COVID-19 Information for International Students

International students are core and valued members of the University of Miami community. International Student and Scholar Services shares your concern regarding the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 and hopes you and your loved ones are in good health. We recognize that for international students, the current situation presents challenges and uncertainty. ISSS is here to help you navigate the impacts of COVID-19 and related measures on your F-1 or J-1 student status, and to provide support wherever possible.

For complete information about the university-wide COVID-19 response, including advisories and additional resources, please refer to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response. ISSS encourages you to refer to this webpage for information on travel restrictions, government guidance for F-1 and J-1 students, and other relevant resources. 

 

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Information about the Fall 2022 Semester

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  • Where can I find information about the courses UM will offer in the Fall?

    Please click on Information for Students for the most updated academic information, orientation, campus life, etc.

  • How does enrolling full-time in hybrid or online courses in the Fall affect my international student status?

    Per immigration regulations, international students cannot generally take more than one online course per semester. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DoS) made an exception to this rule for the Spring 2020 semester, allowing international students to continue to maintain their F-1 and J-1 status by enrolling full-time in in-person, hybrid, or online coursework.

    Guidance for Initial Students

    In accordance with the March 2020 guidance, new or Initial F-1 students who were not previously enrolled in a program of study on March 9, 2020, will not be able to enter the United States as a nonimmigrant student for the 2022-23 academic year if their course of study is 100 percent online. A new student should be allowed to enter the United States if they are engaged in a hybrid program of study, with some requirement for in-person learning. Consistent with this restriction, Designated School Officials will not issue a Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status" for a student in new or Initial status who is outside of the United States and plans to take classes that are fully online.

    Guidance for Continuing Students

    As stated in the March 2020 guidance, Active F-1 students will be permitted to temporarily count online classes toward a full course of study in excess of the regulatory limits stated in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G) and 8 C.F.R. 214.2(m)(9)(v) for the 2021-22 academic year. The March 2020 guidance applies to continuing F-1 nonimmigrant students who were in valid F-1 nonimmigrant status on March 9, 2020, including those previously enrolled in entirely online classes who are outside of the United States and seeking to re-enter the country for the 2022-23 academic year. Students actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, who subsequently took courses online while outside of the country can re-enter the United States, even if their school is engaged solely in distance learning.

     

  • Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Guidance for F-1 students

    The Fall 2022 federal guidance for international students enrolling in hybrid or online academic programs remains the same as the March 9, 2020 Guidance.  A continuation of the March 2020 guidance means the following: 

    • Continuing international students with a SEVIS record in Active status who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, and have continuously complied with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, may enroll in in-person, hybrid, or online courses. They will be allowed to study in or outside the U.S. and maintain their SEVIS record in Active status, as long as they enroll full-time for Fall 2022. Students will be able to re-enter the U.S. at any time even if they plan to engage in hybrid or 100% online learning.
    • Students with a SEVIS record in Initial status (i.e., new students) who enroll in in-person classes or a hybrid plan with some requirement for in-person learning will be able to enter the U.S. in F-1 status by the program start date listed on their Form I-20.
    • Students with a SEVIS record in Initial status who plan to engage only in online learning may not enter the U.S. in F-1 status for Fall 2022. A Form I-20 and F-1 status are not required to take online courses from outside the U.S. 

    USCIS has released FAQs that contain information for the 2022-23 academic year at Frequently Asked Questions from SEVP Stakeholders about COVID-19.

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  • Department of State (DoS) Guidance for J-1 Students

    The U.S. Department of State (DoS) provides information for future and current participants in an Exchange Visitor Program at Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Health Insurance

All international students are required to enroll in the University-sponsored health insurance program regardless of credit load. The annual premium for this coverage is added to each student's fees.

Refer to Student Health Service for the most updated information and contact studenthealth@miami.edu if you have any questions about health insurance.

Graduating Students

For specific questions about your student status and stay in the U.S., email isss@miami.edu.

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UM Updates & Announcements

For the latest information about COVID-19 and our return to campus for the Spring semester visit coronavirus.miami.edu.

 

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  • U.S. government has agreed to rescind the July 6 policy (07/14/2020)

    We are thrilled to share with you that during a hearing in the lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT and joined by the University of Miami and over 170 educational institutions, the U.S. government agreed to rescind the July 6 policy that limited international student’s participation to only on-campus academic programs at the risk of deportation. The government will return to the status quo as established by the March 2020 guidance.

    Therefore, students in F-1 status will be allowed to engage in full-time online study during the Fall 2020 semester regardless of whether they are currently in or outside the U.S. In either case, their SEVIS record will remain active as long as they are taking a full-time load of online classes during the Fall 2020 semester. 

    As previously communicated, to ensure continuity in teaching and learning, and to provide students with flexible teaching and learning options, fall courses will be provided in three modalities:

    1. In-person and on-campus
    2. Hybrid or blended, with a combination of in-person, on-campus instruction and virtual/remote sessions
    3. Virtual/remote in synchronous (live) and/or asynchronous (recorded) formats

     

    Please see today’s communication regarding the details of our plans for the fall semester - July 14 Letter to UM Community. We will post updates to our ISSS COVID-19 information page as they become available. University-wide information and updates can be found at UM Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

    We are grateful that you have chosen to pursue your educational and professional goals at the University of Miami, and we look forward to interacting with you during the new academic year.

  • UM joins U.S. Institutions of Higher Learning in Support of Harvard and MIT Lawsuit against U.S. Federal Government (07/10/2020)

    We’re excited to share with you that the University of Miami joined more than 170 institutions of higher learning in support of the lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT. The lawsuit opposes the July 6, 2020 Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance related to online courses for the fall 2020 semester for F-1 students. 

    University of Miami joins lawsuit opposing deportation of international students

    “International students add to the intellectual and cultural life of the University of Miami and we are doing everything in our power to ensure they continue to have the opportunity to do so,” said President Julio Frenk. 

    In addition to signing the amicus brief in support of Harvard and MIT, the University—through International Student and Scholar Services and the Office of the Provost—continues to support its community of international students and is providing assistance to each of them as they seek to continue their education at the U.


    As we shared earlier this week, this fall, the University is offering classes in several formats, including in-person instruction, a hybrid of in-person and virtual/remote learning, and fully virtual/remote learning. The University remains hopeful that all international students in the U.S. will be able to continue their educational pursuits without fear of losing their immigration status.

    We know that the new guidance has added to the uncertainty and concern you feel during this already very difficult time. ISSS is here to help and support you. As always, we will continue to carefully monitor developments that impact UM international students and provide you and your academic department with information and guidance as quickly as possible. Please refer to COVID-19 Information Updates for UM International Students for the latest updates.

    Rest assured that our advocacy and support for you will continue throughout and beyond these challenging times.

Travel to the U.S. Guidance for International Students for Fall 2022

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  • Important dates

    If you are traveling to the U.S. from abroad, you should plan to arrive in the U.S. by the date below that applies to you:

    • August 15: New student on-campus housing move in day
    • August 16: International Student Orientation Undergraduate Students
    • August 17-21: Fall 'Cane Kickoff for Undergraduate Students
    • August 19: International Student Orientation for Graduate Students and Graduate School Orientation
    • August 22: First day of classes

  • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019

    Make sure you have a Form I-20 (F-1 student visa) or DS-2019 (J-1 student visa). If you do not have this document, new students should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission or your graduate student program to initiate the I-20/DS-2019 request process. UM will not be able to issue an Initial Form I-20 for any student who is outside of the United States and plans to take classes fully online.

    Continuing students should contact ISSS. ISSS issues the I-20/DS-2019 for new and continuing students and sends the document to the student.

  • Travel restrictions to the U.S.

    By U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order, beginning June 12, 2022, international air travelers are no longer required to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 to board flights to the United States. However, the Biden Administration is expected to revisit this suspension after 90 days. Testing requirements could be reinstated in case of a new variant of the coronavirus or other public health concern.


    Though the testing requirement has been suspended, nonimmigrant foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. remain subject to U.S. COVID-19 vaccination requirements unless they qualify for an exception.


    Prior to traveling, visit the CDC website for the latest information on COVID-19 test requirement for air passengers.

  • Proof of Vaccination required for air travel to the U.S.

    Nonimmigrant foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. remain subject to U.S. COVID-19 vaccination requirements unless they qualify for an exception.

    Prior to traveling, visit the CDC website for the latest information on COVID-19 test requirement for air passengers.

    University of Miami COVID-19 testing and quarantine recommendations for individuals traveling to the U.S. from international locations

    Non-vaccinated international students are encouraged to quarantine for a week and test 3-5 days after arrival, continuing quarantine for week even if negative test.

  • Students outside of the U.S.

    Students that have obtained a student visa and unable to leave their country to travel to the U.S.

    If you plan to arrive in the United States after the program start date listed on your Form I-20 or DS-2019, you will need a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a deferred start date to enter the United States at a later time.  UM will not be able to issue an Initial Form I-20 for any student who is outside of the United States and plans to take classes fully online. New students should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission or their graduate student program to initiate process of obtaining an updated Form I-20 or DS-2019. 

    ISSS will work with you to ensure you have the information and documents you need to arrive to the U.S. to start your studies at the University of Miami when travel is possible for you.

     

    Students who are abroad and do not have a valid student visa

    For information regarding visa application requirements or to schedule a visa interview, visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study.html. Note: Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from applying for a visa, but must present their valid passport, UM I-20, and SEVIS fee payment receipt at the port-of-entry to the U.S. 

    Due to COVID-19, you may experience delays in securing a visa appointment as well as travel restrictions. The U.S. Department of State (DoS) has taken steps to alleviate some of the backlog due to the pandemic of visa applicants waiting for a visa interview. Consular officers will be temporarily allowed to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain F visa applicants from a Visa Waiver Program country. This provision is in effect until the end of 2022. For details about country eligibility, special conditions and necessary procedures, check the website of the relevant U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

    ISSS will work with you to ensure you have the information and documents you need to arrive to the U.S. to start your studies at the University of Miami when travel is possible for you.

    International students unable to obtain a visa and travel to the U.S. in time for the Fall semester should contact their academic advisor. If you plan to arrive in the United States after the program start date listed on your Form I-20 or DS-2019, you will need a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a deferred start date to enter the United States at a later time.  New students should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission or their graduate student program to initiate process of obtaining an updated Form I-20 or DS-2019. 

  • Students inside the U.S.

    We do not know how long the travel restrictions will be in effect and whether the U.S. government will add any additional countries to the travel restrictions list.  If you decide to travel, you need to understand the risks and be aware that you might not be able to return to the U.S. for an unknown time period. 

  • Online classes

    As stated in the March 2020 guidance, Active F-1 students will be permitted to temporarily count online classes toward a full course of study in excess of the regulatory limits stated in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G) and 8 C.F.R. 214.2(m)(9)(v) for the 2022-23 academic year. The March 2020 guidance only applies to continuing F-1 nonimmigrant students who were in valid F-1 nonimmigrant status on March 9, 2020, including those previously enrolled in entirely online classes who are outside of the United States and seeking to re-enter the country for the 2022-23 academic year. Students actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, who subsequently took courses online while outside of the country can re-enter the United States, even if their school is engaged solely in distance learning.

    If you plan to arrive in the United States after the program start date listed on your Form I-20 or DS-2019, you will need a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a deferred start date to enter the United States at a later time.  UM will not be able to issue an Initial Form I-20 for any student who is outside of the United States and plans to take classes fully online. New students should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission or their graduate student program to initiate process of obtaining an updated Form I-20 or DS-2019. 

     

    As always, contact your academic advisor if you have any questions or need help with your course selection.

  • Deferring enrollment

    Please follow the instructions below if you wish to defer your enrollment at UM to a later date: 

    • New Undergraduate students should notify the Office of Undergraduate Admission.
    • New Graduate students should notify their graduate student program.
    • ISSS will issue a new Form I-20 or DS-2019 with a deferred start date, which will be sent to your UM email address (I-20) or mailing address (DS-2019).

    If you are in the U.S. and choose to defer your enrollment, you may not remain in the U.S. in student visa status. You will either need to leave the U.S. or complete a change of status to another nonimmigrant status such as tourist status.

Travel FAQs

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Updates to ISSS Services and Procedures

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  • Advising Services

    ISSS will continue to offer you multiple ways to connect with your ISSS advisor:

    Please email isss@miami.edu if you have any questions.

  • Electronic Form I-20s

    The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has authorized schools to email a digitally issued and signed Form I-20 using electronic signature software to the student’s email address listed in SEVIS.

    When you apply for a travel signature or updated I-20 with a new major, a program extension or a benefit, such as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT), ISSS will email you a digitally signed I-20. Currently enrolled students will receive their I-20 at their UM email address. Students engaged in OPT will receive their I-20 at the email address they provided to ISSS on their OPT application.

    Emailed and/or digitally signed I-20s will be valid when printed and signed by you. 

  • How to request a Travel Certification Signature or a new I-20 or DS-2019

    If you need an updated travel certification signature, a new or an updated Form I-20 or DS-2019, send an email to isss@miami.edu or your ISSS advisor. Your advisor will issue a new I-20 or DS-2019 with an updated travel certification signature, which will be sent to your UM email address (I-20) or mailing address (DS-2019) within four business days.

    Reminders:

    • Travel signatures are not required to depart the U.S. They are required for re-entry only.
    • Travel signatures are valid for 1 year for enrolled students in F-1 or J-1 status, and 6 months for students engaged in OPT or STEM OPT.

  • Apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or STEM OPT

    Government guidance states you must be in the U.S. to apply for OPT or STEM OPT. Students who left the U.S. and enrolled remotely will have to return to the U.S. before the end of the semester or term of their program completion if they wish to apply for OPT. Students who left the US and are working remotely will have to return to the U.S. and submit their STEM OPT application to USCIS before their current OPT ends.

    Follow the instructions at Optional Practical Training (OPT) Application Instructions to prepare your OPT application and to submit copies of your documents at miami.edu/optrequest for review by your ISSS advisor. Upon receipt of a completed OPT request, filled out by you and your academic advisor, your ISSS advisor will review your application. If eligible for OPT, your ISSS advisor will issue a new Form I-20 indicating your requested OPT dates. Your Form I-20 will be sent to you by email along with instructions to submit your application to USCIS. The I-20 will be valid once you print and sign it on page 1.

    Follow the instructions at 24-Month STEM OPT Extension Application Instructions to prepare your STEM OPT application and to submit copies of your documents at miami.edu/stemoptapplication for review by your ISSS advisor. Upon receipt of a completed STEM OPT request, your ISSS advisor will review your application. If eligible for STEM OPT, your ISSS advisor will issue a new Form I-20 indicating your requested STEM OPT dates. Your Form I-20 will be sent to you by email along with instructions to submit your application to USCIS. The I-20 will be valid once you print and sign it on page 1.

U.S. Government Updates and SEVP Guidance

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  • SEVP Guidance

    The Fall 2022 federal guidance for international students enrolling in hybrid or online academic programs remains the same as the March 9, 2020 Guidance.  A continuation of the March 2020 guidance means the following: 

    • Continuing international students with a SEVIS record in Active status who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, and have continuously complied with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, may enroll in in-person, hybrid, or online courses. They will be allowed to study in or outside the U.S. and maintain their SEVIS record in Active status, as long as they enroll full-time for Fall 2022. Students will be able to re-enter the U.S. at any time even if they plan to engage in hybrid or 100% online learning.
    • Students with a SEVIS record in Initial status (i.e., new students) who enroll in in-person classes or a hybrid plan with some requirement for in-person learning will be able to enter the U.S. in F-1 status by the program start date listed on their Form I-20.
    • Students with a SEVIS record in Initial status who plan to engage only in online learning may not enter the U.S. in F-1 status for Fall 2022. A Form I-20 and F-1 status are not required to take online courses from outside the U.S. 

    USCIS has released FAQs that contain information for the 2022-23 academic year as well as archived information at Frequently Asked Questions for SEVP Stakeholders about COVID-19.

  • March 9, 2020 SEVP guidance for Spring and Summer 2020

    On March 9, 2020, the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) published a Broadcast Message, and subsequently FAQs stating that international students who are currently enrolled in a program of study may engage in full-time online study until on-campus classes resume.

    The guidance was extended to the Fall 2020, Spring & Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Fall 2022 semesters.

    A continuation of the March 9, 2020 Guidance means the following:  

    • Continuing international students with a SEVIS record in Active status who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, and have continuously complied with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, may enroll in in-person, hybrid, or online courses. They will be allowed to study in or outside the U.S. and maintain their SEVIS record in Active status, as long as they enroll full-time for Fall 2022. Students will be able to re-enter the U.S. at any time even if they plan to engage in hybrid or 100% online learning.
    • Students with a SEVIS record in Initial status (i.e., new students) who enroll in in-person classes or a hybrid plan with some requirement for in-person learning will be able to enter the U.S. in F-1 status by the program start date listed on their Form I-20.
    • Students with a SEVIS record in Initial status who plan to engage only in online learning may not enter the U.S. in F-1 status for Fall 2022. A Form I-20 and F-1 status are not required to take online courses from outside the U.S. 

Department of State (DoS) Guidance for J-1 Students

The U.S. Department of State (DoS) provides information for future and current participants in an Exchange Visitor Program at Exchange Visitor Program Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Visa Services

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Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019

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A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A global vaccination requirement for all adult foreign national air travelers took effect on November 8, 2021: A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.  More information regarding the global vaccination requirement, including details on accepted COVID-19 vaccines, proof of vaccination, exceptions and waivers due to humanitarian concerns, is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at Non-U.S. citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States.

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COVID-19 Guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and U.S. Department of State (DoS)

U.S. universities, including the University of Miami, automatically receive COVID-19 updates from SEVP and DoS and shares these updates with you. The U.S. government also makes these updates accessible to the public:

 

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Temporary Suspension of In-Person Services at Social Security Administration Offices due to COVID-19

Check with your local SSA office to determine whether appointments or walk-ins are available. To access information about your local SSA office, enter your ZIP code in the Social Security Office Locator.

Once you secure an interview appointment with a local SSA office or the office is open for walk-ins, complete the paper Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, and bring it with required supporting documentation to the interview. Check the information on the International Student and Scholar Services’ website for information on required documentation for F-1 and J-1 students and for J-1 scholars. SSA staff will conduct the mandatory face-to-face interview and make copies of the original documentation. The SSA office will process the documentation and mail a receipt to the applicant. Within ten days, the SSN card should follow. 

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Florida Driver License Service Centers

Go to www.miami.edu/driverlicense for the most updated information on how to obtain a Florida Driver License or ID. Please note that your SEVIS record must be in Active status for you to be eligible for a FL driver license or ID card.

 

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U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Updates related to COVID-19

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  • Did the IRS postpone the deadline for filing a 2021 U.S. income tax return due to COVID-19?

    International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) advisors are not tax experts and are not able to provide tax advice. ISSS purchases access to GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP), an online tax preparation system for international students, scholars and dependents in F and J status, each year and shares access to this program via a specific access code each spring. ISSS reminded all current UM international students in F-1 and J-1 status of their IRS filing requirements and deadlines via email throughout Spring 2021.

    Please refer to these emails for information on how to access GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP) and how to file your required IRS tax forms with the IRS. For questions regarding access to GTP, please contact your ISSS Advisor.

  • Are international students eligible to receive COVID-19 economic impact payments (EIP) from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?

    Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the IRS dispensed economic impact payments to U.S. residents for tax purposes who filed a 2018 and/or 2019 federal income tax return. According to the U.S. Department of State, some international students and scholars who are nonresident aliens for tax purposes erroneously received an economic impact payment under the CARES Act because they incorrectly filed a 2018 or 2019 Form 1040 as resident aliens for tax purposes. An international student or scholar who erroneously received an economic impact payment under the CARES Act is required (1) to return the payment to the IRS by following the online instructions posted in the Economic Impact Payment Information Center (click Returning the Economic Impact Payment, then click on Q66 or Q67, and follow the IRS’ instructions for returning the EIP to the IRS), and (2) to file an amended tax return with the IRS.

    You can find information about how to file an amended tax return in GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP), an online tax preparation system for international students, scholars and dependents in F and J status, by selecting “FAQ” from the menu. ISSS purchases access to GTP each year and shares access to this program via a specific access code each spring. ISSS shared information on how to access GTP with current UM international students and scholars in F-1 and J-1 status via email in spring 2021. GTP determines if you are a resident or nonresident alien for tax purposes. It also provides answers to questions regarding COVID-19 economic impact payments.

    For questions regarding access to GTP, please contact your ISSS Advisor.

On-campus Employment

On-campus employment for F-1 students is work that takes place either at your school or at an off-campus location that is educationally affiliated with the school. The work can be for an on-campus commercial business (such as a bookstore or cafeteria) as long as the work directly provides services for students. On-campus employment must either be performed on the school's premises or at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with the school.

 

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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

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Optional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM OPT

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Academic Training for J-1 Students

Sponsors may continue to temporarily allow active students to continue their Academic Training remotely to prevent unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. In the case of graduating students, sponsors may temporarily allow them to begin their Academic Training remotely to prevent unnecessary exposure to COVID-19 as long as the host organization is open and able to provide the training remotely. This policy reflects sponsor obligations to promote the health, safety and welfare of Exchange Visitor Program participants while at the same time meeting program objectives. Other conditions, criteria and requirements under the regulations remain in effect. In the case of a College or University Student participating in Academic Training, for example, the regulations require that the student be primarily in the United States to study rather than to participate in Academic Training, that the Academic Training be directly related to his or her major field of study, that the student be in good academic standing with the post-secondary accredited academic institution; and the student receive written approval in advance from the responsible officer for the duration and type of academic training (22 CFR 62.23(f)).

Support Services and Programs for International Students

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Financial Resources

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