Fall 2022 Guidance for F/J Visa Holders

Summary of guidance:

  • International students on F-1 visas are still expected to enroll in a full course of study for Fall 2022 (typically 9 credit hours for graduates and 12 hours for undergraduates with a few exceptions found here),

  • Effective June 12, 2022, incoming internationals are no longer required show a negative COVID-19 viral test result or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight [to the US]. Air passengers will also no longer be required to confirm in the form of an attestation that the information they present is true. For the full list of requirements and exemptions, please review the language in the Order (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Ftravelers%2Ftesting-international-air-travelers.html).

  • Continuing international students (those enrolled prior to Fall 2022) with active SEVIS records must enroll in as many face-to-face courses as available in their programs for Fall 2022.

  • New international students(those planning to attend UNCG within the U.S. for the first time in Fall 2022) must be enrolled in as many face-to-face (LEC) or hybrid format courses as available in their programs for Fall 2022.

IMPORTANT TRAVEL UPDATE

Starting Nov 8, 2021, all international students and scholars must be vaccinated in order to enter the U.S.  Please make plans to get the vaccine!

Very limited religious exemptions are available but you must apply to be approved for any exemption to this mandate. More information can be found here.  Please note that you will still be required to show a negative PCR test in order to board a flight (and also to move into UNCG Housing).

Visit www.ICE.gov/COVID19 for the latest COVID-19-related information and guidance. Please continue to refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of State, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the latest COVID-19 information, specific port-of-entry screening processes, as well as any travel restrictions.

If you have case-specific questions related to your F-1 status that are not addressed by these FAQs, please contact the International Programs Center at isss@uncg.edu. All questions related to graduate assistantships should be directed to the Graduate School at gradinquiry@uncg.edu.


For additional COVID-19 updates, please refer to the UNCG’s COVID-19 updates website.

 

COVID-19 FAQs for F/J Visa Holders

Do I need to be vaccinated before returning to campus before the Spring semester?

Effective November 8, 2021, non-U.S. citizens who are not immigrants to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status to fly to the United States. There will be very limited exceptions to this vaccination requirement for certain non-U.S. citizens who are not immigrants, including children under the age of 18.

Fully vaccinated air passengers, regardless of citizenship, will continue to be required to show a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before they board their flight to the United States. For passengers who are not fully vaccinated, the rules will tighten to require a test taken no more than one day before departing to the United States.

Further guidance on the very limited exceptions to these vaccination requirements, what constitutes acceptable proof of vaccination, and other operational details are available on CDC’s website . If you are planning to live on campus, please contact Housing and Residence Life for more guidance.

What is the current operational status of UNCG for Spring 2022?

Compared to the 2020-2021 academic year, classes at UNCG this spring look much more like they did prior to COVID-19. The majority of our classes are delivered via in-person instruction. We will still offer a variety of online classes, as we did prior to COVID. Instruction in disciplines that are highly experiential (e.g., music, theater, kinesiology physical activity classes) may have specific COVID-related protocols in place that have been developed in concert with faculty in those areas to provide a safe learning environment. . For more information on adjustments to the Spring 2022 academic calendar and student course schedules, please see the UNCG COVID-19 FAQ page.

In general, what are the enrollment requirements for international students (F-1 visa holders) in Spring 2022 based on the most recent SEVP update?

Students who have been issued an “Initial Attendance” Form I-20 must enroll in a full course of study with as many face-to-face/hybrid courses available in their programs this Spring if they plan to live in the U.S. and have their SEVIS record activated. Refer to the "Continuing F-1 Visa Holders" paragraph below for more information.

Continuing F-1 visa holders (including transferring directly from another U.S. institution or change of education level at UNCG) must enroll in a full course of study with as many face-to-face/hybrid courses available in their programs this Spring while otherwise maintaining F-1 status. International students will need to enroll in a full course of study that contributes to the timely completion of their degree program, which typically consists of the following:

  1. Undergraduate students are required to be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester. 
  2. Graduate students must generally be enrolled for at least 9 credit hours.

Some continuing F-1 students may be eligible to enroll for less than full-time or be considered full-time with fewer hours than stated above. If you believe you qualify for an exception to full time enrollment (outlined here) please contact IPC at isss@uncg.edu for further instructions as you will be required to complete the appropriate request in the ISSS Portal.

Will my SEVIS record be activated this Spring?

As long as your registration meets full time enrollment requirements as listed above, IPC will be able to activate SEVIS records for continuing students, even if you are outside the U.S. for the Spring semester. Again, students with an “Initial” I-20 must be physically present in the U.S. and register for as many face-to-face/hybrid courses as available in their programs to be eligible for SEVIS record activation.

What happens if the operational status of UNCG or the UNC System as a whole transitions to fully online during or before the start of the semester?

Our campus plans to maintain a hybrid operational model as long as permitted by the UNC System and NC Governor. Please continue to monitor updates on this page. Should the operational status of UNCG change to fully online at any point in the Fall semester, international students may remain in the U.S. and will not be put into removal proceedings based on their online studies, as long as they are otherwise maintaining status

How do I know which of my courses are being offered online, hybrid, or face-to-face?

You can view any course adjustments in UNCGenie. Please visit this resource for an update on course offerings and a how-to guide for more information.

Do I need a new I-20?

No. The amended SEVP guidance issued on July 24 does not require that continuing students receive an updated I-20 to confirm the operational status of the university.

What do I need to know before attempting to (re)enter the U.S.? Will I have to quarantine upon arrival?

If you are attempting to enter the U.S. to begin or continue a degree-seeking program at UNCG while in F-1 nonimmigrant status, please be sure to carry all required documentation listed here. If you are a continuing UNCG student, you must also request a travel signature via the ISSS Portal. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has issued guidance currently permitting DSO’s to issue electronic copies of I-20s due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so you can receive a travel signature even if you are currently outside of the U.S. Request a travel signature via the ISSS Portal (login here).

The U.S. now requires that international arrivals present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, along with a negative PCR COVID-19 tests prior to boarding flights to the U.S. Please consult this webpage for more information.

We do not require quarantine periods for new international arrivals. However, we do require that you carefully monitor your symptoms at all times throughout the semester, report any symptoms you experience, and leave campus immediately if they appear. Reporting your symptoms is required by the university, and failure to do so can result in disciplinary action. Please review the UNCG Coronavirus (COVID-19) Webpage for a full list of requirements when coming to campus this Spring.

North Carolina relevant information

On May 14, 2021 the North Carolina Governor announced that, effective immediately, maintaining social distance and wearing face coverings are no longer required in most public settings. Face coverings remain required while using public transportation, in childcare settings, in schools, in long-term care facilities, and in healthcare settings. Many private businesses also have decided to continue to require face coverings in their facilities.

UNC Greensboro relevant information 

UNCG has decided to adapt the Governor’s order to meet its unique campus circumstances. UNCG will maintain the following practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus through mid-June:

  • Face coverings will continue to be required when inside University facilities.
  • Individuals should continue to be respectful of others and maintain social distance. 
  • If you develop COVID-like symptoms, do not attend campus activities or report to the workplace.
  • Complete the self-report form and get tested, regardless of vaccination status.
  • If you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive, complete the self-report form, and we will give you guidance about whether or not you should get tested and/or quarantine.
We will update this information as UNCG guidelines change.

Students are now required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to return to campus in the spring, with very limited exceptions. Effective November 8, 2021, all incoming international arrivals are required to present proof of a World Health Organization (WHO) recognized COVID-19 vaccination before traveling to the US.

If you have not already been vaccinated, you can get a COVID-19 vaccination in one of the following community locations: CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Genoa Healthcare, Triad Adult & Pediatric Medicine, Walmart and Costco Pharmacies.

Other Important COVID-19 vaccination information

As of May 13, 2021, the World Health Organziation (WHO) has listed the following COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines (e.g., COMIRNATY, Tozinameran)
  • AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccines (e.g., Covishield, Vaxzevria)
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine
  • Moderna COVID-10 vaccine
  • Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine

People who have received all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that has been listed for emergency use by WHO do not need any additional doses with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

People who received all or some of the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is neither authorized by FDA nor listed for emergency use by WHO may be offered a complete FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series. The minimum interval between the last dose of a non-FDA authorized vaccine or a WHO-listed vaccine and an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine is 28 days.

As a new UNCG student, what is required of me to arrive to the U.S. and begin my program this Fall?

Students beginning their program at UNCG this term who have been issued an “Initial” I-20 may not take 100% online courses this Fall. To request permission for entry into the U.S. at the Port of Entry, please be sure to print the memo issued by IPC confirming UNCG’s hybrid operational status for Fall 2021 and plan to register for at least one face-to-face/hybrid course, if you have not already done so. IPC cannot activate SEVIS records for students with an Initial I-20 who are enrolled in all online courses.

What is the latest I can arrive in the U.S. for the Fall semester to have my SEVIS record activated? 

New students must arrive to campus no later than September 15 to have their SEVIS record activated for Fall 2021. If you are not able to arrive by this date, you will need to defer your admission to a subsequent semester (see instructions below).

I am a newly admitted student and prefer to defer my admission to a future term like Spring or Fall 2022. How do I do that? 

All requests for I-20 deferral and updated admission letters reflecting the new term must be received at IPC no later than 15 days from the program start date indicated on your initial I-20 form. Please contact IPC at isss@uncg.edu for additional instructions as your financial information may be affected and require further documentation. 

Undergraduate students should contact the International Recruitment and Admissions Office for procedures on how to defer your admission as an undergraduate student. Graduate students should complete the online deferral form located in the “Intent to Enroll” section of your Graduate School application and notify your department as soon as possible. 

I am a newly admitted student and currently outside the U.S. Can I start my coursework online from my home country and start making progress on my degree? 

Yes, you can enroll in courses online, provided that you are not living in a fully embargoed country like Iran or Syria; however, IPC will not be able to activate your SEVIS record. We will have to issue a new Form I-20 reflecting a new program start date when you are ready to apply for a visa to come to the U.S. in the future. Any SEVIS (I-901) fee that you have paid to date, will still be valid and your SEVIS ID number will not change as long as you confirm your new arrival term with us by September 1, 2021. We recommend checking with your academic department for specific enrollment requirements surrounding your program.

What will happen to my assistantship offer if I only take classes online this Fall?

IPC does not oversee university assistantship matters. Please consult with your academic department and/or the Graduate School at gradinquiry@uncg.edu for more information. Faculty are also encouraged to reach out to the Graduate School for any questions related to an international student’s assistantship eligibility.

I am a continuing student but currently outside of the U.S. Can I enroll in online courses to maintain my academic progress? How will my SEVIS record be impacted?

Yes, you can enroll in courses online, provided that you are not living in a fully embargoed country like Iran or Syria. As long as you are enrolled in a full course of study, IPC will be able to activate your SEVIS record this Fall. We will review registration as we do each semester and you will receive an email if you do not meet full time enrollment guidelines.

Please contact your academic advisor to adjust your study plan as needed and determine which classes you can take online that will contribute to the completion of your program. You also have the option to not take any classes at all in the Fall, but make sure to reach out to the Graduate School or International Recruitment and Admissions Office (undergraduates) if you decide to take a semester off.

I depend on my university assistantship to offset tuition costs and living expenses. If I am not in the U.S. for the Fall semester, will there still be a stipend or tuition assistance that I can receive?

IPC does not oversee university assistantship matters. Please consult with your academic department and/or the Graduate School at gradinquiry@uncg.edu for more information. Faculty are also encouraged to reach out to the Graduate School for any questions related to an international student’s assistantship eligibility.