University of Michigan-Dearborn leaders have been working with University of Michigan officials and health professionals to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.  

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. 

The University of Michigan-Dearborn has released its formal plan for the upcoming winter semester of 2022 which will consist of a blend of online, in-person, and hybrid courses. For detailed information including safety precautions, student services, vaccination and testing requirements, and more, please visit the main UM-Dearborn COVID-19 website and specifically the winter 2022 page.  

The below FAQs from the Office of International Affairs (OIA) provide clarification on how ongoing University changes may affect international students and scholars.

Ongoing developments and the most up-to-date information affecting international students is available at the OIA Important Updates page

A recording of the recent OIA Winter 2022 Information Session has been made available online. Hosted on November 9, 2021, the Info Session covers detailed information regarding the University vaccine requirement, immigration regulations, on-campus safety protocols, and important pre-departure information. 

 

FAQs for International Students, Winter Semester of 2022

These FAQs, developed by the Office of International Affairs (OIA),  are designed to provide clarity and alleviate concern regarding temporary immigration regulations, vaccination requirements, and how they will affect F-1 and J-1 international students for the upcoming winter term of 2022.

The DHS In-person Requirement 
Current immigration regulations, as published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with regard to the 2021/22 academic year, affect international students differently depending on when they began their studies in the USA. 

International F-1 students who have been in the USA since before March, 2020 will be allowed to take as many online classes as necessary during the upcoming academic year, even up to an entirely online course load. Furthermore, these students may continue to maintain "active" F-1 status while enrolling full-time from abroad. 

F-1 students who arrived in the USA after March, 2020 are required to maintain physical presence at the University and enroll in at least one hybrid course with required in-person components. These students cannot enroll in an entirely online course schedule. 

The interpretation of current DHS requirements reflected in the following FAQ is based on the OIA's current understanding. Should future publications from DHS change our understanding, we will update this information accordingly. 

The COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement 
All UM-Dearborn students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The deadline to get into compliance with the vaccination requirement is January 3, 2022

To be in compliance with the vaccine requirement, individuals must report proof of vaccine by submitting information via the COVID-19 Vaccination Completed form. International students can submit documentation now, before even arriving in the USA. 

If the vaccine is not readily available in your home country, and you are unable to get into compliance by the University deadline, please submit a Request for Temporary Postponement as soon as possible. 

In addition to the UM-Dearborn requirement, the USA government also requires all international air travelers, including F-1 and J-1 students and scholars, to show proof of vaccination agains COVID-19 to enter the USA. 

Updated 11/12/2021

Immigration and the Winter 2022 Academic Plan

How will the University conduct courses for the upcoming winter semester of 2022?
Classes for the winter semester of 2022 will be delivered primarily in-person. However, the University will also offer many courses via fully remote and hybrid teaching modalities. More detailed information about the University's academic plan for winter 2022 can be found here

English as a Second Language (ESL) courses taught through the English Language Proficiency Program (ELPP) will be taught entirely on-campus and in-person. 

Registration for winter semester classes is now open. International students who have obtained their F-1 visa and plan to join the University for the upcoming fall semester are encouraged to register their courses as soon as possible. Hybrid and in-person classes are expected to reach capacity. 

How do I know which courses will satisfy the DHS in-person requirement? If I am having trouble with registration, who can help? 
International F-1 students are encouraged to work closely with their academic advisor to ensure that their registration satisfies the DHS in-person requirement. Academic advisors will be the best point of contact regarding course registration. Graduate international students should visit the Graduate Program-specific Contacts page to locate program-specific contact information. Undergraduate international students should work with the Office of START Academic Advising

As a current, continuing F-1 international student, can I take an entirely online course load in the winter semester or must I take a mix of online and in-person courses?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed a continuation of current guidelines for the 2021/22 academic year. According to these guidelines, immigration requirements may vary for international students depending on how long they have been in the USA. There are 2 possible scenarios: 

1. Based on our current understanding, students who have been in the USA since the onset of the pandemic (March, 2020) will not be subject to an in-person enrollment requirement for the winter semester of 2022. Therefore, F-1 students who have been in the USA, in a lawful immigration status, since at least the spring semester of 2020, may take as many online courses as necessary, and may even take an entirely online course schedule, this upcoming fall.

2. Students who were newly admitted after March of 2020 and began their studies at UM-Dearborn in summer 2020, fall 2020, winter 2021, summer 2021, fall 2021, or winter 2022 are not allowed to take an entirely online course schedule during the 2021/22 academic year. Instead, these students are required to maintain physical presence at UM-Dearborn and must enroll in at least one hybrid or in-person class. 

International graduate students can find program-specific contact information, here.

International undergraduate students should work closely with START Advising, to ensure that they are able to meet the in-person requirement for the fall 2021 semester. 

According to the University plan for the winter semester of 2022, there should be hybrid (or in-person) course options available to all international students.

If I have an entirely online course schedule this winter, can I study remotely in the USA but in another state (eg. outside of Michigan)?
Yes. If you have been in the USA since before March of 2020, and you are allowed to have an entirely online course schedule this fall, then you are not required to maintain physical presence at Dearborn and may enroll full-time, remotely, while maintaining "active" immigration status. However, if you entered the USA after March of 2020, then you are required to maintain physical presence at the University and register at least one hybrid or in-person course (see previous question). 

Please note, all international F-1 and J-1 students are required to update their local USA address with the OIA within 10 days of any change (even if it is temporary). 

Can I maintain my “active” F-1 status by enrolling in a fully-online course load from my home country? 
International F-1 students who are allowed to enroll entirely online are also allowed to maintain their lawful immigration status from abroad. Your SEVIS record will be maintained in “active” status as long as you enroll full-time and continue making progress in your degree program by successfully completing all classes.

UM-Dearborn students studying remotely from China can now use MLane for reliable, high-speed access to UM-Dearborn teaching and learning tools and resources. Learn how to configure MLane on your device, here.

International students who arrived after March of 2020 and are required to maintain physical presence at Dearborn cannot depart the USA and enroll online from abroad. This could result in the termination of your SEVIS record. 

New international students who have been admitted for winter 2022 may choose to begin their academic program remotely, from home, while they navigate the F-1 visa application process. Once they obtain their visa, they will be eligible to join the University, in person, for the following available academic semester. 

In light of the in-person requirement, how is full-time being defined for winter of 2022?
Full-time enrollment is defined as a total of at least 8 credit hours per semester for graduate students, and 12 credit hours per semester for undergraduates. Each students' particular blend of in-person, hybrid, and online courses all count toward the full-time enrollment requirement.

What if winter 2022 is my final semester?
If winter 2022 is your last semester at UM-Dearborn, you may enroll in less than a full-time course load if you have less than a full-time number of credits left to complete your degree program. If so, then you must complete and submit the OIA Reduced Course Load (RCL) Form.

If you entered the USA after March of 2020, then you cannot have an entirely online course schedule in your final semester and must still maintain at least one hybrid or in-person class. 

If you plan to apply for OPT, then it is highly advisable that you complete your final semester in-country. OPT applications cannot be submitted to USCIS from outside the USA.

If I move to a new US address, temporarily, due to isolation/quarantine requirements do I need to report my address change within 10 days?
Yes, even if temporary you must always report address changes within 10 days. If the change is temporary, you must report your change in address once again once you return to your normal housing.  

What if my visa expires while I am still in the USA?
The expiration of your visa while you are in the USA has no impact on your immigration status. As long as your I-20 is up-to-date and valid, you are able to remain in the country making progress toward the completion of your degree program, without issue. However, if you plan to travel internationally, you will have to renew your visa before returning to the USA.

 

 

 

 

 

Newly Admitted Winter 2022 International Students

The FAQs in this section apply specifically to students who have been newly admitted for the winter semester of 2022: 

As a new international student, am I still able to obtain a visa to join the University for winter 2022?
The global COVID-19 situation remains dynamic and quickly changing. In some countries, the pandemic has begun to improve. However, we are aware that the U.S. Department of State continues to close embassies and consulates in areas around the world that are affected by the pandemic. These closures, and the temporary suspension of visa processing services at some locations, may cause delays and complications in students' ability to obtain an F-1 visa in time to join the University for the upcoming academic semester. Closures and re-openings vary from one country to another and depend on local conditions. Therefore, to learn about closures and visa processing services, we encourage students to visit the website for their specific U.S. consulate or embassy location.

If I am able to obtain my visa, how late am I allowed to arrive on campus?
The procedural deadline for winter semester international student arrivals coincides with the University add/drop deadline of January 24, 2022. This deadline, according to the academic calendar, corresponds with the University add/drop deadline. New international students who are unable to arrive in-person by this deadline should plan to join the campus for the following semester. However, new international students are encouraged to stay in close communication with the OIA (umdoia-international@umich.edu) regarding the issuance of their visa, and their planned arrival in the USA as circumstances can vary from case to case.

Unvaccinated students are expected to adhere to a strict 14-day period of enhanced social distancing upon arrival. Although enhanced social distancing does not prevent students from attending class, students should maintain close communication with their instructors. Arriving late, and social distancing, could potentially interfere with some in-person course components during the first month of the semester. 

Further information regarding the recommended 14-day period of enhanced social distancing is available at the OIA homepage.

If I am unable to obtain my visa in time to arrive for the winter semester, what are my options?
UM-Dearborn is offering many courses online for the upcoming winter 2022 semester. You are eligible to begin your program of study online, from your home country, while you navigate the visa application process. Please note, no visa is required for online learning from abroad. Learn more about online enrollment for international students, here.

It is important to consider that, 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.

If you will begin your course of study from abroad, and plan to join the University in person for a future semester, you will need to be issued a new I-20 with program dates corresponding to your planned semester of in-person enrollment. Make sure that you share your plans with the OIA (umdoia-international@umich.edu) as the issuance of new I-20s can be a very time-sensitive process.

UM-Dearborn students studying remotely from China can now use MLane for reliable, high-speed access to UM-Dearborn teaching and learning tools and resources. Learn how to configure MLane on your device, here.

If I plan to enter the USA for winter 2022, will my plans be affected by travel restrictions?
Many USA COVID-19 travel restrictions are still in place.

According to a recent Presidential Proclamation, all non-immigrant air travelers entering the USA will be required to have proof of COVID-19 vaccination. 

  • The new proclamation requires that all international air travelers, including F-1 and J-1 international students and scholars, entering the USA be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 
  • Specific exceptions to this requirement are listed, here
  • Travelers from countries where the vaccine is limited may also be exempt from the vaccination requirement 

Please note that this proclamation applies only to air travelers and does not include the land borders with Canada and Mexico. 

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test for all international air passengers arriving in the USA no more than 3 days before their flight departs. The CDC has posted an FAQ page which explains the requirement, which has been in effect since January, 2021. 

Do I need to receive a new I-20, or verification letter, confirming that I have in-person classes for winter 2022 in order to apply for my new F-1 visa? or in order to be admitted to the USA upon arrival?
No. At this time a letter is not being required for new international students applying for a new F-1 visa. Likewise, new F-1 students are not required to have a new I-20 or letter in order to enter the USA for the first time. 

Will I need to quarantine once I arrive in the USA?
All students who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are arriving from international locations are strongly encouraged to practice enhanced social distancing for 14 days following their arrival in the USA. During this 14-day period, new international students should plan to remain in their residence as much as possible, avoid unnecessary contact with others, and closely self-monitor for any symptoms of illness. However, in accordance with recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), students may attend in-person classes, go to work, and use public transportation to reach their destinations.

The University has published a list of local restaurants providing food pickup and delivery options. We hope this list, which includes location and contact information, will facilitate your ability to access food while practicing enhanced social distancing.

Further information regarding the recommended 14-day period of enhanced social distancing is available at the OIA Important Updates page

Please note, students who have been fully vaccinated do not need to practice enhanced social distancing following their arrival in the USA. 

Health Insurance

Will the mandatory UM-Dearborn International Student Health Insurance plan cover COVID-19 testing and treatment?
Yes.

If I will pursue my studies remotely, from my home country, will I be required to enroll in the UM-Dearborn International Student Health Insurance?
No. The health insurance requirement only applies to F-1 students who are in “active” F-1 status and in the USA.

 

The University COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

Where can I learn about the public health and safety policies being implemented by the University for the upcoming academic year?
Information regarding every aspect of the University's plan for the upcoming academic year, including vaccination/testing requirements and safety protocols, can be found at the UM-Dearborn COVID-19 website

Will students be required to get vaccinated in order to attend the University of Michigan-Dearborn?
Yes. All students, staff, and faculty are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 vaccine. Information regarding this requirement, including upcoming campus vaccination clinics and local resources for obtaining access to the vaccine, is available at the UM-Dearborn Vaccine Information webpage.

How can I get into compliance with the vaccine requirement?
If you are fully vaccinated you must report your vaccination status for University verification via the online COVID-19 Vaccination Completed Form

If the vaccine is not readily available in your home country, and you are exempt from the government travel requirement, then you must submit the UM-Dearborn online Request for Temporary Postponement Form. A temporary postponement will give you additional time beyond the University deadline to gain compliance with the requirement. 

When is the deadline for the vaccination requirement?
The deadline for students to gain compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement is January 3, 2022. 

When should I submit my vaccine documentation?
Now! There is no reason to wait. Please submit your vaccination documents as soon as possible, even before you arrive in the USA. This way you will achieve compliance with the requirement.

What vaccines are currently being accepted by the University? 
Recognized vaccines include PfizerModernaJohnson & Johnson's JanssenAstraZeneca, Serum Institute of India (Covishield), SinopharmSinovac, and  Covaxin

I am requesting a medical or religious exemption.  When will I hear back?  What if it is not before the deadline? 
The University is reviewing medical and religious exemption requests as quickly as possible. Students can expect to hear a decision via UM-Dearborn email once a decision is made. If you have not received a decision by December 27, please contact DearbornCOVIDSupport@umich.edu.

What other safety measures are being implemented on campus? 
Students can learn more about safety measures being implemented on campus as well as what the student experience will look like in winter 2022, by visiting the UM-Dearborn COVID-19 website

 

Employment

I have an on-campus job. Can I continue working remotely from my home in the USA? Can I continue working remotely from my home country?
Yes, SEVP has issued special guidance confirming that if your on-campus employment is remote, or can be performed through remote means, you may continue to engage in on-campus employment remotely.

I will be working on campus or on CPT this semester and I need to apply for my SSN. What documentation is required for the SSN application?
SSN applications are submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA). In addition to the SSN application form, the SSA is requiring a hard copy of your I-20 with original signature. If you have CPT, you must also present an original offer letter of employment. If you have an on-campus University position, then you must present a hard copy of the Employment Verification Form, with original signatures from your hiring department and the OIA.

If you will need an original I-20 and/or Employment Verification Form, please make your request by emailing the OIA directly: umdoia-international@umich.edu. 

If my winter 2022 course load is fully online, can I participate in CPT outside the state of Michigan?
Students who were in the USA and maintaining lawful immigration status before the onset of the pandemic (before March of 2020) are allowed to enroll in a fully-online course schedule. Therefore, it is our understanding, based on the most recent SEVP guidelines, that CPT outside of Michigan is acceptable during the winter 2022 semester. During CPT, however, students are still required to maintain full-time enrollment and continue making normal progress toward their degree. Furthermore, students must update their address with the OIA on a timely basis, and at least within 10 days of any change. 

Students who entered the USA and began their studies at UM-Dearborn after March of 2020 are not allowed to enroll in an entirely online course schedule for winter 2022 but are, instead, required to maintain physical presence at the University by enrolling in at least one hybrid or in-person class as part of their full-time schedule. Therefore, these students are not allowed to participate in an in-person employment opportunity that conflicts with the physical presence requirement. 

I am in my final semester of study and interested in applying for OPT. Can I submit my OPT application if I am studying remotely within the USA? Can I submit my OPT application if I am studying remotely from my home country?
OPT applications must be submitted to USCIS from within the USA, and it is recommended that you are physically present in the USA when your OPT application is being reviewed by USCIS. To learn about the application process and requirements, please review the OIA OPT webpage.

Can I leave the USA and return home once I have mailed my OPT application to USCIS? If so, will I be allowed to re-enter the country once my OPT is approved? 
It is not advisable to depart the USA with a pending OPT application, as this will only complicate what is already a sensitive and strict application and approval process. USCIS will not send correspondence regarding your OPT application internationally. Therefore, there is a risk that if USCIS sends a Request for Evidence (RFE), you may not be able to respond. Failure to respond to an RFE could result in your OPT application being denied. Furthermore, if your OPT application is approved, USCIS will also not send your EAD card internationally. The EAD will only be sent to a valid US address. Therefore, if you are out of the country at the time of your approval, then you will need to have a reliable address on file with USCIS for delivery of your EAD. When your EAD arrives at your US address, it will be in your best interest to have it shipped to you, at your international address, ahead of your return to the USA. In addition to your most current I-20, you should plan to also have your EAD card on hand at the time of your return to the USA. All other travel requirements during OPT will also apply at the time of your return to the USA. These can be reviewed at the OIA OPT webpage.

We hope that this information helps alleviate some of the concern and uncertainty regarding the current Coronavirus situation. Do not hesitate to contact the OIA if you have further questions or concerns.

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