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.
Virtual Town Hall Meeting
On July 10, Michigan Tech will be hosting a virtual town hall, where we’ll discuss the details of our return-to-campus plan to start the fall semester and answer any questions you may have. More details about the virtual town hall will be emailed to you in July.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 8:00 am to 5:00 pm by email IPS@mtu.edu or by phone 906-487-2160