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International Student COVID-19 FAQs

VT Ready - Information about fall 2021 academic plans, COVID-19 vaccinations and testing and more.

VT Ready - International student FAQs - Information about meeting COVID-19 Vaccine requirements for students outside the U.S.

General FAQs

A: In order to request an extension of your Form I-20, you must demonstrate how your academic progress was delayed by the current situation. To review your specific circumstances and case, please contact an International Student Advisor in Cranwell International Center by phone (+1.540.231.6527) or by email (international@vt.edu).

A. Housing and Residence Life has all the on-campus information you need about housing for fall 2021.

 

A: Virginia Tech Off-Campus Housing has most of the information you need related to off-campus housing while attending Virginia Tech. If you have additional questions or need assistance, you can also contact the Dean of Students Office

A: The best way to stay informed is to read all emails that are sent to your Virginia Tech email account from the university, including emails from Cranwell International Center. We also recommend that you monitor updates on the Study in the States' COVID-19 Resources website, the official government website for F-1 and J-1 students.

You can also contact an International Student Advisor in Cranwell International Center with case-specific questions by phone (+1.540.231.6527) or by email (international@vt.edu).

A: You can contact an International Student Advisor in Cranwell International Center by  phone (+1.540.231.6527) or by email (international@vt.edu).

A: Yes. On July 14, 2020, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to rescind the July 6, 2020 Broadcast Message Number 2007-01: COVID-19 and to revert back to the status quo as established by the March 9, 2020 Broadcast Message: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Potential Procedural Adaptations for F and M nonimmigrant students and the March 13 COVID-19: Guidance for SEVP Stakeholders addendum. On April 26, 2021, SEVP announced that it will extend the March 9, 2020 guidance.  

This means that continuing international students inside or outside the U.S. may take all online courses for the 2021-2022 academic year and maintain their F-1 status.  Please note that you will need to check with your academic advisor and academic department if it is possible to take all or most of your classes online. SEVP Frequently Asked Questions has additional information for the 2021-2022 academic year.

New international students arriving in the U.S. for fall 2021 will need to be enrolled in at least one in-person/hybrid class to meet immigration requirements.

A: Please review the Ready VT site for information about testing for new and returning students.

A. There are currently US government travel restrictions in place for travel from/through China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland. The U.S. Department of State’s National Interest Exemption allows F-1 students from these countries to enter the U.S.

F-1 students and their dependents from China, Iran, India, Brazil, and South Africa with academic programs starting after August 1 may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before their program start date or the first date of classes. New F-1 students may enter as early as July 17. Returning students may enter on or after July 24.

F-1 students and their dependents from the Schengen Area, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Students do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual national interest exception to do so – this exception will automatically be applied at the port of entry if you can otherwise prove your current F-1 status.

Please be aware that these restrictions are subject to change at any time and the US government could impose additional travel restrictions that could prevent you from entering to the US. There is no way to predict the likelihood of changes in these travel restrictions, so your decision to travel must be based on your own risk tolerance. We encourage students to continue reviewing information on this website, as well as the following websites and resources to check their Virginia Tech email regularly for important updates:

A: Yes.  All people traveling to the U.S. by air need to have a negative COVID-Test or Proof of recovery from COVID-19.  Please carefully review the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and your airline’s information for more information about the testing requirements.

New Undergraduate Students

A: Please contact your academic advisor to determine what classes you need to take for fall 2021 and which ones will be offered online. If you are able to take all of your classes fully online, you may be able to begin your program while remaining outside of the United States and complete all classes. If all of your classes are not offered fully online, you will have to determine if you want to take the classes you are able to take online and then try to catch up on missed classes in a future semester, or if you want to defer your admission to spring 2021 or later. 

A: Yes. On July 14, 2020, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to rescind the July 6 Broadcast Message Number 2007-01: COVID-19 and to revert back to the status quo as established by the March 9 Broadcast Message: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Potential Procedural Adaptations for F and M nonimmigrant students and the March 13 COVID-19: Guidance for SEVP Stakeholders addendum. On April 26, 2021, SEVP announced that it will extend the March 9 guidance.  

This means that continuing international students inside or outside the U.S. may take all online courses for the 2021-2022 academic year and maintain their F-1 status.  Please note that you will need to check with your advisor and academic department if it is possible to take all or most of your classes online. SEVP Frequently Asked Questions has additional information for the 2021-2022 academic year.

New international students arriving in the U.S. for fall 2021 will need to be enrolled in at least one in-person/hybrid class to meet immigration requirements.

A: If you wish to defer your admission, you should email the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at appchange@vt.edu.

 

A. While entry to the US is never guaranteed, having the following core documents will ensure you meet all minimum requirements for US Customs and Border Protection inspection when you arrive at a US port of entry. In order to enter the US, you will need:

  1. An “Initial”“Transfer Pending”, or “Change of Level” Form I-20.  You need to print the electronic I-20 your received. Please make sure that you have signed the first page in ink;
  2. I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  3. An unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future;
  4.  An unexpired F-1 entry visa;
  5. Offer of Admission letter and/or proof of upcoming semester's enrollment;
  6. Proof of financials – these can be the same documents used to obtain your Form I-20 and/or visa. 

Continuing Undergraduate Students

A: Please contact your academic advisor to determine what classes you need to take for fall 2021 in order to remain on track for degree completion and which ones will be offered online. If you are able to take all of your classes fully online, you may be able to continue your program while remaining outside of the United States and complete all classes. If all of your classes are not offered fully online, you will have to determine if you want to take the classes you are able to take online and then try to catch up on any missed classes in a future semester, or if you want to not enroll for fall 2021 altogether. If you are not able to enroll for a full-time course load for fall 2021, we will need to request an authorized early withdrawal through Intl Hokies.  Your immigration record will be terminated for a positive reason.

A: Yes. On July 14, 2020 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to rescind the July 6 Broadcast Message Number 2007-01: COVID-19 and to revert back to the status quo as established by the March 9 Broadcast Message: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Potential Procedural Adaptations for F and M nonimmigrant students and the March 13 COVID-19: Guidance for SEVP Stakeholders addendum. On April 26, 2021, SEVP announced that it will extend the March 9 guidance.  

This means that continuing international students inside or outside the U.S. may take all online courses for the 2021-2022 academic year and maintain their F-1 status.  Please note that you will need to check with your advisor and academic department if it is possible to take all or most of your classes online. SEVP Frequently Asked Questions has additional information for the 2021-2022 academic year.

You need to make sure that you update your US address in Hokie Spa.

 

New Graduate Students

A: Please contact the program to which you have been admitted to discuss possible ways that you can begin your studies, including whether courses in your program are online. If you choose to begin your program from outside of the United States, you may enroll full-time (9 or more credit hours) or part-time (less than 9 credit hours). Please note that you cannot hold an assistantship appointment while outside the United States. 

A:  Yes, On July 14, 2020 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to rescind the July 6 Broadcast Message Number 2007-01: COVID-19 and to revert back to the status quo as established by the March 9 Broadcast Message: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Potential Procedural Adaptations for F and M nonimmigrant students and the March 13 COVID-19: Guidance for SEVP Stakeholders addendum. On April 26, 2021, SEVP announced that it will extend the March 9 guidance.  

This means that international students currently in the United States may now take all online courses for the 2021-2022 academic year, subject to any further guidance from DHS regarding the reversion to the March policy. 

Please contact your academic department to discuss your assistantship. 

For additional details, please review the following memo:  

Impact of the SEVP/DHS March 9 and March 13 Guidance on International Students at Virginia Tech

 

A: You can defer your application to another semester or year without incurring an additional application fee. Please contact Graduate Admissions (grads@vt.edu) to discuss the process. If you elect to defer your application, Graduate Admissions will record your preferences and inform the program to which you were originally admitted.

The deferral of admission does not automatically include your assistantship offer. Please contact the program to which you have been admitted to discuss any matters related to deferred program enrollment or your assistantship opportunities. Individual programs will have deadlines by which they will need to know your decision to either accept or decline an assistantship offer prior to the start of fall 2021. If you are unable to request a visa interview before your department’s specified deadline, the department may rescind the assistantship offer and extend it to another student. In this case, your department must notify you that the offer has been withdrawn owing to the likelihood that you will be unable to arrive in the United States for fall 2021, and they will work with you on potentially deferring your admission and assistantship offer to a future semester.

A. While entry to the US is never guaranteed, having the following core documents will ensure you meet all minimum requirements for US Customs and Border Protection inspection when you arrive at a US port of entry. In order to enter the US, you will need:

  1. An “Initial”, “Transfer Pending”, or “Change of Level” Form I-20. You need to print the electronic I-20 your received. Please make sure that you have signed the first page in ink;
  2. I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  3. An unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future;
  4. An unexpired F-1 entry visa;
  5. Offer of Admission letter and/or proof of upcoming semester's enrollment;
  6. Proof of financials – these can be the same documents used to obtain your Form I-20 and/or visa. 

Continuing Graduate Students

A. Please contact your academic department to discuss possible ways that you can continue your studies, including whether courses in your program are available online. To maintain your F-1 immigration status, you will need to enroll full-time (9 or more credits). If you are not able to enroll for a full-time course load for fall 2021, we will need to request an authorized early withdrawal through Intl Hokies.  Your immigration record will be terminated for a positive reason. Please note that you cannot hold an assistantship appointment while outside the United States. 

A: Yes, On July 14, 2020, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to rescind the July 6 Broadcast Message Number 2007-01: COVID-19 and to revert back to the status quo as established by the March 9 Broadcast Message: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Potential Procedural Adaptations for F and M nonimmigrant students and the March 13 COVID-19: Guidance for SEVP Stakeholders addendum. On April 26, 2021, SEVP announced that it will extend the March 9 guidance.

This means that international students currently in the United States may now take all online courses for the 2021-2022 academic year, subject to any further guidance from DHS regarding the reversion to the March policy. 

Please contact your academic department to discuss your assistantship. 

For additional details, please review the following memo:  

Impact of the SEVP/DHS March 9 and March 13 Guidance on International Students at Virginia Tech