Changes Due to Coronavirus (COVID 19)
Common Questions Regarding Enrollment and F-1 Immigration Status
Information About Campus Operations
The University of Arkansas returned to in-person classes since the fall 2021 semester; therefore, international students must enroll in a full course of in-person classes with only one on-line course counting toward the full time number of credit hours. Full time for an undergraduate student is 12 hours; graduate students is 9 hours; graduate students with a 50% assistantship is 6 hours. Students who are outside the U.S. will not be considered maintaining F-1 status unless participating in an approved study abroad or thesis/dissertation research program.
The Student/Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) offered guidance on June 16, 2022 to universities enrolling F-1 students . If the school returns to remote instruction due to increases in COVID cases, international students will be able to remain in the United States as long as the students continue to enroll in a full course of study, even if the method of instruction for these classes is remote.
Can I still participate in ISS programs like iFriend, Conversation Club, International Culture Team?
Yes, absolutely! These programs will continue to provide opportunities for involvement in both in-person and virtual ways during the Spring 2022 semester. We encourage you to participate!
The University of Arkansas has a Catastrophic Fund for International Students to which you should apply. F-1 students may qualify for Economic Hardship employment authorization, if they are approved by USCIS. For more information, please see Economic Hardship . J-1 students may also qualify for similar hardship employment authorization. They should contact the program advisor at their Exchange Visitor program for more information.
Students or Scholars Traveling to Campus from Another Country
I am a new student or scholar coming to the University of Arkansas for the fall semester. What procedures will I have to follow?
Travel bans as well as vaccine and negative COVID test requirements are changing frequently. To get the most current requirements, please check the summary of the travel requirements at: U.S. Department of State FAQ on International Travel and the Center for Disease control COVID travel website.
What if I can’t get my visa in time to arrive for the beginning of the semester – how late can I arrive?
Please ensure that you arrive in Fayetteville, Arkansas by the morning of Friday, August 26, 2022. If you are not able to enter the U.S. by that date, we encourage you to defer to the Spring 2023 semester. Please read the FAQ below regarding the process to defer.
You can also explore the possibility of enrolling in on-line offered classes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name, your program of study, country in which you will be studying on-line, if you have a graduate assistantship and if you are a sponsored student. This information will be used to determine if the country in which you are studying allows remote learning for the U of A.
Graduate students with a graduate assistantship should contact their Academic Advisor or Graduate Coordinator immediately. See below for the process of beginning your assistantship while you are in your home country. If you are not eligible for this option, you need to discuss with your department the possibility of arriving later in the semester. This will require you to register full time so that when you enter the U.S. you will be maintaining your student status. Late arrivals are not a possibility for undergraduate students or graduate students without assistantships.
Please see “How Am I Going to Get There?” at Pre-Arrival Information for Students
For newly admitted international students, international student orientation will be offered in-person for the Fall 2022 semester. You can find the details on-line. As a new student, if you will be enrolling while residing in the United States, you must first attend Immigration Basics. You must register for immigration basics session in your University of Arkansas Application Portal. Before you attend immigration basics, please confirm that you have uploaded a copy of your passport, visa, I-94, and SIGNED I-20 or DS-2019 in your isslink account. For all students, both new and continuing, you need to check your UAConnect account to see if there are any holds that must be resolved before you can enroll. If you are unsure about a hold, please email email@example.com for details.
Graduate students should email firstname.lastname@example.org with the request to defer their acceptance for one consecutive semester, and in some cases it can be one consecutive academic year.
Undergraduate students should follow these instructions: Submit your deferral request to International Admissions at email@example.com. Your message should describe your request, your full name and University of Arkansas student ID, the term to which you wish to defer your admission, and the reason for your request. Please reference "deferral request" in the email subject line.
The University of Arkansas follows the guidance of the Arkansas Department of Health regarding quarantine of travelers entering the U.S. from abroad. As of June 1, 2022, no quarantine requirement were in effect for travelers arriving in or returning to Arkansas. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance if you have any questions.
If you will not be able to arrive to the United States before the start date of your assistantship, you must discuss your options with the department. If your duties are such that they can be fufilled remotely, then your department should contact Miranda Gibson (email@example.com) AND Curt Rom (firstname.lastname@example.org). The final decision rests with the institution whether you will be able to work remotely or need to defer to a semester in which you reside in the United States.
General guidelines are:
- We will allow international graduate students on assistantships to enroll and work
remotely out-of-country on an assistantship as long as we can confirm all of the following:
- The student has an active and functioning U.S. bank account
- The student has a U.S. Social Security number
- The UA background check for the student is current or has been requested
- We will continue to enforce the Graduate School enrollment requirements for these
- Per current policy, students who do not meet the above criteria may enroll with a full tuition waiver if they arrive and are appointed to an assistantship by October 12, 2022. If the student is not able to be appointed to the graduate assistantship per above policy prior to October 12, 2022, the student will be responsible for paying tuition and fees. If the out-of-country student chooses to withdraw at that time, the Graduate School will be willing to request that tuition and fees be waived. However, we do not have the authority to guarantee a waiver of tuition and fees.
- Graduate students enrolling late may not have access to the graduate assistant student health insurance benefit for that semester after October 12, 022. International students will have to pay the full semester insurance fee if they are in the United States and miss October 12, 2022 deadline to opt in for this employment benefit.
Requests for exceptions to these guidelines will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Information about the COVID-19 vaccine
If you have access to get the COVID-19 vaccine, you must be fully vaccinated before entry to the United States. Please review information on the When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated Page by CDC. You can also learn about UofA’s overall COVID-19 Response.
Yes. We realize that vaccines may not be available to you in your place of residence. If you are from a country recognized by the U.S. as not having vaccines available, below is information for you.
You are REQUIRED to have 2 MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccines before you are allowed to attend classes at the University of Arkansas. We recommend that you have completed both MMR vaccines 2 weeks before arriving to the University of Arkansas. The 2 doses must be given at least 1 month apart. At minimum, you should receive one MMR vaccine while you are still in your current residence at least a month prior to arriving in Fayetteville.
- “I have received 2 MMR vaccines already”
You should be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine during immigration basics if you have had both MMR vaccines at least 2 weeks prior to arrival in Fayetteville, and you are COVID symptom free.
- “I have received only 1 MMR vaccine”
If you haven't had the second MMR vaccine, you will receive the MMR vaccine and the COVID vaccine during immigration basics prior to enrolling in your classes if you are COVID-19 symptom free and the first MMR was given at least a month prior to your immigration basics session.
- “I have not received MMR vaccines at all”
If you do not have proof of any MMR vaccinations, you will get your first MMR vaccine and the COVID vaccine during Immigration Basics. After one month, you will take the second dose of the MMR vaccination. You will be eligible for the COVID vaccination if you are COVID-19 symptom free.