International Programs and Services

International Students FAQ for COVID-19

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: December 7, 2020

Updated international travel information

The CDC has changed the travel guidance for returning from international travel. In addition to wearing a mask, keeping 6 ft distance, and washing your hands, the CDC recommends the additional steps below and Michigan Tech expects everyone to follow these guidelines after returning from international travel. 

  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home for 7 days after travel.
  • Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.
  • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
3. Using DUO while traveling 


  • If your holiday plans must include international travel, please review the options for using Duo while traveling. It is important to remember that the SMS and Call Me options may not work in certain countries.
  • We recommend using the Duo app on a mobile device (connected to WiFi) and choosing either the push notification, or the passcode option if no network is available. If the Duo app isn’t an option for you, please contact IT before leaving to discuss alternative solutions.
  • For questions about Duo, we can help. Contact us at or call 7-1111.

Update: Nov. 9, 2020

The MTU Flex Team has updated information for students about testing and 

Testing Requirements for International Travel


Update: October 16, 2020

Spring 2021 FAQs

The University is actively working to continue our risk mitigation efforts so that the Spring 2021 semester will be safe and productive for all of our students. Read below to learn more about Spring 2021 requirements for international students.


Will international students be allowed to take online classes in Spring 2021?

  • IPS staff are awaiting an update from the Student Exchange & Visitor Program (SEVP). During the Spring 2020 semester, the Student Exchange & Visitor Program released guidance that temporarily allowed students to proceed with fully online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This adapted guidance continued into the Fall 2020 semester. No additional guidance has been released for the Spring 2021 semester. For the Spring 2021 semester, we are anticipating that the regulations will revert to the standard rules. IPS will be sure to inform all students, faculty, and staff if something changes.

What is the academic calendar for Spring 2021?

  • The first day of classes is January 11, 2021. The semester ends on April 30, 2021. Commencement is on May 1, 2021. Dates of breaks and other holidays can be found on the Spring 2021 Academic Calendar 

Under normal circumstances, what are the rules regarding online classes for international students?

  • International students on F & J visas, living in the U.S., are limited to one online class per semester. Federal regulations consider an online class to be "a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing." As you evaluate your course needs and speak with your professors, consider the following. All F & J international student visa holders are limited to one fully online course per semester. 

What does it mean to be enrolled "full-time" as an international student?

  • If you are an undergraduate student, 12 hours is considered full time.
  • If you are a graduate student, 9 hours is considered full time. 

Do I need to attend classes in-person for Spring 2021 classes?

  • International students will need to be present in the U.S. for the Spring 202 1semester to maintain an active F-1 or J-1 SEVIS record. 
  • If you wish to enroll in online courses and remain outside the U.S. for the Spring 2021 semester, you need to discuss your options with your academic advisor. Your immigration record will be terminated, but you will be able to continue online course enrollment if your academic advisor approves this course of action. 
  • If you decide to not enroll and to take a leave of absence for the Spring 2021 semester, you will need to reapply to the University when you wish to return for a future semester.

Can I enter the U.S. with an electronic I-20 (F visa holders) or DS-2019 (J visa holders)?

  • Due to COVID-19, the Student Exchange and Visitor Program allowed international student advisors to provide electronic copies of I-20s to students. We anticipate that electronic I-20s will continue to be valid during the Spring 2021 semester. 
  • DS-2019s cannot be sent via electronic means and will continue to be issued in printed form.


If I travel internationally over break, will I have to self-isolate upon return? 

  • Yes, Michigan Tech requires all travelers arriving from international locations to self-isolate for 14 days prior to returning to campus. You must plan accordingly. 

How is Michigan Tech addressing health concerns right now?

  • As we look into the future toward spring semester, it seems probable that COVID-19 will continue to be with us. Therefore, we will continue to use the MTU Flex Campus Health and Safety levels to guide our operations throughout the spring semester. At the current time, we plan to start spring semester as planned on Monday January 11, 2021 at Health and Safety Level 3. Increased testing will be available at the start of spring semester, similar to how testing was administered at the start of fall semester. Throughout spring semester, the Health and Safety Level will be modified upward or downward as needed to react to the situation on the ground. For more information please visit the MTU Flex site.

Update: August 20, 2020

Fall Semester begins on August 27, 2020

International students arriving in the US from an international location must self isolate for 14 days before coming to campus. You may self-isolate with friends or family in another US location or at your residence in Houghton, MI. Michigan Tech does not have available space for the self-isolation period. You must have housing secured before you arrive. Do not wait to find housing in Houghton upon arrival. At this time, all on-campus housing is full. Please visit Off-Campus Housing and USG Off-Campus Housing for more information on off campus apartments. Michigan Tech does provide a shuttle service that may be useful for you. Be sure to discuss with your roommates a safe plan for self isolating, for tips see the Off-Campus Shared Housing During COVID-19 .


Please notify International Programs and Services at of your arrival information so we may assist you with this transition. If you plan on a late arrival, please note you must have approval for a late arrival from your academic department. 


The IPS staff are working both remotely and in the office. Please allow 7-10 business days for all paperwork processing. Emailing is the best way to reach the staff. 


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 for more information.

Visa questions

  • 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
  • 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

Updates from International Programs and Services Message

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

IPS staff are available to help and can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by email or by phone 906-487-2160