IPO News

August 17 Immigration Update

Monday, August 17, 2020

Dear New UMass International Students,                

We have an additional update for you regarding the in-person instruction requirement for all new F-1 students who will be physically present on campus this fall 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 fall 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 is being automatically added to your SPIRE registration. The graduate level course will be listed as UNIV 597INT, and for undergraduates the course listing is UNIV 197INT.

  • Further details including course curriculum, meeting times, instructor, etc. will be communicated through SPIRE and the usual instructional mechanisms. The IPO has no further academic information at this time.

  • In accordance with current federal immigration regulations and guidance, this additional course may not be dropped at any point during the fall semester if you are physically present in the U.S. Failure 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 now do not intend to come to the U.S. this fall, and you will otherwise begin your studies entirely online from outside the U.S., please contact: gradvisarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (graduate students) or visarequest[at]umass[dot]edu (undergraduate students) with the subject line “Fall 2020 Fully Remote.You will be removed from this course only if you do not enter the U.S. this fall.            

  • If you held valid F-1 immigration status in the U.S. on March 9, 2020 and were attending a 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.

  • If you are a new F-1 student and have already been enrolled in what is considered an essential in-person on-campus course based on your academic degree program (i.e. performing arts, capstone, applied research, etc.), you do not need to take this additional 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 essential coursework.You will be removed from this course only if enrollment in other essential coursework is verified.            

  • If you previously indicated that you will not be coming to the U.S. this fall, but your visa and travel plans now allow you to come to campus before the Drop/Add deadline of September 7, 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 fall 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:                

  • If you are a new international student who will remain in your home country this fall, but will not begin academic studies online in fall semester, you must request a deferral of your admission to spring semester.

  • If you are a new international student who needs to request an updated I-20 document with a future program start date (i.e. January, 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.” You can continue to use your existing I-20 form to schedule your 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 September 7.

Additional Resources: