Updated Jan. 4, 2022, 8:54 a.m.
SEVP guidance for new and continuing students
On April 26, 2021, SEVP announced that the guidance from March 2020 will remain in effect for the 2021/22 academic year. This guidance allows for students to take more than three credit hours of online coursework while maintaining their nonimmigrant status.
- Students who were in F-1 status on March 9, 2020: You are eligible to take 100% of your coursework online during the 2021/22 academic year.
- Students who obtained F-1 status after March 9, 2020: You will need to have at least one course that meets face-to-face. This includes all students who entered the U.S. to start a program at MU for summer and fall 2020, spring 2021, and summer and fall 2021, and those who will enter for spring 2022.
If you plan to remain outside the U.S. and enroll in online courses, you must inform your international student adviser so we can review your SEVIS record and keep you informed of any changes in SEVP policies.
Be aware that plans are fluid and subject to change. We will communicate any updates regarding the 2021/22 academic year via email and on our website. You can also review updates from the Department of Homeland Security and check the NAFSA Coronavirus Critical Resources for updates on government policy and guidance related to COVID-19.
Enrollment and registration
Coursework for the spring 2022 semester will begin Tuesday, Jan. 18. New and continuing students are encouraged to review the University Registrar’s guidance for enrollment. Operational plans and course schedules for spring 2022 are subject to change based on state, county and campus health guidelines. Any changes to campus operations will be updated on the Show Me Renewal website. New and continuing students will be notified once official updates are available.
MU continues to accept and admit international students for the remainder of the 2021/22 academic year. Admitted students currently residing outside the U.S. must obtain a student visa to enter the country in lawful nonimmigrant status. The visa certificate (I-20/DS-2019) will be issued with a start date of Jan. 10, 2022, which is one week prior to the first day of spring semester classes. Certain situations may require special consideration for the adjustment of arrival dates based on departmental justification and student circumstances.
U.S. Embassies and Consulates continue the resumption of routine visa services. Regularly check the website of your local embassy or consulate and the Department of State website for updates on which embassies are open for visa appointments. You may be able to complete form DS-160 and schedule a visa interview online. See information about nonimmigrant visa wait times.
This letter of support confirms course modalities and campus operations for spring 2022. You may download and print the letter to bring with you to your visa appointment or when entering the U.S., if necessary.
Visa appointment or processing delayed
If you cannot obtain your student visa as planned and are unable to travel to the U.S. in time for the start of the spring 2022 semester, notify your international student adviser — and sponsor or exchange adviser, if applicable — as soon as possible. We will work in consultation with your MU academic department to determine suitable accommodations. It will not be necessary to update the visa certificate (I-20 for F-1 students, DS-2019 for J-1 students) unless arrival may be delayed 30 days beyond the program start date.
U.S. consular operations continue to prioritize student visas; however, services greatly depend on conditions at each location. Refer to the U.S. embassy/consulate with jurisdiction over your place of residence.
Graduate departments will develop contingency plans to manage late arrivals and those unable to arrive for the spring term, particularly for students who have graduate assistantships.
If you are unable to arrive by Tuesday, Jan. 18, you should contact the director of graduate studies in your academic department to determine whether your late arrival can be accommodated. In most cases, arriving one to two weeks after the first date of classes (Tuesday, Jan. 18) may be manageable. Once the director of graduate studies confirms your late arrival can be accommodated, you should forward that confirmation to your international student adviser, who will issue a late arrival letter.
It is permissible for your department to enroll you in online coursework until you are able to arrive on campus. However, while graduate departments may offer scholarships to international graduate students who are unable to travel to the U.S. and choose to enroll online, departments may not provide tuition waivers or stipends to students residing outside the United States.
In addition to notifying your international student adviser, you should contact your school/college academic advising office to discuss course enrollment options. Course availability and proper course placement will be limited if you arrive more than one week after the start of the semester on Tuesday, Jan. 18. In most cases, it is not recommended to arrive more than two weeks after the first day of classes. International student advisers will provide late arrival letters on a case-by-case basis after consultation with your academic adviser.
International travel guidelines
On Dec. 28, 2021, a presidential proclamation was issued revoking proclamation 10315. This removes the previous travel restrictions on Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The Oct. 25 presidential proclamation remains in effect, which states that all “noncitizens who are nonimmigrants” traveling to the United States will need to be fully vaccinated with an FDA/WHO-approved vaccine. Travelers will be required to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 viral test taken no more than one day before the flight’s departure.
Limited exceptions for noncitizen, nonimmigrants include:
- Persons with valid visas who are citizens of a country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability
- Children under 18 years of age
- Persons with documented medical contraindications
- Participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials
- Persons issued a humanitarian or emergency exception
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children
- Sea crew members traveling with a C-1 and D nonimmigrant visa
- Persons granted a national interest exception by the U.S. government
- Persons on diplomatic or official foreign government travel
If you meet one of the exception criteria, you will be required to complete an attestation during your travel that you are exempt from vaccine requirement. Depending on the category of the exception, you must also attest that you agree to be vaccinated and show proof of a vaccination appointment that is within 60 days of your arrival to the United States. Additionally, you will need to:
- Show proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test taken no more than one day before the flight’s departure.
- Be tested for COVID-19 three to five days after arrival in the U.S., unless you have documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
- Have made arrangements to self-quarantine or self-isolate after arriving in the U.S.
- You will self-quarantine for seven days, even if the test result is negative.
- You will self-isolate if your post-arrival test is positive.
This flowchart from the CDC can help you confirm your vaccination and testing requirements for travel to the United States.
Travel health guidelines
Travel increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Everyone is encouraged to carefully review the Show Me Renewal travel guidance before any travel to or from the University of Missouri campus. Those traveling internationally should also review the current CDC and Department of State travel information.
- If you are planning to travel outside of the U.S. in the near future, review the COVID-19 travel regulations for your destination and any countries you will travel through, including any requirements for pre-travel testing. You can obtain an order for a pre-travel COVID-19 test by contacting the MU Student Health Center at 573-882-7481. If the test is not covered by your insurance, the cost will be $125.
- International students planning to arrive for the spring 2022 semester should continue to monitor CDC and Department of State travel advisories. If you have questions as you make your travel arrangements, please contact your international student adviser.
MU is referring to CDC guidelines for international travel, which currently advise the following depending on individual circumstance. This guidance is not final, and we anticipate it could change over the course of the next two months, depending on how the public health situation evolves.
|Fully vaccinated with WHO/FDA-authorized vaccine (at least two weeks from final dose)||Get tested with a PCR test 3–5 days after arrival.
|Not vaccinated and meet an approved exception category||
Additional information about testing and vaccines is available on the Show Me Renewal website.
All Missouri adults, including MU students, are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals five years and older can get the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available to anyone 18 years and older. The vaccine is free; no health insurance is required. Information about scheduling a vaccine appointment is available from MU Health Care and the Missouri COVID-19 Vaccine Navigator.
Be aware of your airline’s waiver and refund policies. We recommend purchasing flight insurance that offers maximum flexibility should tickets need to be changed or canceled. For information about current travel restrictions related to COVID-19, refer to the International Air Transport Association.
We recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy that allows you to cancel for any reason. If your sponsor purchases airline tickets on your behalf, be sure to consult your sponsor for specifics regarding cancellation policies.
Housing and quarantine arrangements
If you are not vaccinated, be careful to plan ahead, particularly if you are unable to arrive in time to complete the recommended quarantine period prior to the start of orientation or the spring semester. You will not be able to attend in-person activities until you complete the recommended quarantine period.
We encourage you to work with MU Residential Life to secure a flexible housing contract should your travel plans need to be postponed or canceled due to COVID-19. In the case that you are unable to join MU for the spring semester because of visa processing delays, Residential Life will waive cancellation fees. To learn more about your housing options at MU for spring 2022, visit the Residential Life website or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Only students who have a spring contract on file with Residential Life can request quarantine housing. If you are a degree-seeking student, have a housing contract with Residential Life and are not fully vaccinated, contact email@example.com to arrange your quarantine housing.
If you plan to make off-campus housing arrangements, consult your housing complex representatives directly for details on flexible leasing options. If necessary, make any temporary housing arrangements for quarantine before you arrive in Columbia.
International Student Welcome and orientation sessions
Plans for the spring 2022 International Student Welcome are in progress. Content will be delivered the week before classes start and details will be provided as they are finalized. Information for sponsored student and exchange student orientation sessions will be shared as soon as they are available.