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Fall 2021 Planning for International Students and Scholars

Last updated: July 22, 2021
Originally published: April 29, 2021

International students and scholars may have questions as they plan for fall 2021. While we recognize that the environment continues to evolve, Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) within Global Affairs continue to actively pursue answers and explanations. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions from international students, scholars, and their families, with answers we hope help as you plan.

If you have other questions about visa issues or related topics not addressed below, email us at siss@ucdavis.edu.

The campus community is encouraged to frequently check the UC Davis Campus Ready website for regularly updated information, reopening plans, and campus policies and requirements. Please also look for updates from the Provost for fall 2021 planningFor questions about graduate education, please email gradservices@ucdavis.edu.

Fall 2021 Planning Frequently Asked Questions for International Students and Scholars

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine required on campus?
  •  

    Yes. On July 15, 2021, University of California enacted a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all students, staff, and faculty returning to campus this fall. The deadline for compliance is September 8, 2021. Learn more by reading the UC's student FAQs and employee FAQs.

    Read more about the UC’s COVID-19 vaccination policy

  • How can I find a COVID-19 vaccine once I arrive?
  • All people aged 16 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine in California. People currently in California can schedule a vaccine appointment through the My Turn website.

    Visit the Campus Ready Vaccine Program for ways to get vaccine and more information, including campus' definition of "vaccinated" and "unvaccinated."

    Individuals in all U.S. states can also find availability through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

    Student Health and Counseling Services may have additional information about how to sign up.

    Some airports may offer the vaccine to travelers. To learn more, please visit SFO vaccination sites and LAX vaccination sites.
  • I received the COVID-19 vaccine in my home country. Will I need an additional vaccine when I get to the United States?
  • If the vaccine you received in your home country is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), you should not need an additional vaccine when you get to campus. You will find a list of WHO-approved vaccines in the Health-e-Messaging portal. Login with your Kerbros ID, and select Enter My COVID-19 Vaccination Information. There is a dropdown menu in the portal that lists approved vaccines.

    Read more about the UC’s COVID-19 vaccination policy

    If you haven't yet received your vaccine, you are advised to get vaccinated immediately when you arrive. As stated in the University of California COVID-19 Vaccination Draft Policy Student Frequently Asked Questions, during the time you are waiting to become fully vaccinated, you can still access campus, likely with additional safety measures and asymptomatic testing.


    If the vaccine you received in your home country is not approved on the WHO's list, you would need to arrange to receive a vaccine when you arrive. Vaccines are readily available. Here are a few ways to find them:
    - All people aged 16 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine in California. People currently in California can schedule a vaccine appointment through the My Turn website.
    - Visit the Campus Ready Vaccine Program

    - Individuals in all U.S. states can also find availability through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
    Student Health and Counseling Services may have additional information about how to sign up.
    - Some airports may offer the vaccine to travelers. To learn more, please visit SFO vaccination sites and LAX vaccination sites.
  • How do I report my vaccine information?
  • Visit Campus Ready COVID-19 Vaccine Program to learn how reporting your vaccine information through the Health-e-Messaging portal
  • If I don't yet have the vaccine and can't get to campus 3-4 weeks in advance to obtain a vaccine in the United States, will I be allowed on campus?
  • Unvaccinated students must self-sequester (separate themselves from others) for seven days when they arrive in Davis, and they must also have two negative COVID tests before they can leave their residences to join the rest of campus.
    Read more about self-sequestration requirements

    Those who haven't yet received their vaccine are advised to get vaccinated immediately when they arrive. During the time unvaccinated members of our campus community are waiting to become fully vaccinated, they can still access campus, likely with additional safety measures and asymptomatic testing.
    Read more about the UC’s COVID-19 vaccination policy

    Vaccines are readily available in the U.S. and in Davis. Here are a few ways to find them when you arrive:
    - All people aged 16 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine in California.
    People currently in California can schedule a vaccine appointment through the My Turn website.
    - Visit the Campus Ready Vaccine Program
    - Individuals in all U.S. states can also find availability through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
    Student Health and Counseling Services may have additional information about how to sign up.
    - Some airports may offer the vaccine to travelers. To learn more, please visit SFO vaccination sites and LAX vaccination sites.
  • What is sequestration? What does it mean to self-sequester?
  • Sequestration in this case means to separate yourself from others. This is different from the requirements for “quarantine” and “isolation.” When unvaccinated students self-sequester upon arrival, they will stay in their residences for a minimum of seven days and have two negative COVID-19 tests. Sequestering students may only leave their residence to obtain food or medical care.

    Vaccinated students are not required to self-sequester.


    Read more about self-sequestration requirements

  • Who should self-sequester? 

  • Unvaccinated students are required to self-sequester (i.e. separate themselves from others) in their residence for a minimum of seven days and have two negative COVID-19 tests. The self-sequestration requirement is independent of quarantine and isolation guidance and being implemented specifically for the start of fall quarter.

    Read more about self-sequestration requirements

  • How do I self-sequester?

  • Unvaccinated students are required to self-sequester when arriving in Davis for fall quarter. They will separate themselves from others, remain in their residences for a minimum of seven days, and have two negative COVID-19 tests. They may leave to get food or medical care. For example, they can go to the grocery store, pick up a meal to go from a restaurant, get a COVID-19 test or vaccination, see a doctor, or fill a prescription. During this time, they cannot attend classes in-person.

    Read more about self-sequestration requirements 

  • Do I need to self-isolate or self-quarantine when I get to UC Davis?
  • If you are fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved on the World Health Organization's (WHO) vaccine status tracker or if you received a vaccine in the United States, you do not need to self-isolate or self-quarantine when you arrive. Vaccinated travelers are advised to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel guidance, which offers information about testing, self-quarantining, and monitoring symptoms.

    If you are unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated, you will need to self-quarantine. According to the CDC travel guidance, you should get tested before you travel, wear a mask and take other precautions during travel, get tested again 3-5 days after you arrive, self-quarantining after travel for 7 days with a negative test or 10 days without a test, and self-monitor for symptoms. 

    Find guidance on requirements for self-isolation or self-quarantine after travel on the UC Davis Campus Ready Quarantine and Isolation webpage. 
  • What is UC Davis doing in response to COVID-19?
  • The well-being of our students and the entire campus community is our top priority. COVID-19 vaccinations are available on campus for students and all community members 16 and older. Students coming to campus can receive their vaccines here. Through Healthy Davis Together, a partnership between UC Davis and the city of Davis, the community has access to free, rapid saliva asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at locations on campus and throughout Davis. The New York Times featured Healthy Davis Together. UC Davis also conducts environmental sampling to detect COVID-19, including testing air filters in buildings on campus and monitoring sewage both on campus and in the city of Davis.

    With vaccines, testing, and a campus community committed to physical distancing and masking, we plan for a gradual return to campus this fall quarter, with most classes offered in person. We continue to recommend students come to Davis if they can obtain visas. Although we are looking into alternative options for students who are unable to obtain a visa due to consulate closures, this has yet to be decided. We encourage you to regularly visit these resources to learn more about resources and the plans for returning to campus:

    Campus Ready

    - Campus Ready: Student and Families

    Campus Ready: Academics and Staff

    Frequently Asked Questions for Students

    COVID-19 Information for UC Davis International Students and Scholars

  • How do I get a visa?
  • If you do not already have a visa, please be aware of recent updates in the visa process. On April 26, 2021, the U.S. State Department announced a National Interest Exception for students from certain countries. This emergency measure grants a visa needed for entry into the United States.
    - Read more about the National Interest Exception 
    - Students from India may qualify for the National Interest Exception as well. 

    If you do not qualify for the National Interest Exception, keep checking visa appointment wait times for consulates and embassies in your preferred city so you can request an appointment as soon as they are available.

    SISS is here to support our students, especially at this time during your visa application process. We are offering a formal letter of support as an additional document for your application. You may choose to include this with your documents when you submit your visa application or go for your in-person interview. Download this letter of support in iGlobal when you log into your Term Plan.

  • I completed my Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). What do I do now?
  • Once you submit your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) document, it’s time to start planning for your trip to northern California!

    Step 1: Submit your Summer or Fall Term Plan in our iGlobal system.

    Step 2: Whether you plan to come to the United States for summer session(s) or fall quarter, submit an I-20 Document Request or a DS-2019 Document Request immediately. Requests must be submitted at least two months before you plan to arrive.

    Step 3: To aid with the timely processing of visa applications, the U.S. State Department announced a National Interest Exception, an emergency measure granting travel into the United States for students from certain countries. (Students from India may qualify for the National Interest Exception as well.)

    Step 4: If you do not qualify for the National Interest Exception, keep checking visa appointment wait times for consulates and embassies in your preferred city so you can request an appointment as soon as they are available.

  • Should I register for in-person classes?
  • Yes, we encourage international students, regardless of where they are in the world, to register for in-person classes. In an update to campus on May 27, 2021, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan wrote:

    "We advise all international undergraduate students to register for courses as soon as they are able to do so based on the information in the system at the time they register. Currently, it is better for undergraduates to register for courses under the assumption that they will be able to attend in person. If in-person attendance proves impossible, we will provide additional information on the Global Affairs website in August, and we will communicate any alternative instruction options.

    International graduate students should discuss plans and possibilities with their program or Graduate Studies regarding enrollment for fall quarter."

    Read the Provost's update to campus from May 27, 2021

  • What if I can’t get into the country to attend in-person classes?
  • Please work with your academic advisor to determine your courses and academic plan. UC Davis recognizes the need for flexibility in some cases, particularly for those with health conditions and international students affected by travel restrictions. Although some online courses are planned, the majority of classes are planned as in-person instruction. In an update on May 27, 2021, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan wrote:

    "We are encouraged by the recent determination by the U.S. Department of State to allow students with valid visas to enter the United States without contacting an embassy or consulate prior to traveling. We are also hopeful that embassies and consulates will continue to reopen and that wait times for obtaining a student visa will continue to improve. However, we are aware that there is still a possibility that some international students will not be able to obtain a visa in time to arrive for the start of fall instruction in September. To address this issue, we will do our best to have some alternative instruction options in place for international students who are unable to obtain a visa in time to come to campus for the start of fall quarter."

    Read the Provost's update to campus from May 27, 2021

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently issued guidance for the 2021-22 academic term that upholds previous direction allowing for international students to pursue 100% online classes from outside the United States:

    “The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will extend the guidance originally issued in March 2020 for the 2021-22 academic year. This guidance enables schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the continuing public health concerns created by COVID-19. The March 2020 guidance applies to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, and are otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, whether from inside the United States or abroad. Significantly, there are no changes to the original guidance, which will remain in effect during the 2021-22 academic year.”

    Read the guidance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • Will there be enough online courses available for me to make progress toward my degree?
  • On April 26, UC Davis announced plans for a full return to activities in fall 2021. UC Davis recognizes the need for flexibility in some cases, particularly for those with health conditions and international students affected by travel restrictions. Although some online courses are planned, the majority of classes are planned as in-person instruction. In the April 26 statement, Chancellor Gary S. May and Provost Mary Croughan wrote:

    “We are closely monitoring the situations at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad and continuing to advocate through various channels on behalf of our international community. We know that an inability to acquire a visa and other travel restrictions may prevent some students from being on campus in the fall, so we will do our best to have some alternative instruction options in place. In some cases, students may need to adjust their academic plans in consultation with their academic advisor. We also ask that departments and faculty help ensure that international students are not disproportionately impacted by situations beyond their control. As of now, we expect that all international students should be able to arrive in person for winter quarter, and thus anticipate that winter courses will be delivered in the same manner as they were before the pandemic. We will continue to monitor the ability for international students to arrive by winter quarter, and will consider the extent to which additional remote course offerings may be necessary in winter.”

    Read the Chancellor and Provost's update to campus on April 26, 2021

  • Can I take online classes if I am in the United States?
  • All students who have or will physically arrive in the United States after March 9, 2020 (including newly admitted students for fall 2021) must take at least one in-person class during fall quarter 2021. If you will start your program in the summer, check with your SISS advisor to determine if an in-person class is needed. SISS encourages international students to join us on campus this fall if they can obtain visas. A majority of courses will be offered in-person beginning in fall quarter.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently issued guidance for the 2021-22 academic term: The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will extend the guidance originally issued in March 2020 for the 2021-22 academic year. This guidance enables schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the continuing public health concerns created by COVID-19. The March 2020 guidance applies to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, and are otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, whether from inside the United States or abroad. Significantly, there are no changes to the original guidance, which will remain in effect during the 2021-22 academic year.

  • When should I arrive for fall quarter?
  • SISS generally recommends that international students arrive one to two weeks before the start of classes with the following exceptions:
    Unvaccinated students are required to self-sequester for seven days upon arrival in Davis. We recommend unvaccinated new first-year or unvaccianted first-year transfer students arrive at least seven days prior to the start of orientation activities so they have time to self-sequester before attending events in person.

    Learn more about UC Davis Orientation
    Learn more about Orientation for International Students

  • When is orientation for international students?
  • Dates for Orientation for International Students will be announced soon.

    Please note, UC Davis Orientation (September 17-21), an orientation offered to all new students on campus is mandatory. This is different from  Orientation for International Students.

  • Am I required to attend orientation?
  • UC Davis Orientation (September 17-21), is offered to all new students on campus and is mandatory. It is strongly encouraged that you attend in person. Orientation for International Students is a separate orientation from SISS and highly recommended for new international students. 

    Unvaccinated students who are new to UC Davis are encourage to arrive at least seven days in advance of events so they can fulfill the self-sequestration requirement before attending activities on campus.

  • If I arrive after the start of the fall quarter, can I still enroll in classes?
  • Contact your academic advisor or graduate coordinator for questions about late arrival.
  • Can I defer my admission to UC Davis if I am not able to travel to the U.S.?
  • Please contact your appropriate admissions office with questions about deferred admission or admission requirements:
    - Undergraduate students should email Undergraduate Admissions
    - Graduate students should email Graduate Studies 
    - Professional students should contact the admissions office of the professional school they have applied to (e.g., Graduate School of Management, Law School, etc.)
  • How do I make friends and find community at UC Davis?
  • Please visit the SISS Finding Your Global Community webpage for information about accessing activities, the Global Ambassador Mentorship Program, upcoming events, and more. This page is updated with new information as it becomes available.
  • Who do I contact if I have questions about campus student housing?
  • Find information on the Student Housing and Dining Services website. If you can't find what you are looking for, email Student Housing and Dining Services.
  • When can I move into my on-campus housing?
  • Please visit Student Housing and Dining Services for information about moving into on-campus housing.

  • Can I get a refund on my student housing payment if I can’t get into the country?
  • Yes. The Student Housing and Dining Services website addresses the refund policy for international students in an FAQ. This website also has information about student housing and meal plans.

  • I have more questions. Who can I ask?
  • Please contact your SISS advisor with questions.  
    For students

    Sharon Ericsson (Y, Z)
    Matthew Kaminski-Lucas (A-G)
    Meredith Lucas (I, K, M, O, T, V, W)
    Robert Nagel (L, S, U)
    Tammy Silver (student-athletes, students in Graduate School of Management or School of Law programs)
    Students with the surname beginning with H, J, N, P, Q, R, X, contact siss@ucdavis.edu

    For scholars
    J-1 advisors: Daniel Padron (A-K) and Mary Alurwar (L-Z)
    H-1B advisors: Gayle Nerli and Simone Kueltz 
    E-3, TN advisor: Gayle Nerli 
    Permanent Residence and O-1 advisor: Kimberly Haky

 

 

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