Current and Returning International Students

Fall 2021 FAQS - Current & Returning International Students

(Updated 4/12/2021)

 

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 2020, Presidential proclamations established restrictions on the entry of certain travelers directly to 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. 

 

2. Will I be able to travel to the US for fall 2021? 

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, you should be able to travel to the US for Fall semester. Some students may not be able to enter the US due to travel restrictions. At this time, we do not know when the travel bans will be lifted. However, MICA is currently planning to reopen in Operational Mode 4 during fall semester. If you currently have a visa that has expired,please see the US Department of State website for more information on when the US Consulate and Embassies will resume visa appointments.  

 

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?  

If travel is not restricted, and you have a valid visa, please plan to arrive before the first day of classes, August 30, 2021. Please remember to travel with the appropriate travel documents. 

 

4. Do I have to travel to Baltimore for fall semester? What if I am unable to travel or I want to stay at home? 

International Students should plan for a return to in-person instruction on the MICA campus in the Fall. MICA is currently planning to reopen in Operational Mode 4 for fall semester. In line with MICA’s plans for a full return to campus and in-person instruction in August, we are strongly advising all international students to make the necessary preparations for the resumption of their studies in Baltimore this Fall. All international students should be in touch with their academic advisors as needed and enroll for the fall semester during the registration period beginning on April 26, 2021. MICA will use this information to determine what classes or programs we may need to offer online for international students should their return to campus in the Fall be delayed. As a new student, your I-20 is in Initial status, and you may enter the United States to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student because most classes are expected to be held in person. 

 

5. I have been enrolled at MICA since spring 2020. Do I need a new I-20 in order to return to the US?

As long as you have a travel signature, it will be valid for one year. If you need a travel signature, please contact International Education. We will email a new I-20 to you. The I-20 will have the same SEVIS ID, and you will need to print and sign it before you return to the US.

 

6. I am planning to return from a Leave of Absence (LOA). Do I need a new visa before I return? 

You only need a new visa if your previous visa has expired. If you are returning from a LOA, you should have received a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID to return to the US. If you need to apply for a new visa, please see the US Department of State website for more information on when the US Consulate and Embassies will resume visa appointments.  

 

7. I left the United States during spring 2020 due to COVID-19, and my visa expired. What should I do if I am unable to get a new visa?

All international students should be in touch with their academic advisors as needed and enroll for the fall semester during the registration period beginning on April 26, 2021. MICA will use this information to determine what classes or programs we may need to offer online for international students should their return to campus in the Fall be delayed. However, you will need to apply for a new visa before you travel to the US. 

 

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. I’ve remained in the United States since spring 2020 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.

 

10. Will I be required to be vaccinated before I arrive at the MICA campus? If not, will I be able to get a vaccination at MICA? 

At this time, you are not required to be vaccinated to enter the US or MICA’s campus. However, there is CDC guidance on international travel for individuals who have not been fully vaccinated. Details of MICA’s plan for vaccine distribution to students will be shared by MICA administration. For more information, please find related memos on MICA COVID-19 Communications page as well as the US Department of Homeland Security’s Statement on vaccine distribution.

 

11. Will I need to quarantine when I arrive in the US? 

MICA’s Office of Residence Life will share information about what procedures to follow for students moving on campus. If you plan to live in on-campus housing, please make sure to sign up for housing. For more information on housing this fall, please visit MICA’s Housing Updates page. If you are not living on campus, please see CDC travel guidelines to determine if and how long you should quarantine after your arrival to the US. 

 

 

ENROLLMENT

 

1. May I continue to enroll in classes at MICA while I am outside of the US?

International Students should plan for a return to in-person instruction on the MICA campus in the Fall. MICA is currently planning to reopen in Operational Mode 4 for fall semester. In line with MICA’s plans for a full return to campus and in-person instruction in August, we are strongly advising all international students to make the necessary preparations for the resumption of their studies in Baltimore this Fall. All international students should be in touch with their academic advisors as needed and enroll for the fall semester during the registration period beginning on April 26, 2021. MICA will use this information to determine what classes or programs we may need to offer online for international students should their return to campus in the Fall be delayed. As a new student, your I-20 is in Initial status, and you may enter the United States to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student because most classes are expected to be held in person. New Graduate students will need to contact Grad Admissions about their specific program and possibly defer admission if they cannot study in the US. 

 

2. I have been enrolled part time while I was outside of the US. May I continue to study part time? 

After you have arrived in the US, you may be authorized to study part time (a Reduced Course Load) if you are in your final semester, or if you have a medical excuse. You should discuss your classes with your academic advisor to determine how to meet your requirements.

 

3. I am planning to take a Leave of Absence during fall 2021. 

If you take a Leave of Absence during Fall 2021, 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. Please review the International Education’s Leave of Absence page for information on how to return from a LOA. 

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

 

1. Many on-campus employment opportunities are now being conducted remotely. May F-1 students continue to engage in remote work for on-campus employment? 

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. If you are being employed by MICA for the first time in the US, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number. Please be aware 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. May I enroll in an off campus internship as a Sophomore in fall 2021 if it is my first semester in the US? 

You must be enrolled in 2 consecutive semesters as an F1 student in order to apply for CPT (Curricular Practical Training) with Career Development. If Fall 2021 is your first semester studying in the US, it will be your first semester as an F1 student. 

 

3. If I am returning to MICA after being enrolled from outside of the US,  will I still be able to apply for OPT when I graduate? 

If you maintained Active F-1 status from outside of the US, you may apply for OPT as long as you have been enrolled for at least two consecutive semesters. If you are returning from a Leave of Absence, you will need to be enrolled for at least two consecutive semesters in order to be eligible for OPT.