Current International Students

Spring 2021 FAQs - Returning International Students

(Updated 11/24/2020)

 

If you were admitted to MICA in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021, please see:

FAQs for Newly Admitted International Students

 

TRAVEL, VISAS, AND STAYING IN THE US

 

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 spring semester begins?

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 Spring 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, AND you are not returning from a Leave of Absence, you should be able to travel to the US for Spring semester. However, per MICA’s Spring 2021 Reopening Plan, classes will only be offered online during Spring 2021. 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 Spring 2021 semester. At this time, we do not know when those travel bans will be lifted.

 

3. 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 received a travel signature within the last 12 months, you can use your I-20 to enter the US. If you are not returning to the US until Fall 2021, you should request a travel signature during the spring or summer.

 

4. I was planning to return from a Leave of Absence (LOA). What should I do? 

Depending on the duration of the LOA, you can return as a MICA student, but you may not be able to return to the US as an F1 student. If you only took an LOA during Fall 2020, please contact Enrollment Services to be readmitted to MICA. Your I-20 will be returned to Active status after you are readmitted. You may be required to show proof of your travel plans to the US. 

 

If you have been on LOA for more than one semester, you will return to Initial status and will be able to enroll, but will not be able to travel to the US for Spring semester. You may continue your LOA or enroll online from home. Your Program start date on your I-20 will be adjusted so you can arrive for a future semester.  If you are in Initial status, you will not be subject to F1 visa regulations until you travel to the US.

 

5. 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 spring semester.

 

6. If I am unable to enroll in the next session, can I transfer my I-901 SEVIS Fee payment to the next session? 

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.

 

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

Now that classes are all online, students do not need to travel to the US for the purposes of studying at MICA. However, 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 spring, please see MICA’s Spring Reopening Plan.

 

8. Can international students apply to live on campus? 

Only students who are in Active status and eligible to travel to the US for spring semester are eligible to live on campus. If your I-20 is Initial status, you should not plan to travel to the US.

 

ENROLLMENT

 

1. May I continue to take MICA courses online? 

Yes. Per MICA’s Spring 2021 Reopening Plan, classes will only be offered online during Spring 2021 inside or outside of the US. 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. 

 

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 have maintained Active F-1 status during Fall 2020 semester, F1 rules will continue to apply to you in Spring 2021. 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 Spring 2021. 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. All of the courses I want are not available, and it is difficult to take certain classes because I am in a different time zone. Will I be excused from meeting the full course of study requirements if the classes I need are not being offered?  

Yes, full course of study requirements (12 credits) can be waived as a direct result of the impact from COVID-19 during Spring 2021. However, you should discuss your classes with your academic or enrollment advisor before changing your schedule. 

 

4. How am I affected if I choose to take a Leave of Absence in Spring 2021? 

If you take a Leave of Absence during Spring 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. 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 summer 2021. You may not need to pay a new SEVIS fee if your I-20 is reactivated for Fall. We do not know how classes will be offered for Fall 2021 semester yet, but if you do not enroll in Fall semester, you will be able to continue your LOA. If you decide to wait until Spring 2022 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. 

 

5. Will MICA provide VPN access to international students to make sure we can properly enroll in classes? If you need VPN access during fall or spring semester, please request it from the Office of International Education by providing the required information here. Please consult your local laws and regulations regarding VPN use.



EMPLOYMENT

 

1. Many on-campus employment opportunities are now being conducted remotely. Can F-1 students 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. 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. 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? 

You will need to be in the US when you apply for OPT. If you are a Spring 2021 graduate, you must have been enrolled and maintained Active Status in Fall 2020 in order to be eligible for OPT.