COVID-19 Information for International IUPUI

Helping international students and scholars plan for fall 2020 and beyond

Page last updated: June 12, 2020

On May 27, IU President Michael A. McRobbie announced that the new academic year at Indiana University would resume in the fall with a mix of in-person and online instruction. IUPUI Chancellor Nassar Paydar provided additional details about what that means for IUPUI.
  • Fall 2020 and spring 2021 will be a mix of in-person and online instruction. The new academic calendar indicates that all classes will be online November 30-February 7. Make sure you read Chancellor Paydar's email to learn about what you can expect from IUPUI and what IUPUI will expect from you.
  • If you are outside the U.S. and unable to return to Indianapolis in August because of travel restrictions or visa issues, IUPUI will work with you to continue your degree online. 
  • If you are outside the U.S. and can return to Indianapolis in August, you will be required to spend 14 days in your residence (either on or off campus) monitoring your health and practicing physical distancing. Read more in the "Do I need to quarantine if I arrive in Indianapolis?" question below.
  • You will work with your academic advisor if you have questions about the classes you're enrolled in for fall 2020. Some classes will be fully online, while others will provide in-person and online options. Decisions about mode of instruction for individual courses will not be final until mid-July. You should focus on registering for the courses you need to continue in your program. After July 15, you will have the opportunity to adjust your registration as necessary for the mode of instruction that fits your situation.
  • On-campus housing and dining will be available. More details will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Visas, immigration and travel

Our office is your primary resource for these questions. The advice we provide one student doesn't always apply to the next student. So you need to contact us if you have questions about your situation instead of following advice from a friend or something you found on social media.

  • Will my immigration status be impacted if I leave the U.S.?

    No. On March 13, the U.S. government announced that as long as you maintain full-time enrollment online during the COVID-19 emergency, there will be no negative impact on your immigration status, even if you depart the United States and take your IUPUI classes online from elsewhere.

    SEVP granted this special approval for online learning during the Spring and Summer 2020 terms.  We are waiting for SEVP to update its guidance on status maintenance for Fall 2020 and will share this information as soon as possible after it is released.  

  • What about the "5 month rule"?

    The 5-month rule does not apply in this situation. As long as you maintain full time enrollment with your IUPUI online classes for spring 2020, you are considered in valid status.
  • Do I have to leave the U.S. or Indianapolis?

    No, you are not required to leave the U.S. or Indianapolis.

    In fact, if you stayed in the U.S. after classes transitioned online, you should remain in the U.S. now because of the difficulties you would experience trying to return.

     

  • Should I leave the U.S. or Indianapolis?

    If you stayed in the U.S. after classes transitioned online, we recommend remaining in the U.S. now because of the difficulties you would experience trying to return.

  • If I leave the U.S., what documents do I need to take with me?

    f you are a continuing student currently in the U.S., we recommend remaining in the U.S. now because of the difficulties you would experience trying to return.

    If you leave, you need to take the following:

    • Signed I-20 (F-1 students), DS-2019 (J-1 students or scholars), or I-797 form (H-1B, E-3, TN, or O-1 employees)
    • Passport
    • Print and keep a copy of your most recent I-94
    • Save evidence of your departure from the U.S. (boarding passes, copies of stamps in your passport)
  • I graduated in May, what should I know?

    If you are in F-1 status, you have a 60-day grace period that starts the day you complete your program of study

    You will need to leave the U.S. by the end of the 60-day grace period unless you do one of the following by that date:

    • Apply for Optional Practical Training
    • Apply for a Change of Status
    • Transfer to a new school
    • Receive a new I-20 to start a new program at IUPUI

    Learn more about your options

  • What if my visa is expired and I need a new visa?

     Look to be sure that your visa stamp is truly expired. This is the sticker in your passport, given you to by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It is only possible to get a new visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S. If you are outside of the U.S., and your visa stamp is expired, you will need to apply for a new visa stamp at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

    Although the U.S. has not resumed routine visa processing, you may be able to obtain a visa through expedited processing. This option is often available for new or continuing students and scholars if there are no regular appointments available and you need to travel to the U.S. within 60 days.

    Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate near you to learn if this option is available.

    You do not need to leave the U.S. if your visa stamp is expired. The visa stamp in your passport only needs to be valid to seek re-entry to the U.S. If you are in the U.S. and remain in the U.S. with an expired visa stamp, you do not need to take any action to get a new visa. You may do so on a future trip outside of the U.S.

  • Can I extend my F-1 or J-1 student status?

    You may have heard that you can file Form I-539 to extend your stay in the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student, but that is generally not true for F-1 and J-1 students at IUPUI. It is always best to contact our office with any questions related to your immigration status instead of relying on information you’ve heard from others.

    Generally speaking, your F-1 or J-1 student status is valid (as long as you follow applicable rules for F-1 students and J-1 students) until you complete your program end date (plus the additional time for your grace period, which is 60 days for F-1 students and 30 days for J-1 students). If you wish to extend your stay in the U.S. beyond the end of your grace period, you only have a few options (learn more for F-1 students and J-1 students).

    At this time, the U.S. government has not provided any additional grace period benefits because of COVID-19. If you are unable to leave the U.S. or extend your stay through employment authorization or further academic study by the end of your grace period, you need to speak to an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your options. An attorney may be able to identify a non-student immigration status that you can apply for. You can find an immigration lawyer through the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Our office cannot assist you with an application to change to a non-student status.

  • If I choose to take a semester off, will I be able to travel back to the U.S.?

    Contact our office to discuss taking a semester off. There are multiple things to consider, and we can help you work through that process.

  • Can I stay in the U.S. and study fully online?

    SEVP granted special approval for online learning during the Spring and Summer terms.  We are waiting for SEVP to update its guidance for Fall 2020 and will share this information as soon as possible after it is released. 

  • If I am approved for reduced course load, can I remain in status by taking online classes?

    If have already been approved for a Reduced Course Load, you are considered to be a full-time student—even if you are enrolled in fewer courses than is typically considered full-time. The update to the academic calendar does not change your approval.

    If you have concerns about your enrollment, please contact your academic advisor and the OIA.

     

  • If I become ill and am unable to participate in class or attend work, what should I do?

    If you are ill for several days and unable to work (scholars) or participate in online class (students), contact us to discuss the immigration options you have. International students may have an option to withdraw for a medical reason, and we would be able to assist you with that process.

    If you are on an IU-sponsored medical insurance plan, you will not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses for the focused test used to diagnose COVID-19. Any treatment related to the illness would have the same coverage that is currently available for any emergency or non-emergency illness (subject to the normal deductible, copay, or out-of-pocket amounts associated with your medical plan). Review the Anthem plan details for specific information or contact the IU Student Health Insurance Coordinator if you have questions about your coverage.

  • I want to return home, but I'm having problems making arrangements; what can I do?

    If you are a continuing student currently in the U.S., we recommend remaining in the U.S. now because of the difficulties you would experience trying to return.

    However, if you leave, we suggest you contact your nearest embassy/consulate in the U.S. They may have information to help you find a way back home, even if you cannot find a commercial flight.

  • If I took a class with the Satisfactory/Fail option, will that impact my immigration status?

    No, if a class was graded on a Satisfactory/Fail scale, it will have no impact on your immigration status.
  • I heard the U.S. is going to pause all immigration; does this impact me?

    The U.S. president signed an executive order on April 22, 2020, putting a 60-day pause (although it can be extended) on those wishing to permanently immigrate to the U.S. This impacts individuals who are currently outside the U.S., who are seeking to apply for immigrant status (i.e., permanent residence or green card), and who do not currently have a valid non-immigrant visa (e.g., H-1B, F-1, J-1, etc.) or have not previously been granted permanent resident status to enter the U.S.

    Because of these specific guidelines, the executive order does not impact:

    • Non-immigrant visa issuance (e.g., H-1B, F-1, J-1, etc.)
      • Please note, however, that routine visa services remain closed at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide because of COVID-19; only visas for medical personnel providing medical care to COVID-19 patients or conducting research on the virus are being issued at this time.
    • Non-immigrants who remain in legal status in the U.S.
    • Individuals who have already been granted permanent resident status (regardless of whether you're inside or outside the U.S.)
    • Applications that are currently being filed with or processed by USCIS (OPT applications, H-1B applications, I-485 petitions)
  • I want to enter the U.S.; what do I need to know?

    Review entry restrictions

    The U.S. has entry restrictions if you are traveling from or have visited certain countries in the 14 days prior to your entry to the U.S.

    Learn more

    Documents to carry with you

    You will need to carry certain documents with you (i.e., do not put these in checked luggage) when you enter the U.S.

    • Signed I-20 (F-1 students), DS-2019 (J-1 students or scholars), or I-797 form (H-1B, E-3, TN, or O-1 employees)
    • Passport (valid for at least six months from the date you plan to enter the U.S.)
    • Valid visa stamp

    Additional information for current students or scholars

    You need to submit a Travel Signature Request form in Atlas if one of these are true for you:

    • Your most recent travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 is going to be older than 12 months from the date you plan to reenter the U.S. in the same program of study
    • You are an undergraduate student with a new major

    If you are being asked to produce a letter confirming that you are eligible to return to campus in order to secure travel arrangements,  you should complete the Letter of Good Standing Request in Atlas and include any important details about your request in the notes section. 

  • Do I need to quarantine if I arrive in Indianapolis?

    Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all students, staff, and faculty coming to Indianapolis from an international location will need to spend 14 days in their residences (on- or off-campus) monitoring their health and practicing physical distancing.

    Students do not need to arrive 14 days before classes. You can attend class online during the physical distancing period.

    Scholars and employees should work with their department to discuss arrival timing.

    Self-quarantine guidelines

    • Remain out of public places.
    • Do not attend in-person classes or events or engage in in-person work, research, or other activities on campus.
    • Limit your interaction with others as much as possible, and keep your distance from others (6 feet or 2 meters).
    • Do not use public transportation, taxis, or ride sharing services (e.g., Lyft, Uber).
    • You may go to grocery stores, dining halls, and pharamacies to obtain food (pick-up only) and other esstential items, as long as you do not have symptoms, but please limit your time out.
    • Follow IUPUI guidance on using cloth face coverings.

    How to monitor your health:

    You have to monitor your health during the 14 day period. Make sure you follow these steps carefully.

    • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day. Use this temperature log to record the readings.
    • Watch for cough, trouble breathing, and other COVID-19 symptoms.
    • If you develop any symptoms, contact IUPUI Campus Health for a virtual screening immediately.
  • I can't return to Indianapolis because of travel or visa issues; what should I do?

    If you are a continuing student and you are unable to return to Indianapolis, IUPUI will help you continue your degree online to the greatest extent possible—some exceptions may include courses with clinical, studio, or performance components.

    In all cases, you should work with your academic unit for guidance on how to continue making progress toward your degree.

    We do not fully know how this may impact your ability to apply for future benefits, like work authorization. We are awaiting guidance from the U.S. government and will provide more details as soon as we can.

Housing and dining

  • I live in IUPUI housing; what do I need to know?

    Housing and Residence Life has the information you need about petitioning to stay in IUPUI housing, moving in, moving out, storing items, etc.

    Learn more about Housing

  • Do I have to break my lease in my non-IUPUI housing?

    No, you are not required to leave the U.S. or Indianapolis, and thus, are not required to break your lease with a non-IUPUI housing provider.

  • Will I be able to eat on campus?

    Yes, IUPUI Dining Services will provide options for on-campus dining. Find more information on IUPUI Dining Services' website.

Academics and classroom

Many questions about academics will need to be addressed by your professors or academic department. We will continue to provide information shared by the campus or university, but always look to guidance from these other sources.

  • Will summer classes be offered online?

    IUPUI decided to host all summer classes online. Look to your academic units for more information.

    If you are admitted for the summer semester, do not plan to travel to the United States for classes. All IUPUI classes will be taught remotely during the summer. You can choose to defer to the fall or begin your classes online.

  • I can't travel back to Indianapolis in August, what should I do about classes?

    IUPUI will help you continue your degree online to the greatest extent possible—some exceptions may include courses with clinical, studio, or performance components.

    In all cases, you should work with your academic unit for guidance on how to continue making progress toward your degree.

  • I'm concerned about access if I return to my home country, what should I do?

    All students should have recieved a survey about internet connection. Follow any guidance you receive from IUPUI or your academic department.

  • Can IUPUI provide a VPN?

    Yes, all IUPUI students have access to the IU VPN.

    Depending on your country, you are able to access many campus resources (Canvas, One.IU, etc.) without a VPN. Zoom has some restrictions in China, but there is a workaround so you can access Zoom from China. Further, all professors will be recording their classes, so you will be able to watch them later in Canvas, Kaltura, etc. If you have questions or concerns, contact your professors for further assistance.

Definition of Common Terms

  • F-1 visa stamp

    The F-1 visa stamp in your passport is just a stamp that you show at the U.S. border to ask to enter the U.S. in F-1 status. It has no purpose again unless you choose to travel outside the U.S. and want to apply again to re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status. It is not required to be valid to remain inside the U.S. in F-1 status; you do need a valid F-1 visa stamp to enter the U.S.

    Please note some U.S. embassy and consulates around the world may be closed or offering limited services as the COVID-19 challenges are global and not limited to the U.S., and an F-1 visa stamp can only be obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the U.S.

  • F-1 status

    Your F-1 status is what allows you to remain legally inside the U.S. and continue to remain in the U.S. even with an expired F-1 visa stamp. Your F-1 status is shown by your I-94 that indicates you’ve been granted F-1 status and you are admitted in F-1 status for “D/S”. “D/S” means duration of status. That means you can continue to remain inside the U.S. in F-1 status for as long as you have a valid I-20 and you are continuing to meet all of the F-1 status requirements.

    Otherwise, your F-1 status stay in the U.S. only ends once you’ve completed your study for the degree listed on your I-20 or until your OPT authorization ends. As you are on OPT, your F-1 status would remain valid as long as you continue to meet the F-1 status OPT requirements including working full-time in your field of study and reporting that employment.

  • SEVIS record

    This is a record in the U.S. government’s SEVIS database. To maintain the SEVIS record, an F-1 student has to be maintaining all of the U.S. government’s F-1 status requirements, including the enrollment requirements.

    Please note the F-1 status requirements are not the requirements of the OIA or of IUPUI. They are the requirements of the U.S. government directly to each F-1 student in the U.S. If the F-1 status requirements cannot be maintained, this is a SEVIS violation and the SEVIS record has to be ended.

    If the SEVIS record is ended while an F-1 student is inside the U.S., this reflects that there is a problem with the student’s F-1 status in the U.S. If the SEVIS record is ended while the student is outside the U.S., a new SEVIS record has to be created before the student can return to the U.S. again in F-1 student status.

  • I-20

    The document created by the university’s Designated School Officials in the U.S. government’s SEVIS database. A valid I-20 is required to: apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for an F-1 visa stamp; enter the U.S.; and to maintain F-1 status while inside the U.S.

    The I-20 is issued for a specific program of study for a specific length of time for study in that program. If a student is maintaining F-1 status requirements, the I-20 ends on the date the student completes the final academic requirements for the degree program listed on the I-20, even if that is earlier than the estimated program end date printed on the I-20. If a SEVIS record is ended, that also ends the validity of the I-20.