COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

CGPS COVID Updates & FAQ
Immigration, travel, employment & more

UD COVID-19 Updates 
Impact on the University community and academics

COVID-19 Updates

CGPS continues to closely monitor the evolution of COVID-19. As always, we are following official guidance given both by University leadership and local, state and national authorities.* We are communicating regularly with students, faculty, staff and families. Our community's health and safety are our top priorities.

Learn more about our operations on the About CGPS and News & Events webpages.

At CGPS, we understand that this is a very difficult time for our international students, scholars and families. We recognize that you may have a number of unique questions and concerns, whether on campus or abroad. 

We invite you to read our always up-to-date list of frequently asked questions. You may also wish to review all official messages sent by our office to members of the international community.  

Our immigration advisors continue to be available Monday - Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. For questions or to schedule an appointment with an immigration advisor, please email oiss@udel.edu or call (302) 831-2115. All forms are available on the ISSS Forms webpage. Questions about academic programs should be directed to your advisor or program director. 

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT & SCHOLAR FAQS

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT & SCHOLAR MESSAGING

Due to unprecedented measures to restrict travel and limit the spread of COVID-19, UD has canceled its summer 2020, fall 2020, winter 2021, spring 2021 and summer 2021 study abroad programs. 

CGPS will continue to carefully monitor official sources when making decisions regarding future education abroad programs. CGPS is working closely with our campus and international partners to assess the feasibility of UD Study Abroad programs on a case-by-case basis.

If UD decides to cancel a future study abroad program, we will communicate directly with affected students. In this case, the University of Delaware will reimburse the cost of program fees, tuition and flights (if purchase was advised by CGPS). Students who have been accepted to upcoming UD study abroad programs should monitor their UD email daily and sign up for emails in the University's travel alert system, Drum Cussac.

Please note, all study abroad messaging related to the COVID-19 pandemic is available below. 

Students on non-UD sponsored study abroad programs should follow recommendations and use resources provided by their host institution and/or program provider.

STUDY ABROAD FAQS

STUDY ABROAD MESSAGING

For Further Information

Members of the University community who have questions are encouraged to contact us by phone at (302) 831-2115 or by email at:

Find information about CGPS operations on the About CGPS webpage. For an emergency during non business hours call (302) 831-2222. 

International Students, Scholars & Families

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated September 16, 2021

 

The answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on this page are based on the latest guidance from the University and the SEVP guidance from March 2020. SEVP has confirmed that the guidance issued in March 2020 will remain in effect for the 2021-22 academic year. This page will continue to be updated if new guidance is released.

VACCINES, HEALTH & WELLNESS

This letter was sent to international students upon announcement of UD's Vaccine Requirement. The FAQs below continue to be updated as additional guidance is provided. More information about Health and Wellness can be found on UD's COVID Update webpages.

CGPS and Student Health Services provide information for members of UD's international community about the UD COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement and FAQs. We understand that not all international students and scholars will have access to vaccines in their home country, and vaccines may not currently be required for travel. If the vaccine in your country is approved by the World Health Organization, UD will accept it (see the WHO list). Otherwise we recommend that you get your vaccination when you arrive in the U.S. (see upcoming campus vaccination opportunities and other COVID-19 topics). UD has also generated an FAQ to help with questions. Any concerns not answered there can be sent to coronavirus@udel.edu. For students who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical or religious reasons, documented exemptions will be accommodated. Please visit the Student Health Services website for more information to upload proof of full vaccination or exemption requests.

Please note that F-1 or J-1 students cannot enter the U.S. earlier than 30 days of the program start date printed on your I-20 or DS-2019. If you have any questions about your travel, visa, arrival in the U.S., or immigration status in the U.S., please contact an immigration services advisor at CGPS for further guidance.

To continue protecting the health and safety of the UD community, the University of Delaware will require all students to be fully immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine and submit a valid vaccination record to Student Health Services by August 15, 2021. New and continuing international students are expected to have received both doses of a two-dose vaccine, or the single dose of a one-dose vaccine, by that date.

Effective August 15, 2021, all UD employees accessing University facilities are required to either provide proof that they have been fully immunized against COVID-19 or must continue to comply with regular testing protocols. This requirement was introduced by the University in an effort to continue protecting the health and safety of the entire UD community.

Once you are on-boarded by Human Resources, you should be granted access to the HR portal where in depth information can be found regarding these processes. In the meantime, please visit the University of Delaware FAQ at udel.edu/coronavirus to get the most recent updates about the vaccine requirement and other COVID-19-related information. You can also contact Student Health Services at studenthealth@udel.edu with any specific inquiries about the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in your home country or by the time you reach campus and you would like to receive it, you may reach out to UD Student Health Services and consult the state of Delaware’s COVID-19 Response website for helpful information about obtaining a vaccine.

You will be able to start the semester as you await to receive the second dose of your two-dose vaccine. You will be allowed to stay in the residence halls and attend classes while waiting for your second dose.

Per UD policy, if you are not fully vaccinated you must wear a mask at all times when indoors and maintain 3 feet of physical distance at all times. Unvaccinated students must also take a COVID-19 test weekly.

Per UD policy, if you are not fully vaccinated you must wear a mask at all times when indoors and maintain 3 feet of physical distance at all times. Unvaccinated students must also take a COVID-19 test weekly. Students on campus without vaccine or an exemption should contact the Dean of Students office. Upcoming vaccination opportunities at UD will be posted on the University’s FAQ page and on this website.  Once you receive your vaccine, submit the vaccination documentation to Student Health Services.

In addition to vaccine clinics that are being offered by the University, the State of Delaware has created the following website to help find and schedule vaccines: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/vaccine/where-can-i-get-my-vaccine/

The University strongly recommends that international students initiate the vaccine process as soon as possible to protect themselves and others. If you are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in their home country or by the time you reach campus, please notify Student Health Services immediately upon arrival to UD and consult the state of Delaware’s COVID-19 Response website for helpful information about obtaining a vaccine.

Please note that F-1 or J-1 students cannot enter the U.S. earlier than 30 days of the program start date printed on your I-20 or DS-2019. If you have any questions about your travel, visa, or immigration status in the U.S., please contact an immigration services advisor at CGPS for further guidance.

The University of Delaware will recognize vaccines that are approved by the FDA, CDC, State of Delaware, or the World Health Organization.

If your vaccine is not accepted by the World Health Organization you may need to get re-vaccinated with an acceptable vaccine. Studies have shown that re-vaccination is safe as long as there has been 28 days between the last vaccine and the new one.

If you have received a vaccine that is not on the approved list, please contact Student Health Services for guidance prior to arrival on campus.

We understand that not all international students will have access to vaccines in their home country, and vaccines are not currently required for travel to the U.S. If the vaccine in your country is approved by the WHO, UD will accept it. Otherwise we recommend that you get your vaccination when you arrive in the U.S. Information about upcoming campus vaccination opportunities and other COVID-19 topics is available at udel.edu/coronavirus and in the question below "Where can I get a vaccine in the U.S.?".

The link to WHO’s list of approved vaccines can be accessed at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/covid-19-vaccines.

UD has also generated an FAQ to help with questions: https://www.udel.edu/home/coronavirus/return/faq/. If there are questions not answered there, please feel free to forward those inquiries to coronavirus@udel.edu

For students who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical or religious reasons, documented exemptions will be accommodated. Please visit the Student Health Services website for more information to upload proof of full vaccination or exemption requests.

In addition to vaccine clinics that are being offered by the University, the State of Delaware has created the following website to help find and schedule vaccines. Please use this website to schedule a vaccine upon arrival to the U.S.:

Where can I get my vaccine? - Delaware's Coronavirus Official Website

You will need to log into the Secure Student Health Portal to upload proof of full vaccination or exemption requests. For specific instructions, please visit the Student Health Services website. Results are typically processed within 5-7 business days by SHS staff.

It is recommended that you upload an English-translated version of your vaccine documentation to the SHS portal in order to streamline the review process. If you are unable to provide an English translation, please ensure that the vaccination dates (preferably using the Roman Calendar) and the company name for the vaccine are legible on your documents. Please remember when entering the dates of your vaccine in the SHS portal and online form that you are using the MM/DD/YYYY date format.

Please visit the University of Delaware FAQ at udel.edu/coronavirus to get the most recent updates about the vaccine requirement and other COVID-19-related information. You can also contact Student Health Services at studenthealth@udel.edu with any specific inquiries about the COVID-19 vaccine.

UD has a robust testing, screening and contact tracing program and is offering ongoing testing opportunities. Read more.

Other free local testing sites can be found on the State of Delaware testing webpage. In addition, many Delaware Walgreens and walk-in care centers are offering PCR tests. ChristianaCare’s GoHealth Urgent Care location on the STAR Campus is offering COVID-19 tests for asymptomatic individuals with no referral required.

Students on campus who feel sick are asked to call Student Health Services at (302) 831-2226, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Walk-in visits are not being accepted. For after hours support the Aetna After Hours Nurse Medical Advice Line is available to all University of Delaware Students at 800-681-3957.

If you need a prescription filled or refilled, please call Student Health Service at (302) 831-2226 to make an appointment with the dispensary for pick up and to receive guidance on the safest way to enter the Student Health Services building.

As always, If you are experiencing a health emergency, please call 911 or utilize local emergency department services immediately.

Student Health Services at UD coordinates testing and COVID-19 related services for students and have developed a comprehensive plan for testing, contact tracing and screening. Students who need a COVID-19 test or should visit the SHS COVID-19 Testing page to schedule an appointment.

Students enrolled in the UD Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) offered by Aetna may take advantage of COVID-19 enhancements:

  • Aetna will waive co-pays for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19.
  • Aetna will offer zero co-pay telemedicine visits for any reason. Aetna members should use telemedicine as their first line of defense in order to limit potential exposure in physician offices.
  • Through Aetna's Healing Better program, members who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive free prescription delivery from CVS pharmacy.
  • Additional information from Aetna is provided here. Anyone with additional questions should contact Risk Management.

For ELI students, please contact the English Language Institute for more information about your health insurance coverage plan.

For J-1 Scholars, please contact your individual insurance provider to request more information. If you have trouble locating your insurance provider, please contact CGPS at oiss-scholars@udel.edu for assistance.

UD offers a number of resources should you need someone to talk to. International students and scholars are encouraged to contact the Center for Counseling & Student Development at (302) 831-2141 or (302) 831-1001 if they are concerned for this situation and the impact it may be having on their loved ones back home. For health-related concerns, contact Student Health Services at (302) 831-2226. For after-hours emergencies, please call 911 or contact University Police at (302) 831-2222.

MAINTAINING YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS

Continuing F-1/J-1 Students: Per SEVP and Department of State guidance, F-1 and J-1 students with active I-20/DS-2019 SEVIS records are permitted to enroll in online only courses as long as they are otherwise maintaining status.

New Initial F-1/J-1 Students outside the U.S.: International students are eligible to start their academic program online while outside the U.S. but your F-1/J-1 status would not be activated until you arrive in the U.S. for in-person coursework. OISS is required to defer your immigration record (I-20/DS-2019) until your program has a “physical presence” requirement in the U.S.

New Initial F-1/J-1 entering the U.S.: You may not enter the U.S. for a program that is 100% online. You will need to enroll in at least one in-person course in order to be eligible to enter the U.S.

  • New (Initial) Graduate students on a Graduate Contract: will need to enroll in one in-person/hybrid course outside of their graduate contract to be eligible to enter the U.S.
  • New (Initial) Graduate students on Sustaining Status: Most sustaining students should already be active in SEVIS. However, if you are returning from a leave of absence and have finished all your coursework requirements, you should be permitted to enter the U.S. in sustaining status if you have research that requires your physical presence in the U.S. to complete your degree program.

For F-1 Students: On July 14, 2020 the U.S. government agreed to rescind the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s (SEVP) July 6, 2020 temporary guidance related to online courses for the fall 2020 semester. This agreement cancels any implementation of the July 6 guidance, and returns all parties to the previous SEVP guidance from March. The CGPS Immigration Announcements webpage contains an archive of messages from the spring and summer regarding SEVP guidance for F-1 students. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact CGPS for assistance.

For J-1 Students: The Exchange Visitor Program published guidance regarding the limits of online coursework for Fall 2020. The FAQ states that program sponsors may continue the accommodations they implemented for the Spring 2020 term only for exchange visitors in "active" SEVIS status who "are continuing programs that were underway in a manner compliant with regulations when the pandemic reached the United States."

For new participants currently in "initial" SEVIS status, "host academic institutions should have reinstated “partial to full-time classroom participation.” New J-1 students should expect to enroll in at least one class that requires some degree of physical presence or in-person interaction in order to be eligible for J-1 status in the U.S.

If your I-20/DS-2019 grace period is expiring soon and you are unable to return to your home country after contacting your respective embassy in the U.S., the following are options that may still be available to you:

  • Start a new program at UD
  • Apply for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) or J-1 Academic Training
  • Transfer to another university’s F-1 or J-1 program
  • Apply for a change of status with USCIS, or
  • Depart for a third country.

F-1 Students: U.S. government agencies have not issued any official guidance or regulatory relief for F-1 students in this situation. At this time, you should still attempt to depart the U.S. no later than the end of your 60-day grace period following the conclusion of your program or OPT period. If this is not possible, consider one of the options listed above. Currently these are the only options available to keep your F-1 SEVIS record active after the end of your grace period.

J-1 Students and Scholars: Department of State (DOS) provided automatic program extensions for certain J-1 students and scholars with DS-2019s ending between April 1 and May 31. No guidance has been issued for J-1 exchange visitors with end dates beyond May 31, 2020. Please contact CGPS if you have any questions about your new program end date.

CGPS will continue to offer immigration and other support services even though Elliott Hall and many offices on campus are operating remotely. CGPS staff will be available to advise via phone, email and zoom Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For general questions and to schedule an appointment with an advisor, please email oiss@udel.edu.

EMPLOYMENT

USCIS issued a message noting that a significant increase in filings in recent weeks and facility capacity restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are causing “significant delays for processing receipt notices” for forms and applications filed with the USCIS Lockbox. For more information on steps you can take to decrease the time it takes to process or to find out the status of your case, please read the USCIS Lockbox Updates. OISS continues to monitor the situation and are working with several professional organizations, such as NAFSA to guide our advising on how to handle these delays.

On August 19, 2020, USCIS posted this notice, authorizing the temporary use of an I-797 EAD approval notice (not a receipt notice) for I-9 purposes. To qualify, the I-797 approval notice must have "a Notice date on or after December 1, 2019 through and including August 20, 2020." I-797 approval notices with Notice dates outside this range will not qualify. Employers who use this flexibility will have to re-verify the employee on Form I-9 with the actual EAD (or other qualifying documents) by December 1, 2020.

Update: USCIS posted this notice extending the validity of the I-797 Approval Notice for I-9 purposes through February 1, 2021. Please note that the I-797 Approval Notice issue date must still be on or after Dec. 1, 2019 through Aug. 20, 2020 to be eligible.

As per guidance from UD Payroll, students are not allowed to receive stipends for work undertaken outside of the U.S., (including Graduate, Research or Teaching assistantships) whether they are U.S. citizens, Green Card holders, or visa holders. International employees who have returned to their home country are also not permitted to work remotely. Please contact UD Payroll, if you have any questions.

Beginning June 4, certain USCIS field offices and asylum offices resumed non-emergency face-to-face services to the public. However, USCIS is still processing paper-based applications at this time at their Service Centers. This means you can still submit your OPT or STEM Extension application and it will be received and processed according to normal processing times. For more information see USCIS office closings.

The allotted unemployment time has not been extended. Students on OPT are still only allowed to accrue 90 days of unemployment during OPT. Students on the STEM Extension may accrue up to 150 days total between their original period of OPT and the STEM Extension. If you have a job offer, you should discuss with your new employer whether it is possible to begin work remotely while you are here in the U.S. You can also continue to look for a different employer. Also, it is recommended that you keep all documentation regarding your current employment search and any difficulty you may have leaving the U.S. after the 90/150 limit.

Students currently participating in OPT, including STEM OPT, may temporarily work remotely if their employer and the employer can assess student engagement using electronic means. Students participating in STEM OPT do not need to submit an updated Form I-983 to report remote work. However, requirements to submit an updated Form I-983 for other changes remain in effect per federal regulations.

There is no official guidance on this topic, but if you let us know by completing the OPT Employment Update form, CGPS will make a note in your F-1 SEVIS record stating that you are working remotely due to COVID-19.

At this time, USCIS has not changed the regulation that requires students to apply for OPT while inside the U.S.. The I-765 form still requires a mailing address in the U.S., to which USCIS will mail your EAD as well as any correspondence, such as an RFE (Request for Further Evidence). If you are outside the U.S. and have questions about your OPT eligibility, please contact an International Student Advisor at CGPS to discuss your case.

You are eligible to depart the U.S. once an OPT application is pending at USCIS. However, CGPS recommends that students remain in the U.S. to ensure you can respond to any correspondence from USCIS. Mail may include your EAD card or an RFE (Request for Further Evidence). If you are abroad and unable to respond, your OPT application may be denied. If you are planning on traveling while your OPT is pending, please contact an International Student Advisor at CGPS to discuss your case.

For the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, SEVP considers students who are working in their OPT opportunities fewer than 20 hours a week as engaged in OPT and maintaining status.

If you are considered currently employed by your employer and they have given you an authorized time off, paid or unpaid, then it should not count against your unemployment. Authorized time off, and vacation time do not typically add to your unemployment days while on initial OPT or the STEM extension. We suggest that you keep for your records an email, letter, or similar type of documentation from your employer authorizing the leave, and that you document the date of return to paid employment once that occurs.

There is not specific guidance from SEVP or USCIS regarding OPT and furloughs. However, you should first determine whether you are being laid off or placed on a temporary leave but still considered an employee. A furlough is typically an employer-directed leave for a temporary, defined period of time after which you will return to work.

If you are laid off: this generally means you do not have a job to return to and are therefore considered unemployed. In this case, you are required to report the end of your employment within 10 days to CGPS.

If you are on a temporary leave: if you are placed on a temporary leave in accordance with your employer’s official policy and the employer expects you to return when they resume business, it is possible that the days you are not working will not count towards unemployment for OPT purposes.

TRAVEL

On September 14, 2021, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that it “ has authorized consular officers through the end of 2021 to expand the categories of F, M, and “academic J visa applicants” (students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists) whose applications can be adjudicated without an in-person interview in their consular district of residence, with certain exceptions.  Consular officers may, if they so choose, and pursuant to local conditions, now waive the visa interview requirement for:

  • "F, M, and academic J visa applicants who were previously issued any type of visa, and who have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived, and who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility; or

  • "first-time F, M, and academic J visa applicants who are citizens or nationals of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), provided they have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility.  This applies only to non-U.S. citizens who are nationals of eligible countries."

Important: Resources and local government restrictions vary widely, and each consular section is continuously reviewing its capacity to adjudicate visa applications.  Students and scholars should check with their relevant U.S. embassy/consulate to confirm the level of services currently offered and for guidelines for applying for a visa without an interview.

Please note that in March 2021, DOS also temporarily expanded the ability of consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for individuals applying to renew a visa in the same nonimmigrant visa classification and category if not more than 48 months have passed since the prior visa expired. The expansion of this authority lasts until December 31, 2021. For more information, please see the NAFSA website.

Yes. CGPS can provide a general letter regarding your current immigration status and program at UD. If you would like a letter from CGPS for your visa appointment and/or for the U.S. port of entry, please contact oiss@udel.edu.  

If you need to show proof of enrollment, you can print an Enrollment Verification Certificate directly from your UDSIS student page. This enrollment certificate along with a copy of your I-20 or DS-2019 should suffice in proving your status.

For information regarding your academic program and coursework requirements, we recommend that you reach out to your academic advisors and department for any documentation related to your specific program details.

Per CDC guidance, effective January 26, 2021, air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within 3 days before their flight departs for the U.S. Passengers must provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines will confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board their flight.

As a reminder, all travelers must check with their airline for specific travel requirements prior to departure.

Per CDC guidance, effective January 26, 2021, air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within 3 days before their flight departs for the U.S. Passengers must provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines will confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board their flight.

Per UD policy, if you are not fully vaccinated you must wear a mask at all times when indoors and maintain 3 feet of physical distance at all times. Unvaccinated students must also take a COVID-19 test weekly. Students on campus without vaccine or an exemption should contact the Dean of Students office. Upcoming vaccination opportunities at UD will be posted on the University’s FAQ page and on this website. Once you receive your vaccine, submit the vaccination documentation to Student Health Services

In addition to vaccine clinics that are being offered by the University, the State of Delaware has created the following website to help find and schedule vaccines: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/vaccine/where-can-i-get-my-vaccine/

Anyone using public transit, including airport shuttles, taxis, or ride share companies like Lyft or Uber, is advised to:

  • Wear a cloth mask
  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid touching surfaces
  • Practice hand hygiene

Read more guidance about using transportation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Important:  Although the travel bans remain in place, the U.S. Department of State updated their exception guidance based on the new India travel ban to include all F-1 students with valid F-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 or later would be eligible for an exception to the 14-day COVID travel ban.  F-1 students do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual National Interest Exception (NIE) to travel and may enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies.  Please note that students are still required to have a valid F-1 visa to enter the U.S. and should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate in order to apply.  Students and scholars on J-1 visas should contact their local consulate or embassy for more information on their eligibility to receive a NIE as well as for J-1 visa appointments. For more information, see “Are there any exceptions to the travel ban?”

Currently presidential proclamations and CDC guidance prohibits foreign nationals who have visited one of these countries/areas* in the past 14 days from entering the United States:

  • China

  • Iran

  • European Schengen area

  • United Kingdom

  • Ireland

  • Brazil

  • South Africa 

  • India (Effective 12:01 am EDT on May 4, 2021)

IMPORTANT: Any physical presence in these countries triggers the ban, including flight connections and layovers, so it is important to arrange any travel accordingly.

*Exceptions to the travel ban were updated on April 30, 2021

Update: On June, 29, 2021 the Department of State announced it is expanding the validity of national interest exceptions (NIEs) granted under the regional COVID-19 travel bans. NIEs will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted. Please note that the policy remains that F-1 students are automatically granted NIEs who have been present in Brazil, China, India, Iran or South Africa for programs that begin on or after August 1, 2021. F-1 students present in the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, or Ireland are not subject to the August 1 condition and are also automatically granted a NIE.

On April 30th, 2021 the U.S. the Department of State announced updated guidance for National Interest Exceptions (NIE) even as the travel ban remains in effect. Students subject to these geographic COVID proclamations due to their presence in India, China, Iran, Brazil, or South Africa, may qualify for a NIE. F-1 students currently residing in the above countries/areas with valid F-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 or later would be eligible for an exception to the 14-day COVID travel ban. 

F-1 students who were present in the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, or Ireland are not subject to the August 1 condition. Although not subject to an August 1 condition, DOS statements may imply that they could be subject to a "no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies."

F-1 students do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual National Interest Exception (NIE) to travel and may enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies.

Please note that students are still required to have a valid F-1 visa to enter the U.S. and should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate in order to apply for a visa. 

J-1 students and scholars present in countries or areas listed on travel ban list should contact their local consulate or embassy before traveling for more information on eligibility requirements to apply for the NIE as they are not automatically granted.

For more information, please see the NAFSA National Interest Exception website. In addition, students are encouraged to contact their local U.S. consulate/embassy for further guidance. If you are considering making travel plans, please contact an immigration services advisor at CGPS to discuss your situation.

On April 6, 2021, the Department of State published a Visa Services Operating Status Update with the following statement:

U.S. Embassies and Consulates that process nonimmigrant visa applications are prioritizing travelers with urgent needs, foreign diplomats, mission-critical categories of travelers (such as those coming to assist with the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and workers who are essential to the American food supply), followed by students, exchange visitors, and some temporary employment visas.

Information about nonimmigrant visa wait times are also available on the Visa Wait Times website. We recommend that you reach out to your respective U.S. embassy/consulate for further details as information varies regarding openings.

Continuing F-1/J-1 Students: Per SEVP March guidance, F-1 students with active I-20 records are permitted to return to the U.S. at this time even if classes are online as long as you are otherwise eligible to enter the U.S. (travel ban for U.S. and other countries lifted, available flights, valid visa). The U.S. Department of State has also confirmed that J-1 students with active DS-2019s are permitted to travel as long as they are otherwise eligible.

New Initial F-1/J-1 Students: For new international students, OISS is required to defer your immigration record until your program has a “physical presence” requirement to be in the U.S. You may not enter the U.S. for a program that is 100% online. You will need to enroll in at least one in-person course in order to be eligible to enter the U.S. International students are still eligible to start their academic program online while outside the U.S. but your F-1/J-1 visa status would not be activated until you arrive in the U.S. for in-person coursework.

  • New (Initial) Graduate students on a Graduate Contract: will need to enroll in one in-person/hybrid course outside of their graduate contract in order to be eligible to enter the U.S.
  • New (Initial) Graduate students on Sustaining Status: Most sustaining students should already be active in SEVIS. However, if you are returning from a leave of absence and have finished all your coursework requirements, you should be permitted to enter the U.S. in sustaining status if you have research that requires your physical presence in the U.S. to complete your degree program.

All F-1/J-1 Students: please note, it is at the discretion of Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to grant entry into the U.S. It is recommended that international students carry supporting documentation (transcripts, enrollment letters, etc.) showing their requirement to be in the U.S. for academic purposes.

Active/Returning Students: While COVID-19 restrictions are in place at the university, SEVP and U.S. Department of State (DOS) guidance for active/returning students states your SEVIS record can remain active if you are enrolled full-time whether abroad or in the U.S. Once UD returns to “normal” operations, if you cannot or choose not to return to the U.S. to study, SEVP guidance requires CGPS to terminate the SEVIS record.

Please keep in mind that students planning to return to campus will need to be enrolled full-time and have a valid visa and an I-20/DS-2019 (with a valid travel signature) to return to the U.S. Please contact CGPS for any specific questions regarding students’ immigration or visa status.

New international students: CGPS is required to defer your I-20/DS-2019 until you can enter the U.S. on your “Initial” F-1/J-1 status. You are still eligible to start your program online while outside the U.S., but your F-1/J-1 visa status would not be activated yet.

International students should not enter the U.S. on a tourist visa/visa waiver for the purpose of starting a full-time academic program. This could be considered a violation of your current B-1/B-2/ESTA status. You would not be eligible to study in the U.S. while waiting for the change of status to possibly be approved (7-12 months). In addition, filing for a change of status in the first 90 days of entering the U.S. could be considered “misrepresentation.” It is possible that your change of status request could be denied as well as impact future eligibility for an F-1 and other visas.

Typically, we encourage students to give themselves at least 6-8 weeks before the start of their program to request an I-20/DS-2019 (this allows for the I-20 processing, shipment, visa appointment, and travel). While there is no specific deadline for the visa appointment, OISS is required to register your SEVIS record within the first 30 days of the start of the semester. If you are planning on entering the U.S. after the official start of the term, please work with OISS regarding your I-20/DS-2019 program start date as well as your academic department/advisor regarding late arrivals and availability of in-person coursework upon arrival.

New F-1/J-1 students with “Initial” SEVIS Status: CGPS is required by federal regulations to report SEVIS registration within the first 30 days of the start of the semester/term. We do not recommend that you enter the U.S. after the end of the drop/add period for any academic term. If you are arriving late, please work with your academic department/advisor regarding late arrivals and availability of in-person coursework.

If you are unable to arrive within the first 30 days of the start of the semester, please contact CGPS to defer your I-20/DS-2019 start date to the next available term. You may continue your program online from abroad, but your I-20/DS-2019 will be deferred for the next available term.

If you are deferring your admission to the university, your I-20/DS-2019 will need to be deferred to your new admission term.

Continuing F-1/J-1 students with an “Active” SEVIS record: While COVID-19 restrictions are in place, SEVP and U.S. Department of State (DOS) guidance for active/returning students states your SEVIS record can remain active if you are enrolled full-time whether abroad or in the U.S. If you are planning on returning to campus mid-semester in the fall, you must be enrolled full-time, have a valid visa and I-20/DS-2019 (with a valid travel signature).

ELI and AT students: please contact an immigration services advisor at CGPS to discuss your situation and late arrival policies (titaley@udel.edu or asausman@udel.edu).

All F-1/J-1 Students: please note, it is at the discretion of Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to grant entry into the U.S. It is recommended that international students carry supporting documentation (transcripts, enrollment letters, etc.) showing their requirement to be in the U.S. for academic purposes.

F-1 Students: Current SEVP guidance allows DSOs to temporarily issue electronic I-20s. If you need a travel signature, please fill out the Student Request for Travel Signature and one will be emailed or shipped depending on your preference. The emailed copy can currently be used for visa appointments and at the port of entry (airports). ELI Students: Please contact an CGPS ELI Immigration Advisor for specific instructions and forms.

J-1 Students & Scholars: Current U.S. Department of State guidance does not permit the use of electronic DS-2019s for “formal processing.” Please fill the applicable scholar or student online travel request below and one will be mailed to your current location.

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that international students and exchange visitors reach out to their respective embassies or closest consulate if they are unable to book return flights home. A growing number of embassies are posting special communications on their websites and social media for international students and exchange visitors in order to make contact with them.

For more information, please visit COVID-19 Country Specific Information  and DOS: Embassies Reaching Out to Exchange Visitors and review your respective embassy information.

It is highly encouraged to check in with your respective embassy in the U.S. If you are considering making travel plans, please contact an immigration services advisor at CGPS to discuss your situation. It remains important for international students and exchange visitors to notify CGPS of all travel plans.

Please get in touch with CGPS Scholar Services at oiss-scholars@udel.edu as soon as possible. An immigration advisor will work with you to determine your eligibility for changes that would extend your eligibility to stay in the U.S. Please note: if no action is taken, violating your visa status by overstaying your visa can have serious consequences should you attempt to return to the U.S. in the future.

Scholars should follow the latest guidance from the U.S. Department of State on their Exchange Visitor Information on Coronavirus webpage.

If you are a new international student who was not able to start your program at UD this semester, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions (for new undergraduate students) or Graduate College (for new graduate students) to defer your program start date at UD.

Visiting Scholars should notify their host department about their travel delay, and contact CGPS Scholar Services at oiss-scholars@udel.edu to adjust their SEVIS record and immigration status accordingly.

The current travel restrictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 14 days of precautions to protect others from getting sick. Due to the rapidly changing dynamics surrounding the spread of COVID-19, we advise that students wait until travel restrictions are lifted before attempting to return to the U.S. There have been reports that students who have attempted to transit through other countries were not allowed to board their flights to the U.S.

The State Department has advised U.S. institutions to put a temporary pause on inbound exchange programs. Please contact your host department at UD to discuss the possibility of postponing your program. Please contact CGPS at oiss-scholars@udel.edu to discuss your specific case and future visa status in the U.S.

You can follow the latest guidance from the U.S. Department of State on their Exchange Visitor Information on Coronavirus webpage.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT & TAX

International students and scholars can seek financial assistance in the form of emergency assistance funds, local food aid support and free/discounted services. Below is a list of university and local resources where you can seek support during the pandemic.

Financial Assistance

  • Please seek immediate help from UD’s Emergency Assistance resources if you or a friend is anxious, overwhelmed, suicidal or in physical danger.
  • If you are having financial difficulty you can make a request to UD’s Student Crisis Fund to find out if you qualify for assistance.
  • For additional assistance please check your eligibility to apply for the OISS International Student Emergency Fund.
  • There are also many local community resources that you can use for assistance with food for yourself and your family:
    ○ Food Bank
    ○ Mobile Food pantries
    ○ Latin American Community Center

Wi-Fi Assistance

International students and scholars on F1 or J1 visas are obligated to file federal income tax returns each year, even if they have not had income in the U.S. The UD Center for Global Programs & Services cannot provide tax advice; only a certified tax professional like Sprintax can provide you with specific tax advice.

During the tax filing process, a tax professional will determine if you meet the “substantial presence” test and are considered a “resident for tax purposes”. If you have been in the U.S. long enough to be considered resident for tax purposes in 2018 or 2019, and have correctly filed taxes as a resident for tax purposes, you may be eligible for CARES Act assistance. First, visit the CGPS Taxes webpage to begin filing taxes and for additional information about receiving economic stimulus payments.

A person who is a non-resident alien in 2020 is not eligible for the payments. A person who is a qualifying resident alien with a valid SSN is eligible for the payment only if he or she is a qualifying resident alien in 2020 and could not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer for 2020. Aliens who received a payment but are not qualifying resident aliens for 2020 should return the payment to the IRS. See instructions below.

USCIS has indicated that it will not consider “for public charge inadmissibility purposes” the testing, treatment, or preventative care related to COVID-19, even if the treatment is provided or paid for by federally-funded Medicaid. Moreover, if a foreign national has received an Economic Impact Payment from the IRS under that agency’s Coronavirus Tax Relief Program (to augment his/her wages during the COVID-19 quarantine), such payment would NOT count as a receipt of a public benefit under the Rule.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at any time.

You should return the payment as described below.

If the payment was a paper check:

  1. Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  2. Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  3. Don't staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
  4. Include a note stating the reason for returning the check.

If the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit:

  1. Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  2. Write on the check/money order made payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write 2020EIP, and the taxpayer identification number (social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient of the check.
  3. Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.

For a full list of return centers by state please visit the IRS Website for more information. For your paper check, here are the IRS mailing addresses to use based on the state:

Pennsylvania:
Philadelphia Refund Inquiry Unit
2970 Market St
DP 3-L08-151
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Delaware:
Kansas City Refund Inquiry Unit
333 W Pershing Rd
Mail Stop 6800, N-2
Kansas City, MO 64108

Maryland:
Andover Refund Inquiry Unit
310 Lowell St Mail
Stop 666A
Andover, MA 01810

STUDENT LIFE & SUPPORT SERVICES

More information about Student Life and Support Services can be found on UD's Spring 2021 webpage.

At UD, we work hard to put our values of supporting members of our community into practice – from all races, ethnicities, nationalities, minoritized social identities and individual backgrounds – welcoming them with kindness and compassion, especially at a time like this when we collectively monitor the health of our community. The diversity of the University of Delaware is one of its greatest strengths. Racist, discriminatory and xenophobic behaviors and biases are not in line with our community values.

UD and CGPS take reports very seriously, and support is available 24 hours a day for anyone who experiences incidents of discrimination or harrassment. Support is available 24 hours a day and if you would like to speak with a clinician, we encourage you to call 302-831-2141 to connect with our Center for Counseling and Student Development. If it is after normal business hours, you can call (302) 831-1001 or text UDTEXT to 741741. If you would like to officially report this incident, please visit udel.edu/oei to file a complaint with the Office of Equity and Inclusion. If this is potentially a criminal matter, UDPD can assist by calling them at (302) 831-2222.

HOUSING

More information about Housing can be found on UD's Spring 2021 webpage.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, SCHOLARS & FAMILIES

Messaging

STUDY ABROAD

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated May 6, 2021

 

Check the study abroad portal each Saturday morning to see what 22W programs have opened that week. Follow @UDGlobal on Instagram and Twitter for updated information.

Yes, if you had been accepted to the program that was cancelled. Please email studyabroad@udel.edu after you have submitted your Winter 2022 application, letting us know that you would like to use the same recommendation from a previously cancelled program.

Scholarships are available for 22W programs. Please see this page of our website for information about CGPS need-based awards.

If you were awarded a scholarship for a previously cancelled program, CGPS will honor your scholarship award.

In alignment with UD's COVID-19 student vaccination policy, all students are required to submit a valid vaccination record to Student Health Services by August 15th. 

Yes, CGPS expects that all travelers will need a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure. The specific requirements for your destination will be outlined by your faculty director and CGPS during the orientation process. If you have questions about testing requirements for your destination please reach out to your faculty director.

Many programs had to adjust their itineraries and planned excursions in order to receive authorization to travel based on guidelines issued by the University of Delaware. Please visit the specific program page to look for updates. Contact the faculty director or program coordinator to learn more.

Additional PPE will be available on each program to supplement the students' own personal supply of face masks and hand sanitizer in order to ensure the safety of all students and faculty on the program.

CGPS strongly discourages personal travel outside of the structure of the program, and most programs do not provide time for personal travel. Students choosing to travel outside of the program dates do so at their own risk. All program participants are required to sign an acknowledgment of risk prior to departure.

Travel to other countries during your program is strongly discouraged, and most programs do not provide time for personal travel.

Yes, all students will be required to attend a Health & Safety Orientation and a Pre-Departure Orientation run by CGPS in addition to program-specific orientations run by faculty directors.

All UD employees and students traveling internationally for UD business or educational purposes are automatically covered by the University’s international health insurance policy with GeoBlue.

Your program coordinator and faculty director will provide recommended flight details.

For specific program questions, contact the faculty director listed on the program page. 

For general questions, see the study abroad FAQ webpage, email studyabroad@udel.edu, or stop by open advising in our Zoom room on Wednesdays from 1:00pm to 3:00pm and Thursdays from 10:00am to 12:00pm during the fall and spring semesters.

Study Abroad

Messaging

3/27/20 - Changes to Academic Enrollment Regulations for Spring 2020

3/26/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 Copenhagen HLTH Program

3/26/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 Paris HLTH - Micro Program

3/26/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 Tokyo BHAN Program

3/25/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 Granada, Spain LLCU Program

3/25/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 International BUAD Internships Program

3/25/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 Ireland HIST/POSC Program

3/25/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 London Visual Communications Program

3/25/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 Singapore FASH Program

3/23/20 - Message to Spring 2020 Returned Study Abroad Students

3/22/20 - Message to Fall 2020 Accepted Study Abroad Students

3/20/20 - Update for Spring 2020 Washington, D.C. Students

3/18/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 Cayman Islands ETE Student Teaching Program

3/18/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 Australia + Internship Program

3/17/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 Sydney Program

3/17/20 - A Message to the World Scholars Community

3/14/20 - New Department of Homeland Security Travel Rules for Returning Students

3/13/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 Athens HDFS & ETE Internship Programs

3/13/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 Washington, D.C. Program

3/12/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 Madrid, Spain Program

3/12/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 Limerick, Ireland Program

3/12/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 German-American Federation Exchange Program 

3/12/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 Granada, Spain Program

3/12/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 Lyon Exchange Program 

3/11/20 - Cancelation of Spring DIS Copenhagen Program

3/9/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 Swiss/Italy HOSP Program

3/9/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 Italy NURS Program

3/9/20 - Cancelation of Summer 2020 Italy/Croatia LEAD Program

3/9/20 - Message to Students on Spring Leave of Absence

3/2/20 - Self-Quarantine Information for Spring 2020 Rome Participants

CGPS ON SOCIAL  |  @UDGlobal

#OISSCoffeeHour | #UDAbroad | #UDWorldScholar