Returning to campus

Additional information for international students


This page offers additional information specific to international students.

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 Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) released updated guidance on July 24, 2020, regarding the fall semester. This page has been updated to reflect how the guidance applies to F-1 international students at UA. The information is subject to change pending additional guidance from SEVP.

COVID-19 Updates for International Students

F-1 visas

The U.S. State Department has indicated U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of visa services. Please visit the individual U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s website for information regarding operating status and which services it is currently offering.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program has confirmed that new students, transfer students currently outside the U.S., and students changing to a new educational level who are currently outside the U.S. may not obtain an F-1 visa or enter the U.S. to begin a 100% online program. This means you must enroll in at least one in-person or hybrid credit for fall 2020.

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.
  • Fall semester arrival deadlines: Due to the 14-day self-quarantine period for international travelers, the dates below are deadlines for arriving in the U.S. to attend classes at UA in Fall 2020:
    • New Law students: August 3
    • Graduate Assistants (new and continuing): August 10
    • All other students (new and continuing) are recommended to arrive in the U.S. by August 10. We will allow late arrivals through August 17.
    • Students requesting a special exception must send a request to international@uakron.edu for consideration.

    Quarantine procedures

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

    Orientation

    We are planning an online, synchronous orientation when you arrive. We will send additional details by email.

    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.

    • U.S. Customs and Border Protection has recently issued guidance to airlines that F-1 and F-2 visa holders from, or traveling through, the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland during the preceding 14 days may travel to the United States while these Proclamations are in effect. F visa holders subject to these Proclamations have been granted a national interest exception to travel and can be boarded without contacting CBP as long as all admissibility and document requirements are met. We encourage students traveling from these areas to contact immigration@uakron.edu to request a PDF of the CBP statement to keep with them while traveling.
    • If you decide to travel to the U.S. without first spending 14 days outside the areas affected by the Presidential Proclamations, we encourage you to bring along a copy of the DOS statement and be prepared to make alternative arrangements in case you are not allowed entry to the U.S.
    • If you successfully enter the U.S. based on the exception, please inform international@uakron.edu and let us know the port of entry at which you entered.

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

    Continuing F-1 students returning to the U.S. will need the following documents to apply for reentry to the U.S.:

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

    We strongly recommend that you bring a copy of your Fall 2020 class schedule demonstrating your full-time enrollment. New students, transfer students, and change of level students coming from abroad should ensure their schedule shows they will be taking at least one class with an in-person component.

    Arrival Dates

    Due to the 14-day self-quarantine period for international travelers, the dates below are deadlines for arriving in the U.S. to attend classes at UA in Fall 2020:

    • New Law students: August 3
    • Graduate Assistants (new and continuing): August 10
    • All other students (new and continuing) are recommended to arrive in the U.S. by August 10. We will allow late arrivals through August 17.

    Students requesting a special exception must send a request to international@uakron.edu for consideration.

    Communications while in transit

    You will need a phone that can be used in the United States to have while you are in transit – to call for an Uber or Lyft or for emergencies.

    • You should be able to use wifi in most places, but we recommend you have some US data while you travel, just in case.

    Our recommendations:

    • Be sure that your phone works in the USA. To do this, we suggest that you purchase a plan in your home country that permits roaming and will let you make at least a small number of calls from the US when you first arrive, and that your phone company has confirmed this will work.
    • Have something available on your laptop and/or phone to call home to let your family know you made it here safely. Most students use WhatsApp, Facetime or Skype, but there are many free options available.

    Please note: We can give you a free US SIM card when you get to campus. This is not an endorsement for any specific long-term phone company but is an option to tide you over when you arrive. Our SIMs have a relatively inexpensive plan that you can use while you investigate the phone company that is right for your needs.

    • Check task 29 in the online orientation. We have more information about cell phones there. We will also cover this subject again in the on-campus orientation after you arrive.

    When you arrive at the airport

    Be aware that Ohio currently has a mask mandate in place.

    All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:

    • At an indoor location that is not a residence
    • Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members
    • Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.

    Our recommendation:

    You will be expected to wear a mask at the airport when you arrive, so be sure to bring one with you.

    Getting to Akron from the airport

    We regret that we cannot provide transportation from the airport this semester due to COVID-19.

    Our recommendation:

    • Take a Taxi, Lyft, or Uber from the airport. Download the app at home before you travel.
    • If you have questions after landing, you can ask people at the Help Desk in the airport to assist you in finding transportation.

    Please note: If you have a friend pick you up from the airport, you will BOTH be required to self-quarantine for 14 days before coming to campus. Please see here for the self-quarantine policy.

    Emergency contact information:

    • Contact the International Center contact for emergencies: Robyn Brown, Exec Dir, Global Engagement: 330-972-6798
    • Other emergency number:
      • The University of Akron Police Department may also help, call 330-972-2911 (or 1-330 972-2911 if outside northeast Ohio).

    Please note:

    • Make sure you have activated your UA email before you travel.
    • If you cannot attend class the first week, you will need to communicate with your professors to let them know you are quarantining.

     Printable version of the Travel, Arrival, and Quarantine information

    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.

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

    Arriving in Akron

    If you will be quarantining on campus (that is, you have a fall housing assignment) you should already have received instructions from Residence Life outlining how to get your key etc. Contact us asap if you haven’t received this communication.

    If you miss your designated time to move into your housing:

    • Notify Residence Life & Housing as soon as possible by emailing reslife@uakron.edu or calling the number they provide you.
    • If you do not hear back with new instructions and must arrive on campus at a different time than originally scheduled, call the UA Police Department at 330-972-2911 and ask them to connect you with the Resident Director or Assistant on duty.

    If you are living off campus: Please discuss arrangements and expectations with your landlord.

    Suggested list of things to bring with you:

    Residence Life has a useful list of What to Bring on their website, however we know that space is limited in your suitcase so many of the items on the Residence Life list will not fit.

    Also, note that some websites in the USA do not accept international credit cards.

    Our recommendation:

    If you need a specific product, we suggest you bring it with you to use during quarantine, as you will not be able to go shopping (other than online) for the first 14 days you are in Akron. This would include things like contact lens supplies or a specific product that you love to use.

    You probably will want to order bedding and towels so they are waiting for you when you arrive.

    • Check our website for more information, and order as early as you can. Our vendor does not require either a US credit card or a street address. They can deliver to the University bookstore and we will put your order in your residence hall room before you arrive – be sure to tell us you placed the order!
    • If you do not need these immediately, or if you have a US credit card, and/or someone who can take delivery for you, you may want to order online from somewhere like Amazon, Target, Walmart, or Bed, Bath and Beyond and have your purchases delivered directly to your accommodation.

    Students who live on campus:

    • You will receive 2 masks when you collect your room key.
    • We can also supply hand sanitizer, a SIM card, one power adapter (but be sure to bring power cords for all your devices).

    Please note: that in the U.S., the power plugs and sockets are type A and B. The standard voltage is 120 and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.

    Other things to bring:

    • Something to keep you occupied for 14 days of quarantine.
    • We will check in with you frequently, and you are required to attend the virtual orientation sessions, (and you may start classes during quarantine) but you will need to find ways to occupy your time.
    • Don’t forget: you can start reading the books and other materials required for your classes.
    • Materials ordered through the University bookstore and online retailers can be delivered to you while you are in quarantine.

    Technology to use while in quarantine:

    We strongly suggest that you bring a laptop with you on arrival for use during quarantine.

    • Don’t forget to bring your own power cords and charger.
    • We have a limited number of machines available for use if this is not possible – please let us know if you will need one.

    You will be expected to complete the on-campus orientation virtually while in quarantine, and depending on when you arrive, you may need to start classes from quarantine too.

    How to access the University of Akron’s wifi:

    • UA's wifi is the Roo-secure network on campus.
    • You will need your UAnet ID and password to log in.

    Orientation:

    • Will be online, synchronous and available while you are in quarantine. Check your email for more information.

    Financial challenges associated with being in quarantine:

    Please plan ahead to consider how you will access your funds while in quarantine.
    Due dates for UA related expenses can be found online.

    If you are under 18, be sure to check our website for more information about banking in the USA.

    Paying bills

    Plan ahead: it is possible that your will need to pay your tuition or room/board expenses while you are in quarantine BEFORE you have opened a bank account.

    Opening a bank account in the USA

    We suggest that you open a bank account in the USA to manage your finances.

    PNC is the official bank of the University of Akron and has several locations around campus.

    • You cannot open a bank account while online (unless you have a US Social Security number).
    • Due to COVID-19 the branch of PNC that is located in the Student Union will only be taking appointments, not walk in customers.
    • They are available for virtual 1:1 appointments with students to discuss your financial needs. You can start this conversation while you are in quarantine and can open your bank account when your quarantine is over.
    • We will advise contact information for PNC during the virtual orientation.

    Our recommendations:

    • Bring some cash – but not a lot. (Please don’t bring big bags of cash!) Be sure to carry any cash in your hand luggage, not your checked bags.
    • An alternative to cash: bring a prepaid/preloaded credit card - but be sure you know the PIN number.
    • Bring a credit card and make sure it works in the USA. Be sure to tell your bank you’ll be travelling internationally and that they should approve your purchases.

    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.

    Enrollment Requirements for Fall 2020

    Students currently in F-1 status are required to enroll in 9 credits (graduate students) or 12 credits (undergraduate and law students) to maintain F-1 status during Fall 2020. According to the latest guidance from the Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), students may temporarily count more than one online class toward a “full course of study” during Fall 2020. See the chart below for details.

    Students Currently Outside the U.S.

    Students Currently Inside the U.S.

    NEW
    Students beginning a new program at UA

    (this includes transfer students and students changing educational levels)

    CONTINUING

    Students who were actively enrolled in a full course of study on March 9, 2020, and who are continuing at the same academic level

    CONTINUING

    Students who were actively enrolled in a full course of study on March 9, 2020, and are continuing at the same academic level

    TRANSFER

    Students who have been maintaining F-1 status in the U.S. since March 9, 2020, and are transferring to UA for Fall 2020

    CHANGE OF LEVEL

    Students who have been maintaining F-1 status in the U.S. since March 9, 2020, and are changing to a new educational level for Fall 2020

    Entering the U.S. for Fall 2020

    Must take at least 1 in-person or hybrid credit in your program.

    May take fully online courses

    May take fully online courses

    May take fully online courses

    May take fully online courses

    Remaining outside the U.S. during Fall 2020

    May take fully online courses. Your SEVIS record will not be activated during Fall 2020.

    If you decide not to take classes during Fall 2020, you may request deferral of your admission.

    Remember to inform us if you will be taking classes online from abroad.

    May take fully online courses

    • If you take a full course load, your SEVIS record will remain Active.
    • If you decide not to take a full course load during Fall 2020, inform the International Center and your academic advisor so we can process a leave of absence for you. We will need to terminate your SEVIS record.

    Remember to inform us if you will be taking classes online from abroad.

    N/A

    N/A

    N/A

    Remember:

    • You may request a Reduced Course Load if you meet certain criteria.
    • Some graduate students may be considered “full time” with fewer than 9 credits. Visit this page and click on “Request to Be Considered Full-time with Less than Nine Credit Hours.”

    Please note: SEVP’s guidance is for Fall 2020 only. We do not have guidance for Spring 2021 yet.

    Sponsored students: Be sure to check with your sponsor regarding its enrollment requirements to maintain your financial aid.

    Selecting classes: As usual, we recommend that 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.

    If you have any questions, please contact immigration@uakron.edu.

    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.

    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.