In October, Chancellor Jones announced via massmail that our Spring 2021 semester will be delivered through a blend of in-person and remote instruction in the same manner as the Fall 2020 semester. Much of the design and delivery of these blended offerings will be determined at the college and department levels. We encourage you to monitor your email for updates from your college and be in regular communication your course instructors.
When this announcement was made, the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Programs (SEVP) had not issued guidance to international students and schools for the Spring semester. Last week, an SEVP spokesperson confirmed that Spring 2021 will follow the same policies and procedures as Fall 2020. If formal guidance is published by SEVP, we will link to it on our website. Until then, please follow the guidance in these FAQs:
I am a continuing active F-1 or J-1 student who attended the University of Illinois in Fall 2020. What are my restrictions for registration in Spring 2021?
You should enroll full time to maintain your immigration status, or request a reduced course load through iStart. However the limitations on online enrollment have been lifted for Spring 2021, meaning you can take as many or as few online courses as needed for your program, including an entirely online program if necessary.
I am currently in active F-1 or J-1 status and attended the University of Illinois in Fall 2020 but I am currently outside the U.S. Can I enter the U.S. and for study in Spring 2021?
Yes, regardless of whether you plan to take in person courses or online courses.
I am a new, initial international student. Can I enter the U.S. and begin studies this Spring?
Yes, if you plan to take at least one in-person course. Current guidance is that entry visas will not be issued to new students who are entering the U.S. to begin a program entirely online.
I am a new, initial international student but I began my studies remotely in Fall. What are my restrictions for Spring?
Although you are considered a Fall admit for academic purposes, you are considered a new, initial international student for immigration purposes. Therefore, if you are entering the U.S. to study at the University of Illinois and do not currently have an active SEVIS record you will need to enroll in at least one in-person course.
Are there any special considerations for Transfer students?
Students who have transferred to the University of Illinois to begin studies this Spring and are currently in the U.S. should check in with ISSS and enroll as a full time student. Students who have transferred to the University of Illinois to begin studies this Spring and are currently outside the U.S. should only attempt to enter the U.S. if they plan to take an in-person course. Transfer students who have left the U.S. and plan to be entirely online in Spring will receive a new I-20 or DS-2019 to enter the U.S. for a future semester. Please contact your department (Graduate students) or the Office of Undergraduate Admissions (undergraduate students) to obtain your updated immigration document.
Are scanned copies of I-20s or DS-2019s allowed to obtain entry visas and enter the U.S.?
Scans of I-20s for F-1 students are acceptable during the global pandemic. Scanned copies of DS-2019s are not, and J-1 students must obtain original documents for any formal processing.
We know this email does not address every concern you may have. We will keep you updated as we learn more information from federal sources. You can also review the campus FAQs for additional information and the ISSS website for international student specific information. Both pages will be updated regularly.
We share your frustration that we were not able to provide this information earlier, and hope that you can now plan appropriately for Spring 2021. In a year where international education has been more difficult than ever before, your commitment to the University of Illinois and your academic program is admirable and greatly appreciated. We remain open to support you remotely in whatever way we can.