TRAVEL & VISAS
1. I understand travel to the US is currently restricted from multiple countries. How will I know if travel is restricted to the US from my country when Fall semester begins?
In recent months, there have been several Immigration Executive Orders signed by the US President. The Presidential proclamations established restrictions on the entry of certain travelers into the United States in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19. At this time, we do not know when those travel bans will be lifted.
There was also a Presidential proclamation suspending certain H, J and L visas from entering the US until December 31, 2020.
2. Will I be able to travel to the US for Fall 2020?
If you already have an F1 visa to enter the US that has not expired AND travel is not restricted from your country to the US, AND you are not returning from a Leave of Absence, you should be able to travel to the US for Fall semester. Several Presidential proclamations established restrictions on the entry of certain travelers into the United States in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, the latest Fall 2020 Guidance from ICE (7/24/2020) states that, “SEVP-certified schools should advise students traveling from countries impacted by COVID-19 to refer to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for specific port-of-entry screening processes, as well as any travel restrictions.” If you had a visa that expired, and you are still waiting for a visa appointment, it is likely that you will not be able to travel to the US for Fall 2020 semester. At this time, we do not know when those travel bans will be lifted.
3. I am able to travel to the US, but I will not be able to arrive on time for the Fall semester. Can I arrive late? (Updated 8/6/2020)
Now that all classes will be online, you do not have to arrive in Baltimore, but you should still check in with International Education at the beginning of the semester by completing the registration form. If travel is not restricted, and you have a valid visa, please plan to arrive before the first day of classes, August 31, 2020. However, MICA will be able to support students who have travel related or other delays that prevent their arrival through September 7th, which is the end of the period to add classes. Please remember to travel with the appropriate travel documents.
4. I already received a travel signature in Spring. Do I still need a new I-20 if I plan to return to the US?
As long as you have a travel signature, it will be valid for one year. If you are not returning to the US until Spring 2021, you should request a travel signature during the fall semester.
5. I was planning to return from a Leave of Absence (LOA), but I was told I am not supposed to enter the US. What should I do? (Updated 8/6/2020)
If you received an I-20 with a new SEVIS ID to return to the US, you are in Initial Status. Initial status students should not enter the US at this time. You must decide whether to continue your LOA or to enroll online from home. If you continue your LOA, the Program Start Date on your I-20 can be adjusted so you can arrive for a future semester. If you decide to enroll from home, your Program start date on your I-20 will be adjusted so you can arrive for a future semester, but you will still be a MICA student. You will not be subject to F1 visa regulations until you travel to the US. If you need to renew your visa, many embassies and US consulates have not currently started scheduling F1 visa appointments. Please see the US Department of State website for more information on when the US Consulate and Embassies will resume visa appointments.
6. I left the United States during Spring semester due to COVID-19 and my visa expired. What should I do if I was unable to get a new visa?
If you do not have an F1 visa before classes begin and are unable to travel, you will be able to remain in Active status in SEVIS. However, you need to apply for a new visa before you travel to the US. Please note that many embassies and US consulates are not currently started scheduling F1 visa appointments. Please see the US Department of State website for more information on when the US Consulate and Embassies will resume visa appointments.
7. I remained in the United States after Spring semester due to COVID-19 and my passport expired, what do I need to do to renew it?
You should contact your country’s embassy or consulate to identify options for passport extension or renewal. If you decide to depart the United States, you will not be eligible to apply for admission until you renew your passport.
8. If my F1 visa has expired, can I travel to the US on a tourist visa or another visa instead?
Unfortunately, travelling to the US on a tourist visa will not allow you to enroll full time in a program in the US. You will need a new F1 visa in order to travel to the US to continue your program. Otherwise, you can maintain your F1 status while outside of the US for the fall semester.
9. If I am unable to enroll in the next session, can I transfer my I-901 SEVIS Fee payment to the next session? (Updated 8/6/2020)
As long as students maintain the same SEVIS record, there is no need to transfer their I-901 SEVIS Fee payment. Students who are unable to enroll in the next session may defer their enrollment to the next available session.
Fee transfers are available for F and M students who have already paid the I-901 SEVIS Fee and who:
Reapply for a visa within 12 months of the date of their initial I-901 SEVIS Fee payment or
Are from a Visa Waiver Program country and reapply for status as a student at the port of entry within 12 months of the date of their initial I-901SEVIS Fee payment.
10. Will I need to quarantine when I arrive in the US? (Updated 8/6/2020)
Now that classes are all online, students should not plan to travel to the US for the purposes of studying at MICA. Per CDC guidelines, individuals traveling from international origins should quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to the US. For more information on on campus housing and this fall, please visit MICA’s Housing Updates page.
1. If I am already in the US or plan to return to the US, can I take MICA courses online? (Updated 8/6/2020)
Per the August 4 Campus Memo, all classes will be online for Fall 2020. Please meet with your academic advisor to discuss your selection of courses. You may enroll in or outside of the US.
2. If I enroll in classes at MICA while I am outside of the US, do the rules for F1 international students apply to me?
As long as you were enrolled during Spring 2020, you can maintain Active F-1 status during Fall 2020 semester. You will be able to apply for CPT and OPT if you have been enrolled for two consecutive semesters. Please discuss your classes with your academic or enrollment advisor, and do your best to enroll in a full course load. However, if you find the course selections prohibit you from enrolling full time online, the full course of study requirements (12 credits) can be waived during Fall 2020. If you are enrolling after a Leave of Absence, you will not be in F1 status until you travel to the US and will not be subject to the F1 regulations.
3. If I can't travel to the US, can I still enroll in classes at MICA during Fall 2020?
Yes, you may still enroll in classes if you cannot travel to the US. As long as you were enrolled during Spring 2020, you can maintain Active F-1 status during Fall 2020 semester. If you are not able to enroll in classes in the US or from home, you will need to take a Leave of Absence for the semester.
4. All of the courses I need are not available. Will I be excused from meeting the full course of study requirements if the classes I need are not being offered? (Updated 8/6/2020)
Yes, full course of study requirements (12 credits) can be waived as a direct result of the impact from COVID-19 during Fall 2020. However, you should discuss your classes with your academic or enrollment advisor before changing your schedule.
5. How am I affected if I choose to take a Leave of Absence? (Updated 8/6/2020)
If you take a Leave of Absence during Fall 2020, your I-20 will be terminated at the beginning of the semester. If you are currently in the US planning to take a LOA, you will need to depart the US. When you plan to return to MICA, International Education will provide a travel signature on your I-20, if necessary, and will reactivate your I-20 before you return to the US. I-20s will not be reactivated until December 2020. You will not need to pay a new SEVIS fee if your I-20 is reactivated for Spring. We do not know how classes will be offered for Spring semester yet, but if you do not enroll in Spring semester, you will be able to continue your LOA. If you decide to wait until Fall 2021 to enroll, you will need to receive a new I-20 and pay a new SEVIS fee. Please review the International Education’s Leave of Absence page for information on how to return from a LOA.
1. Many on-campus employment opportunities are now being conducted remotely. Can F-1 students engage in remote work for on-campus employment? (Updated 8/6/2020)
If the current on-campus employment opportunity has transitioned to remote work or the employment can be done through remote means, students may continue to engage in on-campus employment remotely. Your supervisor should be able to explain how you are providing services associated with the employment while not on campus. Please be are that if you are outside of the US and unable to apply for a Social Security Number, on-campus employment may not be allowed.
2. If I enroll at MICA from outside of the US, will I still be able to apply for internships and get credit?
Yes, you will be able to maintain your Active F-1 status from outside of the US as long as you have been enrolled for at least two consecutive semesters. You will still apply for CPT with Career Development. Either the employer must have an office outside the United States OR the employer must assess student engagement and attainment of learning objectives electronically.
3. If I enroll in classes outside of the US, will I still be able to apply for OPT when I graduate?
Yes, you will be able to maintain your Active F-1 status from outside of the US and apply for OPT as long as you have been enrolled for at least two consecutive semesters. However, you will need to be in the US when you apply for OPT. If you are a Fall 2020 graduate, you must have been enrolled in Spring 2020 in order to be eligible for OPT. If you plan to graduate in spring and you enroll at MICA during fall and spring, you will remain eligible to apply in Spring 2021.