students wear masks and look through microscopes in a lab

Last updated: May 7, 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.

Please remember that updates are made regularly to the UC Davis Campus Ready website to provide new information about UC Davis reopening plans and policies. The campus community is encouraged to frequently check that site for the latest news.

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine required on campus?
  • The University of California has proposed a vaccine requirement for all students once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the vaccine. This policy is currently under review, but is proposed to begin as early as fall 2021. At this time, the vaccine is not required, and UC Davis will communicate any changes to this rule.

    If you want to receive the vaccine when you arrive, people aged 16 and older can receive the vaccine in California. Student Health and Counseling Services has information about how to sign up.

  • 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. Student Health and Counseling Services has information about how to sign up.
  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine that I received in my home country sufficient?
  • The University of California has proposed a vaccine requirement for all students once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the vaccine. This policy is currently under review but is proposed to begin as early as fall 2021.

    More information is coming to advise international students and scholars about the vaccines they may have received in their home countries. In the meantime, please see this guide on available vaccines from the World Health Organization. This information is changing, so SISS encourages you to check back regularly for updates.  
  • Do I need to self-isolate or self-quarantine when I get to UC Davis?
  • Yes, and UC Davis has released new guidance on self-isolation or quarantine after travel. This includes those coming to campus or coming back to campus from other domestic or international locations. Please read more here. This guidance also offers an idea of how to self-isolate or quarantine for travelers and those who may have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19.
  • 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 recently 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 travel into the United States.
    Read more about the National Interest Exception 
    - Students from India qualify for the National Interest Exception as well. Read more.

    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.

  • 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 qualify for the National Interest Exception as well. Read more.)

    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.

  • 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 April 26, 2021, 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.”

    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.”

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • What do I need to know about orientation?
  • Please visit the SISS Orientation page for information for undergraduate and graduate students. Details will be updated as fall quarter approaches.
  • How do I make friends and find community at UC Davis?
  • Please visit the SISS Finding Your Global Community page 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.
  • Can I get a refund on my student housing payment if I can’t get into the country?
  • Yes. Please visit Student Housing and Dining Services for information about student housing, meal plans, and its refund policy for international students, which is addressed in this FAQ.

 

 

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