Spring 2021 Enrollment for International Students
SEVP April 26 Guidance for 2021-22 Academic Year
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
On April 26, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) released updated guidance for F-1 students for the 2021-22 academic year. As noted in detail below, this guidance extends the guidance originally issued in March 2020.
The University of Texas at Arlington’s Office of International Education has evaluated how this new SEVP guidance will apply to our F-1 students and would like to share some important information about how this may impact your plans for fall 2021, spring 2022, and summer 2022 enrollment and attendance. The following is a summary of the SEVP guidance as we understand it today.
F-1 Students and Online Courses
Students who were in valid F-1 status on March 9, 2020 may continue to enroll full time in online courses for fall 2021 and maintain their F-1 status. For the fall 2021 semester, UTA is planning to restore classes to a primarily on-campus format. Please consult with your academic advisor when selecting courses to ensure that you are meeting your full-time enrollment requirements.
However, students who entered the U.S. at any point after March 9, 2020 must enroll in at least one on-campus course as a part of the minimum enrollment requirement each semester. Definitions for the types of classes offered at UTA this fall and which ones qualify as “on campus” can be found here.
All students maintaining F-1 status, whether in the U.S. or residing outside the U.S., must enroll full time unless the student has a “Less Than Full-Course Waiver” approved by an International Education Advisor. There are no changes in the requirements for full-time enrollment. More information about the waiver process can be found here.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Students must be physically present within the United States in order to submit an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting OPT. Additional information about post-completion OPT can be found here.
Negative COVID Test Required for Travel into U.S.
Wednesday, January 13, 2020
Effective January 26, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will require a negative COVID-19 test for all air passengers entering the United States.
“Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board.”
You can find more information about this requirement here. Please remember to consider this new rule as you make your travel plans to the United States.
SEVP July 24 Fall 2020 Guidance Update
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
On July 24, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) released updated guidance for F-1 students for the Fall 2020 semester. As noted in detail below, this guidance allows for more flexibility than the previous guidance released July 6.
The University of Texas at Arlington’s Office of International Education has evaluated how this new SEVP guidance will apply to our F-1 student population and would like to share some important information about how this may impact your plans for Fall 2020 enrollment and attendance. The following is a summary of the SEVP guidance as we understand it today.
F-1 Students Residing in the U.S. for Fall 2020
For F-1 students residing within the U.S., UTA’s academic plan for Fall 2020 comes under SEVP’s broad category of “hybrid”, meaning that UTA will offer a mixture of face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses. It is important that students remember this if questioned by a U.S. Consulate or airport official.
The University’s definition of face-to-face and hybrid courses, along with research, thesis, or dissertation courses, meet the SEVP requirements of an “on-campus course.”
The updated SEVP guidance allows enrollment in more than one online course. Continuing and transfer F-1 students may enroll full time in online courses for Fall 2020 and maintain their F-1 status. However, new F-1 students must enroll in at least one face-to-face or hybrid model course as a part of the minimum enrollment requirement.
If the Coronavirus pandemic results in UTA returning to being online only during the Fall 2020 semester, all F-1 students within the U.S. will be able to maintain their F-1 status.
International Students Residing Outside the U.S. for Fall 2020
International students who will remain abroad for Fall 2020 and want to take classes online should complete the Online Enrollment Agreement found in MyMav. This agreement only applies to students certifying that they are residing outside the U.S. and do not plan to enter the U.S. for Fall 2020.
A list of courses available to new and continuing students outside of the U.S. can be found here.
Continuing and transfer F-1 students who have departed from the U.S. on or after March 9, 2020 and who are unable to return to UTA for the Fall 2020 semester will be able to maintain their F-1 status while outside of the U.S. if they are enrolled full time and have otherwise maintained their F-1 status.
Our office will reach out directly to F-1 transfer students who have left the U.S. and plan to remain outside the U.S. for Fall 2020 to discuss I-20 updates.
All students maintaining F-1 status, whether in the U.S. or residing outside the U.S., must enroll full time unless the student has a “Less Than Full-Course Waiver” approved by an International Education Advisor. There are no changes in the requirements for full-time enrollment.
Friday, July 17, 2020
On 07/14/2020 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it will immediately rescind its July 6 directive and subsequent FAQs related to online courses permitted for international students through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.
While this is great news, and should allow us more flexibility than the July 6th guidance allowed, there is still much that we have yet to hear back from U.S. Immigration about what will and will not be allowed for Fall 2020 enrollment. We understand that this is a challenging time for our international students and we continue to support you.
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide the latest information when available on our website and through email. We understand this is frustrating but are committed to ensuring that you have all the information you need to make decisions about Fall enrollment. For additional information please see the OIE Fall Enrollment Webpage. We plan to continually update this page with new information as it comes available. Please remember to keep reading your UTA email for updates. We look forward to seeing you back again on campus.
Update to the UTA Community on Changes to Department of Homeland Security Rules – Message from UTA President ad interim, Dr. Teik Lim
Posted: July 15, 2020
Important Advising Information
Last Updated: March 19, 2020
Last Updated: March 12, 2020
Information for New International Students
FAQs for SEVP Stakeholders about COVID-19 - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
ICE FAQs. [Last Updated: July 24, 2020]
ICE FAQs. [Last Updated: July 15, 2020]
Fall2020 - F1 Students FAQs. [Last Updated: August 6, 2020]