COVID-19 information for international students and scholars

Updated Aug. 10, 2020, 12:45 p.m.

University status

All coursework will be delivered remotely through the end of the summer 2020 term. Existing online classes will continue as originally scheduled. MU plans to implement a hybrid academic model for fall 2020, which allows for face-to-face, blended and fully online courses.

On June 29, the university released the Show Me Renewal Plan, which outlines specific guidance for a full in-person return to campus for the fall 2020 semester. The plan is a living document and will likely change as the situation evolves.

Maintaining immigration status

International Student and Scholar Services continues to monitor the Student Exchange Visitor Program COVID-19 guidance regarding international student and scholar nonimmigrant status. We will notify students and scholars directly regarding changes or updates. Understand that, due to the fluid nature of this global emergency, U.S. immigration and travel guidance may be subject to change without warning. Before making any decisions regarding these temporary provisions, international students and scholars should communicate their plans to an ISSS adviser, particularly if they have any pending immigration applications (e.g., OPT, H-1B, other related immigration petitions).

Guidance for fall 2020 incoming international students

MU will continue to accept and admit international students for the fall 2020 semester. For students currently residing outside the U.S., the visa certificate (I-20/DS-2019) start date will be Aug. 17, 2020. Students currently attending MU or another institution in the U.S. should utilize the existing change of program and school transfer processes. For additional information, see our guidance for incoming international students and guidance for admitted graduate students.

Fall 2020 international student enrollment guidelines

On July 14, the U.S. government agreed to rescind the SEVP guidance for the fall 2020 semester issued on July 6. That guidance, which imposed restrictions against F-1 students taking only online courses for the fall semester, will not be implemented or enforced. Guidelines for F-1 international students will return to the status quo established in March 2020, which allows students to maintain active nonimmigrant status as long as they continue to pursue a full course of study, regardless of the method of instruction.

On Friday, July 24, the Student Exchange Visitor Program provided clarification for the fall 2020 semester. International students in F-1 status planning to begin or continue their studies with MU this fall should review this information about maintaining their nonimmigrant student status.

The Exchange Visitor Program guidance for J-1 students also provides information about allowing for hybrid/online course options. International students in J-1 status planning to being or continue their studies with MU this fall should review this information about maintaining their nonimmigrant student status.

Practical training

Students who are currently on practical training in a different city or state in the U.S. should consult with their employer as needed to seek alternative ways to maintain employment, such as remote work or other arrangements. The guidance from SEVP recognizes that changes to workplace requirements may impact international students on practical training. If you have questions on concerns, contact your ISSS adviser.

International visitors

International Student and Scholar Services directs all MU departments to postpone the program start dates for international scholars (visitors or employees) who currently reside in or are traveling through CDC warning level 3 countries. This applies to international scholars with expected program start dates between now and June 1, 2020. For additional information, see our guidance for departments planning to host international scholars.


All international students and scholars planning to travel should be aware that there could be difficulties associated with returning to the United States. We strongly recommend reconsidering all travel plans, because the situation is changing rapidly and travel restrictions could be implemented with little or no warning that prevent re-entry to the United States.

As always, ensure that you have the proper documentation for domestic and international travel, particularly for re-entry into the United States. If you travel internationally, it is also recommended that you keep detailed documentation of your travel itinerary as you may be required to provide this information upon your return.

Always refer to the Department of State travel advisories and CDC travel health notices for the most up-to-date information, including domestic travel advisories for the United States.

Travel restrictions

Several executive proclamations have been issued by the U.S. government restricting entry to the U.S. for nonimmigrants traveling from China, Iran, European Schengen area, United Kingdom, Ireland and Brazil.

International travelers permitted to enter the U.S. may encounter additional screening upon arrival. All travelers should follow the CDC guidelines for after you travel to protect others from getting sick.

Emergency international travel

If an international student or scholar has an emergency and needs or wants to leave the United States, they should be aware that there could be difficulties associated with returning to the United States. Contact your country’s embassy or consulate for guidance regarding travel. You may also contact your ISSS adviser by phone or email. For after-hours assistance, call the MU Police Department at 573-882-7201 and they will put you in touch with an ISSS staff member.

Campus support and resources

Remote learning

Review the MizzouOne task center for remote classes for a list of tools and resources. International students who do not have adequate technology or connectivity at home to participate in remote instruction can utilize available computing labs across campus. Additionally, the MU Student Center offers laptop checkout services from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday.

Document shipping

International Student and Scholar Services can mail requested documents by USPS at no cost to you. However, USPS delivery is not guaranteed. If you require a more secure and expedited courier service, you will have to make arrangements for document shipping by eShipGlobal.

Discrimination or bias

If you experience discrimination or bias, consider submitting a report to the MU Office for Civil Rights and Title IX. Additionally, International Student and Scholar Services is her to help students and scholars navigate how to respond or cope with such incidents. Contact your ISSS adviser for assistance.

Health services

We know our students and scholars are understandably worried about family, friends and colleagues back home. Students experiencing difficulty concentrating or sleeping, or other changes in their physical or mental health, are encouraged to contact the Student Health Center at 573-882-7481 or Counseling Center at 573-882-6601 to obtain guidance or make an appointment. Faculty and staff may seek assistance through the Employee Assistance Program by calling 573-882-6701.