Fall Term 2021 FAQs for New Students

Congratulations from the International Center on your admission to the University of Michigan! We are looking forward to welcoming you to campus for the Fall 2021 Term. However, we realize that some of you may not be able to arrive on campus in time for the Fall Term, and may be considering studying remotely from your home country. We hope the information below will be helpful as you plan for the Fall Term.

If you are considering remote study from your home country, be sure to check with your academic program for details on online course availability and to ensure that your proposed schedule meets program requirements.

The information below is for new students only, including transfer and change of level students who have previously studied in the U.S. Current students: please read the information for continuing students.

Whether you plan to come to campus for the Fall Term or are considering remote study, please be sure to read the Campus Maize and Blueprint website for detailed information about U-M’s plans for Fall Term 2021.

 

Information for New F-1 and J-1 Students Planning Come To Campus for the Fall Term

Can I choose online classes only if I come to campus this Fall?

No, at least one of your classes must be in-person or hybrid. You will see codes for your classes that will allow you to determine whether or not a particular course is considered to be in-person, mixed (hybrid) or online. *This guidance does not apply to SEVIS transfer and Change of Level students - please refer to the Transfers and Other Special Situations' section below.

  • New F-1 students: Be sure to select at least one in-person or hybrid class (at least three credit hours) in order to protect your immigration status. You must enroll full-time.
  • New J-1 students: Be sure to select at least one in-person or hybrid class (at least three credit hours) in order to protect your immigration status. Since the Department of State only permits a “limited amount of distance learning” for new J-1 students, we also recommend selecting additional in-person or hybrid classes if possible. You must enroll full-time.

Will I be able to obtain a visa in time to come to U-M for Fall Term?

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely affect the ability of U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to resume routine visa services. Check with the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest you to find out more about their plans and about your options for scheduling an appointment for a visa interview. Try to schedule your visa interview appointment as soon as possible. Even if visa issuance has resumed, there may be significant delays due to backlogs and physical distancing protocols at embassies and consulates. In some cases, the option to schedule a visa interview through “expedited processing” may be available.

Will my plans to come to campus be affected by travel restrictions?

The COVID-19 entry restrictions the U.S. has imposed are still in effect. However, there are now exceptions to these restrictions for students.

  • F-1 students from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland can follow normal procedures to apply for an F-1 visa, and can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date on their I-20 form. J-1 students from these regions can request a “national interest exception” (NIE) when they apply for a visa. The NIE will allow travel to the U.S.
  • F-1 and J-1 students travelling from Brazil, China, India, Iran, or South Africa can travel directly to the United States provided that their academic programs begin August 1, 2021 or later. 
    • Students who are applying for an F-1 visa can follow normal visa application procedures.
    • Students who are applying for a J-1 visa or planning to travel using their current J-1 visa should contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate a national interest exception (NIE) request.
    • If your I-20 or DS-2019 has a start date before August 1, 2021, you will not be able to enter the U.S. if you have been in Brazil, China, India, Iran, or South Africa during the preceding 14-day period. You would need to spend at least 14 days in a country that is not subject to travel restrictions before entering the U.S.
    • If your I-20 or DS-2019 has a start date on or after August 1, 2021, you will be able to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before your program start date once you have obtained your F-1 or J-1 visa.

Will I need a new I-20 confirming that U-M is offering in-person and hybrid classes for Fall Term 2021?

No. Current DHS guidance does not require this. You can use the most recent I-20 you received from U-M to enter the U.S. If you want, you can also download and print this letter, which explains U-M’s plans for the Fall Term. You are also encouraged to print a copy of your class schedule from Wolverine Access to show, if requested. It should clearly indicate your in-person/hybrid (mixed) course selections.

I haven’t received my I-20 or DS-2019 yet? What should I do?

If you are an undergraduate student, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. If you are a Rackham Graduate School student, contact the Rackham Admissions Office. If you are a non-Rackham graduate student, please contact your specific admissions office.

When should I plan to arrive on campus?

You should plan to arrive on campus no later than the reporting date (program start date) on your I-20 or DS-2019 form. Classes for most programs begin on August 30, 2021, and your program start date may be earlier than this to allow for orientation and check-in. Students who are unable to arrive on time can also consider studying remotely for the Fall Term and coming to campus for the Winter Term, or deferring their admission to a future term. Discuss these options with the unit that admitted you since this may not be possible for all students.

Is COVID-19 vaccination required by the U.S. or by U-M?

  • COVID-19 vaccination is not required for entry to the U.S. However, in order to board a plane for the U.S. you must have evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the 3 days before your flight to the U.S. departs. This test is required even if you are fully vaccinated. More information is at Campus Maize and Blueprint.
  • Vaccination is strongly recommended, but not required for students attending U-M with one exception: U-M students choosing to live in Ann Arbor on-campus housing during the Fall 2021 term will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. U-M Housing has posted information for international students who are unable to receive one of the recognized vaccines by July 16, 2021. Students in this situation should still complete their Housing application by their deadline if they are interested in living in on-campus housing.
  • In addition to COVID-19 vaccination, other vaccinations are also recommended for U-M students. Learn more by reading this information from University Health Service.

Will I need to quarantine once I arrive in the U.S.?

You must follow the COVID-19 prevention measures explained on the Maize and Blueprint website under Additional Guidance for International Travelers.

Am I required to report to the International Center after arrival?

New F-1 and J-1 international students are required to complete an immigration check-in process.  Due to the on-going pandemic, the check-in will be online. Mandatory Immigration Check-in for Students explains how to complete your check-in.  

 

Health Insurance

Will the mandatory U-M International Health Insurance plan cover COVID-19 testing and treatment?

Yes. The International Student/Scholar Health Insurance Plan covers testing and treatment. GradCare also covers COVID-19 testing and treatment. Please review the health insurance FAQs for details. If you still have questions, contact the International Center’s Health Insurance Advisor.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Contact the International Center Insurance Advisor.

 

Transfers and Other Special Situations

What if I am currently in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status?

Your admissions office can advise you on your eligibility to transfer your F-1 or J-1 status from your current U.S. institution to the University of Michigan. They can advise you if you are also a current U-M student starting a new degree or program level. If you are an undergraduate student, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. If you are a Rackham Graduate School student, contact the Rackham Admissions Office. If you are a non-Rackham graduate student, please contact your specific admissions office.

I am a Transfer/Change of Level student and plan to come to the U.S. to study for Fall Term 2021.

After you have arrived in the U.S. and completed the online mandatory immigration check-in, your transfer or change of educational level will be completed. You may choose any combination of in-person, hybrid or online courses (including all online) as long as you maintain a full course of study (or have an approved Reduced Course Load). However, you should check with your academic unit to make sure that your proposed course schedule, including your choices of in-person, mixed (hybrid) or remote classes, meets their requirements for your degree program. 

I am a Transfer/Change of Level student and plan to pursue remote study from my home country during Fall Term 2021.

Please notify the U-M unit that admitted you that you plan to spend the Winter Term outside the United States. You may take as many or as few credits as you want, but be sure to check with your academic program as you plan your course schedule for the Winter Term. Your academic program may require you to enroll for a specific number of credits.

U-M will not be able to complete your transfer or your change of educational level until you enter the U.S. for the Winter Term or another future term, so your SEVIS record will remain in initial status. This means that the F-1 immigrations regulations will not apply to you. U-M’s mandatory health insurance requirement will also not apply to you. As soon as you decide when you will return to campus, notify the U-M unit that admitted you so that a new I-20 can be prepared for you. You will then use that I-20 to re-enter the United States. You will only need to apply for a new visa if your current visa is not valid.

I am currently in the U.S. in another nonimmigrant status (H-1B, H-4, TN, etc.). What should I do?

Please contact the International Center at icenter@umich.edu. Your options and course of action depends on many variables, and an adviser can help outline the issues so you can make an informed decision.

 

Information for New Students Planning to Study Remotely for the Winter Term

Can I begin my U-M program online and come to U-M for the Winter Term, or a later term?

This may be possible. Be sure to check with your academic program for details on online course availability and to ensure that your proposed schedule meets program requirements. You may also have the option of deferring your admission to a future term. This is also something to discuss with the U-M unit that admitted you.

If I pursue remote study from my home county this Fall, will I receive a new I-20 or DS-2019?

Yes, you will receive a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a new start date, which will allow you to enter the U.S. for a future term. While you are studying remotely from outside the U.S., your SEVIS record will be in initial F-1 or J-1 status. Your active F-1 or J-1 status will begin when you use your I-20 or DS-2019 to enter the U.S. for a future term.

If remote study from my home county is possible for me, am I required to enroll full-time?

Since you will not be in active F-1 or J-1 status, F-1 or J-1 immigration requirements will not apply to you, so you will not be required to enroll full-time. You may take as many or as few credits as you want, and these can all be online. However, be sure to check with your academic program as you plan your course schedule for the Fall Term. Your academic program may require you to enroll for a specific number of credits.

Should I still apply for my F-1 or J-1 visa?

Plan to apply for your visa early if you plan to come to U-M. for the Winter Term, but remember that visas will not be issued more than 120 days prior to the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019 form. Check with the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest you to find out more about their plans and about your options for scheduling an appointment for a visa interview. As visa issuance resumes, there may be significant delays due to backlogs and new physical distancing protocols at embassies and consulates.

If I study remotely from outside the U.S., will I be required to enroll in the international student health insurance plan?

No. The health insurance requirement will not apply to you since you will not be in active F-1 or J-1 status. Once you enter the U.S. for the Winter Term (or another future term), you will be automatically enrolled in the mandatory health insurance plan. If you have more questions about U-M health insurance plans, including coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment, please review the health insurance FAQs.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

For questions about your U-M application, acceptance, matriculation, or the processing of immigration documents, undergraduate students should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Rackham Graduate School students should contact the Rackham Admissions Office. If you are a non-Rackham graduate student, please contact your specific admissions office. For questions about remote study or deferring admission, Rackham graduate students should contact their graduate program, and all other students should contact their admitting office.

If you have questions about the U.S. visa process or other immigration related issues, please contact the International Center at icenter@umich.edu.

 

Last Updated: 05/03/2021