2020-2021 Academic Year FAQ

Below are frequently asked questions about the impact of COVID-19, how it affects your immigration status, and other information pertinent to F-1 Students & J-1 Exchange Visitors. This page will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.

On this page:

On this page:

Fall 2021

Fall 2021 Policy Guidance

Department of Homeland Security has not yet announced that F-1 students can take more than 3 credits of online courses for the Fall 2021 semester.  At this time, we are recommending that students be prepared to meet the in-person course requirements described below. We will continue to update this page as we learn more. 

New Students & Students Starting New Programs in Fall

Fall Classes

UB is offering courses in a variety of instruction modes. You must be enrolled in in-person courses if you plan to study inside the U.S. and to qualify for SEVIS registration. The three modes of instruction that qualify as meeting the "in-person requirement" are:

  • P - In Person
  • HY - Hybrid: both online & in-person
  • HE - Online class with in-person exams

To qualify for SEVIS registration in the fall semester:

  • Students must be inside the U.S. AND
  • Students must meet full-time enrollment requirements (12+ credits, 9+ credits with an assistantship, etc.)
    • F-1 regulations state that no more than 3 credits of online classes can count toward the full-time enrollment requirement.
    • J-1 regulations do not permit online classes to count toward the full-time enrollment requirement. 

Spring 2021

Spring Classes

Modes of Instruction for International Students


Current UB F-1 students continuing in current program, if they were engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020

New F-1 students who intend to enter the US for Spring 2021
Current UB F-1 students starting new program at UB, if they were engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020 F-1 students who began their program online outside the U.S. in Fall 2020 and who will enter the U.S. to continue studies in Spring 2021. 
F-1 students engaged in full-time study on March 9, 2020 who are transferring from another SEVP-certified U.S. school to UB for Spring 2021 F-1 students who entered the U.S. to begin a new program in summer 2020 or Fall 2020 and were not enrolled in F-1 status on March 9, 2020. 
New international students who intend to remain outside the U.S. for Spring 2021 Former UB students currently on OPT returning to begin a new degree program (if they were not enrolled on March 9)
  F-1 students currently on OPT transferring from another SEVP-certified U.S. college or university to UB (if they were not enrolled on March 9)
  Current UB students changing status to F-1 for Spring 2021
  UB F-1 students who are re-entering the U.S. after a leave of absence or status violation with an “initial” I-20

Maintaining F-1 Student Status During Spring

Maintaining J-1 Student Status During Spring

Academic Support & Wellness

On-Campus Employment

Travel & Travel Restrictions

CDC Recommendations for International Air Travel

Planning to travel interntionally by air? Be sure to understand CDC recommendations and testing requirements effective 1/26/21 on travel and plan ahead!

Visas & Support Letter for Travel

Vaccines, Social Distancing, & Quarantine

Campus Operations

OPT Applications & Updates

SSA & IRS Issues