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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
UD is currently running a limited study abroad program with guidelines in place to support the health and safety of study abroad students and faculty. More information about UD study abroad can be found in the Study Abroad FAQ section BELOW. Students who are currently abroad or in the pre-departure planning process should visit the CGPS Health, Safety and Security Abroad webpage.
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, 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.
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:
- Study Abroad Participants: email@example.com
- World Scholars: firstname.lastname@example.org
- International Community: email@example.com
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 June 20, 2023
The answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on this page are based on the latest guidance from the University and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). On May 11, 2023, SEVP terminated its Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) guidance to coincide with the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. While SEVP’s COVID-19 guidance is terminated, students will be able to complete the 2022-23 academic year under the COVID-19 flexibilities through the 2023 summer semester. This page will continue to be updated as new guidance and updates are released.
As an international student, am I required by the University of Delaware to get the COVID-19 vaccine? (Updated 5/26/23)
Effective June 5, 2023, students will no longer be required to receive the COVID-19 primary vaccine and boosters. However, UD strongly recommends that all students, faculty, and staff remain up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Particularly, all students, faculty, and staff are highly encouraged to receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster. For more information, please see UD’s COVID-19 Guidelines.
Who can I contact if I need medical assistance at night or on the weekends (after the Student Health Center has closed)?
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.
As an international student, how will taking online courses affect my immigration status? (Updated 6/20/23)
F-1 Students: Starting Fall 2023, active F-1 students will not be permitted to count online classes toward a full course of study in excess of the regulatory limits. New and continuing students must enroll in programs complying with the regulatory limits for distance learning. Federal limits state that no more than the equivalent of one online class (three credits) per semester may be counted toward full-time study requirements.
ELI students must comply with the regulatory requirement that “no on-line or distance education classes may be considered to count toward a student's full course of study requirement."
F-1 students engaged in their program outside of the U.S. or participating in online coursework above the regulatory limit will need to return to campus fall 2023 and enroll in in-person coursework that meets the regulatory requirements in order to maintain status and keep their SEVIS record active.
J-1 Students: U.S. Department of State (DOS) released a Guidance Directive to end the temporary COVID-19 flexibilities for J-1 exchange visitor programs effective July 1, 2023. As of this date, all exchange programs are expected to return to predominantly in-person program activities but with new interpretations of hybrid and remote learning. DOS has clarified that:
College and university students may engage in a maximum of one online course per semester.
J-1 Students may take in-person classes with virtual components.
Hybrid classes that predominantly require in-person student attendance would be considered in-person courses.
I'm having difficulty getting a flight to leave the U.S. What happens if I cannot leave during my grace period? (Updated 5/26/23)
If your I-20/DS-2019 grace period is expiring soon and you are unable to return to your home country, 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.
You should attempt to depart the U.S. no later than the end of your F-1 (60-day) or J-1 (30-day) grace period following the conclusion of your program. If this is not possible, please consider one of the options listed above.
I’m a J-1 Visiting Scholar/Student, am I allowed to participate in hybrid or remote program activities? (Updated 6/20/23)
On June 9, 2023, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released a Guidance Directive to end the temporary COVID-19 flexibilities for J-1 exchange visitor programs effective July 1, 2023. As of this date, all exchange programs are expected to return to predominantly in-person program activities but with new interpretations on hybrid or virtual work.
Beginning July 1, 2023, DOS will permit J-1 exchange visitors in the following categories to participate remotely no more than 40% of the time (e.g., two days out of five) if their host organization has instituted partial remote policies and their sponsor has approved their hybrid program participation:
Professors and Research Scholars,
College and university students on Academic Training or in the “Student-Intern” subcategory
Working for UD while outside of the U.S. may trigger tax and other local employer obligations in the overseas country you may be visiting. Please discuss with your UD Department and HR/Payroll the UD policies regarding your eligibility to be paid while outside the U.S. ahead of any potential work arrangement abroad. If you have any questions, please contact UD Human Resources.
I'm having difficulty finding a job or my employer won't let me start my job yet. Has the government extended the 90/150-day limit on unemployment?
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.
I'm on the OPT (STEM) extension. Can I work remotely when appropriate and permitted by the employer? If so, do I need to submit an updated Form I-983 while on STEM OPT? (Updated 5/26/23)
Students participating in OPT and STEM OPT may work remotely as long as they continue to comply with the regulatory requirements regarding practical training and continue the training’s mentoring relationship, including completion of the Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students,” for STEM OPT participants. The employer address should be updated in SEVIS and students and employers should update the site address on the Form I-983 to reflect the remote location.
At this time, USCIS has not changed the guidance 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.
Can I depart the U.S. after I mail my OPT application to USCIS? Am I eligible to apply for re-entry to the United States?
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.
I've been given reduced work hours for less than 20 hours. How does this impact my OPT status? (Updated 5/26/23)
Starting Fall 2023, students on OPT must work at least 20 hours per week in a qualifying position to be considered employed. If a student has a variable schedule, within a month, it should average out to at least 20 hours per week.
Students on STEM OPT may not engage in practical training for less than 20 hours per week, excluding time off taken consistent with leave-related policies applicable to the employer's similarly situated U.S. workers in the area of employment.
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.
Effective March 10, 2023 at 3pm ET, there is no longer a COVID test requirement for air travelers coming from mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information, please see the CDC press release.
As a reminder, all travelers must check with their airline for specific travel requirements prior to departure.
On May 1, 2023 the White House announced that nonimmigrant international air travelers to the U.S. will no longer be required to show proof of COVID vaccination beginning May 12, 2023. For more information, please see the NAFSA website.
As a reminder, all travelers must check with their airline for specific travel requirements prior to departure.
Do I need to be vaccinated to enter the U.S. through a Canada or Mexico land border crossing? (Updated 5/6/23)
On May 1, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security announced that they will no longer require non-U.S. travelers entering the U.S. via land port or ferry terminals to provide proof of COVID vaccination starting May 12, 2023.
Have there been any changes to the in-person interview requirements for visa appointments due to COVID-19? (Updated 1/3/23)
On December 23, 2022, the Department of State announced that it would extend the authorization of consular officers discretion to waive the in-person interview requirement for the following individuals until December 31, 2023:
"Individual petition-based H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q 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 individual petition-based H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q 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 and have previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)."
The December 23, 2022 announcement also extends until the end of 2023 the policy that authorizes consular officers to waive, in their discretion, the in-person interview requirement for the following individuals:
“students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists (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 VWP and who have previously traveled to the United States via an ESTA authorization, provided they have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility."
Applicants renewing a visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration are also eligible for interview waiver. This authority is in place until further notice.
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
What happens if I cannot fly to the U.S. due to travel restrictions in my home country or in the U.S.? (Updated 6/20/23)
Active/Returning Students: Effective Fall 2023 for F-1s and July 1, 2023 for J-1s, students engaged in their program outside of the U.S. or participating in online coursework above the regulatory limit will need to return to campus and enroll in in-person coursework that meets the regulatory requirements in order to maintain status and keep their SEVIS record active.
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 your 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.
I'm currently not able to obtain an F-1/J-1 student visa. Should I use my current tourist visa/visa waiver (ESTA) to enter the U.S. and apply for a change of status in the U.S.?
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.
Is there a deadline I need to have a U.S. visa appointment by in order to be able to start on campus?
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, CGPS 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 CGPS 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: Effective Fall 2023 for F-1s and July 1, 2023 for J-1s, students engaged in their program outside of the U.S., except those participating in study abroad, will need to return to campus and enroll in in-person coursework that meets the regulatory requirements in order to maintain status and keep their SEVIS record active
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.
I need a travel signature on my I-20 or DS-2019 to enter the U.S. Can I use an electronic copy? (Updated 5/6/23)
SEVP and DOS guidance allows the electronic issuance of I-20s and DS-2019s. If you need a travel signature, please complete one of the following forms:
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 email@example.com to adjust their SEVIS record and immigration status accordingly.
STUDENT LIFE & SUPPORT SERVICES
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.
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.
7/23/20 - Fall 2020 Online Course Update
7/16/20 - Forum on SEVP Guidance for F-1 Students
7/15/20 - Important IRS Tax Compliance Information
7/10/20 - SEVP Guidance Frequently Asked Questions
7/1/20 - Sprintax Workshop
6/17/20 - Immigration Updates Webinar
6/15/20 - Incident Report: Intolerable Behavior
6/6/20 - OISS Statement on Recent Events
4/21/20 - Tax Support for Khbrat Students
4/10/20 - OISS is here to support you!
CGPS continues to monitor global health and safety conditions at our study abroad sites. Site-specific study abroad travel policies will be communicated to students during the application and orientation process. Students who are currently abroad must continue to follow the policies communicated to them before their departure.
UD students are strongly recommended but not required to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. UD Student Health Services highly encourages students to remain up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters including the bivalent booster. Please visit UD's COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters page for more information.
While boosters are not required by UD, the CDC advises that everyone ages 6 and older should get 1 updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date. If you are not yet eligible for a booster, but will be due for one during your program, we encourage you to consult with your medical provider for advice prior to traveling.
Some study abroad sites may require a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure or upon arrival and CGPS strongly recommends that everyone receive one for their own and others’ safety. If there are specific requirements for your desitnation the details will be outlined by your program or faculty director during orientation. If you have questions about testing requirements for your destination please reach out to your faculty director or program coordinator.
What happens if I cannot depart the U.S. on time for my study abroad program due to a positive COVID-19 test?
Please notify your faculty director/host institution and/or program coordinator immediately so they can help you make a plan. This situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis to determine when/if you may be able to arrive late and join the program. CGPS does not issue refunds for COVID-19 related delays or cancellations.
Faculty directors and on-site partners will assist students with any illenss, isolation or quarantine procedures during the program. Students are strongly encouraged to alert their program leaders if they feel sick or have been exposed to COVID-19 to help protect the other group members. Students who have been in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be tested.
What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone else who tests positive during the program?
Contingency plans are in place for isolation/quarantine during your study abroad program. Your faculty director/host institution will support you with re-arranging housing, finding testing, acquiring meals, and completing coursework. They may also ask you for the names of anyone you have recently been in contact with in order to inform them. Students will follow the isolation/quarantine rules of their host country. If you need to seek medical care, including hospitalization, GeoBlue international health insurance will assist.
As of June 12, 2022, the CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. If study abroad program participants are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms prior to departure, CGPS strongly recommends that they take a COVID-19 test for their own and others’ safety.
What happens if I cannot return to the U.S. from my study abroad program due to a positive COVID-19 test?
Anyone quarantined/hospitalized abroad will have someone there to support them. This could be the program faculty director or TA, a locally contracted support person, or a family member. The support person will help the student secure housing and meals, and if necessary, pay for those items up front. Students will be billed, after return, for any associated costs.
Students should check with their host institution and UD program coordinator before making any arrangements to return from their program early. If you have finished your coursework and academic obligations you may seek approval from your host intuition and UD to adjust your travel arrangements to return early.
Yes, if you had been accepted to the program that was cancelled. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org after you have submitted your application, letting us know that you would like to use the same recommendation from a previously cancelled program.
Scholarships are available for UD study abroad 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.
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.
Will personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks and hand sanitizer be available to me during my study abroad program?
Additional PPE will be made available upon request to supplement the students' own personal supply.
Students choosing to travel outside of the program dates do so at their own risk.
Students may travel to other countries during their free time and are required to enter their trip in UD’s Crisis24 portal.
Unauthorized international travel will result in a UD Student Conduct referral for non-compliance with UD Policy. UD reserves the right to restrict additional travel at any time if health and safety condition change.
Yes, in addition to program-specific orientations, all students and faculty will be required to attend pre-departure orientations hosted by the Center for Global Programs and Services to understand health safety guidelines relevant to their study abroad destination. Semester students will also be required to complete any pre-departure orientations organized by their host institution or provider.
Your program coordinator and faculty director will provide recommended flight details.
Complete the CGPS withdrawal form. Log in to the Study Abroad database, click the "My Checklist" link next to the application you would like to remove, click "Request to Withdraw this Application" and complete the form. In the form, note that you are concerned about COVID safety and request a waiver of the $500 withdrawal fee.
3/12/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 German-American Federation Exchange Program
3/12/20 - Cancelation of Spring 2020 Lyon Exchange Program