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Spring 2021 Enrollment for International Students

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.

Full-Time Enrollment


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.

Additional Resources


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

Immigration News

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]