International Programs and Services is deeply concerned about the current coronavirus outbreak and sincerely hopes that you, your families, and your friends have not been directly impacted. The health, safety, and well-being of our international students, staff & faculty, and broader Michigan Tech community are our priority. The best way to receive updated information is to check this website as we will post updates here as soon as more information is available.
Update: July 27, 2020
On Friday, July 24, 2020, ICE issued Clarifying Questions and Answers for international students. Reflecting our best reading of this guidance against the July 15 FAQ and regulations, we understand the following:
For Continuing F1 Visa holding Students (Those enrolled at Michigan Tech as of March 9, 2020)
- Continuing international students can take classes in various modes: in-person, hybrid, or fully remote from the United States. Our understanding is because Michigan Tech is offering a hybrid or mixed delivery option for instruction there will be no effect on your SEVIS record as long as you remain enrolled full time or drop below full-time enrollment with proper documentation.
- Continuing international students may take a fully online course load from the United States, because of the temporary exemptions in place under the July 15 ICE FAQ. We encourage all international students who are in the United States to return to Houghton, MI if possible so you may take advantage of all student support and academic services available on campus.
- Continuing international students who had an active SEVIS record on March 9, 2020, can take a fully online course load in fall 2020 from outside the United States. Your SEVIS record will remain active as long as you maintain full-time enrollment. If you are having trouble registering for all online courses for fall 2020, please fill out the COVID-19 Special Consideration Request Form and Michigan Tech will work with you individually to adjust your schedule if possible.
- Continuing international student may engage in CPT from their home country, provided they are: enrolled in a program of study in which CPT is integral to the program of study; their DSO authorized CPT in advance of the CPT start date; and either the employer has an office outside the United States or the employer can assess student engagement and attainment of learning objectives electronically.
- For students in their last semester, who are in their home country, who are considering OPT, we are still awaiting guidance from SEVP on whether or not students are able to apply for OPT from outside the country. We encourage you to continue to apply for OPT and will update you as we know more.
- IPS staff do not need to re-issue I-20's for continuing students. ICE rescinded this requirement.
For New International Students with Initial I-20's
New international students outside of the United States may take classes 100% online while they remain outside of the United States.
- An I-20 and active SEVIS record are not required to enroll in online courses from outside the United States. New international students will not be activated in SEVIS in fall 2020, but they will be activated after arrival in the United States and enrollment in in-person classes.
- International students with an INITIAL SEVIS I-20 may not enter the United States to take fully online classes.
- As we understand it; international students with I-20s marked “initial attendance” taking at least one in-person class (this could be 100% in person or courses that are a mixed delivery with a meaningful component in person) may still be able to study in the United States.
For Continuing and New International Students
- According to the July 24, 2020 guidance, If we must switch to an all online format in the middle of the Fall 2020 term students pursuing studies in the United States for the fall 2020 school term will be able to continue studying from within the United States if a university moves online.
- If you arrive in Houghton, MI from an international location you must self-isolate for 14 days before returning from campus. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- The Department of State announced a phased resumption of routine visa services on July 14, 2020. The resumption of visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis so long as it is safe for Department of State personnel to return to work. Students should check with the specific consulate site to its operations by going to https://www.usembassy.gov/.
- The proclamations from the White House restricting certain travelers from entering the United States due to COVID-19 remain intact. Notably, the Department of State announced on July 16, 2020 that F-1 international students would be exempt from the proclamations banning certain travelers from the Schengen Area, UK, and Ireland.
As we receive more information from SEVP and the Department of State we will share this information once we receive it.
Updates from the Graduate School
Updates for Students
Read President Koubek's full message to faculty, staff, and students.
For information from Michigan Tech regarding COVID-19, please refer to the COVID-19 website.
Last updated: May 13, 2020
Can International Students take Track A and Track B Remotely?
- On May 1, 2020 President Koubek announced that both Track A and Track B courses will be conducted remotely. The U.S. government confirmed that international students can temporarily engage in distance-learning, either from within the U.S. or outside the country, in light of COVID-19. SEVP will provide updated guidance as additional information concerning the scope and length of this situation becomes clearer. This guidance allows ISS to keep F-1 and J-1 SEVIS records active for students studying online full-time, either in the U.S. or at home. Updates from SEVIS
Will on-campus operations resume at the beginning of the fall 2020 semester?
- Michigan Tech is preparing for an on-time, face to face fall semester start, a cross-functional campus team is finalizing the details of Michigan Tech’s return to campus plan that will be announced soon.
- Michigan Tech’s plan is predicated on the state’s guidance for a phased re-opening, incorporates best practices as suggested by state, federal, and nonprofit agencies and takes into account other factors to ensure the health and safety of our entire community.
Do I need to leave the U.S.?
- Students may remain in the U.S. for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Students who are considering leaving the U.S. should carefully consider international travel plans as online access to courses may be limited. Additionally, with a rapidly evolving global situation, students who elect to leave the U.S. may not be able to re-enter at the time they wish to return, which could impact future immigration benefits. Students in F-1 or J-1 status should consult IPS staff prior to traveling to discuss potential impacts with respect to their specific immigration situation.
- Academic Considerations: Consult with the faculty and instructors who are teaching your classes to confirm what your academic requirements are between now and the end of the term.
- Immigration Status: if you maintain full-time enrollment and participate in your classes in their new format so that you continue to make normal progress towards degree completion, then your current I-20 form and F-1 SEVIS record will remain active even if you are no longer in Houghton for the final weeks of the winter term.
Do I need a travel signature if I decide to leave the U.S.?
- Students/scholars do not need a travel signature to depart the U.S., only to re-enter however, IPS does recommend obtaining a new travel signature before departure. Please make sure you have all required documentation including a valid travel signature on your 1-20 along with a valid passport and visa. If your current travel signature will be older than 6 months upon re-entry you can request an updated travel 1-20 here. Check the expiration date (program end date) on your I-20. If your I-20 is expiring soon but you will need additional time to complete your academic program, apply for an extension of your I-20. You will not be able to re-enter the US with an expired I-20.
If I am planning to leave the U.S., do I need to report to IPS?
- No, you do not need to report your departure or obtain any immigration documents. Students who are considering leaving the U.S. should carefully consider international travel plans, as online access to courses may be limited. Additionally, with a rapidly evolving global situation, students who elect to leave the U.S. may not be able to re-enter at the time they wish to return, which could impact future immigration benefits. Students in F-1 or J-1 status should consult the IPS staff prior to traveling to discuss potential impacts with respect to their specific immigration situation.
I am in my last semester and am applying for OPT. I’m thinking of leaving the U.S. for the rest of the semester, is that ok?
- We recommend carefully considering international travel at this time because we do not know how the situation will develop and when students will be able to return. Remember, you must be physically present in the U.S. to apply for OPT; you cannot apply for OPT after you have left the U.S. If you have additional questions, email email@example.com IPS always advises against international travel while OPT is pending, If you choose to travel, please note IPS cannot help facilitate your re-entry.
If I remain in my home country can they maintain F-1 student visa status?
- International students who choose to return to their home country (or other non-U.S. location), will be able to retain their current F-1 status provided they remain enrolled full-time and participating in their courses and return to the U.S. for their next academic semester (fall 2020 for most students, unless summer 2020 is a required semester). Students who are not able to remain enrolled, who drop classes and/or who remain outside the U.S. more than 5 months without being enrolled, may need to obtain a new I-20 and should consult with IPS.
If I leave the U.S. for a period of 5 months or more, will my I-20 be terminated or inactivated?
- The Department of Homeland Security guidance on F-1 travel and re-entry states you can be out of the US for no more than five months. International students who leave the US at this time and do not plan to return until the start of Fall semester may find themselves being absent from the US for more than five months; however, we will consider the time outside of the US from the time you depart until the end of the Spring semester (May 2, 2020) to be an absence from the US that is “connected to study” since you will be completing the Spring semester online/remotely. As long as you remain enrolled full-time while you are outside of the US and meet your class requirements online/remotely you will not lose your visa status. During the COVID-19 pandemic, students who maintain their enrollment while taking classes online will be considered as maintaining their status and will not be subject to the "Five Month Rule."
Should I stay in the U.S. if I need a visa?
- The IPS office recommends that students (from all countries) consider international travel plans carefully as travel bans/restrictions may be in place at the time they want to return to the U.S. Visa processing may be delayed or unavailable due to health and safety concerns at many U.S. Consulates.
How will remote courses affect my immigration status?
- The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has alerted Michigan Tech that they intend to be flexible with temporary adaptations such as on-line learning to ensure that nonimmigrant students are able to continue to make normal progress in a full course of study as required by federal regulations. SEVP also recognizes changes to workplace requirements may impact nonimmigrant students engaging in practical training. SEVP encourages such students to consult with their employer to seek alternative ways to maintain employment, such as teleworking or other arrangements.
Will the online teaching platform work in other countries if I decide to leave the U.S.?
- The university and IPS recommend that students (from all countries) consider international travel plans carefully: online course access, bandwidth, and distance education modalities that are commonly available in the U.S. and many non-U.S. countries, may be limited and thereby impact the ability of some students to have full access to Canvas, Zoom and other remote education methods.
Will the COVID-19 test be covered by Wellfleet insurance?
- Wellfleet will cover student member costs for COVID-19 testing. Wellfleet will waive all co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance. Similar to a preventive visit, like an annual physical, the member will have no out-of-pocket costs for testing.
I am a student employee whose hours have been reduced or eliminated by the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Are there any resources to help me?
Can I work off-campus now that I have lost my on-campus job?
- If you experience severe economic hardship because of unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, you may request employment authorization to work off-campus (if you meet certain regulatory requirements).
- The application process can take three months or longer under normal circumstances, but may be further delayed by COVID-19. You will also be required to pay a fee.
- Michigan Tech and the IPS staff can not guarantee that you will be approved to work off-campus because of economic hardship due to COVID-19. Please weigh your options carefully and follow all recommendations from USCIS.
I am getting multiple text and email messages about COVID-19, how do I know which messages to trust?
- Please be aware of COVID-19 scams during the coming weeks, including calls about the stimulus check. This includes emails, text messages, and any other social media messaging. Never give your personal information to anyone over the phone, email, or text message. For all up to date information about the COVID-19 situation please go to https://www.mtu.edu/covid-19/.
IPS staff are available to help and can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by email IPS@mtu.edu or by phone 906-487-2160