use of digitally signed forms of I-20s. Please ensure that you print and complete the "Student Attestation" section of the I-20 for it to be valid, and have the physical copy of your I-20 for travel. 

If you choose to travel and re-enter the U.S. at this time, ISSS recommends that you travel with: 

  • Proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the U.S from a foreign country, beginning November 8th. Further details on this new requirement can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
  • Your most recent I-20 that includes a travel signature signed at least 1 year (6 months for STEM OPT) from your re-entry date to the U.S. 
  • If you are using an electronic copy of your I-20 that one of our advisors digitally signed, then print the electronic copy to use for travel. Complete the ‘Student Attestation” section of the I-20 for it to be valid.
  • We recommend that you also print this guidance, which indicates on page 5 that DSOs are allowed to digitally sign and send copies of the I-20. Please keep in mind: when you re-enter the U.S., the border agent at the port of entry will expect to see a printed I-20, and you should not show them the PDF version of your I-20 on your phone or any other electronic device. 
  • If you are issued an I-515A upon your re-entry and would like help with submitting the follow up documentation to CBP or have any questions upon your return, please contact ISSS to schedule an appointment. 
  • You will also need to ensure you have a valid U.S. visa and passport. 
  • For students currently on OPT or STEM OPT, we also recommend the additional documents: 
    • EAD card 
    • An offer letter or other letter from your employer confirming your employment (if applicable) 
    • Ensure employment is updated in the SEVP Portal and appears on your most recent I-20 
    • Please see our Travel Guidance for more details. 

As a reminder, travel signatures are valid for 1 year for enrolled students, and 6 months for those on OPT. 

If you are a new student with an initial I-20, or a continuing student with an initial I-20 with a start date for Fall semester 2022 of August 22, 2022, then the earliest you may enter the U.S. for Fall semester is July 23, 2022.  Per F-1 student visa regulations, the earliest you may enter the U.S. is 30 days prior to the start date of the semester. 

Please refer to this chart to help determine if you are a new or continuing student. If you are unsure then please contact ISSS. *This chart only applies to whether you need to complete International Student Orientation or not. Enrollment guidelines have changed starting Fall 2022 semester. Please refer to the top of this page for further details. 

flow chart


Please note that our office will work to expedite documents as quickly as possible during this time, but our normal processing times – 10 business days - will remain in effect. 

Yes, our office will remain virtually open for students and we will continue to process requests. Information is subject to change and we will update our office availability as new information comes in. 

We plan to continue processing requests within our usual 10 business day processing times (5 business days for letter requests). You will be emailed to your UMail account when your documents are ready. If you do not receive an email within this processing time then you may contact our office by email. If you have follow up questions please make a phone appointment with one of our international student advisors. 

If you would like to schedule a phone or Zoom appointment to speak with an ISSS advisor about your OPT application, please send an email to Appointment@utah.edu with the following information: 

  • Your full, official name 
  • Your UnID 
  • Your U.S. phone number 
  • Your preference for a phone or Zoom appointment
  • Your specific availability (date and time, between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM MST, Mon-Fri). 
  • A description of what you wish to discuss (the more detail you provide, the better we can assist you) 

You will need to email international@utah.edu  your scanned documents at least three hours prior to your phone appointment so we can forward your documents to your scheduled advisor accordingly. This will allow the advisor to review your documents ahead of the appointment and have feedback ready to be shared. Please do not send us a copy of your check or money order due to security risk. 

 

STUDENTS (F-1 and J-1 Visa Holders)

See further down the page for information on J-1 scholars (J-1 visa holders in the Research Scholar, Professor, Short-Term Scholar, and Student Intern categories)

 

UNIVERSITY POLICIES & CLASS QUESTIONS 

The University of Utah announced a return to in-person classes, student activities and a full break starting in the Fall 2021 semester. The  Fall 2022 semesters will also be a return to in-person classes. The 2022-2023 academic year is contingent on continued vaccinations and declining infections in the community. The university will continue to follow public health guidance from the state and county health departments, as well as U of U Health epidemiologists, regarding physical distancing and masking. 

OnApril 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Securityconfirmed the continuation of the March 2020 COVID-19 guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year. Please see our U.S. Immigration News page for further updates.  

Please read the following carefully. You are welcome to contact ISSS to seek clarification about your situation. Please see this document for additional details.Fall 2022 enrollment

There is a main University of Utah webpage that contains resources related to current safety precautions and mandatory on-campus requirements due to COVID-19 for students. This includes scheduling COVID-19 testing, travel advisories, current phase of return on campus, vaccine information, and details on mandatory wearing of face coverings on campus. This is found onCOVID-19 Central @TheU. 

University Information Technology (UIT) has provided a quick glance at some of the many digital resources you may need as a student and to direct you to answers for any questions you may have. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Please refer to their New Student Guide to Digital Resources page.

Additionally, if issues still persist then we recommend you to contact your professor or TA of your class. Or you may reach out to our office for further resources to best assist you.

No, IVC and on-line courses are not considered to be in-person classes. They are considered to be remote classes that are taught synchronously. This means that the class will be taught live and will be taught at the designated class time during normal working hours in the Utah time zone. Please note that if you will be taking these classes from outside of the United States, you will need to adjust your schedule to be able to attend class, and this may mean that you are attending class at an inconvenient time in your time zone.

*The Department of Homeland Security has made certain class modality exceptions during COVID-19 for students on F-1 status. Please be sure that you understand these exceptions, as they are different for new and continuing students, in order to stay in active status. Please refer to the “FALL 2020 SEVP GUIDANCE & PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATIONS” section of this page for the most updated immigration information, and if there is a need to take in-person or any modality of classes, to maintain an active SEVIS status during this COVID-19 pandemic.

SEVP GUIDANCE & PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATIONS

According to the federal guidelines, enrollment exceptions were made due to COVID-19. These exceptions have been extended through fall as of now, with additional clarification on who is eligible for this exception.

Please refer to the START DATE listed on your I-20.

  • All continuing students who have an I-20 that has a start date AFTER  March 9, 2020 must be enrolled in the following:

Undergraduate:12 credits with 9 credits in-person or hybrid

Graduate: 9 credits with 6 credits in- person or hybrid, or 3 in person thesis credits

 

  • All continuing students who have an I-20 that has a start date BEFORE  March 9, 2020 AND who have an Active SEVIS record are eligible for an exception:

Undergraduate:12 credits any modality

Graduate: 9 credits any modality, or 3 thesis credits

 

New F-1 students will not be able to enter the U.S. for the 2022-2023 academic year if their course of study is 100% online. New students will be allowed to enter the U.S. if they are engaged in a hybrid program, and must enroll in the following:

  • Undergraduate (Bachelors): 12 credits with 9 credits in-person or hybrid format
  • Graduate (Masters, PhD): 9 credits with 6 credits in-person or hybrid format  OR  3 thesis credits

Further details on the March 2020 COVID-19 guidance can be found on our U.S. Immigration News page.  

Here is a sample I-20. The Program Start Date will be listed under Program of Study section in the second column. Please see the highlighted text.

Sample I-20

If the start date is AFTER March 9, 2020 you must be enrolled in the following:

Undergraduate:12 credits with 9 credits in person or hybrid

Graduate: 9 credits with 6 credits in person or hybrid, or 3 thesis credits

 

If the start date is BEFORE March 9, 2020 you must be enrolled in the following:

Undergraduate:12 credits any modality

Graduate: 9 credits any modality, or 3 thesis credits

 

On the bottom of page 1, please sign your name next to the “x” under Student Attestation.

 

Please refer to the start date on your I-20.

 

If the start date is AFTER March 9, 2020 AND Fall 2022 is your Last Semester, you must be enrolled in the following:

Undergraduate: At least 1 credit, with 1 credit in person or hybrid *

Graduate: At least 1 credit, with 1 credit in person or hybrid*

*You cannot have only online classes in your last semester.

 

If the start date is BEFORE March 9, 2020 AND Fall 2022 is your Last Semester, you must be enrolled in the following:

Undergraduate: 1 credit, any modality

Graduate: 1 credit, any modality

STUDENTS OUTSIDE OF THE U.S. & ENTERING THE U.S. BEFORE THE UPCOMING SEMESTER 

New students who took classes online in their home country and plan to enter the U.S. to take classes will need an I-20. You can request a new initial I-20 by completing the “Continuing Student Initial I-20” request E-form in UAtlas.

*Be aware of significant delays of visa processing times at U.S. Embassies around the world. If your visa has expired we do not advise you to travel as this time due to the current estimated time to renew your U.S. visa. If you have an emergency where you need to travel outside of the U.S., and your visa has expired, please contact our office to speak with an international student advisor.  

 As of March 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of State announced it wastemporarily suspending routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointmentsat all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. They will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. 

If you need to travel outside the U.S. and will require a new visa before returning, we recommend you review the Embassy or Consulate’svisa appointment informationwhere you will be traveling to before you make final travel plans. You may want to reconsider your travel plans since we do not know how long this suspension will last. If you decide to travel, be prepared, understand the risks, and be advised that you might not be able to return to the U.S. for an unknown period of time, your trip could be disrupted, or you may be quarantined upon your return. If your travel is related to your academic program, please consult your department or academic advisor about your travel plans. 

If you are a new student with an initial I-20, or a continuing student with an initial I-20 with a start date for Fall semester 2022 of August 22, 2022, then the earliest you may enter the U.S. for Summer semester is  July 23, 2022.  Per F-1 student visa regulations, the earliest you may enter the U.S. is 30 days prior to the start date of the semester. 

Please refer to this chart to help determine if you are a new or continuing student. If you are unsure then please contact ISSS. *This chart only applies to whether you need to complete International Student Orientation or not. Enrollment guidelines have changed starting Fall 2022 semester. Please refer to top of page for further details.

flow chart

ISSS has created an E-form that you may submit to request documentation if you will be arriving late to the U.S. for the Summer 2022 semester between August 22, 2022 and September 2, 2022. Please submit the “Late Arrival Letter Request” E-form on UAtlas. 

Please contact us with your specific situation if you plan to enter the U.S. for the Fall 2022 semester after September 2, 2022, but please consider that the longer you wait into the Fall 2022 semester to enter the U.S., the riskier your entry. If you are issued your visa mid-semester, please plan to wait until the Spring 2023 semester to arrive on campus. 

Please Note: This E-form will request that you input a contact from your academic department so they may confirm that they are aware of your late arrival and approve your plan to enter the U.S. after the semester begins. It is extremely important that you are in contact with your academic advisor and professor(s) prior to submitting your Late Arrival Letter Request E-form to ensure that they are aware of your situation and plans to arrive late. 

If you are reentering the U.S. please be aware of travel guidance domestically or internationally at this time, including new travel requirements. Any travel you choose to do during this time is at your own risk.

*Be aware of significant delays of visa processing times at U.S. Embassies around the world. If your visa has expired we do not advise you to travel as this time due to the current estimated time to renew your U.S. visa. If you have an emergency where you need to travel outside of the U.S., and your visa has expired, please contact our office to speak with an international student advisor.  

 As of March 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of State announced it wastemporarily suspending routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointmentsat all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. They will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. 

If you need to travel outside the U.S. and will require a new visa before returning, we recommend you review the Embassy or Consulate’svisa appointment informationwhere you will be traveling to before you make final travel plans. You may want to reconsider your travel plans since we do not know how long this suspension will last. If you decide to travel, be prepared, understand the risks, and be advised that you might not be able to return to the U.S. for an unknown period of time, your trip could be disrupted, or you may be quarantined upon your return. If your travel is related to your academic program, please consult your department or academic advisor about your travel plans.

At this time, due to COVID-19, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol as well as USCIS are allowing the use of digitally signed forms of I-20s.

If you choose to travel and re-enter to U.S. at this time, ISSS recommends that you travel with:

  • Proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the U.S from a foreign country, beginning November 8th. Further details on this new requirement can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website found here.
  • Your most recent I-20 that includes a travel signature signed at least 1 year (6 months for STEM OPT) from your re-entry date to the U.S.
  • If you are using an electronic copy of your I-20 that one of our advisors digitally signed, then print the electronic copy to use for travel. Complete the ‘Student Attestation” section of the I-20 for it to be valid.
  • We recommend that you also print this guidance, which indicates on page 5 that DSOs are allowed to digitally sign and send copies of the I-20. Please keep in mind: when you re-enter the U.S., the border agent at the port of entry will expect to see a printed I-20, and you should not show them the PDF version of your I-20 on your phone or any other electronic device.
  • If you are issued an I-515A upon your re-entry and would like help with submitting the follow up documentation to CBP or have any questions upon your return, please contact ISSS.
  • You will also need to ensure you have a valid U.S. visa, and passport.
  • For students currently on OPT or STEM OPT, we also recommend the additional documents:
    • EAD card
    • An offer letter or other letter from your employer confirming your employment (if applicable)
    • Ensure employment is updated in the SEVP Portal and appears on your most recent I-20
    • Please see our Travel Guidance for more details.

As a reminder, travel signatures are valid for 1 year for enrolled students, and 6 months for those on OPT.

If you are a new student with an initial I-20, or a continuing student with an initial I-20 with a start date for Fall semester 2022 of August 22, 2022, then the earliest you may enter the U.S. for Fall semester is July 23, 2022.  Per F-1 student visa regulations, the earliest you may enter the U.S. is 30 days prior to the start date of the semester. 

Please refer to this chart to help determine if you are a new or continuing student. If you are unsure then please contact ISSS. *This chart only applies to whether you need to complete International Student Orientation or not. Enrollment guidelines have changed starting Fall 2022 semester. Please refer to top of page for further details.

flow chart

ISSS has created an E-form that you may submit to request documentation if you will be arriving late to the U.S. for the Spring 2022 semester between August 22, 2022 and September 2, 2022. Please submit the “Late Arrival Letter Request” E-form on UAtlas. 

Please contact us with your specific situation if you plan to enter the U.S. for the Fall 2022 semester after September 2, 2022, but please consider that the longer you wait into the Fall 2022 semester to enter the U.S., the riskier your entry. If you are issued your visa mid-semester, please plan to wait until the Spring 2023 semester to arrive on campus. 

Please Note: This E-form will request that you input a contact from your academic department so they may confirm that they are aware of your late arrival and approve your plan to enter the U.S. after the semester begins. It is extremely important that you are in contact with your academic advisor and professor(s) prior to submitting your Late Arrival Letter Request E-form to ensure that they are aware of your situation and plans to arrive late. 

To enter the U.S., you are required to have a valid I-20, U.S. visa, and passport. In addition to a valid passport from your home country, please be sure that you check the validity of the dates on your I-20 and U.S visa before you enter the U.S. If you are currently within the U.S. then you must have a valid I-20, and passport. You may remain within the U.S on an expired visa. If you travel abroad though, you will need to receive a new valid U.S. visa in order to reenter the U.S. Please see below for examples of your I-20 and visa. 

If you are currently on OPT or STEM OPT please refer to question #33 “I am currently on Post-Completion OPT or STEM OPT. Do I need a new travel signature? What documents do I need to travel with?” for details on further documents we recommend to travel with.

                F-1 Student I-20                                                     F-1 Student Visa 

I-20        Visa

Continue to monitor the situation until we are closer to the start of the semester. Student’s situations may be different depending on the degree level you may be in, your department, and your personal situation. If you have not yet been in touch with an international student advisor or your academic department then please email or call us to discuss your situation. 

  • Consider independent study/online course from your home country as permitted by your advisor and academic department. Contact ISSS if you have questions about your course enrollment.
  • Leave of Absence (if applicable) 
  • Defer admission if you are a new student.
    • For undergraduate students please refer to International Admissions deferment process to a following semester.
    • For graduate students (Masters or PhD) please contact your department directly in regards to the deferment process.

OnApril 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Securityconfirmed the continuation of the March 2020 COVID-19 guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

New F-1 students will not be able to enter the United States for the 2022-2023 academic year if their course of study is 100% online.

According to the federal guidelines, enrollment exceptions were made due to COVID-19. These exceptions have been extended through fall as of now, with additional clarification on who is eligible for this exception.

Please refer to the START DATE listed on your I-20.

  • All continuing students who have an I-20 that has a start date AFTER March 9, 2020 must be enrolled in the following:

Undergraduate: 12 credits with 9 credits in-person or hybrid

Graduate: 9 credits with 6 credits in- person or hybrid, or 3 thesis credits

 

  • All continuing students who have an I-20 that has a start date BEFORE March 9, 2020 AND who have an Active SEVIS record are eligible for an exception:

Undergraduate: 12 credits any modality

Graduate: 9 credits any modality, or 3 thesis credits

 

You are encouraged to contact ISSS if you have any questions about your start date or your enrollment status.

We understand that visa processing delays at U.S. consulates, for students who need a new F-1 visa, might make it impossible for some students to enter the U.S. and return to campus.    

If you are a new student with an initial I-20, or a continuing student with an initial I-20 with a start date for Fall semester 2022 of August 22, 2022, then the earliest you may enter the U.S. for Fall semester is July 23, 2022.  Per F-1 student visa regulations, the earliest you may enter the U.S. is 30 days prior to the start date of the semester. 

Please refer to this chart to help determine if you are a new or continuing student. If you are unsure then please contact ISSS. *This chart only applies to whether you need to complete International Student Orientation or not. Enrollment guidelines have changed starting Fall 2022 semester. Please refer to top of page for further details. 

flow chart

ISSS has created an E-form that you may submit to request documentation if you will be arriving late to the U.S. for the Spring 2022 semester between August 22, 2022 and September 2, 2022. Please submit the “Late Arrival Letter Request” E-form on UAtlas. 

Please contact us with your specific situation if you plan to enter the U.S. for the Fall 2022 semester after September 2, 2022, but please consider that the longer you wait into the Fall 2022 semester to enter the U.S., the riskier your entry. If you are issued your visa mid-semester, please plan to wait until the Spring 2023 semester to arrive on campus. 

Please Note: This E-form will request that you input a contact from your academic department so they may confirm that they are aware of your late arrival and approve your plan to enter the U.S. after the semester begins. It is extremely important that you are in contact with your academic advisor and professor(s) prior to submitting your Late Arrival Letter Request E-form to ensure that they are aware of your situation and plans to arrive late. 

You may be eligible to take classes outside the U.S. depending on your program of study. Please contact your department to confirm if this is allowed. If you wish to defer your admissions to a future semester, please contac the International Admissions Office.

Please continue to check the COVID-19 FAQ page on the ISSS website for updates as they become available. You can also monitor the U.S. Government’s Study in the States: COVID-19 Resources for updates. 

We do not recommend for new first semester students to enter the U.S. in the middle of a semester. For new students, your I-20 document has a start date listed on it, which is the first day of the semester.  It is at the discretion of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to determine if they will allow for a student to enter the U.S. after the start date listed on the I-20 document. Chances of denial upon entry become increasingly likely the longer that you wait to enter the U.S. for the semester. 

If you plan to arrive in the U.S. after the start date listed on your I-20 document, but before the last day to add or drop classes, please contact us to let us know that you will be arriving late. We will need to issue additional documentation to you to help facilitate your arrival. Even with additional documentation, we cannot guarantee entry into the U.S. as that is up to Customs and Border Patrol. ISSS does not recommend attempting to the enter the United States after September 2, 2022 for the Fall 2022 semester. 

If you are a new student with an initial I-20, or a continuing student with an initial I-20 with a start date for Fall semester 2022 of August 22, 2022, then the earliest you may enter the U.S. for Fall semester is July 23, 2022.  Per F-1 student visa regulations, the earliest you may enter the U.S. is 30 days prior to the start date of the semester. 

Please refer to this chart to help determine if you are a new or continuing student. If you are unsure then please contact ISSS. *This chart only applies to whether you need to complete International Student Orientation or not. Enrollment guidelines have changed starting Fall 2022 semester. Please refer to top of page for further details. 

flow chart

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ISSS has created an E-form that you may submit to request documentation if you will be arriving late to the U.S. for the Spring 2022 semester between August 22, 2022 and September 2, 2022. Please submit the “Late Arrival Letter Request” E-form on UAtlas. 

Please contact us with your specific situation if you plan to enter the U.S. for the Fall 2022 semester after September 2, 2022, but please consider that the longer you wait into the Fall 2022 semester to enter the U.S., the riskier your entry. If you are issued your visa mid-semester, please plan to wait until the Spring 2023 semester to arrive on campus. 

Please Note: This E-form will request that you input a contact from your academic department so they may confirm that they are aware of your late arrival and approve your plan to enter the U.S. after the semester begins. It is extremely important that you are in contact with your academic advisor and professor(s) prior to submitting your Late Arrival Letter Request E-form to ensure that they are aware of your situation and plans to arrive late. 

Prior to the pandemic, if you were out of the U.S. for longer than 5-months then we would need to close your SEVIS record. However, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released Fall 2020 COVID-19 guidance that stated continuing F-1 students may remain in Active SEVIS status while studying full-time online, outside of the U.S. This means that you can remain abroad for longer than 5-months and still maintain an active SEVIS record if you continue to be enrolled in full-time classes. Once you plan to reenter the U.S. then you will need to receive an updated travel signature and we recommend that you review the question #15 “To enter the U.S. do I need an updated travel signature What other documents do I need to enter U.S. at this time?” to confirm you have the appropriate documentation to enter the U.S. 

The University of Utah carefully follows United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations in regards to protocols for COVID-19. We encourage you to monitor the University of Utah Return to Campus website for more updates.

If you will be living on campus, you will be tested upon arrival. After you have been tested, please remain in your room as much as possible until you receive your test results back. Test results are expected to be returned within 24-48 hours. If your test results indicate that you are negative for COVID-19, you will NOT need to self-isolate.  

CURRENT STUDENTS INSIDE THE U.S.

You may remain within the U.S on an expired visa. However, to enter the U.S., you are required to have a valid I-20, U.S. visa, and passport. If you travel abroad and your visa has expired then you will need to receive a new valid U.S. visa in order to reenter the U.S. 

**Be aware of significant delays of visa processing times at U.S. Embassies around the world. If your visa has expired we do not advise you to travel as this time due to the current estimated time to renew your U.S. visa. If you have an emergency where you need to travel outside of the U.S., and your visa has expired, please contact our office to speak with an international student advisor.  

If you need to travel outside the U.S. and will require a new visa before returning, we recommend you review the Embassy or Consulate’svisa appointment informationwhere you will be traveling to before you make final travel plans. You may want to reconsider your travel plans since we do not know how long this suspension will last. If you decide to travel, be prepared, understand the risks, and be advised that you might not be able to return to the U.S. for an unknown period of time, your trip could be disrupted, or you may be quarantined upon your return. If your travel is related to your academic program, please consult your department or academic advisor about your travel plans. 

If you are reentering the U.S. please be aware of travel guidance domestically or internationally at this time. Any travel you choose to do during this time is at your own risk.

EMPLOYMENT: ON-CAMPUS, CPT, & GA/TA/RA POSITIONS 

Yes, students are still eligible to work on campus, but please contact your supervisor with any questions or concerns. Please remember students are still restricted to 20 hours per week for on-campus work during the Fall and Spring semester.

Please click here to review our on-campus employment policy guide for more information.

If you are a continuing student, please submit the "On-Campus Work Authorization Request" through UAtlas. If you are a new student, please submit the "NEW STUDENT On-Campus Work Authorization Request" through UAtlas . You will need to upload a copy of your job offer letter that has department letterhead, your job title, work hours, employment start date, and employer information such as phone number and email address. Once ISSS approves your request, you will receive an approval email with an electronic version of On-Campus Work Authorization Letter with an electronic signature. For more information, see our On-Campus Employment Policy Guide. 

Normally, students will need to visit the Social Security Office with their documents to request a Social Security Number. If you are requesting this letter from our office, an advisor will be in contact with you in regards to receiving a physical copy of your letter.

For more information on requesting a Social Security Number, please see this guide.

In order to receive the benefits of your participation in the Tuition Benefit Program, including GA/TA/RA positions, it is our understanding that you must have a valid U.S. Social Security Number and be located in the United States. If you are unable to come to the U.S. for the Fall 2022 semester and do not have a U.S. Social Security Number, you will need to wait until you can enter the U.S. until you can participate in this program.

For graduate students participating in the Tuition Benefit Program, we encourage you to contact your academic department directly to address questions about deferring your position. It will be the academic department’s decision on whether your position can be deferred to an upcoming semester.

Yes, students can work remotely on approved CPT in Fall 2022. If working remotely or a combination of a hybrid schedule, this should be listed on the student’s offer letter. Please note that a remote CPT does not negate the in-person/ hybrid enrollment requirements for Fall 2022. Please see question 11 for more details.

Please contact ISSS closer to the start of Spring 2023 for more details.

ALUMNI WHO ARE ON OPT OR STEM OPT

Refer to question “To enter the U.S do I need an updated travel signature? What other documents do I need to enter the U.S at this time?” for specific information on travel signatures and documents that you will need to enter the U.S. Note the additional information listed for Post-Completion or STEM OPT documents when traveling.  

No, ISSS does not recommend returning home if you plan to apply for Post-Completion OPT. You will not be able to return to U.S. past the program end date on your I-20 if you have not applied for Post-Completion OPT. If you have questions, please request an appointment with an ISSS advisor. 

Any travel you choose to do during this time is at your own risk. 

Click here to review our OPT policy guide.

If you would like to schedule a phone or Zoom appointment to speak with an ISSS advisor about your Post-Completion OPT or STEM OPT application, please send an email to Appointment@utah.edu with the following information: 

  • Your full, official name 
  • Your UnID 
  • Your U.S. phone number 
  • Your preference for a phone or Zoom appointment
  • Your specific availability (date and time, between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM MST, Mon-Fri). 
  • A description of what you wish to discuss (the more detail you provide, the better we can assist you) 

You will need to email international@utah.edu  your scanned documents at least three hours prior to your phone appointment so we can forward your documents to your scheduled advisor accordingly. This will allow the advisor to review your documents ahead of the appointment and have feedback ready to be shared. Please do not send us a copy of your check or money order due to security risk. 

MEDICAL REDUCED COURSE LOAD, LEAVE OF ABSENCE, & REINSTATEMENT

Every student’s situation is different. However, in general, if you wish to take off the semester, you should either consider deferring your admission (if you are new and will be starting your studies at the U of U this Fall). If you are a graduate student (Masters or PhD) then please contact your department that you’ve been admitted into to discuss your options. Or you may take a Leave of Absence (if you are a continuing student). Please note that if you elect to take a Leave of Absence, you will need to submit a request to ISSS to close your SEVIS recordand depart the U.S. If your SEVIS record is closed, you will be responsible for requesting a new I-20 from ISSS at least one month prior to when you intend to return to campus.  

You will not be able to apply for a Medical Reduced Course Load if you are currently outside of the United States. To apply for a Medical Reduced Course Load, you must be able to submit a letter from a U.S. licensed medical doctor. If you will be located outside of the United States for the Fall or Spring semester and do not wish to enroll in any classes, we encourage you to apply for a Leave of Absence. 

If you choose to take a Leave of Absence for the Fall or Spring semester, ISSS will need to close your SEVIS record. Once your SEVIS record is closed, you will be responsible for notifying ISSS at least one month prior to when you intend to return to campus to issue a new I-20 document so that you can enter the U.S. for that next semester you choose to return. 

Students will need to complete the Continuing Students Initial I-20 E-form in UAtlas in order to request a new I-20 to enter the U.S. for the semester they wish to return from their Leave of Absence. 

OTHER QUESTIONS & RESOURCES

Student health insurance will cover COVID-19 testing and it will be a no-cost expense to the student. If hospital treatment becomes required, you will receive partial coverage on your student health insurance depending on care provided in network, or out of network. For additional information about what will be covered, please contact the Student Health Center.

We understand that this is a difficult time, and that you and your family may have been impacted financially. Although international students are not eligible for funding through the CARES Act, Financial Aid & Scholarships has separate emergency funds available for eligible students. Please contact their office directly for further information on these funds. We recommend that you inform them that you are an international student so they can direct you to the appropriate resources within their offices.

In addition, you may make an appointment with an ISSS international student advisor to discuss your situation. There may be further resources or guidance they are able to provide depending on your situation.

There is a main University of Utah webpage that contains additional resources related to COVID-19 for students. This includes travel advisories, current phase of return on campus, and details on mandatory wearing of face coverings on campus. This is found on COVID-19 Central @TheU.

Please contact our office by phone at 801-581-8876 or email us at international@utah.edu to schedule an appointment with one of our international student advisors to discuss your situation.

 **Please speak with a Utah Global advisor before you finalize your plan.**

 

Q: My I-20 expires this semester and I need a new I-20. Where do I get one?

A: It depends on your situation:

  • If you are progressing to a different level after this semester, please speak with Utah Global advisor as well as the International Admissions Office (iao@sa.utah.edu, 801-581-8761).
  • If you are not progressing to a different level and will be staying in the same level, please contact ISSS office (international@utah.edu) for further instruction.

Q: What if I want to stay in the dorms now and continue with online classes? Can I do that?

A: Please contact Utah Global office about your housing question.

Q: I have more questions. Who do I contact?

A: If you have more questions, please contact Utah Global advisors for more information. If you have immigration specific questions that are related to your F-1 student visa, then please contact International Student & Scholar Services at international@utah.edu.

If you have specific questions that are not answered in this FAQ, please refer to the University of Utah Asia campus COVID-19 webpage that is dedicated to your concerns. If you have further questions please contact our office by email or call to schedule a phone appointment.

Please work directly with the Learning Abroad office in regards to questions or concerns.

Please be aware of scam texts, calls, and/or emails in relation to COVID-19. The University of Utah has dedicated websites that will ask you to log-in to your Campus Information System using your student credentials if you are needing to self-report travel. The University of Utah, government agencies, CDC, and local health departments will NOT ask you to confirm your bank account, or detailed immigration information. Do not give out this information! Please refer to our scam page if you have questions or concerns, or are a target of a scam

Some students report they have received a text message from the CDC about COVID-19. This is a hoax and not from the CDC.

In a real notification, the Utah County Health Department would attempt to first call an individual. If the individual can't be reached by phone, the health department would send an email with an official letter.

We encourage any resident of Utah County to visit coronavirus.utah.gov for more information, or to call the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 if they are worried if they have COVID-19.

Please submit an “Address Update” E-form through UAtlas within 10 days of moving. It is your responsibility to report your change of address to ISSS in a timely manner.

All incoming students will receive a welcome email from our office in regards to next steps to prepare for arrival on campus. These emails and further instructions about your arrival will be sent out to your Umail over the next few weeks. Please refer to these emails for the most updated information. If you have questions about International Student Orientation requirements, please email the Orientation Team at international-welcome@utah.edu. 

If you are experiencing stress or anxiety about your situation, we encourage you to reach out to counselors, advisers, or friends to talk about your feelings. Resources on campus that are here for you and can be of support:

The University of Utah has further resources listed that are available to students.

Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is infected or at risk for the disease. Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem. Please refer to the university’s website or the CDC website for additional guidance.

  • Viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds.
  • People—including those of Asian descent—who have not recently been in an area of ongoing spread of COVID-19 or been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 are not at greater risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19 than other Americans.
  • People who have returned from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 more than 14 days ago and do not have symptoms are not infected with the virus and contact with them will not give you the virus.
  • Share the need for social support for people who have returned from affected countries or are worried about friends or relatives in the affected region.

If you face discrimination, please let our office know and we can refer you to further resources.

  • There is a main University of Utah webpage that contains additional resources related to COVID-19 for students. This includes travel advisories, current phase of return on campus, and details on mandatory wearing of face coverings on campus. This is found on COVID-19 Central @TheU.
  • We encourage you to call the U’s COVID-19 telephone hotline at 801-213-2874.
  • Contact our office by email: international@utah.edu or call us at 801-581-8876 for an appointment with an international student advisor.
  • New immigration information will be updated on our website so please continue to check back for updates.


J-1 EXCHANGE VISITORS

(J-1 Visa Holders in the research scholar, professor, short-term scholar, and student intern categories)

If you are able to continue to collaborate with your PI/supervisor and make progress in your goals, you will be able to maintain your status, even if you are located off-campus.

We do not know how long these travel restrictions will last and what additional countries may be added to the restrictions already in place. If you decide to travel, be prepared, understand the risks, and be advised that you might not be able to return to the U.S. for an unknown period of time, your trip could be disrupted, or you may be quarantined upon your return.

  • If you depart the U.S. and are still able to collaborate with your PI/supervisor and make progress in your goals, you will be able to maintain your status. If you will be outside of the U.S. for more than 30 days and are eligible for a Temporary Absence, you will be able to maintain your status. This would be considered a continuation of your program activities. Please note: You must have a valid J-1 visa to re-enter the U.S. after a temporary absence. To request a Temporary Absence, submit the "Temporary Out of Country Absence" E-form through UAtlas
  • If your program activities (such as research, observation, teaching, and/or collaboration) are suspended, your program will be considered complete, and you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. on your current J-1 visa. Upon return for a new J-1 exchange program, you may be subject to a 12 or 24-month bar. Some exchange visitors will also be subject to the 212(e) home residency requirement, which would impact anyone interested in an H-1b visa or legal permanent residence (green card).

If you leave permanently without an intent to return, but still plan to collaborate with your department while abroad, please submit a “Shorten Program Request” E-form throughUAtlas. Although you can still pursue your program objective while abroad, you will not be able to return to the U.S. on your current J-1 visa. 

Extensions will be considered as usual, and as long as the eligibility requirements are met, an extension will be granted. Please see our DS-2019 Extension Policy Guide for more information. 

Yes, as long as the invitation from the University host department is still valid. At this time, the University is not restricting visits to campus from foreign nationals.  Please contact the J-1 scholar team at internationalscholars@utah.edu to discuss any needed change in the visitor's program dates. 

On October 25, President Biden announced a Presidential Proclamation titled “A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”  This proclamation, which takes effect at 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time on November 8, 2021, will end the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations (P.P.) 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199as they relate to the suspension of entry into the United States of persons physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.  In place of these restrictions, the President announced a global vaccination requirement for all adult foreign national travelers.   This proclamation applies to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departs after 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on November 8, 2021.

Beginning Monday, November 8th, international students & scholars, and their dependents (requirement for all non-US citizens) who are seeking to enter the United States by air are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States from a foreign country.  If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will NOT be allowed to board a flight to the United States, unless you meet the criteria for an exception under the Presidential Proclamation issued on October 25, 2021, and the CDC’s Order issued the same day. 

ISSS highly recommends, that BEFORE you travel, you review the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers. There are frequently asked questions and answers, and a description of who meets the fully vaccinated status on the CDC website. Additional questions you may have should be asked directly to your airlines. Please note that ISSS staff are not medical professionals, and are NOT able to give advice on if you are considered fully vaccinated. The CDC resources online, and your airlines will be able to answer your specific questions.

Visitors and host department staff should be made aware of the current guidelines for J-1 scholars upon arrival - these guidelines are the University's recommendations, which mirror the current CDC guidance: 

  • Show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight to the U.S. 
  • Get tested within 3 days of traveling to the U.S., even if you are fully vaccinated
    • Visitors must show proof to the airline of a COVID-19 test performed within 3 days before arrival to the U.S.
  • Get tested again upon arrival on campus (testing is widely available on campus)
  • If vaccinated, and have a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival, self-quarantine period is not required
  • Self-monitor for any symptoms in the 10 days following arrival
  • Continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and take other required public health precautions

At this time, the University is not restricting visits to campus from foreign nationals, and we are still issuing DS-2019s as normal for foreign national scholars that are otherwise eligible.

On October 25, President Biden announced a Presidential Proclamation titled “A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”  This proclamation, which takes effect at 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time on November 8, 2021, will end the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations (P.P.) 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199as they relate to the suspension of entry into the United States of persons physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.  In place of these restrictions, the President announced a global vaccination requirement for all adult foreign national travelers.   This proclamation applies to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departs after 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on November 8, 2021.

Beginning Monday, November 8th, international students & scholars, and their dependents (requirement for all non-US citizens) who are seeking to enter the United States by air are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States from a foreign country.  If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will NOT be allowed to board a flight to the United States, unless you meet the criteria for an exception under the Presidential Proclamation issued on October 25, 2021, and the CDC’s Order issued the same day. 

ISSS highly recommends, that BEFORE you travel, you review the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers. There are frequently asked questions and answers, and a description of who meets the fully vaccinated status on the CDC website. Additional questions you may have should be asked directly to your airlines. Please note that ISSS staff are not medical professionals, and are NOT able to give advice on if you are considered fully vaccinated. The CDC resources online, and your airlines will be able to answer your specific questions.

Visitors and host department staff should be made aware of the current guidelines for J-1 scholars upon arrival - these guidelines are the University's recommendations, which mirror the current CDC guidance: 

  • Show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight to the U.S. 
  • Get tested within 3 days of traveling to the U.S., even if you are fully vaccinated
    • Visitors must show proof to the airline of a COVID-19 test performed within 3 days before arrival to the U.S.
  • Get tested again upon arrival on campus (testing is widely available on campus)
  • If vaccinated, and have a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival, self-quarantine period is not required
  • Self-monitor for any symptoms in the 10 days following arrival
  • Continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and take other required public health precautions

Our J-1 scholar team is available for both phone and Zoom appointments. Email us at internationalscholars@utah.edu in order to request an appointment. 

 

 

Last Updated: 8/22/22