Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about COVID-19

Updated 08/23/2021

OISS COVID-19 Operations Changes

COVID-19 Vaccinations

International students arriving from their home countries this fall may have questions regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements, acceptability of specific vaccines, and access to vaccinations upon return to school. The COVID Vaccination Information for International Students Fall 2021 Q & A [PDF] is intended to address various vaccination considerations for international students coming to Eastern Michigan University from their home country for the 2021 fall semester.

Travel Updates

08/23/2021 - Students traveling from Canada or Mexico by land border entry.

While the border closure between the U.S. and Canada and the U.S. and Mexico has been extended to September 21, 2021, students are authorized to cross the border and enter the U.S. for essential travel which includes:

  • “Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;”

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

05/27/2021 - Students traveling from China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland.

While the Presidential Proclamation restricting entry remains in effect, the Department of State has announced that F-1 students currently residing in China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland are now able to travel into the U.S. F-1 students do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel.

NIE eligibility for students who have been present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, or South Africa applies only to programs that begin on or after August 1, 2021.

Please see the full announcement for additional information.

Travel Signatures

Please check that your most recent I-20 has a valid travel signature. While the OISS recommends a new travel signature every six months, travel signatures on the form I-20 are valid for one calendar year.

Students who do not have a valid travel signature will need to request a new I-20 with travel signature.

The OISS recommends students traveling into the U.S. to print out a copy of your student schedule to show your full-time course enrollment. Go to directions on how to print your schedule [PDF].

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

When should I plan to arrive? Will I have to self-quarantine?

Per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance updated on July 6, 2021, "all air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States." The CDC has additional Frequently Asked Questions regarding this requirement.

As of June 10, 2021, the CDC has posted separate guidance for individuals who are fully vaccinated and unvaccinated.

For those who are unvaccinated

Individuals returning from international flight travel should:

  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home for 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

Regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, take these actions to protect others from getting sick:

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • When around others, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ lengths) from other people who are not from your household. It is important to do this everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are outside of your home.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Watch your health and look for symptoms of COVID-19. Take your temperature if you feel sick.

For those who are vaccinated

  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if developing symptoms
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.

What if there is another Stay at Home order?

If EMU moves to an all virtual/online delivery during the semester due to the COVID-19 situation, international students will continue to maintain their status and be able to remain in the United States.

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Select your current student status below for more information:

  • A. I am an incoming international first-year student.

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    1. New international students planning to attend Eastern Michigan University (EMU) for the first time are eligible to apply for a visa and enter the United States (U.S.) because EMU is not fully online.
      • Per the current SEVP guidance, new, initial F-1 students are required to have at least one in-person (face-to-face) class in order to activate their F-1 status in the United States.
      • If you do not have at least one in-person class on your schedule, please do NOT enter the United States. The office will not be able to register your SEVIS record and you will be required to depart the United States.
      • If the SEVP guidance changes or is updated, the OISS will email students to notify them of the changes.
    2. Continue your effort to secure a visa appointment as soon as possible. You can locate the consulate wait times and contact information on the Department of State website.
    3. Notify Eastern Michigan University Office for International Students & Scholars ([email protected]) of your visa appointment date and receipt of your visa.
    4. Arrange your flight/travel arrangements to the United States.
      Fall 2021 classes are set to start on August 30, 2021. Per the CDC guidance updated on 2/18/2021, "all air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States." 

      Individuals returning from international flight travel should get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days. If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel. Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

    5. Updated information about SEVIS check-in and Orientation will be emailed to all new students' emich.edu email addresses.
    6. Students with on-campus housing contracts should work with the Housing and Residence Life Office for move-in information.
    7. If you do not believe you will receive your visa in time to start classes at Eastern Michigan University, or if you are restricted from traveling to the United States at this time, please email the Office for International Students and Scholars ([email protected]) and International Admissions ([email protected]).
      • Be advised: students who are unable to enter the U.S. to begin their studies will not be able to take online classes under an F-1 status.
      • Students will be able to defer their admission and start the process of receiving a new I-20 in preparation for the fall 2021 term.
  • B. I am an incoming international transfer student (currently inside the U.S.).

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    1. Be sure to activate your EMICH email account to receive important updates from the university and from the OISS.

    2. Consult with your academic advisor to ensure that you are registered for full-time courses for the fall 2021 semester. Your classes can be in-person, hybrid, or online. There is no limit on the number of online classes you can take for this fall 2021 semester. As a reminder, below are the full-time credit hour requirements.

      • Undergraduate - 12 credit hours

      • Graduate/Doctoral - 8 credit hours

      • Students may also be eligible for concurrent enrollment. Please see the Concurrent Enrollment/Guest Letter Request form on the OISS website.
    3. Updated information about SEVIS check-in and Orientation will be emailed to all new students' emich.edu email addresses.
    4. Students with on-campus housing contracts should work with the Housing and Residence Life Office for move-in information.
  • C. I am an incoming international transfer student (currently outside the U.S.).

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    1. Before traveling back to the U.S., email [email protected] for a new I-20 with updated remarks.

    2. Ensure your immigration documents (passport, U.S. visa) are valid and unexpired.

      • If your visa is not valid, you are eligible to apply for an F-1 visa if needed to re-enter the U.S.

    3. Arrange your flight/travel arrangements to the United States.
      Fall 2021 classes are set to start on August 30, 2021. Per the CDC guidance updated on 2/18/2021, "all air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States." 

      Individuals returning from international flight travel should get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days. If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel. Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

    4. Be sure to activate your EMICH email account to receive important updates from the university and from the OISS.
    5. Consult with your academic advisor to ensure that you are registered for full-time courses for this fall 2021 semester. Your classes can be in-person, hybrid, or online. As a reminder, below are the full-time credit hour requirements:
      • Undergraduate - 12 credit hours
      • Graduate/Doctoral - 8 credit hours
      • ESL - Intensive English Program (IEP) - 18 credit hours*
      • Students may also be eligible for concurrent enrollment. Please see the Concurrent Enrollment/Guest Letter Request form on the OISS website.
    6. Updated information about SEVIS check-in and Orientation will be emailed to all new students soon.
    7. Students with on-campus housing contracts should work with the Housing and Residence Life Office for move-in information.
  • D. I am a current, continuing Eastern Michigan University international student present in the United States.

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    Consult with your academic advisor to ensure that you are registered for full-time courses for the fall 2021 semester. Your classes can be in-person, hybrid, or online. There is no limit on the number of online classes you can take for this fall 2021 semester. As a reminder, below are the full-time credit hour requirements:

    • Undergraduate - 12 credit hours
    • Graduate/Doctoral - 8 credit hours
    • ESL - Intensive English Program (IEP) - 18 credit hours*

    Students may also be eligible for concurrent enrollment. Please see the Concurrent Enrollment/Guest Letter Request form on the OISS website.

    Students eligible for Reduced Hours can find the request forms on the OISS website.

    *IEP students need to to follow-up with the ESL department.

    Students with on-campus housing contracts should work with the Housing and Residence Life Office for move-in information.

  • E. I am a current, continuing Eastern Michigan University international student outside of the United States and planning to return for the fall 2021 semester.

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    1. Ensure your immigration documents (passport, U.S. visa) are valid and unexpired.
      • If your visa is not valid, you are eligible to apply for an F-1 visa if needed to re-enter the U.S.
    2. Consult with your academic advisor to ensure that you are registered for full-time courses for the fall 2021 semester. Your classes can be in-person, hybrid, or online. There is no limit on the number of online classes you can take for this fall 2021 semester. As a reminder, below are the full-time credit hour requirements:
      • Undergraduate - 12 credit hours
      • Graduate/Doctoral - 8 credit hours
      • ESL - Intensive English Program (IEP) - 18 credits hours*
        Students may also be eligible for concurrent enrollment. Please see the Concurrent Enrollment/Guest Letter Request form on the OISS website. Students eligible for Reduced Hours can find the request forms on the OISS website. *IEP students need to to follow-up with the ESL department.
    3. Arrange your flight/travel arrangements to the United States.
      Fall 2021 classes are set to start on August 30, 2021.  Per the CDC guidance updated on 2/18/2021, "all air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States."

      Individuals returning from international flight travel should get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days. If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel. Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

    4. Fill out the I-20 request form to receive a new I-20 from the OISS verifying that you are registered full-time for the fall 2021 semester and to receive a travel signature (if needed). Please note that the OISS processing time may be delayed more than 10 business days. If you are unsure, email [email protected] for verification.
    5. Students with on-campus housing contracts should work with the Housing and Residence Life Office for move-in information.
  • F. I am a current Eastern Michigan University international student outside of the United States but unable to return for the fall 2021 semester.

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    1. Email [email protected] and advise us of your situation.
    2. Per SEVP guidance, continuing students with Active SEVIS records may take 100% online classes from their home country and maintain their status.
    3. Students who take online classes from their home country will be required to receive a new I-20 after SEVIS registration.
    4. If you have a contract with Housing and Residence Life for the fall 2021 semester, be sure to cancel your housing. Please see the Housing and Residence Life website for instructions on how to cancel your housing.
  • G. I am a current Eastern Michigan University international student outside of the United States and do not plan to take online classes from my home country.

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    1. Email [email protected] and advise us of your situation.
    2. The OISS will provide a form for you to request a “Leave of Absence” to complete and submit to [email protected].
    3. Upon receipt of the document, the OISS will terminate your SEVIS record for “Authorized Early Withdrawal.” Once this is completed you no longer will have F-1 status.
    4. If you have a contract with Housing and Residence Life for the fall 2021 semester, be sure to cancel your housing. Please see the Housing and Residence Life website for instructions on how to cancel your housing.
    5. If registered for classes, be sure to do a complete cancellation (drop) of all classes (this cannot be done from your my.emich account). Please see the Records and Registration website for information on how to do a complete cancellation (drop).
    6. Please be aware that the deadline for 100% tuition refund for the Fall 2021 semester is set for September 9, 2021.
    7. Please note that students still may be responsible for some fees. Be sure to check your Ebill and contact Student Business Services if you have questions regarding your bill.