Deans, Directors and Department Chairs,

Yesterday the U.S. federal government released COVID-19 procedural guidance for international students in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status for Fall 2020 (see 7/7/2020 OIE email to international students)

  • International students who are in the U.S. must be enrolled in one or more in-person courses for the duration of the semester. If at any point during the semester they are enrolled in only online courses, they will be required to leave the U.S. UVM Hybrid courses meet the in-person requirement for Fall 2020 as students would have a required in-person component.
  • International students who remain out of the U.S. may enroll in as many or as few online courses as they wish. Students will work with the Office of International Education regarding the immigration implications of being outside of the U.S.

We ask Deans, Program Directors and Department Chairs to review how the planned delivery mode for courses may impact their international students, particularly for graduate students and undergrads closer to graduation who have fewer options to fulfill remaining requirements. We also ask that you apprise your faculty and staff advisors of these requirements. The Office of International Education will apprise F-1 and J-1 students of these rules with the attached communication. If you are uncertain if you have international students enrolled in your degree program, please consult your dean’s office for undergraduate students. The Graduate College will send this information for graduate programs.

Every reasonable effort should be made to ensure that UVM international students who are in the U.S. are not forced to depart.  

These guidelines for international students only are relevant for Fall 2020. To meet full-time course of study requirements, international students in the U.S. are required to be enrolled in at least 12 credits (undergrad) and 9 credits (grad); In normal circumstances only one online course is allowed toward meeting the full course of study requirement. For Spring 2020, the federal agency which administers the F-1 and J-1 programs issued temporary less-stringent guidance that allowed students in full-time online coursework to remain in the U.S. Fall 2020 rules have become less flexible.

All student questions related to maintenance of F-1 or J-1 status should be directed to the Office of International Education at


Kim Howard, Director, Office of International Education
Cynthia Forehand, Dean, Graduate College
J. Dickinson, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs


Kim Howard, Office of International Education