Returning to campus

Additional information for international students


This page offers additional considerations for international students. We want to help you begin or continue your enrollment so that you can make progress toward degree completion.

We know that you face additional challenges related to visa services, quarantine requirements, border restrictions, and flight availability. It is our goal to help you navigate these hurdles.

Most of the information below is specific to F-1 students, but travel and border issues also impact other non-residents and global nomads.

The information below was updated on July 8, 2020, to incorporate guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program issued on July 6, 2020. The SEVP guidance is currently being challenged in court. Please watch this website for changes and additional guidance.

COVID-19 Updates for International Students

F-1 visas

We understand that prospective students are having difficulty obtaining F-1 and J-1 visas to study in the United States due to the U.S. State Department’s suspension of routine visa services. We encourage you to contact the U.S. embassy/consulate near you to ask if emergency/expedited visa processing may be considered when you are within 60 days of your program start date.

Please note: You cannot arrive in the middle of the semester after your visa has been issued. If you receive your visa but it is too late to travel to Akron to start classes in August, please contact us.

  • Email us to keep us informed if you have attended a visa appointment, have had a visa appointment postponed or canceled, or are facing additional challenges such as exit restrictions from your home country.
  • We recommend that you arrive in Akron by August 10 in order to complete the mandatory quarantine before classes start on August 24.
  • If the timing of your visa appointment means that you could possibly arrive between August 10 and August 24 please contact us before booking a flight for more information relevant to your specific situation.

Quarantine procedures

  • See the 2nd dropdown below for information about required quarantine procedures for anyone arriving from an international location.

Orientation

Our mandatory online orientation is available for you to complete at your leisure before you arrive in Akron. It includes useful logistical information, including: tips on preparing for your visa interview, how to register for classes, finding housing, how health insurance works, etc.

We are planning an additional in-person physically-distanced orientation on campus when you arrive. We will send information closer to the date.

If you are unable to secure a visa.

You do not need a U.S. visa to take UA classes online from your home country. This means that you have the flexibility to start your degree program at The University of Akron while at home this fall even if you are unable to schedule a visa appointment, or do not receive a visa.

  • Please let us know if you are planning on taking classes from abroad this fall.
  • You may go ahead and contact your Academic Advisor via email to discuss registering for classes.
    • Don’t know how to contact your Academic Advisor? Undergraduates: Check out Level 2 in our online orientation. Graduate students: contact your department.
    • If you plan to take classes from home, you will need to be sure to register for classes that are listed as 100% online.
  • If you choose to take classes from a different institution while at home (that is, take classes that are not from The University of Akron) we will need to re-evaluate your transcript before you enroll at UA. You will be evaluated as a transfer student. This may negatively impact the amount of aid we are able to offer you. 
    • For more information, please contact us before you take classes elsewhere.
  • Be sure to check the sections below for registration and financial considerations to bear in mind when taking classes online from home.

Please note: Online enrollment may not be available in all countries or in all areas of study. Also, starting your degree online from home also does not guarantee that you will be obtain a visa to study in the USA in the future: all visas are granted at the discretion of the U.S. Department of State.

Request deferral

If you decide to request deferral of your admission to a later semester, please complete the form below that applies to you. Once we receive your deferral form and your deferral has been approved, we will contact you to discuss a new Spring 2021 I-20 or DS-2019.

Traveling to the U.S.

Please keep in mind that flights to and from the U.S. are limited and some countries have restricted international flights. For the latest information, please visit:

You can also download a summary of the latest global immigration impacts and resources from Fragomen law firm.

In addition, some students from (or traveling through) Brazil, China, Iran, and certain European countries will be subject to an entry ban unless they have spent 14 days outside any of those countries. Please keep these restrictions in mind when planning your travel to the U.S.

Immigration documents needed to return to the U.S. for Fall 2020

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  • valid passport
  • valid F-1 visa (except for Canadian students)
  • valid I-20 with travel signature

If you will be returning in August, you should also have an I-20 that indicates you are not taking an entirely online course load for the fall 2020 semester and that you are taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program.

The International Center plans to begin issuing these updated I-20s in early August and send them electronically to students by email. Be sure to print and sign your I-20 before traveling.

We also recommend that you bring a copy of your Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 class schedules to demonstrate your full-time enrollment.

Quarantine Requirements

Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler’s Map to view the current guidelines regarding entry to the U.S. after traveling through your country and any other countries through which you transit. You will be required to follow CDC guidelines and guidance from the Summit County Health Department before coming to campus.

At this time, the guidelines provide that travelers from abroad must self-quarantine and monitor for 14 days before interacting with others on campus.

We encourage you to stay with a friend or relative in the U.S. during the quarantine period, if possible – but, first ensure that area of the U.S. does not have a significant COVID-19 outbreak.

If you have a Fall 2020 contract to live in one of the University residence halls, you will be permitted to stay on campus to complete your quarantine. We will update this section when we have determined the earliest possible arrival date for completing a quarantine on campus.

If you require assistance with finding quarantine accommodation, be sure to complete our Travel Plans form (also found above).

Arrival Dates

In order to complete your 14-day quarantine period before the start of classes, we recommend you arrive in the U.S. by August 10.

New students:

  • If you are only able to obtain a visa that allows your arrival after August 10, we encourage you to consider enrolling in online courses from home, then join us on campus in January.
  • International students are not permitted to arrive at The University of Akron mid-way through the semester.
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Students who are INSIDE the U.S.

You must return to campus in Akron to continue your studies. You cannot remain in the United States and take only online courses.

  • Please see the dropdown section “5. Course Enrollment” for details about the course delivery formats required for you to maintain status.

Students that plan to remain abroad during Fall 2020

To maintain financial aid if you remain abroad during Fall 2020, you may be required to maintain a full course of study (minimum 12 credit hours for undergraduate and law students; minimum of 9 credit hours for graduate students).

For more information:

  • If you are an undergraduate student, contact Jennifer Harpham in the Office of Financial Aid.
  • If you are a graduate student, contact your department.
    • Teaching Assistants: New students with Teaching Assistant (TA) contracts will be required to provide proof that they are inside the U.S. or have obtained an F-1 visa by the deadline provided to them from The University of Akron.

Undergraduate students

  • If your financial situation has changed significantly since you applied to The University of Akron, you may request a re-evaluation of your financial aid.
  • If you decide to take fewer than 12 credits from home, you can choose not to use your UA aid. In this situation, you will pay for as many credits as you take from home using your own funding, and you will be able to use the first of your 8 semesters of aid when you arrive on campus in January.
    • Why would you want to do this? This might be an appealing choice if your Internet access is not always stable or guaranteed; or perhaps a specific class that you planned to take is only offered at a time of day or through a teaching method that does not work for you.
  • Please be aware – if you choose to take classes from a different institution while at home (that is, take classes that are not from The University of Akron) we will need to re-evaluate your transcript before you enroll at UA. You will be evaluated as a transfer student. This may negatively impact the amount of aid we are able to offer you.
    • For more information, please contact us before you take classes elsewhere.

Paying Bills, ALL students

You have several options for paying your bill, including applying for the Installment Payment Plan, which allows you to make up to four payments throughout the semester instead of paying all at once.

Choose the payment option that’s best for you:

  • International payments
  • web payments using credit cards and e-checks
  • in person
  • mail a check or money order
  • financial aid
  • third-party payments and scholarships
  • installment plan

For more details about each payment option, contact the Office of Student Accounts at cashier@uakron.edu or 330-972-5100.

On-Campus Employment

The University of Akron can only employ students that are inside the U.S. for on-campus employment positions.

To find a position on campus, visit the Student Employment website.

Students who are OUTSIDE the U.S.

See "2. ALL new and returning students" and look under the Course Enrollment section information for NEW students.

Students who are INSIDE the U.S.

According to the latest SEVP guidance, you will need to enroll full-time (9 credits for graduate students, 12 credits for undergraduate and law students) and enroll in face-to-face or hybrid sections of the classes needed for your academic program whenever possible.

You may take more than one online course to meet the full-time requirement, if necessary. But you may not take ALL of  your classes online. 

  • As a reminder, classes that are labeled as hybrid or in-person in My Akron are both considered to be in-person for immigration purposes.
  • Any class labeled as 100% online is considered to be online for immigration purposes. It does not matter whether the note says the class will be held synchronously or asynchronously.
  • Graduate research credits are generally considered in-person courses. 

Sponsored students

Be sure to check any requirements from your sponsor regarding course load and course delivery type.

All students

As usual, we recommend you work with your Academic Advisor to select your classes. They will be able to help you register for classes that are appropriate for your geographical location.

  • New international undergraduate students: check the online orientation for the name and contact information for your Academic Advisor.
  • New international graduate students: contact your department.

Enrolled UA students insurance coverage and COVID-19

Treatment for COVID-19 (coronavirus) is covered under your LewerMark Student Insurance plan.

Read more about your coverage specific to COVID-19

Students who are OUTSIDE the U.S.

This is not a good time to be without adequate health insurance! See our website for Information about our mandatory health insurance for international students.

  • Details about the mandatory plan.
  • Request a waiver.
  • Note: you MUST be enrolled in classes in order to be sure that your health insurance coverage is in place when you arrive in Akron. This means that you will need to register for classes before you arrive. If you will be taking classes from outside the U.S. in Fall 2020, you do not need to purchase the U.S. health insurance.

If you are a returning student and you cancelled your LewerMark insurance when you returned home outside the U.S. in March, AND if you will be returning to Akron before August 13, you will need to purchase a separate policy to ensure you have coverage when you arrive in the U.S.  Please contact us for a list of suggested insurance companies to ensure you do not have a gap in your coverage.

Students who are INSIDE the U.S.

  • You will be automatically enrolled in the LewerMark health insurance, as usual, when you register for classes.
  • You will be able to visit the LewerMark website to print your card after the start of the semester, as usual.

For special populations

  • If you are a Global Nomad student, DACA recipient, are undocumented, or have a nonimmigrant status other than F-1 or J-1, contact us for more information.
  • If your family will be living with you in the U.S., and you wish to purchase insurance for them also, contact us for a list of suggested insurance companies.

Institutional Compliance

The International Center is responsible for institutional compliance with the Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and advising F-1 students/alumni and J-1 Exchange Visitors. The International Center has submitted updates to SEVP to inform SEVP of our operational changes due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we will continue to monitor announcements from SEVP.

SEVP has provided guidance that institutions will need to issue updated I-20s to F-1 students who will be continuing their studies in the U.S. We plan to begin processing these new I-20s at the end of July. We will prioritize I-20 issuance for students outside the U.S., especially those who need to apply for visas.

Stay Informed

We send regular email updates to international students, and we keep students updated through our International Student & Scholar e-newsletter. You can also send questions to international@uakron.edu.