January 2021 Updates

Update on In-Person Course Registration for new On-Campus Spring Semester 2021 F-1 Students

Dear New UMass International Student,

This is an update for you regarding the in-person instructional requirement for all new F-1 students who will be physically present on campus this spring semester. Please read the following information carefully.

  • As a result of recent updates to federal immigration guidance, all new F-1 students entering the U.S. for the first time this spring are required to have some campus in-person academic instruction in addition to your other remote online instruction. If you are a new international student who has indicated to our office that you are coming to the U.S. for the first time in F-1 status, an in-person course entitled International Student Success Seminar can be added to your SPIRE registration. The graduate level course will be listed as UNIV 597INT, and for undergraduates the course listing is UNIV 197T.
     
  • New F-1 students who arrived on-campus last fall semester 2020 are also required to take an additional spring semester 2021 International Student Success Seminar unless you are registered for any other in-person course or lab in spring semester.
     
  • Further seminar details including course curriculum, meeting times, instructor, etc. will be communicated through SPIRE and the usual instructional mechanisms. The IPO will not be providing any further academic information on this course.
     
  • In accordance with current federal immigration regulations and guidance, this additional course may not be dropped at any point during the spring semester if you are physically present in the U.SFailure to participate in this required course may result in the loss of your F-1 immigration status.
     
  • If you have been enrolled in this new in-person course but you do not intend to come to the U.S. this spring semester, and you will otherwise begin or continue your studies entirely online from outside the U.S., please contactgradvisarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (graduate students) or visarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (undergraduate students) with the subject line “Spring 2021 Fully Remote. You will be removed from this course only if you do not enter the U.S. this spring.
     
  • If you held valid F-1 immigration status in the U.S. as of March 9, 2020 and were attending a U.S. high school or another U.S. university, and your SEVIS record is being transferred to UMass, you do not need this additional in-person course. If you have been enrolled for this in-person course in error please contact: gradvisarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (graduate students) or visarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (undergraduate students) with the subject line “Un-enroll SEVIS transfer. You will be removed from this course only if your SEVIS record is being transferred from your previous U.S. school to UMass and you have maintained F-1 status since March 9. 2020.
     
  • If you are a new F-1 student and have already been enrolled in any other type of in-person on-campus course or lab based on your academic degree program, you do not need to take this additional International Student Success Seminar in-person course. Please contact gradvisarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (graduate students) or visarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (undergraduate students) with the subject line “Currently enrolled in other in-person coursework. You will be removed from this course only if enrollment in other essential coursework is verified.
  • New undergraduates can search for other available spring in-person courses by following these directions.
  • If you previously indicated that you will not be coming to the U.S. this spring, but your visa and travel plans now allow you to come to campus before the Drop/Add deadline of February 12, 2021, Please contact gradvisarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (graduate students) or visarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (undergraduate students) with the subject line “Need In-person enrollment” so we can appropriately enroll you for this in-person coursework in order to comply with current F-1 policy guidance.
     
  • If you plan to remain in your home country this spring semester and you have not been automatically enrolled for the International Student Success Seminar no further action is necessary at this time.

Additional Information and Considerations:

  • New F-1 international student who Is registered for the mandatory in-person International Student Success Seminar (UNIV 597INT or UNIV 597T).
    • During these temporary in-person campus restrictions you may continue your coursework 100% remotely (online) until further notice with no effect on your F-1 status.
    • This seminar will operate remotely (online) during the temporary in-person campus restriction and will resume in-person once campus conditions allow. Further remote instruction information regarding this seminar will be made available by your instructor. You are still required to remain enrolled in the seminar and participate fully.
  • I am a continuing international student who held F-1 students prior to March, 2020. Please continue to maintain your full-time enrollment through remote instruction, as before. There are no new considerations or risks to your immigration status as long as you maintain full-time enrollment for spring semester.
  • If you are new international student who will remain in your home country this spring but will not begin academic studies online in spring semester, you must request a deferral of your admission to next fall semester. Undergraduate students must contact: (international[at]admissions.umass[dot]edu); Graduate students must contact your Graduate Program Director to request academic deferral. If you began your studies on-line in fall semester 2020 and will continue to be enrolled on-line during spring semester 2021 no further action is necessary.
     
  • If you are a new international student who will not be coming to the U.S. this spring semester and need an updated I-20 document with a fall semester program start date (i.e. September, 2021), please contact gradvisarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (graduate students) or visarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (undergraduates) with subject line “Need Amended I-20 form.” Please be patient, the IPO will endeavor to get your amended I-20 form as soon as possible. If you have a U.S. consular appointment within the next 14-days please add the date of your appointment in the subject line next to “Need Amended I-20 form.” In the meantime, you can continue to use your existing I-20 form to schedule your U.S. consular appointment. The SEVIS ID number and other related data will not change.
     
  • You are strongly advised not to come to campus if you will not be able to arrive in the U.S. prior to the fall semester drop/add deadline of February 12, 2021.

Additional Resources

IPO Updates and FAQs

Updated UMass Amherst Campus Reopening Information and FAQs

Updated quarantine and other health and safety-related updates.

On-campus COVID-19 Testing Protocols

Sincerely,

UMass Amherst International Programs Office