Coronavirus Information for New Students

This page is intended to provide new and incoming international students with timely information and resources regarding Summer and Fall 2020 arrival in light of COVID-19.

SUMMER 2020 – Important Information for New Students

All Summer Session programs have transitioned to online only (including Summer 1, Summer 2, Full Summer, and ELI Summer 1 and 2 Sessions).

Likewise, campus remains under limited business operations.

Plans are ongoing for a return to full operations in the fall semester in August, with guidance and carefully designed protocols from the UA System Task Force and the President’s Advisory Committee for Return to Full Operations to ensure health and safety remain the priority.

VISA IMPACT OF SUMMER ONLINE STUDIES
The move to online study will affect new international students differently, depending on their situation:

  • New Students, Outside of the U.S.
    • If you are a new international student admitted for Summer 2020, applying for an F-1 or J-1 student visa for the first time, or if you have had a break in studies and will be returning on a new Initial I-20 or DS-2019, you will not be able to enter the U.S. on your F-1 or J-1 visa until UA is able to offer in-person, on-campus courses.  Students in this situation have two options:
      • Option 1: Begin studies in Summer 2020 from abroad via online studies and defer the F-1 I-20 or J-1 DS-2019 start date to a future term, or
      • Option 2: Defer both your term of admission and your F-1 I-20 or J-1 DS-2019 to a future term.
    • If you are still on an active F-1 or J-1 Student Visa at another U.S. Institution but are currently outside of the U.S. due to COVID-19, you can still begin studies in Summer 2020 online and transfer your F-1 or J-1 SEVIS Record to UA.
    • If you are still on an active F-1 or J-1 Student Visa at The University of Alabama but are currently outside of the U.S. due to COVID-19, you can still begin studies in Summer 2020 online and update your F-1 I-20 or J-1 DS-2019 for your new degree program.

 

 

 

FALL 2020 CLASSES, NEW STUDENT ARRIVALS, & ORIENTATION

UA intends to resume on-site instruction for the Fall 2020 Semester, which will begin on August 19, 2020.

The University of Alabama and the UA System have announced their clear plans to resume in-person study for the Fall Semester 2020.

On June 10, 2020, the UA System released its Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan for all university campuses. The plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees, provides an overview of phased returns at the three campuses and includes details on health protocols, featuring the Stay Safe Together Platform with a Healthcheck assessment tool, an exposure notification app and event passport. The full report is available on the System website.

On June 15, 2020, The University of Alabama announced its campus-specific plans to return on https://healthinfo.ua.edu/returnplan/.  You can also access the UA Return Plan as a digital guide.

International students who have been admitted for Fall 2020 or who will be deferring admission from Summer 2020 to Fall 2020 should review the new student Orientation Section for information on their Orientation Dates and International Check-in Processes.

 

 

ELI & Pathway Students

The University of Alabama continues to roll forward, admitting students for Fall 1 and Fall 2 Sessions.

UA’s staff are working remotely, but you can still reach the English Language Institute at info@eli.ua.edu or 205-348-7413 or 205-454-8066.

ELI Admission Information:


Term Change/Deferral Requests
If your personal circumstances require that you change your entry term to a later date, it is not necessary for you to complete a new application. You can simply email the English Language Institute at info@eli.ua.edu to request your entry term be changed. The ELI will update your term of admission (or for Conditionally Admitted Students work with Graduate School or Undergraduate Admissions) and have your I-20 or DS-2019 updated.

 

 

Undergraduate Students

The University of Alabama continues to roll forward, admitting students for Fall 2020.

UA’s staff are working remotely, but you can still reach International Undergraduate Admissions  at international.admissions@ua.edu or 205-348-7026.

International Undergraduate Admissions are also available for individual Tide Chats.  To speak with an International Undergraduate Admissions staff member 1-on-1, sign up online for a Tide Chat.  The sessions are for students who may have in-depth questions and would like to video chat with Admissions.

In the meantime, be sure to check out our 360 view of campus. We are also offering virtual info sessions for your convenience.

Undergraduate Admission Information:


Mailing Address Updates
Due to COVID-19, some students are no longer at the mailing address they provided on their application. As such, it is important you submit your current mailing address to international.admissions@ua.edu in the following format:

  • Name
  • Address line 1
  • Address line 2
  • City
  • Province/State
  • Country
  • Postal code

Students living in Iran must provide a shipping address outside of Iran. Please include the name of the person at the address you provide.

Term Change/Deferral Requests
If your personal circumstances require that you change your entry term to Spring 2021 or Fall 2021, it is not necessary for you to complete a new application. You can simply email the Undergraduate International Admissions at international.admissions@ua.edu to request your entry term be changed. Undergraduate Admissions will update your term of admission and work with ISSS to have your I-20 or DS-2019 updated.

 

 

Graduate Students

The University of Alabama continues to roll forward, admitting students for Fall 2020.  UA’s staff are working remotely, but you can still reach the Graduate School at https://graduate.ua.edu/contact-us/ or 205-348-5921.

Graduate Admission Information:


Mailing Address Updates
Due to COVID-19, many universities are closing, and some students are no longer at the mailing address they provided on their application. As such, it is important you submit your current mailing address to https://graduate.ua.edu/contact-us/ in the following format:

  • Name
  • Address line 1
  • Address line 2
  • City
  • Province/State
  • Country
  • Postal code

Students living in Iran must provide a shipping address outside of Iran. Please include the name of the person at the address you provide.

Term Change/Deferral Requests
If your personal circumstances require that you change your entry term to Spring 2021 or Fall 2021, please contact the Graduate School at https://graduate.ua.edu/contact-us/ and also email your Academic Department requesting your entry term be changed. The Graduate School will work with your academic program regarding your request.

 

 

Executive Order On Immigrant Visas and Certain J, H, and L Non-Immigrant Visas

We know many students have been very concerned about the April 22 April 22 Executive Order on Immigration Visas and the June 22 Executive Order on Immigrant Visas and Certain J, H, and L Non-Immigrant Visas issued by the U.S. President, and media reports both in the U.S. and abroad may be confusing and provide incomplete or sometimes inaccurate information.

NO IMPACT ON STUDENT VISAS
UA ISSS want to reassure everyone that the Executive Orders have no impact on The University of Alabama’s ability to admit international students or sponsor student visas and will not impact new, current, or returning international students.

NO IMPACT ON UNIVERSITY SPONSORED J-1 VISAS
Likewise, while the June 22 Executive Order suspends a few J-1 visa categories, in the context of The University of Alabama, the suspension DOES NOT APPLY to the J-1 visas sponsored by The University of Alabama.

The J-1 Visa suspension impacts only a small number of non-university categories: Intern, Trainee, Teacher, Camp counselor, Au Pair, and Summer work travel program.  UA does not sponsor any of these J-1 categories.

The University of Alabama continues to be able to sponsor all of our J-1 Students and Scholars under all of the following categories: Research Scholar, Professor, Short-term Scholar, Specialist, Physician, Student, and Student Intern.

For more information, please see this section.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Even if someone is exempt from the June 22 Executive Order, they may still be subject to one of the country-specific COVID-19 proclamations (i.e., if present in China, Iran, European Schengen Area, U.K, Ireland, or Brazil in the 14-day period before attempting entry to the U.S.) unless specifically exempt from those as well.

Restrictions on Travel to the U.S. from China, Iran, Europe, and Brazil

Please see our Entry Ban section for guidance regarding current COVID-19 Entry Bans from China, Iran, Europe, and Brazil and restrictions on travel between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

Visa Appointments & Visa Delays

The Department of State has suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. On March 20, 2020, travel.state.gov (U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Visa Office) updated the following news alert:

  • “In response to worldwide challenges related to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Department of State is suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. Our overseas missions will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.
  • Although all routine visa appointments are cancelled, the visa application fee is valid and may be used for a visa appointment in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment.

To find embassy or consulate websites, go to https://www.usembassy.gov/. The embassy links get you to the right embassy website, but you will have to do some clicking to find relevant COVID-19 information, as each embassy website is structured a bit differently.

For those who are applying for an F-1 or J-1 student visa, we encourage you to continue your effort to obtain a visa. If you can only get an appointment close to your semester start date, we still suggest you book and attend this appointment as you may be able to report late.

International Student & Scholar Services has been reassured in recent virtual meetings with The Department of State that when visa processing resumes priority for visa appointments will be given to student and scholar visa applications.

If you are unable to obtain a visa before the semester begins, we can work with the Admissions Office (English Language Institute, Undergraduate International Admissions, Graduate School, or Law School) to change your start term and issue an updated I-20 or DS-2019. We will work with you on an individual basis if you find you are unable to obtain a visa in time.

Emergency Visa Appointment Info

ISSS has learned that some U.S. Embassies and Consulates are allowing students who have been admitted for fall semester studies to qualify for an Emergency Visa Appointment.  Applicants with an urgent matter and who need to travel immediately should follow the guidance provided at the Embassy’s website to request an emergency appointment.

Contact information for embassies and consulates worldwide is available at usembassy.gov.