University of Michigan-Dearborn leaders have been working with University of Michigan officials and health professionals to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 over the past several months.  

Our goals are to deliver on our mission while protecting health and safety by minimizing the potential spread of the disease, both within our community and in the broader society. 

Use this page to get more information and answers regarding international students.

International Students

Will there still be access to transportation to campus and to other off-campus destinations?

The UM-Dearborn shuttle has modified its schedule to best serve our current campus population. Please visit the shuttle website for the current schedule. Please share any concerns with the Office of International Affairs

Is the Office of International Affairs still available?

For the safety of all students, faculty, and staff, most University services are operating remotely. The Office of International Affairs (OIA) has temporarily suspended walk-in hours and in-person appointments. The OIA, however, continues to provide student and scholar services, remotely. All international students and scholars should direct questions, and submit applications and paperwork, to the OIA email.


Will the fall 2020 semester be online or on campus?

The University of Michigan-Dearborn has now made the formal announcement that most fall 2020 courses will be online. Read more about the UM-Dearborn plan for the fall 2020 semester, here.

How will online classes affect my visa status?

Under normal circumstances, regulations only allow F-1 international students who are located in the U.S. to enroll in a maximum of three online credits which may be counted towards their minimum enrollment requirements. Temporary COVID-19 accommodations from DHS allowed international students to switch to fully online enrollment for winter and summer 2020. At this time, DHS has not yet announced whether these temporary accommodations will be extended for fall 2020.

The OIA continues to closely monitor developments from DHS, and will notify admitted and continuing international students as soon as new guidance for fall 2020 is announced.

If temporary accommodations are extended for fall 2020, then continuing international students will be able to maintain F-1 status by enrolling in a fully online course of study. Furthermore, students will be able to complete online semesters from their home country and online semesters completed remotely will continue to count toward CPT and OPT eligibility. 

For new international students, online enrollment for fall 2020 affords students the opportunity to begin their academic program online, from abroad, while they navigate the visa application process. Please note, however, that new international students enrolling online will not yet be in F-1 status. 


As a new international student, am I still able to obtain a visa to join the University for the upcoming fall semester?

The global COVID-19 situation is dynamic and quickly changing. As of March 20, 2020, all U.S. embassies and consulates around the world have suspended the routine processing of visas due to COVID-19. Please check the U.S. Department of State's visa page for announcements and updates in order to stay informed about the resumption of consular services and visa processing times. You may also wish to check the website of the US embassy or consulate nearest to you for other updates. Embassies and consulates will resume routine visa services as soon as possible, but the Department of State has yet to provide a specific timeline for when this will occur. 

If I am able to obtain my visa this fall, how late will I be allowed to arrive on campus?

The procedural deadline for fall semester international student arrivals coincides with the University add/drop deadline (September 15). New international students who are unable to arrive in-person by this deadline should plan to join the campus for the following semester. Please note, while you may be able to complete online courses from abroad, your F-1 student status does not begin until you are admitted into the USA. Semesters completed from abroad will, therefore, not be in F-1 student status and will consequently not count toward CPT or OPT eligibility for new international students.

New international students are encouraged to stay in close communication with the OIA ( regarding the issuance of their visa, and their planned arrival in the USA. 

I departed the USA before the conclusion of the winter 2020 semester but plan to return to campus for fall 2020. When I return for fall, I will have been out of the country for over 5 months. Will I be able to re-enter the USA?

If you were enrolled full-time in winter 2020, and completed the semester in active F-1 status, then you will not be subject to the so-called 5-month rule. DHS enacted temporary accommodations for winter 2020 allowing international students to maintain their F-1 status while completing winter courses online, from abroad. Therefore, since you have been able to maintain your status, you should be able to re-enter the USA ahead of the fall 2020 semester without issue.

Please note that you must still comply with other travel requirements in order to be granted re-entry to the USA. This includes having a valid travel endorsement on your I-20 and at least 60 days of remaining validity on your passport and visa. Admission to the USA is always subject to the discretion of the border officer at the port of entry.

What if my visa has expired while I was abroad?

If your visa expires while abroad, you will have to renew it through your local consulate or embassy before returning to the USA. Your visa must be valid at the time of your return. 

If my visa expires while still in the USA, do I have to renew it?

No. As long as your I-20 is up-to-date and valid, the expiration of your visa will have no negative impact on your F-1 status. However, if you plan to travel internationally, you will have to renew your visa before returning to the USA. 

If I begin my academic program online, will I still be eligible for OPT?

The semesters that you complete remotely, online, will not count toward CPT or OPT eligibility. In order to be eligible for CPT or OPT, students must have been enrolled full-time, on-campus, in F-1 status for two consecutive semesters.

As a continuing international student, am I able to complete my full-time, fall 2020 online course load remotely, from my home country?

DHS has still not made a formal announcement regarding fall 2020 maintenance of status for universities that will be largely fully online. If the regulatory flexibilities from winter and summer 2020 are extended to the fall semester, then continuing international students will be able to maintain their F-1 status by completing a full-time online course load remotely, from their home countries. 

Back to top of page