Changes Due to Coronavirus (COVID 19)

Common Questions Regarding Fall 2021 Enrollment and F-1 Immigration Status

Information About Campus Operations

Since the University of Arkansas is returning to in-person classes for the fall 2021 semester, 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. must return to in-person classes in the fall to maintain F-1 status.

The Student/Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) offered guidance on April 26, 2021 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.

Yes, absolutely! These programs will continue to provide opportunities for involvement in both in-person and virtual ways during the fall 2021 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.

 Find the latest updates and guidance for the campus community in one place online

Information about the COVID-19 vaccine

If you are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine BEFORE arriving to Fayetteville, we strongly encourage you to do so. 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 not able to get the vaccination before arriving in the US, 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.

  1. “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.

  1. “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.

  1. “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. 


Students or Scholars Traveling to Campus from Another Country

Although some protective supplies will be provided to each student, we encourage you to bring a supply of face coverings/masks, a thermometer, sanitizing/disinfecting wipes, and other supplies you need to feel safe in a university environment.  Most of these supplies are now available in neighborhood market places, but you should have enough supplies for your travels and the first few days before you can get to the market.

If you are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine BEFORE arriving to Fayetteville, we strongly encourage you to do so.  However, we realize that vaccines may not be available to you in your place of residence.  If you are not able to get the vaccination, below is information for you.

You are REQUIRED to have 2 MMR vaccines before you are allowed to attend classes at the University of Arkansas.  Since the MMR and the COVID vaccines cannot be given closer than 2 weeks from each other, having both MMR vaccines 2 weeks before arriving to the University of Arkansas will be best.  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. 

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, you have been in the United States at least 2 weeks and you are COVID symptom free with a negative COVID test after days 5 to 7 of arriving to the U.S.

If you haven't had the second MMR vaccine, you will receive the MMR vaccine during immigration basics prior to enrolling in your classes.  You will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine 2 weeks later, if you are COVID-19 symptom free and have a negative COVID-19 test after days 5 to 7 of arriving to the U.S. 

If you do not have proof of any MMR vaccinations, you will get your first vaccination during Immigration Basics.  After one month, you will take the second dose of the MMR vaccination.  Then 2 weeks later, you will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination if you are COVID-19 symptom free.

Please ensure that you arrive in Fayetteville, Arkansas by the morning of Friday, August 27. If you are not able to enter the U.S. by that date, we encourage you to defer to the spring 2022 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 issworld@uark.edu 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 the Centers for Disease Control’s website for details about the COVID entry ban. There is an exception for F-1 students to this ban. The U.S. State Department issued a statement that F-1 students may qualify for a blanket exception if you are coming from, or transiting through, European countries. J-1 Exchange Visitors will still need to seek an exception from the visa office. Please print a copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection guidance to carry with your I-20 in case there are questions at the port of entry about your arrival from Europe.

For newly admitted international students, international student orientation will be offered both in-person and virtually. 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 issworld@uark.edu for details.

Graduate students should email gradapp@uark.edu 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 intlapp@uark.edu. 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 (ex. Spring 2022 to Fall 2022), 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 04/06/2021, a 14 day quarantine is only required for travelers entering the United States from Inda.  Please contact issworld@uark.edu for assistance if you will be subject to a quarantine period.

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 Shelly Gahagans (sgahagan@uark.edu) AND Curt Rom (crom@uark.edu). 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:

  1. 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
  2. We will continue to enforce the Graduate School enrollment requirements for these students.
      1. 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 1, 2021. If the student is not able to be appointed to the graduate assistantship per above policy prior to October 1, 2021, 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 that.
  3. Graduate students enrolling late may not have access to the graduate assistant student health insurance benefit for that semester after October 1. International students will have to pay the full semester insurance fee if they are in the United States and miss October 1 deadline to opt in for this employment benefit.

Requests for exceptions to these guidelines will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Non-COVID Issues: Student Visa Holders

Non-COVID Issues: Scholar Visa Holders

Yes, we are. However, bear in mind that it may take a long time for you to obtain a visa and/or enter the United States, due to travel restrictions which are subject to change at any time.