International student guidance for spring 2023

Dec. 5, 2022

Updated Jan. 3, 2023, 9:50 a.m.

Enrollment guidance for new and continuing students

  • Students who were in F-1 status on March 9, 2020: You are eligible to take 100% of your coursework online during the 2022/23 academic year.
  • Students who obtained F-1 status after March 9, 2020: Only three online credits may be counted toward your full-time enrollment requirements.
  • Students in J-1 status: The Exchange Visitor Program has not provided updated guidance for 2022/23. It is recommended that no more than three online credits be counted toward your full-time enrollment requirements.

You must continue to enroll in a full course of study to maintain your status. If you are eligible for a reduced course load, you should submit a request by the end of the first week of classes.

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 2022/23 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.

Coursework for the spring 2023 semester will begin Tuesday, Jan. 17. New and continuing students are encouraged to review the University Registrar’s guidance for enrollment.


MU continues to accept and admit international students for the 2022/23 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. 9, 2023, which is one week prior to the first day of fall 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 2023. 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 2023 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 students

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. 17, 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. 17) 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 in a future semester. 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.

Undergraduate students

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. 17. 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

Beginning Thursday, Jan. 5, there are new requirements for air passengers age two and older traveling to the U.S. from China, Hong Kong or Macau, and those traveling from Seoul, Toronto and Vancouver who have been in China, Hong Kong or Macau in the past 10 days. These passengers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than two days before their flight departs. Those who had COVID-19 in the 90 days before their travel to the U.S. can instead show documentation of recovery from COVID-19.

Additionally, the CDC 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 upon arrival.

Limited exceptions to the vaccination requirement for noncitizen, nonimmigrants include:

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:

  • 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 five days, even if the test result is negative.
    • You will self-isolate if your post-arrival test is positive.

Travel health guidelines

Travel increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Those traveling internationally should 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 2023 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.

Students arriving at MU should follow all CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Arrival guidance

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 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.
    • If test is positive, isolate to protect others from getting infected.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
Not vaccinated and meet an approved exception category
  • Stay home and self-quarantine for 5 days after arrival.
  • Get tested with a PCR test 3–5 days after arrival.
    • If you test positive, isolate to protect others from getting infected.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Schedule an appointment to become vaccinated within 60 days of your arrival.

Additional information about testing and vaccines is available on MU’s COVID-19 information page.

Vaccine availability

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.

Travel insurance

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 fall semester. You will not be able to attend in-person activities until you complete the recommended quarantine period.

On campus

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. To learn more about your housing options at MU for spring 2023, visit the Residential Life website or email with any questions.

Off campus

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.

Pre-arrival information

Review the pre-arrival checklist and gather necessary information before arriving at MU. See the International Student Welcome Guide for more information about life at Mizzou.

International Student Welcome and orientation sessions

International Student Welcome will take place Jan. 9–10. Information for sponsored student and exchange student orientation sessions will be shared as soon as they are available.

Stay updated

Refer to MU’s COVID-19 information page for current information about the university’s response to the pandemic. Updates specific to International Programs are available on our website.