COVID-19 FAQ for Students
Please note: This page will be updated as more information is provided. Please check back often for updates. *Last updated: June 22, 2020
What are the plans for fall 2020 classes?
KU intends to reopen for in-person classes with on-campus housing options in Fall 2020 with hybrid and online enrollment options for students whose travel is restricted by COVID-19. KU is committed to ensuring the majority of students, if they choose, have the majority of their courses with in-person instruction in whole or in part. KU is trying to provide as flexible options as possible to meet students wherever they are so students can continue to make progress on their degrees.
We know that not every student will be able to come to Lawrence in time for the start of the semester. KU is working on offering hybrid courses and online classes which can be started from abroad, to allow extra time for arrival.
Even though students may need to arrive late, they should enroll before classes begin August 24.
Keep in mind, students with F-1 status have limits for online courses. See the question below.
All in-person and hybrid courses are allowed. Hybrid classes include a combination of in-person and online instruction.
Look at the “Education Level” under PROGRAM OF STUDY on your I-20 to know further limits on your I-20.
LANGUAGE TRAINING and OTHER: PATHWAY PROGRAM I-20s
You must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours in-person or hybrid.
ALL DEGREE I-20s (e.g. Bachelor, Masters, Doctorate)
One 3-hour online class is the most you can count toward your minimum enrollment requirement. For example:
- Minimum 9 hours in-person or hybrid; minimum 12 hours total enrollment
- 9 hours hybrid + 3 or more hours online
- 9 hours in person + 3 or more hours online
- 6 hours in person + 6 hours hybrid
- 3 hours in person + 6 hours hybrid + 3 or more hours online
- 12 or more hours hybrid
- NOT OK:
- 6 hours hybrid + 6 hours online
- Graduates Without An Assistantship
- Minimum 6 hours in person or hybrid and minimum 9 hours total enrollment
- 6 hours hybrid + 3 or more hours online
- 3 hours in person + 3 hours hybrid + 3 or more hours online
- 3 hours in person + 6 hours hybrid
- NOT OK:
- 3 hours in person + 6 hours online
- 3 hours hybrid + 6 hours online
Yes. If you are considering studying online from abroad for the fall, please consider the following:
- KU is working on providing more hybrid and online options for the fall so students can continue to make progress toward your degree even if they cannot attend classes in person on campus. The schedule will probably be available early August.
- You may NOT be able to maintain your I-20 and F-1 status. U.S. regulations has limits on how many online classes can be used to maintain F-1 status. As of yet, the government has not announced any leniency in these requirements. If the current regulations are enforced:
- You would have to end your current I-20 and F-1 status.
- When you return you would need to request a new I-20. This requires:
- Updated proof of finances.
- Repayment of the SEVIS fee to the U.S. government (currently $350)
- Completion of 2 semesters (fall and spring) with full time enrollment before being eligible to apply for any type of off-campus work authorization including Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT).
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.
- 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.
- Apply for post completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). See http://iss.ku.edu/opt for details.
- 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.
- 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 should consider before traveling summer 2020:
- Return Flight
- Many airlines have significantly reduced flight options, especially internationally. You may have trouble getting a return flight.
- Travel Restrictions to Enter the U.S. or Leave Country In
- Not only may your destination country have restrictions prohibiting you from leaving, the U.S. may prevent you from re-entering. Do diligent research. We are including a few government websites for starters.
- CDC’s List of Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States
- US/Canada Restrictions: US Government Info and Canadian Government Info
- 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
- If your visa is expired you will need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. As of March 20 the U.S. Dept. of State suspended routine visa services at ALL U.S. Embassies. When the Embassies reopen, significant delays are expected.
- COVID-19 Testing
- We have heard some reports of negative tests results for COVID19 being required before travel is being allowed.
- Fall Classes/Impact on F-1 Status
- If you are not able to return by August, you may have limited options in classes you can enroll in. The U.S. government has not yet lifted restrictions on the number of online classes you can take in the fall. If you enroll in excessive online classes, you may have to stay abroad for the fall semester and end your F-1 status (and I-20) until you can return.
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
- F-1 Student Services
Is your question not listed here? Email ISS with your question.