All International Students

Please review all the questions and answers below.

Will international students be able to take online/virtual only classes for the 2021-2022 academic year?

UMass Lowell plans to resume full on-campus operations for the 2021-2022 academic year, including in-person learning. Students in the US are expected to return to campus to resume in-person learning. In accordance with Federal Regulations, this means that students may only take one online class per semester. The ISSO is working with campus partners to identify accommodations for students outside of the US, who are unable to return to campus due to COVID-19 visa/travel restrictions. ISSO will continue to monitor CDC guidance regarding travel restrictions, visa issuance and backlogs, and vaccine requirements internationally.

Where can I get updated information on UMass Lowell’s COVID-19 Response?

Students should visit the Coronavirus Updates webpage to view current plans and protocols.

Where can I find information on ongoing travel recommendations, restrictions and protocols?

Prior to travelling to the U.S., please be sure to carefully review the CDC's International Travel webpage for the most up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for entry to the U.S. Please note, the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation and as such, these requirements are subject to change.

Are the U.S. Embassy/Consulates abroad processing routine visa services again?

To find information for the U.S. Embassy in your home country, please search the embassy near you on the U.S. Embassy website.

To find information on Visa Appointment wait times or availability, please check the State Department webpage.

Will international students who have been vaccinated in their countries need to be re-vaccinated with a vaccine that is authorized for use in the U.S .?

UMass Lowell will accept proof of vaccination with vaccines approved by Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO). These organizations are regularly reviewing vaccines for their development processes, safety and efficacy.

What happens if students can’t easily get access to vaccines where they live, either in the U.S. or abroad? Can they get vaccinated when they get to UMass Lowell?

As of November 8, 2021, per Presidential Proclamation 10294 and a separate CDC order, all "noncitizens who are nonimmigrants" travelling to the US by air MUST establish that they are fully vaccinated (with very few exceptions). Additionally, UMass Lowell requires that all enrolled students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the start of the semester in order to live, learn, or visit any UMass Lowell campus or property.

If you are allowed to travel to the US prior to being vaccinated due to a specific CDC exception, you will be required to obtain COVID-19 vaccination within one week of arrival to the US. Visit the CDC website for additional information on requirements post-arrival. Please check Vax Finder for a COVID-19 vaccination location that is convenient to you.

If you are allowed to travel to the US prior to being vaccinated due a specific CDC exception and would like to request a vaccination exemption from UMass Lowell due to medical or religious reasons, a request must be submitted by December 19, 2021. For more information, please contact 978-934-6800 or wellness_center@uml.edu.

I am in my home country and unable to arrive to the US due to visa/travel issues and restrictions. Will I be able to enroll from my home country?

The ISSO is working close with our campus partners to identify accommodations for students who are currently outside of the U.S. who are unable to come to the US due to visa issues or travel restrictions.  Students who are unable to arrive in the US for the Spring 2022 semester may request a deferral of their I-20/DS-2019 start date to allow them to arrive for the Fall 2022 semester. ISSO will continue to monitor travel restrictions, visa issuance and backlog.

I am unable to arrive to the U.S. for Spring 2022 and I prefer to not take online courses from my home country this semester. What are my options?

If you are unable or would prefer to not begin your program through online courses from your home country, we recommend you contact the Graduate Admissions or Undergraduate Admissions office to see whether you are eligible to defer your admission to Fall 2022. Once your admission is updated to reflect Fall 2022, ISSO will update your visa document to reflect a start term of Fall 2022 (September 1, 2022).

What are the enrollment requirements for international students for the Spring 2022 term?

Initial Students

All “new” (initial) students are required to be in the U.S. and enrolled in in-person courses (no more than one online course per term) in order to have their SEVIS record activated and otherwise maintain their status. Should an initial student not be able to arrive for the Spring 2022 term, they must either:

  1. Work with admissions to defer their I-20 to a subsequent term, at which point ISSO can issue an updated I-20 reflecting the new term start; or
  2. Begin their program remotely* from their home country during the spring with plans to arrive to the U.S. for a subsequent term. You will need to work with the ISSO to amend your I-20 and SEVIS record to reflect the appropriate term start by which you will be present in the U.S.

Active Students

All students in active F-1 or J-1 status are expected to be in the U.S. and enrolled in in-person courses (no more than one online course per term) in order to be SEVIS registered for the Spring 2022 term and otherwise maintain their status. If an active student is unable to arrive to the U.S. for the Spring 2022 term, they have three options:

  1. If you were in “active” F-1/J-1 status as of March 9, 2020 and will enroll on a full-time basis in online courses from abroad, the ISSO may permit you to maintain “active” SEVIS status;
  2. If you were not in “active” F-1 or J-1 status as of March 9, 2020, you can enroll in online courses from abroad*, though the ISSO must terminate your status as an Authorized Early Withdrawal. The ISSO can later attempt to reactivate your SEVIS record no earlier than 60 days from the term you intend to return to the U.S. Should a reactivation not be possible, you may be able to return to the U.S. on a new “initial” SEVIS record;
  3. Choose not to enroll in courses, resulting in the termination of your SEVIS record (a leave of absence). The ISSO can later attempt to reactivate your SEVIS record no earlier than 60 days from the term you intend to return to the U.S. Should a reactivation not be possible, you may be able to return to the U.S. on a new “initial” SEVIS record.

Newly Reactivated Students

If you are a student returning to the U.S. to resume your studies after having your SEVIS record reactivated (in “initial” status), you are expected to be in the U.S. and enrolled in in-person courses (no more than one online course per term) in order to be SEVIS registered for the Spring 2022 term and otherwise maintain your status. The inability to arrive for the spring 2022 term will result in the automatic cancellation of your SEVIS record. The ISSO can later attempt to reactivate your SEVIS record no earlier than 60 days from the term you intend to return to the U.S. Should a reactivation not be possible, you may be able to return to the U.S. on a new “initial” SEVIS record.

Transfer-In Students

New transfer students are expected to be in the U.S. and enrolled in in-person courses (no more than one online course per term) in order to be SEVIS registered for the Spring 2022 term and otherwise maintain their status, regardless of whether they were or were not in “active” SEVIS status as of March 9, 2020. The inability to arrive for the Spring 2022 term will result in the automatic cancellation of your SEVIS record. The ISSO can later attempt to reactivate your SEVIS record no earlier than 60 days from the term you intend to return to the U.S. Should a reactivation not be possible, you may be able to return to the U.S. on a new “initial” SEVIS record.

Change of Level Students

Students in “active” F-1 or J-1 status starting a new program of study in the spring after completing a different program in a previous term (change of academic level cases) are expected to be in the U.S. and enrolled in in-person courses (no more than one online course per term) in order to be SEVIS registered for the Spring 2022 term and otherwise maintain their status. If this student is unable to arrive to the U.S. for the Spring 2022 term, they have three options:

  1. If you were in “active” F-1/J-1 status as of March 9, 2020 and will enroll on a full-time basis in online courses from abroad*, the ISSO may permit you to maintain “active” SEVIS status, SEVIS registering at the start of the Spring 2022 term;
  2. If you were not in “active” F-1 or J-1 status as of March 9, 2020, you can enroll in online courses from abroad*, though the ISSO must cancel your SEVIS record. The ISSO can later attempt to reactivate your SEVIS record no earlier than 60 days from the term you intend to return to the U.S., though the approval of a reactivation is up to the discretion of SEVP. Should a reactivation not be possible, you may be able to return to the U.S. on a new “initial” SEVIS record;
  3. Choose not to enroll in courses, resulting in the cancellation of your SEVIS record. The ISSO can later attempt to reactivate your SEVIS record no earlier than 60 days from the term you intend to return to the U.S., though the approval of a reactivation is up to the discretion of SEVP. To that, proof that you were enrolled, even from abroad, during that term may be helpful when attempting a reactivation. Should a reactivation not be possible, you may be able to return to the U.S. on a new “initial” SEVIS record once the ISSO receives confirmation from the department that you will be permitted to resume your studies.

*Please note, students from / in OFAC countries (Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, and the Crimean Region of Ukraine) are not eligible to enroll in online courses from overseas. If you're not sure if you are impacted by OFAC, please email: ISSO@uml.edu.

What if I am unable to arrive to the U.S. for the start of the Spring 2022 term (January 18, 2022)?

Under F-1 or J-1 student visa regulations, you are required to arrive to the university by the start of the semester. We are also unable to issue late arrival letters, as the ISSO cannot "approve" a late arrival to the U.S. We would refer you to the guidance below as to what you will need if arriving later than the upcoming term start date:

Arrival During the Add/Drop Period (January 18-31, 2022)*: You must be enrolled-full time and travel with proof of registration, as well as collect a letter from your academic advisor acknowledging and approving your arrival after the start of the given term.

Please note: that all international students are required to report to the ISSO within 30 days of a term's start so that we may SEVIS register you for that term. Failure to be SEVIS registered will result in the termination of your SEVIS record.

*Please be advised that failure to obtain the necessary University-required immunizations in a timely manner, or demonstrate and approved exemption, will result in the University dropping you from your courses and the subsequent termination of your F-1 or J-1 visa status. Please plan to rectify any vaccination-related issues prior to your arrival in the U.S.