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International COVID-19 Travel and Attendance FAQ

Please note that information is changing as we receive updates from Department of Homeland Security.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I find more information about the ICE announcement?
  • Do I have to attend classes in person?

    We have received notice from an ICE Broadcast that F-1 students should continue to abide by SEVP guidance originally issued in March 2020. The 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 U.S. or abroad.

    Schools have been advised to continue to follow the March 2020 (updated April 2022) guidance for the 2022-2023 school year. This means that initial students (students entering the U.S. for the first time AFTER March 9, 2020) must have at least 1 face to face class. Any student who entered the U.S. on a new F-1 status since March 9, 2020 should have at least 1 face to face class.

    Undergraduate students must be enrolled for at least 12 hours, and graduate students must be enrolled for at least 9 hours for fall 2022 or spring 2023.

    This means:

    • If you were an active F-1 student and enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020: you may take 100% online classes.
    • If you began your program (new F-1 status) AFTER spring 2020: you must take at least 1 course in-person.
    • If you are a brand new F-1 student in the U.S. for fall 2022 or spring 2023: you must take at least 1 course in-person.

    If you enroll in more than 1 online class to count toward full time enrollment, please complete the form here.

    HBU will continue to offer both in-person and online classes for fall 2022 and spring 2023. If a class is designated as hybrid, that class can be counted toward the “in person” requirement for international students.

  • Do I need a new I-20?

    If your I-20 is current, you do NOT need a new I-20 because the government is reverting back to the March 9, 2020 COVID-19 guidance. If you are a new, incoming Husky, you will need to officially meet with the International Office to check in and receive a “continuing attendance” I-20 after arrival in the U.S. or transfer into HBU from another U.S. institution.

    If you are traveling, please make sure that your I-20 is signed for travel within the last 6 months.

  • What if I have health problems that keep me from attending on campus?

    If you were a current F-1 international student enrolled in an academic program on March 9, 2020, you may take all of your classes online. If you were an initial (new) F-1 student since that time (summer 2020, fall 2020, spring 2021, summer 2021, fall 2021, spring 2022, summer 2022, fall 2022, or spring 2023), you must take at least 1 class on campus.

    Some students may need to work with Disability Services to provide documentation from a doctor or licensed psychologist to receive a reduced course load for medical reasons. You can also reach out to Disability Services if you cannot enroll full time for fall 2022 or spring 2023 due to health concerns.

  • What if I cannot return to the U.S.?

    You can still attend classes at HBU online. Please work with your academic advisor to ensure you are registered for classes that you can take from overseas. Please keep in mind time differences and possible attendance requirements. According to the April 2022 ICE COVID-19 guidance, international students enrolled in a course of study on March 9, 2020 will be able to maintain their F-1 immigration status, as long as they are attending full time.

    Newly admitted international students to HBU will defer the program start date on the I-20 to the next available semester, but they can still attend HBU online. They will just not begin their F-1 status until they receive a valid F-1 visa stamp and then enter the U.S. prior to the semester they plan to attend in person.

  • I’m a new student for Fall 2022. Can I still come to HBU?

    Yes! Welcome to the Husky family. If you are currently in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, you can have your SEVIS record (I-20) transferred to HBU. If you are a new student from outside the U.S., you can choose to attend online for fall 2022.

    Consulates are slowly opening around the world, so if you are able to receive a valid F-1 visa stamp prior to August 29, 2022, you are welcome on campus. The HBU international office can provide a letter verifying your on campus registration, and we recommend that you print your class schedule and travel with that as well as other documentation.

  • Do I have to be vaccinated to travel to the U.S.?

    Vaccination requirements are changing constantly, but in general, international students must be fully vaccinated and have proof of a negative COVID test within 1 day of travel to the U.S. There are some exceptions to this rule. If you are one of the exceptions to the travel ban, we suggest you print out the exception, highlight the section that shows your exception, and travel with this document, in addition to your other documents.

    More information can be found here.

  • Do international students have to quarantine after an international flight?

    All travelers from the Houston Baptist University community are urged to educate themselves regarding the hazards of travel during the pandemic, as well as current conditions at your destination, before embarking on nonessential travel. If you are returning to HBU from an international location, you are asked to begin the symptom self-monitoring process 14 days prior to your return, and not to come onto campus if you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19.

    The CDC requires a negative COVID test within 1 day for travel to the U.S. Please see the official CDC website for more information.