When you become a student at UM-Dearborn, you join a thriving international community. Here you will find engaging faculty, academic challenge, and new experiences.
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) is here to help you transition to student life in the United States and to support you during your stay. From the time you are admitted until after you graduate, we will help you get the most out of your American higher education experience.
DHS Rescinds New Fall 2020 Guidelines Affecting F-1 International Students
We are pleased to share that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has rescinded the fall 2020 guidelines that were announced previously on July 6, 2020. The reversal of the deeply concerning guidelines was announced on Tuesday, July 14 at a court hearing for the Harvard-MIT lawsuit against the new policy. The University of Michigan filed an amicus brief in support of the Harvard-MIT case. The reversal from DHS comes after widespread opposition to the new fall 2020 policy from hundreds of universities and associations from across the USA.
Now that the fall 2020 guidelines have been rescinded, our current understanding is that guidelines from DHS will return to what had been previously issued in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This would mean F-1 students will be allowed to take as many online courses as necessary and there would no longer be a restriction in place requiring international students to take some in-person courses for fall 2020. Likewise, F-1 students should not have to be issued new I-20s.
The revocation of the policy should enable our international students to continue their Michigan education as previously laid out in the fall 2020 University plan, designed to ensure the health and safety of the entire UM-Dearborn community.
While this is a positive development for international education, the OIA awaits a formal announcement from DHS. We will update our website and share information with all international students as more details become available.
In addition, we would also like to share that the Department of State has announced the phased resumption of routine visa services at consulates and embassies around the globe.
The University recognizes that the past week has been highly stressful and full of uncertainty for our international students. Thank you for your patience and resilience during this time.
Important Information Regarding Coronavirus and International Students
UM-Dearborn has made the formal announcement that most fall 2020 courses will be offered through remote learning, with very few exceptions taking place on campus. The Chancellor's announcement to students is available online. Furthermore, the University continues providing student services through remote operations as well. Please note, during the period of remote operations the Office of International Affairs (OIA) is accepting all international student and scholar paperwork, applications, and documentation via email: UMDOIA-International@umich.edu. Learn more about the University's instructional plan for fall 2020 on the official UM-Dearborn COVID-19 website.
The below announcement from the Office of International Affairs (OIA) provides clarification on how ongoing University changes may affect international students and scholars. This site will continue to be updated regularly, as new details become available.
Virtual information sessions specifically for international students are scheduled throughout the month of July. All international students will be invited to join Q&A sessions with OIA staff.
How will the University conduct courses for the fall, 2020 semester?
The University has announced the decision that almost all fall 2020 courses will be offered fully online, through remote learning. Individual instructors will communicate arrangements for each class. Students can learn more about online enrollment, here. More information about the University's formal plan for fall classes can be found here.
Can I travel home and complete my courses online from there?
Even if you are able to return home and access courses online, there may be difficulty in re-entering the USA to resume your program of study. The pandemic presents a dynamic, uncertain, and constantly-changing global situation. We have no way of knowing what travel restrictions or quarantine requirements may be in place at the time that you plan to travel. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the remaining courses to complete your program will continue to be offered online after in-person, on-campus courses resume.
How will online classes affect my visa status?
Under normal circumstances, regulations allow F-1 international students who are located in the US to enroll in a maximum of three online credits (or, one online class) 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 while maintaining F-1 status. In this scenario, we understand that online semesters completed remotely will continue to count toward CPT and OPT eligibility. This will be true only for current, continuing students who are already in "active" F-1 status.
I departed the USA to return home 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 this negatively impact my ability 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 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.
What if my visa expires while I am 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.
Since the University is continuing to offer courses online for the fall, can I continue to take courses and exams online?
The University has announced that most fall 2020 courses will be offered exclusively through remote learning. Individual instructors will communicate online course arrangements and requirements. Synchronous as opposed to asynchronous learning may vary from one course to another.
The OIA is closely monitoring announcements from DHS and SEVP regarding maintenance of F-1 student status for fall 2020. We are hopeful that formal guidance for the fall semester will be announced soon. Accordingly, the OIA will communicate appropriate guidance regarding fall semester maintenance of student status as soon as more information is available from DHS and SEVP.
As a new international student, am I still able to obtain a visa to join the University for fall 2020?
The global COVID-19 situation is dynamic and quickly changing. As of March 20, 2020, all U.S. embassies and consulates around the world suspended the routine processing of visas due to COVID-19. The U.S. Department of State recently announced the phased resumption of routine visa services. However, you should check the website of the US embassy or consulate nearest to you for further updates. Although embassies and consulates have begun the resumption of routine visa services, re-openings will vary from one country to another. Furthermore, the Department of State has yet to provide a specific timeline for how exactly the phased resumption of visa services 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 (email@example.com) regarding the issuance of their visa, and their planned arrival in the USA.
Will there still be access to transportation to campus and to other off-campus destinations?
The shuttle schedule is currently being revised and community feedback is being taken under consideration regarding the availability of shuttle services. Please consult the UM-Dearborn Shuttle website for updated information regarding routes and hours of operation.
I'm feeling anxious about this situation. Who can I talk with?
Please reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
For more information about self-isolation best practices, and updated University information, please consult the campus Coronavirus Information Page.
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.
The following information regards what to do if you, or someone you know, becomes ill and begins showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Getting Help and Self-isolation
Students who begin showing symptoms should not immediately visit a hospital or healthcare provider in person. Instead, sick students should first speak with a doctor on the phone. There is useful information regarding first steps and self-isolation best practices on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Notify the OIA
Next, as soon as you become sick, or aware of a sick friend or roommate, you should immediately notify the Office of International Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org). The OIA is available to answer questions and provide support, however possible. When you notify the OIA, please include the following information in your message:
- Your name (and the name of the sick student, if you are contacting the OIA on someone else’s behalf)
- Place of residence
- Number of roommates at residence
- Symptoms that the sick individual is experiencing
- Any measures taken, so far, to begin self-isolation
Sick students must self-isolate, and should plan to stay at their place of residence. It is best practice for sick students to shelter in place while roommates make arrangements to temporarily relocate. This will help the affected student successfully self-isolate. Please notify the OIA if alternate accommodations have already been identified. If not, the University may be able to assist students in securing temporary housing.
Students should consult the Emergency Resources website to learn about how the University may be able to provide financial assistance during this difficult time. The University has established emergency funds to help students overcoming difficulties related to COVID-19.
The Henry Ford Hospital-Fairlane is the hospital located closest to campus. The hospital has established a hotline for potential COVID-19 patients: 313.874.1055.
Please, follow the guidelines set forth on the UM-Dearborn Coronavirus Information webpage, as well as the helpful guidance published by the CDC, to navigate this difficult and unusual situation. The Hospital hotline will be able to provide specific information regarding next steps and whether you should plan to visit a testing location, or whether it is advisable for you to continue self-isolating and monitoring your health situation from home.
In the meantime, please keep the OIA up to date regarding your situation and how the University may be able to help.
The OIA employs international student advisors to help you understand—and comply with—rules and procedures associated with your F-1 or J-1 status. OIA advisors do not work for U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They are employed by the University to assist you and to serve as designated school officials (DSOs). Our advisors hold individual appointments and immigration workshops throughout the year. We can also help with other issues—if we do not know the answer, we know where to send you to get the right answer.
How we can help
Start here for information about how to:
- Required documentation
- Health insurance
- Check in and orientation
- Immigration and Visa support
- Find work
- Discover community, clubs and mentorships
- Two-Year Home-Country Requirement
English Language Proficiency Program (ELPP)
Are you seeking academic experiences outside the U.S.? We help students explore global learning opportunities.