This website has information for international students, scholars, employees, and their hosting departments regarding COVID-19 and its impacts on the Fall 2020 semester, immigration, and travel. Campus-wide information is available here, and updates regarding UVM outbound study abroad and travel study is available here.


International Students

This section was updated on July 21, 2020.  This update reflects the reversal of the SEVP guidance from July 6. We will continue to update this information as additional information becomes available. Our staff is closely monitoring additional updates as they are released and will communicate any changes directly with our student population and key campus partners. 

Overview of Fall 2020 enrollment and immigration issues for international students

This chart explains options for international students for the Fall 2020 semester based on the updated SEVP guidance released on July 6, 2020. The SEVP guidance is specifically for F-1 Students. J-1 students should consult their program sponsor (Fulbright, LASPAU, etc.).

 

 

 

 

In the United States in Fall 2020

 

 

Outside of the United States in Fall 2020

 

Undergraduate Student

Current Students (were enrolled in Spring 2020 semester and are continuing): You may remain in the US if you return to Burlington to take a full schedule of courses (12+ credit hours). Courses can be in any delivery format, including fully online.

New Students (were not enrolled in Spring 2020 semester at UVM): Must enroll full-time (12+ credit hours). At least one course should haven in-person requirement. 

Cannot elect the “at home” option if you will be in Burlington - this option is designed for students who are in their home community, and those who select it cannot access any on-campus resources.

Immigration record will stay active. No new I-20 needed.  You will remain eligible for any on-campus employment and off-campus practical training opportunities you would have been eligible for normally.

If you want to take Fall 2020 courses, you should select the “at home” option and enroll in coursework from abroad. Remember that “remote” courses will happen on a Vermont time zone. “Online” courses are asynchronous and are completed on your own time.  Students who remain enrolled full-time will be able to maintain their immigration status. Will require an I-20 with a valid travel signature prior to return to the US for Spring semester.

If you do not want to take Fall 2020 classes, you must work with academic advisor to take a leave of absence.

Students who enroll part-time or not at all will request that their F-1 record be terminated for “Authorized Early Withdrawal” and will have to work with OIE to get new I-20 prior to returning to US in future semester. Will need new visa if you have been out of status for five or more months at the point of reentry into US.

Graduate Student

Current Students (were enrolled in Spring 2020 semester and are continuing): You may remain in the US if you return to Burlington to take a full schedule of courses (9+ credit hours). Courses can be in any delivery format, including fully online.

New Students (were not enrolled in Spring 2020 semester at UVM): Must enroll full-time (9+ credit hours). At least one course should haven in-person requirement. 

Immigration record will stay active. No new I-20 needed.  You will remain eligible for any on-campus employment and off-campus practical training opportunities you would have been eligible for normally.

Cannot hold Fall 2020 assistantship (this is a tax related matter).

If you want to take Fall 2020 courses, enroll in all online coursework. Students who remain enrolled full-time will be able to maintain their immigration status. Will require an I-20 with a valid travel signature prior to return to the US for Spring semester.

If you do not want to take Fall 2020 classes, you must work with academic advisor to take a leave of absence.

Students who enroll part-time or not at all will request that their F-1 record be terminated for “Authorized Early Withdrawal” and will have to work with OIE to get new I-20 prior to returning to US in future semester. Will need new visa if you have been out of status for five or more months at the point of reentry into US.

General Questions

Will these rules change? It is possible - as you know, they already have changed several times. These are not UVM’s rules, but rather those of the Federal Government. In Spring 2020, the agency that issues these kinds of rules changed them several times in a short period of time. We will continue to update these questions and send emails for any significant updates.

How can I meet with someone to discuss this situation? At this time, our staff are working remotely, but we are happy to advise you via video/voice appointments. You will still set up appointments through Calendly but then before your appointment, an advisor will send you a link for meeting with Microsoft Teams. Walk-ins in the in-person format are cancelled, but you can set up a same-day 15-minute appointment with us that will take place via Microsoft Teams. As always, you can submit iStart requests, and while our front office will not be open for document pick-up, you can request that we mail immigration documents to you by submitting requests along with shipping labels in iStart.

I am on OPT - does this affect me? OPT was not affected by the most recent SEVP changes.

What about the Spring 2021 semester? We excpect these rules may change for Spring 2021. We will update this information and notify students and key campus partners once we have additional information. 

Questions Regarding Fall 2020 Enrollment

How do I know if courses will be online/remote or in person? Review the revised schedule of courses.Classes marked at INPR and MIXD include in-person components. Classes marked as REMT or ONL do not happen in person. 

There are no in-person courses being offered that help me with my degree requirements – everything I need is online or remote this fall. Is this OK? Yes - there are temporary regulations that allow an all-online schedule. However, new students should register for at least one class with an in-person component. This includes students returning to the US after an academic absence on a new initial I-20. 

What is the maximum number of credits I am allowed to take online/remote? New international students who are coming to the US to begin their studies should have some in-person component. Continuing students may enroll in fully online/remote courses if they wish. 

I am in Burlington already, but I don’t feel comfortable taking any in-person/hybrid classes because of the potential transmission of COVID-19. Can I take online coursework only? Yes, as long as you are a continuing student.

Do “hybrid” courses count as in-person? Yes, as long as a course has some required in-person components it meets the in-person requirement for Fall 2020.

Graduate Students: Does dissertation/thesis credit or continuous registration meet the in-person requirement? Yes, but you must be in the Burlington area. Please consult with the OIE if you hope to register only for thesis/dissertation credits but be outside of Burlington.

If UVM shuts down again in the middle of fall semester and goes fully online, will I be allowed to remain in the United States? Yes, the current regulations permit this. 

If I stay outside of the US this fall, will I be eligible for OPT if I only return to UVM and complete my program in one semester? Yes, as long as you remain fully enrolled this fall and are back in the US to apply for these benefits. 

Graduate Students: I will be overseas this fall. Why can I not still hold my assistantship? Your assistantship involves payment, and there are tax reasons why we cannot pay someone who is overseas.

Questions about Visas, Entering the USA, and Quarantines in Vermont

I need a letter for travel into the US that confirms UVM will be on a hybrid academic plan. Where can I get one? We have written a standard support letter (pdf) that you may download and use.

I am do noy have a valid visa to enter the US and am waiting on an appointment. When will I be able to get one? We know many students are still waiting on your appointments for an F-1 visa. The Department of State announced earlier this week a “Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services” which means that if you have been waiting on an appointment, one may become available soon. Please check in with your local consulate or embassy. We know that some consulates are offering emergency appointments for students who need to travel to the USA to begin their studies for the Fall semester.

Do I need any special documents to enter the US? If you are currently outside of the USA, we have prepared a support letter for you to carry when you travel. Please print a copy of this letter to carry when you cross the US border. You will of course also need your passport, valid visa, and signed form I-20/DS-2019 to enter the USA. If you do not have a valid signature on your I-20/DS-2019, you can request a reprinted document through iStart and we will mail it to you overseas (make sure to request a shipping label)

Can I enter the US from the Shengen Countries, UK, Ireland? F-1 students may now enter the USA again even if they have been in Shengen countries, the UK, or Ireland in the prior 14 days per this regulation that changed yesterday. We recommend printing a copy of this guidance from the webpage to carry with you when you travel. J-1 travelers need a special exception.

I am currently in China/Iran/Brazil, can I enter the USA? Unfortunately, the restrictions preventing entry into the US to individuals who were in China, Iran, and Brazil in the 14 days preceding their attempted entry into the United States remain in effect. If additional guidance is offered to change these regulations, we will send an update.

When I arrive in Vermont, do I have to Quarantine?: If you are arriving in Vermont from out of state or outside of the US there are required Quarantines. Find out about your quarantine options and processes here. For on-campus residential students, please also see communications from Residential Life regarding move-in. All students should arrive in Vermont early enough to fully quarantine prior to classes beginning. Graduate students may work with the graduate college and their departments to potentially adjust their arrival timeline slightly.

I am an undergraduate student waiting on my visa appointment or for travel restrictions to lift. Can I arrive late in Burlington? The University's priority is student success, and missing even one class can have negative academic consequences. Because of this, students should be able to physically attend their first day of classes, which means arriving in Vermont 7-14 days earlier to quarantine. Students cannot quarantine in on-campus housing if they do not arrive *on* August 14; an off-campus quarantine must be arranged by the student. In circumstances beyond a student's control, students can consult with faculty members about participating in their first week of classes virtually while quarantining in Burlington, but this may not be possible in all cases. Arrivals that cause a student to miss more than the first week of classes are not permissible. Students may still take an online-only schedule of courses from abroad, and then come to campus in-person for Spring 2021. 

International Scholars, Visitors, and Employees Issues

International Scholars, Visitors, and Employees Currently at the University of Vermont:

How can I stay informed? Campus-wide updates regarding COVID-19 are available here. UVM updates this information based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local agencies. We recommend you also review Centers for Disease Control information on coronavirusflu season and prevention.

I need to travel outside of the United States. Is that OK? Prior to any travel, monitor conditions in the location where you intend to travel, including following any guidelines listed here. Please check in with International Scholar Services prior to your departure. 

Will the OIE still be able to advise me without me visiting the OIE? Yes. Starting March 16, all advising will be done remotely. As always, you can submit iStart requests, and while our front office will not be open for document pick-up, you can request that we mail immigration documents to you by submitting requests along with shipping labels in iStart.

Can I visit the OIE in person? At this time, our staff are working remotely, but we are happy to advise you via video/voice appointments and can mail immigration documents to you if you request a shipping label in iStart. 

New International Scholars, Visitors, and Employees Coming to the University of Vermont

How can I stay informed? Campus-wide updates regarding COVID-19 are available here. UVM updates this information based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local agencies. We recommend you also review Centers for Disease Control information on coronavirusflu season and prevention.

I no longer plan to visit UVM or need to delay my travel. What should I do? Consult with your UVM host if you will no longer visit UVM or need to delay your visit due to travel and immigration delays.

My program at UVM begins soon. What should I know before travel?  Review Centers for Disease Control information on coronavirusflu season and preventionDo not travel if you are sick; travelers who are sick face the risk of being quarantined and tested. Instead, wait until you are well – consult with your UVM host. Allow extra time when passing through airports for connecting flights. Additional health screenings have been put in place in many international airports due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Carry contact information for your UVM hosts and the Office of International Education with you as you travel. If you become sick from your travel, alert your UVM host and seek medical care. Tell the health care provider of your symptoms and recent travel history.

Campus Hosts of International Scholars,Visitors, and Employees

Can I still bring a foreign national to UVM? UVM continues to support the visit of foreign nationals to the University – immigration requests should be submitted via iStart per normal protocol. If there are travel restrictions in place at the time of the planned arrival for the foreign national, the Office of International Education will work with you to evaluate options.

I am hosting an international scholar currently. How can I support them? Remind any current visitors of the University of Vermont guidance regarding international travel due to COVID-19. Many of our visitors may be experiencing anxiety related to COVID-19 and how it is affecting their home countries and/or issues related to immigration due to travel restrictions. You can direct those visitors to our office.

How can I speak with an OIE staff member while you are working remotely? Please email us and we can set up an appointment to connect via Microsoft Teams. 

What things do I need to notify the Office of International Education about? Notify the Office of International Education if: a new scholar or visitor no longer will be coming to UVM or is delayed in their arrival; a new or current scholar is experiencing anxiety related to immigration consequences of travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus

I have a new visitor coming to campus. What should I know? Ensure any new visitors carry your contact information and that of the Office of International Education with them as they travel to the US for the first time. When booking flights, encourage visitors to allow for extra time in airports to avoid missing flights due to additional screening. All visitors must arrange travel plans to allow for quarantining prior to the first day of employment.