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. 

The University of Michigan-Dearborn has released its formal plan for the upcoming fall semester of 2021 which will consist of a blend of online, in-person, and hybrid courses. To learn more about the University’s plan for the fall semester of 2021, including safety precautions, student services, campus re-openings, vaccination and testing requirements, and more, please visit the main UM-Dearborn COVID-19 website and specifically the fall 2021 planning page

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

FAQs for International Students, Fall Term of 2021

These FAQs, developed by the Office of International Affairs (OIA),  are designed to provide clarity and alleviate concern regarding temporary immigration regulations, and how they will affect F-1 and J-1 international students for the upcoming fall term of 2021.

Current immigration regulations, as published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a recent SEVP Broadcast Message, 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 must continue 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. 

Updated 08/25/2021

Immigration and the Fall 2021 Academic Plan

How will the University conduct courses for the upcoming fall semester of 2021?
Over the course of the last year, we have prioritized on-campus courses that are pedagogically best conducted in person such as natural science and engineering labs and engineering senior design courses. A critical part of the fall scheduling process was to identify and implement the course modalities that provide the best learning experience for our students.

Classes for the fall semester of 2021 will be delivered through in-person, fully remote, and hybrid teaching modalities with more than 60 percent of classes being taught on campus or in a hybrid modality. More detailed information about the University's academic plan for fall of 2021 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 fall 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 fall 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 upcoming 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 fall semester of 2021. 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 a newly admitted after March of 2020 and began their studies at UM-Dearborn in summer 2020, fall 2020, winter 2021, summer 2021, or fall 2021 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 fall semester of 2021, there should be hybrid (or in-person) course options available to all international students.

If I have an entirely online course schedule this fall, 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 fall of 2021 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 fall of 2021?
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 fall 2021 is my final semester?
If fall 2021 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 ensure to have 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 Fall 2021 International Students

The FAQs in this section apply specifically to students who have been newly admitted for the fall semester of 2021: 

As a new international student, am I still able to obtain a visa to join the University for fall 2021?
The global COVID-19 situation remains dynamic and quickly changing. 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 year. 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 fall semester international student arrivals coincides with the University add/drop deadline of September 15, 2021. 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.

Please note that students arriving late are still encouraged and expected to adhere to a strict 14-day period of enhanced social distancing. 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 fall semester, what are my options?
UM-Dearborn is offering many courses online for the upcoming fall 2021 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 fall 2021, will my plans be affected by travel restrictions?
Many USA COVID-19 travel restrictions are still in place. International F-1 and J-1 students are exempt from the presidential proclamations restricting entry to the USA from specific countries. F-1 and J-1 students whose program begins on or after August 1, 2021 will be automatically processed for a "national interest exception " (NIE) allowing them direct admission to the USA. You can learn more about the affected countries and up-to-date travel restrictions on the OIA homepage, under the section "Travel Restrictions Affecting International Students Entering the USA." 

The NIE also applies to international students transiting through one of the affected countries. Therefore, international students who have a layover and must transit through an affected country will be allowed to do so and enter the USA directly. You can learn more about the NIE at the Department of State website

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test, remain in effect. All air passengers arriving in the USA from a foreign country must provide proof of a negative test 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 fall 2021 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 homepage.

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.

What should I know about the UM-Dearborn vaccination requirement?
The recent communication from the Chancellor of UM-Dearborn covers regarding the vaccination requirement including enforcement, consequences for non-compliance, campus testing clinics, and more. 

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

How can students report their vaccination status to the University? 
Students must report their vaccination status, for verification, at Wolverine Access.

What should I do if I have received a vaccine that isn’t FDA or WHO approved?
Regarding the University vaccination requirement, students who have been vaccinated with an unapproved vaccine type have a few options to consider: 

  1. Receive an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccination
    Beginning Monday, August 30, a vaccination clinic will be available to all UM-Dearborn students at the University campus. According to CDC guidelines, students should wait at least 28 days beyond the date of their most recent Covaxin (or other) vaccine dose before proceeding with a new vaccine. Students with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine can sign up for a consultation with a health advisor here.
  2. Submit a request for Medical Exemption via Wolverine Access.
    This is an available option for students who are not comfortable mixing different vaccines at this time. Exemptions are being reviewed for approval on a case by case basis by a University of Michigan system-wide committee. 
  3. Submit a request for Temporary Postponement via Wolverine Access 
    Students who submit this request are expected to receive an approved COVID-19 vaccine in order to meet the University vaccination requirement. 

Students who file either a request for Exemption or Postponement will be required to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Beginning Monday, August 30 on-campus testing will be available for all students. The on-campus testing clinic will administer rapid tests yielding reliable results within 15 minutes. 

In the event that a request for Medical Exemption is denied, students will then have the option of submitting a request for Temporary Postponement to cover the time until they are able to obtain an approved vaccine.

If I choose to receive an approved vaccine in addition to my current unapproved vaccine, how long should I wait after my most recent dose? 
Per university medical personnel, one should wait 28 days from their last COVID vaccine. In this scenario, a temporary postponement exemption request may be appropriate until you are outside of the 28-day time period.

I am told my vaccine type, Covaxin, is about to be imminently approved by the WHO.  What should I do? 
The University is aware that Covaxin is currently being reviewed for approval by the World Health Organization. If the vaccine is approved by the WHO, then it will be added to the UM-Dearborn list of acceptable vaccines enabling students to comply with the vaccine requirement. Unfortunately, at this time there is no guarantee when any approval could be granted. The recent communication from the UM-Dearborn Chancellor details the campus vaccination policy and addresses potential consequences for non-compliant students.  To stay in compliance, please see the options itemized in the question above about unapproved vaccine types. 

Please note that the University will make every effort to ensure that international students are able to maintain lawful immigration status and remain compliant with immigration regulations including the in-person and full-time enrollment requirements. The Chancellor’s message notes that non-compliant students will have the opportunity to change to a fully-online course schedule, by mid-September, for the remainder of the fall semester. The OIA will work with affected students to ensure that they meet federal immigration regulation requirements.

I am requesting a medical or religious exemption.  When will I hear back?  What if it is not before September 17? 
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 September 10, please contact DearbornCOVIDSupport@umich.edu.

I am uneasy about mixing vaccine types and to my understanding, there is not published scientific data addressing this concern.  Is there someone I can talk to about my concerns? 
Students with questions or concerns can sign up for a consultation with a health advisor here

If I am getting newly vaccinated with an FDA approved option now that I am in the US, how long do I have to continue testing/when am I considered fully in compliance? 
Individuals reach full immunity two weeks following the last required vaccine dose. Therefore, students must continue submitting to campus COVID testing for up to two weeks following their final required dose. 

How often do I need to test and where do I load the information to be in compliance? 
Between September 1 and 17, all non-compliant students will be required to be tested daily, when on campus, and upload their negative test results in ResponsiBLUE, while working to become compliant with the policy. 

Where will the testing and vaccination clinics be held and what hours?  Are there transportation options to get there? 
The university will provide testing and vaccination clinics on campus August 30 - October 1 for those required to submit a daily (if on campus) or weekly negative COVID test and for those faculty, staff and students pending exemption approval. 

The testing and vaccination option will be available on August 30 and August 31 (Wolverine Welcome Day) between 9 am and 5 pm. All other days the service is available Monday - Thursday between 7:30 am and 6:30 pm. On Friday, the service is available 7:30 am to 5 pm. The location of the testing/vaccination site is being finalized.

Beginning October 4 - through the end of the fall term, only testing services (no vaccination administration) will be available. 

For those local to campus without a vehicle, transportation options can be found here

Additional off-campus testing options can be found here. Additional off-campus vaccination clinic options can be found here

What type of testing is being conducted and when will I know the results? 
Rapid tests are being conducted at the university testing site with results returned in approximately 15 minutes. 

What type of vaccines are available on-campus?  Do I need to make an appointment to receive one? 
Both Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer BioNTech will be available at the on-campus site. No appointment is needed. 

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 fall 2021, by visiting the UM-Dearborn COVID-19 website

 

Travel for Current International Students

Please note, the FAQs in this section are intended for continuing international students who were already at Dearborn previous to the fall semester of 2021. Travel considerations for new fall 2021 international students can be found above, in the section "Newly Admitted Fall 2021 International Students." 

If I plan to travel internationally during the fall 2021 semester and need a new travel signature, what should I do? 
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) is currently operating remotely. Therefore, in accordance with DHS guidelines, the OIA will continue issuing digital I-20s via email. If you will need a new travel signature, please submit your request directly to the OIA at umdoia-internatinoal@umich.edu.

If I am enrolled for fall classes but have been, or will have been, outside of the USA for 5 months at the time of my return, will I lose my F-1 status, or be denied re-entry? 
International students who were in the USA, with lawful F-1 status before March of 2020, may maintain there status from abroad. As long as you continue to enroll full-time, make normal progress toward the completion of your degree program, and otherwise maitain your F-1 status, your F-1 SEVIS record will be maintained by the OIA in "active" status. Therefore, as long as your F-1 SEVIS record is in "active" status and your visa valid (unexpired with multiple entries) yous hould be able to re-enter the USA without issue. I

International students who began their program of study after March of 2020 cannot maintain "active" status while enrolling online from abroad. Furthermore, if these students remain outside of the USA for 5 months or more they will lose their F-1 status. 

If you have doubts about whether your F-1 record is currently in “active” status, please feel free to contact the OIA: umdoia-international@umich.edu. 

I would like to study remotely, fully online, from outside the USA for the fall 2021 semester. Will I lose my F-1 status?
If you are an international F-1 student who was already in the USA before March of 2020 then you will be allowed to maintain your F-1 status by enrolling online from aborad as long as you continue to enroll full-time and make normal progress toward the completion of your program of study.

If you are an international F-1 student who entered the USA, on a new F-1 visa, after March of 2020 you are not allowed to maintain F-1 status by enrolling online from abroad. Instead, to maintain your "active" F-1 status you will be required to maintaind physical presence at the University by enrolling in at least one in-person or hybrid class as part of your fall 2021 course schedule. 

Please note, if you will complete your winter semester remotely, from abroad, and wish to opt-out of your required UM-Dearborn International Student Health Insurance, then you must email OIA at umdoia-internatinoal@umich.edu with Subject Line: "Suspend my winter 2021 health insurance, not in the USA." Otherwise your health insurance will remain active and you will be responsible for the health fee on your student account.

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

Will my plans to re-enter the USA for fall 2021 be affected by travel restrictions?
Many USA COVID-19 travel restrictions are still in place. International F-1 and J-1 students are exempt from the presidential proclamations restricting entry to the USA from specific countries. F-1 and J-1 students whose program begins on or after August 1, 2021 will be automatically processed for a "national interest exception " (NIE) allowing them direct admission to the USA. You can learn more about the affected countries and up-to-date travel restrictions on the OIA homepage, under the section "Travel Restrictions Affecting International Students Entering the USA." 

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test, remain in effect. All air passengers arriving in the USA from a foreign country must provide proof of a negative test 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. 

As the USA updates its entry restrictions, new information will be published on the OIA website.

If I am arriving to the University from an international location, will I be required to quarantine upon arrival?

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 homepage.

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

My visa has expired, or will expire, before returning to the USA. What should I do?
If your visa has expired, or will expire, before your planned date of re-entry into the USA, then you must renew your visa at a US consulate or embassy before you travel.

If you need to renew your visa, check with the US embassy or consulate nearest you to learn about their plans and about your options for scheduling an appointment for a visa interview. US consulates and embassies may close with little-to-no warning depending on local health conditions. Therefore, we encourage you to schedule your visa interview appointment as soon as possible.

If you will be travelling to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands, please contact the OIA to determine whether you may be eligible to re-enter the USA with automatic visa re-validation at the port of entry.

In March 2020, the USA partially closed the land borders with Canada and Mexico to all non-essential travel, but these closures should not affect students who wish to return to the USA for their studies, whether they cross land borders or take flights. F-1 international students are considered “essential” travelers and should be exempt from the Canada-Mexico border restriction.

 

 

 

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 fall 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. Although the OIA is currently under remote operations, we will be happ to mail your original documentation via expedited shipping. 

If my fall 2021 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 fall 2021 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 fall of 2021 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 takes place outside of Michigan and 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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