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COVID-19 FAQ for Students

General | Travel Considerations | Classes and Services | Stay at Home Order

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Please note: This page will be updated as more information is provided. Please check back often for updates.  *Last updated: April 28, 2020


I’m F-1 and graduating in May. How do I extend my stay?

There are limited options for remaining in the U.S. as an F-1 student after completion of your academic program. Possibilities, depending upon your personal situation, are described below. If you have questions or would like to explore any of these in greater detail please contact ISS to schedule a time to speak with one of our advisors.

  1. You automatically have a 60-day grace period to remain in the U.S. following the completion of your academic program. This time is allowed for you to prepare to depart the U.S. During this period you may also pursue one of the following three options. If you do not take action on one of these options within this 60-day grace period then you must exit the U.S. before the end of the grace period.
  2. Apply for post completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). See http://iss.ku.edu/opt for details.
  3. Apply for and be admitted into a new academic program (non-degree may even be an option). The new program must have a start date within 5 months of the end of your current program. If the new program is at a school other than KU you will need to request ISS to transfer your SEVIS record to the new school. Information about the transfer process can be found at http://iss.ku.edu/leaving-ku-1.
  4. Apply for a change of status to B-2 (tourist) or another status for which you may be eligible. This application can take 6 months or more to process, but you will likely be legal to stay in the U.S. while your application is pending. See http://iss.ku.edu/change-status#changeinside for more information.

Please note that F-1 students are not eligible to extend their stay except in one of the situations described above. Information on the USCIS webpage is a bit misleading and could be misunderstood to imply that it is possible to extend status by filing an application for an extension of stay This is not correct. Filing Form I-539 is not an option for extending F-1 status.

My visa expires this summer. Is it okay if I stay in the U.S. after it expires?

Yes, it is okay for your visa (in your passport) to expire while you are in the U.S. It was issued by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate and only needs to be valid when you enter the U.S. Other documents such as your passport, I-20, or DS-2019 should remain valid while you are in the U.S.

Can I apply to get a new visa in the U.S.?

No, unfortunately you cannot apply for or renew a U.S. visa from within the U.S. You must apply at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate abroad.  Note: ALL U.S. Embassies and Consulates have suspended non-immigrant visa services as of March 20, 2020.  Also, it doesn’t matter if your U.S. visa (in your passport) expires while you are in the U.S.

What opportunities are there for me to stay engaged and connected with the KU community during the COVID-19 pandemic?

ISS Programs have moved online for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the ISS programs calendar to get involved and follow us on social media. In addition, many companies are offering adjusted services or online services for free. Examples of such services may be found on our Support Services Webpage.


What do I need to consider if I am planning to travel outside the U.S. for the summer?

Factors you will need to consider:

  • Return Flight
    • Many airlines have significantly reduced flight options, especially internationally. 
  • Travel Restrictions to Enter the U.S. or Leave Country In
  • Quarantine Upon Return
    • Expect to spend at least 14 days in self-isolation after your return.  In other words you need to return at least 14 days before classes start.
    • CDC’s Suggestions on Returning from International Travel
  • Expired Visa
  • COVID-19 Testing
    • We have heard some reports of negative tests results for COVID19 being required before travel is being allowed.

How do I get a travel signature on my I-20 or DS-2019?

ISS created an eform in iHawk to request a travel signature. 

  • Submit the appropriate eform in iHawk
    • F-1 Student Services
      • COVID-19 Travel Signature I-20 Request
    • J-1 Student Services
      • COVID-19 Travel Signature DS-2019 Request

If I am supposed to graduate May 2020 can I go home and still graduate?

Yes. As long as you finish all the remaining classes and degree requirements you can still graduate in May even if you return home. If you want to return to apply for OPT, you would need to return to the U.S. by mid-May.

  • Submit the following e-form in iHawk:
    • “COVID-19 Leaving U.S. for Remainder of Spring 2020”
    • Under both F-1 Student Services and J-1 Student Services
  • For a fee, you can request to have your diploma mailed overseas.

How long can I stay outside the U.S. as an F-1 student?

As of March 23, SEVP is saying you can continue to stay outside the U.S. during the emergency COVID-19 situation and maintain your F-1 status as long as you continue to pursue a full course of study and make normal progress.

Will my F-1 I-20 and SEVIS record be terminated if I leave the U.S. right now during Spring semester?

No. As long as you continue to pursue a full course of study and complete your courses, your F-1 SEVIS record will remain active for Spring 2020. Don’t’ forget to submit the COVID-19 Leaving U.S. form in iHawk under both F-1 Student Services and J-1 Student Services.

Can I remain outside the U.S. more than 5 months and maintain my status?

As of March 23, SEVP announced the 5-month absence rule will not apply if you continue to pursue a full course of study and make normal progress.  Normally, F-1 students are not allowed to maintain their F-1 status if they are outside the U.S. more than 5 months.  See SEVP’s Frequently Asked Questions under "Nonimmigrant Students and SEVP-Certified Schools".

If I leave the U.S. can I get a partial refund for my KU student health insurance plan for Spring 2020?

No.  The KU Student Health insurance plan will still cover you overseas, but you will be subject to out-of-network reimbursements.


Will summer classes be online?

Yes. All summer classes will be online. For most students, summer enrollment is optional. It will not impact your immigration status if all of your summer classes are online. 

Will fall classes be online?

As of April 25, KU is still planning to offer classes in-person. KU is still monitorying the situation and has not made a final decisions yet. 

What campus services are available/unavailable and how will they be provided?

All non-KU Student Housing campus buildings will remain locked 24 hours a day for the foreseeable future. However, most offices are providing services remotely. ISS has selected the following offices which may be helpful to you during this period.

Academic Achievement and Access Center (AAAC)

  • AAAC services are offered via phone, and by virtual appointments if requested (zoom or skype). To set up an appointment call 785-864-4064.
  • For tutoring, supplemental instruction, and individual consultations call 785-864-7733.

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center

  • Mental health services are available by phone Monday – Thursday; 8:30 a.m. – 4p.m. and the 24 hour phone number to call is 785-843-9192

Campus Cupboard

  • The Campus Cupboard will be closed for the remainder of the spring semester.
  • The Sunrise Project is offering free supplies and non-perishable food at 1501 Learnard Ave. Call 785-864-1618 for delivery information.
  • The Westwood house has an open pantry Sunday – Thursday from 3 – 6 p.m. located at 1421 W 119th St.
  • Ladybird Diner is closed but is offering free sack lunch from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm Monday – Friday. Various schools are offering free grab and go meals for kids under 18, more information can be found here.
  • The downtown Lawrence website has a full list of hours and closures for local businesses in Lawrence.

College Student Advising and Academic Services

  • College Advising and Student Services can be reached by phone: 785-864-3500; as the lobby is closed, and all appointments will be over the phone or through Zoom or Skype.
  • Schedule a phone or virtual appointment through Jayhawk GPS. Directions for scheduling an appointment can be found here.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

  • The CAPS office is available via phone at 785-864-2277 and after hours messages may be left on the CAPS voicemail. 
  •  Initial therapy and initial psychiatry appointments for the week of March 23 – March 27 have been suspended.
  • All group therapy services, outreach programming, and HOPE@CAPS related activities such as peer listening hours and peer support groups have been suspended until further notice.
  • CAPS is offering individual therapy and psychiatric follow-up appointments for established clients via telephone that are aligned with the laws and regulations pertaining to this practice in the state of Kansas and professional ethical guidelines. 
  • Information on finding a therapist in your community, managing concerns about COVID-19, and the most up to date CAPS information can be found here.

The CAPS office is offering virtual, psych-education, drop-in programming via Zoom for the KU community. The presentations are focused on helping students cope and thrive during this transitional time.  Visit the CAPS website for information on the offered presentation topics, dates, and times.

Emily Taylor Women’s Center for Women & Gender Equity:

  • The Emily Taylor Center is available for questions via phone or through email: 785-864-3552; emilytaylorcenter@ku.edu.
  • Appointments are offered via telephone, Skype, or Zoom at the following times:
    • Mondays & Wednesdays: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    • Tuesdays & Thursdays: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    • Friday: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • If you’d like to schedule an appointment please contact: Bulaong Ramiz, Director: bramiz@ku.edu/ 785-864-1143 or Megan Williams, Assistant Director: mwillia@ku.edu/785864-8062   

Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center (EGARC)

  • EGARC is physically closed until further notice, but necessary support to faculty and students will continue to be provided.
  • For questions contact: egarc@ku.edu; 785-864-4759          

Headquarters Counseling Center

  • Counseling services are available 24/7 via phone at: 785-841-2345, and online emotional chat support is offered through CrisisChat.org

Hilltop Child Development Center

  • The Hilltop Child Development Center is closed until further notice, the most updated information can be found here.

International Admissions

  • The Office of International Admissions is available for questions M-F 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. via phone: 785-864-2616

International Support Services

  • All advising is done via phone or video conference until further notice. Email iss@ku.edu with specific questions or call 785-864-3617 to set up a virtual appointment.
  • ISS is hosting a Zoom hour the week of March 23rd from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is a platform for students to chat or ask questions.

KU Child and Family Services Clinic:

  • Telehealth services will begin on March 30th for current clients and their families. The clinic can be reached at: 785-864-4416
  • For the most up to date information, as well as information about coronavirus resources for families go here.
  • Office hours will be held mornings by appointment, Monday-Thursday 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Friday noon to 6:00 p.m.  

KU Libraries

KU Memorial Unions

  • The Burge Union and DeBruce Center are closed to the public until May 15th
  • Kansas union hours for the dates of March 23rd – May 15th are as follows: Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday – Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. The most up to date information can be found here.

KU Parking & Transit Office

  • The Parking and Transit office is closed, and staff are working remotely: 785-864-7275; kupark@ku.edu.
  • Until further notice found here all lots and garages are open and parking is free (except for lot 3) which will continue to be restricted. ADA and service vehicle stalls will still be enforced, as well as no parking in a designated stall. Jayhawk Boulevard is open to drive- thru traffic.

KU Recreation Services

  • KU recreation services are closed until further notice, covid-19 updates can be found here.

KU Writing Center

  • The writing center has moved online, and is available M-F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • eTutoring appointments are available, and students should contact 785-864-2399 or writing@ku.edu with questions. Schedule an appointment here.

Legal Services for Students

  • Legal services are being offered remotely, to request an appointment email: legals@ku.edu, do not call or come by the office as the physical location is closed. Notary services are not being offered at this time.
  • The most up to date information can be found here.

Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access (IOA)

  • All IOA services have moved online, and staff are available via skype, phone, and zoom for appointments. For the most up to date information go here. The office can be reached at: 785-864-6414; ioa@ku.edu.

Office of Multicultural Affairs

  • Starting March 26th, the OMA will be hosting a virtual hangout on zoom from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. https://kansas.zoom.us/j/102279273
  • The office’s physical presence is closed, however, go here for information about virtual office hours. You can reach the OMA by phone: 785-864-4350

Office of the University Registrar (OUR)

  • The Registrar’s office is available via phone and email M-F, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  General questions can be answered at the front desk in the KU Visitor Center. The OUR can be reached at: 785-864-4423; registrar@ku.edu.
SafeRide Services

SafeRide services will stop after Saturday, April 4th. Transportation Services will continue to monitor the situation throughout the remainder of the spring semester and will provide additional updates when possible. Click here for the most up to date information.

Students who need night-time transportation within the city of Lawrence can schedule a trip on Night Line, which costs $2/ride (cash only) regardless of student status. Rides on Night Line are scheduled in advance on a space available basis between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; call 785-312-7054, ext. 1, to request a reservation.

Bus routes 1-15, 29, and 45 continue to operate on the “B” schedule. Click here for routes and schedule information, or download the MyBusLawrence app for real-time bus information.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center (SAPEC)

  • SAPEC services are being provided remotely, students can contact: sapec@ku.edu. Staff contact information as well as the most up-to-date operating information can be found here.

Student Involvement and Leadership Center (SILC)

  • SILC services are offered remotely, students can contact SILC at: 785-864-4861 and silcfront@ku.edu with any questions. The most up to date information can be found here.

Student Money Management Services (SMMS)

  • SMMS services are available remotely, students with questions can call 785-864-1182 or email money@ku.edu.

University Career Center (UCC)

  • All UCC services are offered virtually until further notice. Career coaching appointments will be held via phone, zoom, or skype.
  • For more information about services go here.

Watkins Health Center

  • Watkins health services remain available for students still in the region. Before visiting, call ahead: 785-864-9500 (main) 785-864-9583 (24 hour nurse helpline). Building hours are M-F 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For the most up to date information go here.   
What changes have been made to the KU grading policy for Spring 2020?
KU has extended the Credit/No Credit option for Spring 2020. Students may be able to request the CR/NC option until December 18, 2020. The CR/NC option is not available for all majors or for certain courses. Electing CR/NC can affect student financial aid, scholarships, acceptance into professional and advanced-degree programs and much more. Consult with an academic advisor before electing CR/NC.
What is the deadline to withdraw from a class or the University for Spring 2020?
The last day to withdraw from a class or the University (full semester classes, excluding Law) has been extended through May 4, 2020. Students should review options and obtain permission from ISS before dropping below a full course load. Find information about the ISS Reduced Course Load process. Find information about the University withdraw process. 
What can I do to get tutoring?
Information about tutoring through the Student Success Center and the Writing Center will be available through the AAAC website soon.
What will my academic advising check-ins be like?
You can schedule appointments with various academic advisors across campus through Jayhawk GPS or by emailing the advisor directly. 


What does the Stay at Home Order mean?

The Stay at Home ordinance mandates that everyone STAY HOME for all but very essential needs. Essential needs include shopping for groceries, or going to the doctor. Just about every other activity should be discontinued. DO NOT GO OUT IN GROUPS AND DO NOT GATHER IN PUBLIC PLACES, EVEN OUTDOORS.

What is allowed?

  • Shopping for essential needs, such as groceries
  • Things related to your health or safety, or the health or safety of your pets (ie. doctor visits, purchasing medications, etc.). Non-essential appointments should be postponed until May, if possible
  • Getting fresh air! Going on a walk/run or biking outside, as well as other outdoor activities are allowed. These activities should be done alone or with only one other person and you must maintain a distance of 6 feet (1.8 meters) from others!

Remember: When you're out of the house, you must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) from other people. That includes when walking, running, or biking outdoors. 

We encourage you to understand that this is not just an inconvenience but is required for the health of everyone. The best practice to contain the COVID-19 disease is to remain physically isolated. Otherwise, we’ll have this situation much longer than necessary.

How long will the Stay at Home mandate last?
It is currently until May 3.

Is your question not listed here?  Email ISS with your question.  


Other Resources:

SEVP’s Frequently Asked Questions

KU Campus-wide COVID-19 Updates

International Affairs - COVID-19 Updates

KU On-Campus Housing - COVID-19 Updates

KU Dining's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page

Watkins Health Center - COVID-19 Updates

Human Resources - COVID-19 Employee Information

KU Transportation - COVID-19 Updates


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