COVID-19 FAQs for Brandeis International Students
Last updated: August 13, 2021 at 2:42 PM
Since 01/26/2021, all air passengers traveling to the United States have been required to present a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days before their flight or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Please read the CDC press release and the CDC Order for more information.
Students, faculty and staff coming to campus should comply with all measures required within the Campus Passport, including testing and taking the Daily Health Assessment. For complete information, visit the COVID-19 Response website.
As information is released from the U.S. government and the university, we will update the below FAQs.
Brandeis University plans to offer a robust, safe, in-person experience in fall 2021. Students, faculty and staff coming to campus should comply with all measures required within the Campus Passport, including testing and taking the Daily Health Assessment. We expect all of our students to attend classes in person, as offered; however, we will work to address the needs of students who may have medical constraints or difficult obtaining visas. Students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Brandeis International Business School, and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management should refer to the website of their respective school about plans for fall 2021.
The fall semester will begin on August 26, 2021. The university's COVID-19 Response: What's Now, What's Next page is the hub for information and updates regarding the fall semester.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) provided updated temporary guidance for COVID-19 on April 26, 2021. You can find details about how F-1 students can maintain immigration status on the SEVP FAQ page
. Please note: All SEVP guidance and FAQs are subject to change.
In addition to reviewing the below information, please visit our News and Announcements page
for more information.
Please check the NAFSA Coronavirus Critical Resources for updates on governmental policy and guidance related to COVID-19.
All International Students
What will happen in the fall 2021 semester? Will classes be on-campus or online?
What if I am unable to secure a visa to travel to the U.S. for classes on campus?
What travel restrictions should I be aware of?
Do I need a travel letter stating the format through which courses will be provided?
Will students be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
Will the COVID-19 vaccine offered in my home country meet Brandeis' vaccination requirement?
Do I need a new I-20 saying that Brandeis will have in-person classes?
How can I connect with the ISSO?
During the summer and fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, there were lots of things in the news about how executive orders and rules may change how international students can travel, maintain their status, and study in the US, or while abroad. Where should I go for information?
I am outside of the U.S. and will attend online for the fall 2021 semester. Can this semester count toward the one-year requirement for CPT and OPT?
I am an international student and planning to study abroad in another country this fall. Can I still study abroad?
If I have a valid unexpired F-1 visa that was issued to me for attendance at another institution, do I need to get a new visa to return to the U.S. to enroll at Brandeis? What if I took a leave of absence and I have been out of the country for more than five (5) months? Do I need to apply for a new visa?
How do I get a student visa if my local U.S. embassy is closed?
If I am unable to arrive in the U.S. on or before August 26, 2021 (the first day of fall 2021) due to a delay of visa processing and/or travel restriction, what is the latest arrival date for fall 2021?
If I am unable to arrive in the U.S. on or before September 21, 2021 due to a delay of visa processing and/or the travel restrictions, what are my options?
Can I enter the U.S. any time during the fall 2021 semester if my visa gets approved?
If I am successful in obtaining a visa, and I have an Initial SEVIS record, can I study remotely in the U.S.?
Do hybrid courses count as “in person?”
Can I start my F-1 status while I begin my classes in my home country?
How will the five-month rule apply to SEVIS TRANSFER STUDENTS?
I am an incoming TRANSFER STUDENT. Can I remain outside the U.S. and enroll remotely?
Can continuing F-1 students study online outside the United States and remain in Active status in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)?
Is there a limit on how many online classes an international student can take?
I am outside the U.S. and do not like taking online courses. Can I keep my I-20/SEVIS status active?
Can J-1 students study online in fall 2021?
If I wish to take a Leave of Absence from Brandeis for the fall 2021 term, how do I do that?
What should I keep in mind if my I-20 or DS-2019 is expiring soon?
I am outside of the U.S. and will attend online for the fall 2021 semester. Can this semester count toward the one-year requirement for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
Can I still participate in my Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Academic Training (AT) internship if my employer has moved to remote work?
I will graduate in fall 2021, and cannot return to campus for the fall 2021 term. Can I apply for OPT?
What is a travel signature and how can I get one?
I need to renew my student visa. How do I do that?
I plan to stay in the U.S. but move off campus. How do I update my local address?
I want to return home, but my travel plans are complicated by a lack of commercially available scheduled flights or my country currently prohibits all inbound travel. What should I do?
I plan to depart the U.S., but I am concerned I won't be able to access what I need to attend classes remotely. What should I know about the technology I will need?
Alumni on Practical Training
I am an alum currently on post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). Are there any accommodations if I am not able to work and exceed my 90-day limit on unemployment?
I finished my OPT and I am nearing the end of my 60-day grace period, but I am unable to leave the U.S. due to a lack of available flights. What should I do?