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International Student COVID-19 FAQs

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, including Fall 2020 Updates and COVID-19 Relocation Protocol information. 

 

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 Student in the State's 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: On July 14, 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 Fall 2020 and the subsequent Frequently Asked Questions 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. 

This means that international students currently in the United States may take all online courses for fall 2020 semester, subject to any further guidance from DHS regarding the reversion to the March policy. PLEASE NOTE: This policy currently applies to the spring 2021 semester until further guidance is released. 

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: The university's testing plan, first announced on July 1, called for students living on campus to be tested for COVID-19 during the move-in time period prior to the fall 2020 semester starting. A test conducted through a Schiffert Health Center testing clinic was required for on-campus students even if they secured a negative test result prior to traveling to Blacksburg.

Additionally, prior to returning to the Blacksburg area, all Virginia Tech students are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days, wear face coverings when with others, and follow all public health guidelines in order to lower the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Testing is not required for students living off campus, but off-campus students who are at-risk (i.e. those who believe or know they have been exposed to the virus, traveled to Blacksburg from a hot spot, or have symptoms or other indications of exposure) should contact Schiffert Health Center to determine whether they should be tested. Schiffert continues to test students who have been screened via public health guidelines.

For additional updates regarding the upcoming spring semester, please continue to monitor the VT Ready website and be sure to check your Virginia Tech email regularly. 

Addtional Updates:

There are currently US government travel restrictions in place for travel from/through China (Proclamation 9984), Iran (Proclamation 9992), and Brazil (Proclamation 10041). This means that entry to the US is currently suspended if you have been in or traveled through one of these countries during the 14-day period preceding your entry to the US.

Though the Schengen Area (Proclamation 9993) and Ireland/the United Kingdom (Proclamation 9996) are currently under similar travel restrictions, students in valid F-1 status (and their F-2 dependents) traveling from/through these areas have been granted a national interest exception to travel without the 14-day restriction. 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 to check their Virginia Tech email regularly for important updates:

New Undergraduate Students

A: Please contact your academic advisor to determine what classes you need to take for spring 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 fall 2021 or later. 

A: Select new international undergraduate students who are outside of the United States and pursuing certain majors in the College of Engineering, the College of Science, and University Studies have received an invitation regarding a special program called VTBound. This program provides an opportunity for these students to complete their fall 2020 semester entirely online and to then come to campus in spring 2021. If you received information about this program, it includes instructions regarding how to express your interest in participating, so please follow those instructions carefully.

For more detailed information and FAQs specific to the VTBound Program, please visit their website. 

A: On July 14, 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 Fall 2020 and the subsequent Frequently Asked Questions 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. 

This means that international students currently in the United States may now take all online courses for fall 2020 semester, subject to any further guidance from DHS regarding the reversion to the March policy. PLEASE NOTE: This policy currently applies to the spring 2021 semester until further guidance is released. 

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: 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 – 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. Current I-94 record (if you have entered the US before); 
  6. Offer of Admission letter and/or proof of upcoming semester's enrollment;
  7. 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 spring 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 spring 2021 altogether. 

A: On July 14, 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 Fall 2020 and the subsequent Frequently Asked Questions 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. 

This means that international students currently in the United States may now take all online courses for fall 2020 semester, subject to any further guidance from DHS regarding the reversion to the March policy. PLEASE NOTE: This policy currently applies to the spring 2021 semester until further guidance is released. 

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

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: On July 14, 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 Fall 2020 and the subsequent Frequently Asked Questions 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. 

This means that international students currently in the United States may now take all online courses for fall 2020 semester, subject to any further guidance from DHS regarding the reversion to the March policy. PLEASE NOTE: This policy currently applies to the spring 2021 semester until further guidance is released. 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 for fall 2020 or spring 2021. 

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 2020. 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 2020, 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 – 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. Current I-94 record (if you have entered the US before); 
  6. Offer of Admission letter and/or proof of upcoming semester's enrollment;
  7. 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. 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: On July 14, 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 Fall 2020 and the subsequent Frequently Asked Questions, 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. 

This means that international students currently in the United States may now take all online courses for fall 2020 semester, subject to any further guidance from DHS regarding the reversion to the March policy. PLEASE NOTE: This policy currently applies to the spring 2021 semester until further guidance is released. 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