COVID-19 Information and Updates

This dedicated page contains information related to the Coronavirus and its specific impacts on the ISSO and international students, scholars, and faculty. Updates are arranged chronologically, from most to least recent. Helpful links and Covid-19 FAQs can be found under this page in the left side bar. 

Information regarding UNC Charlotte’s broader response to Coronavirus can be accessed via the latest NinerNotice

Updates:


ISSO Releases Recording of August 28th Virtual Q&A
August 31st, 2020
On August 28th, 2020, the ISSO held a Virtual Town Hall event for continuing students to answer students' questions about Fall 2020 registration and Reduced Course Load (RCL).  
 
A recording of the event can be found here: https://youtu.be/DRSro37Iraw

ISSO Releases Recording of August 2020 Virtual New Student Town Hall Event
August 20th, 2020
On August 17th, 2020, the ISSO, in partnership with Undergraduate & Graduate Admissions, held a Virtual Town Hall event specifically for Fall 2020 admitted students to discuss SEVP's most recent guidance for Fall 2020, answer some common questions unique to this group, and address concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and implications for visa and immigration matters. New students who missed the event can watch a recording here: New Student Town Hall Event.
 
Students are encouraged to review our Covid-19 FAQs and Fall 2020 FAQs for updates to specific issues. 

ISSO Releases Recording of July 2020 Virtual Town Hall Event
August 3rd, 2020
On July 31st, 2020, the ISSO held a Virtual Town Hall event to discuss SEVP's most recent guidance for Fall 2020, answer some common international students' questions, and address concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and implications for visa and immigration matters. Continuing students who missed the event can watch a recording here: ISSO July 31st Virtual Town Hall [Closed Captioning may take 2-3 days to appear].
 
Students are encouraged to review our Covid-19 FAQs and Fall 2020 FAQs for updates to specific issues. 

SEVP Issues New Guidance Regarding Covid-19 & Fall 2020 
July 24th, 2020
At 1:04 PM on Friday, July 24th, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) issued new guidance for F-1 students for the Fall 2020 semester. This guidance replaces rescinded guidance from July 6th, 2020 (see updates below for context), and adds information to previous March rules that had been in effect. The new guidance can be found here: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/bcmFall2020guidance.pdf
 
The ISSO has sent messages to Fall 2020 admits and continuing students regarding what the latest guidance means. Additionally, check out the Fall 2020 Updates and FAQ Page for answers to common questions. 

Department of State Announces National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland
July 22nd, 2020
A new announcement by the U.S. Department of State provides a welcome update to a previous Presidental Proclamation/Travel Ban: students may qualify for national interest exceptions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland). Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual national interest exception to travel. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for a national interest exception to travel.
 

SEVP Rescinds July 6th Guidance Regarding Covid-19 & Fall 2020 
July 14th, 2020
Preliminary news reports from a lawsuit filed by MIT and Harvard pushing back against SEVP's July 6th Broadcast Message indicate that the government has agreed to rescind the guidance. The ISSO and the broader international education community expect SEVP to issue new guidance, which will take into account reasonable accomodations for Fall 2020, soon. Please check this page again for more updates. 
 
To read the ISSO's first response to international students regarding this news, click here

A Message to Niner Nation from Interim Chancellor Lorden Supporting International Students
July 9th, 2020
The University has released a message from Interim Chancellor Joan Lorden voicing support and solidarity for international students, in light of recent SEVP guidance (see July 6th Broadcast Message below). Please find the text of the message here.

SEVP Broadcast Message: COVID-19 and Fall 2020
July 6th, 2020
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has issued guidance for F-1 students for the Fall 2020 semester. Students attending schools adopting a hybrid model—that is, a mixture of online and in person classes—will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. However, if a school changes its operational stance mid-semester, and as a result a nonimmigrant student switches to only online classes, or a nonimmigrant student changes their course selections, and as a result, ends up taking an entirely online course load, schools are reminded that nonimmigrant students within the United States are not permitted to take a full course of study through online classes. The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.  The full text of the broadcast message can be found here: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/bcm2007-01.pdf
 
To read the ISSO's message to students regarding this guidance, click here
Additionally, if you are a student with a question about how this impacts Fall 2020, find an answer here.

Suspension & Restriction of Entry into the U.S. for Certain Non-Immigrants
June 23rd, 2020
The President has issued a Proclamation which suspends and restricts the entry of non-immigrants with certain visa types and sub-types, including H-1B, certain categories of the J-1 visa program, and L visas, from entering the United States until further notice. This proclamation only applies to prospective non-immigrants who are currently or would otherwise need to apply for one of the restricted visas via the consular process outside the United States. The full text of the proclamation can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/
 
To read the ISSO's in-depth analysis of the Presidential Proclamation and its impacts on the university and its internationals, please click here

SEVP Issues Revised Covid-19-Related FAQs Once Again
June 4th, 2020
SEVP, the Department of Homeland Security sub-agency responsible for managing F-1 student record compliance, has revised some of its Covid-19-related guidance in the form of an updated FAQ document. The updated document can be found here: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/coronavirus/covid19faq.pdf

Suspension of Entry to United States from Brazil
May 26th, 2020
The U.S. Department of State has announced a suspension of entry into the United States for foreign nationals of all nationalities, including Brazilians, who were present in Brazil within 14 days prior to their arrival at the port of entry in the United States.  This policy, made by Presidential Proclamation and which is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, now enters into effect 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 26, 2020. 
 

SEVP Issues Revised Covid-19-Related FAQs (Again)
May 14th, 2020
SEVP, the Department of Homeland Security sub-agency responsible for managing F-1 student record compliance, has revised some of its Covid-19-related guidance in the form of an updated FAQ document. The updated document can be found here: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/coronavirus/covid19faq.pdf

Clarification on Financial Assistance to International Students

May 8th, 2020

This week the ISSO sent a message to International students regarding Clarification on Financial Assistance


ISSO Releases Recording of April's Virtual Town Hall Event
May 5th, 2020
On April 27th, 2020, the ISSO held a Virtual Town Hall event to answer some common international students' questions and address concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and implications for visa and immigration matters. Students who missed the event can watch a recording here: ISSO Spring 2020 Covid-19 Virtual Town Hall [captioned YouTube video can be found here].
 
Note: the Covid-19 situation is rapidly changing; advice given on April 27th may no longer apply. Students are encouraged to review our Covid-19 FAQs for updates to specific issues. 

SEVP Issues Revised Covid-19-Related FAQs
April 30th, 2020
SEVP, the Department of Homeland Security sub-agency responsible for managing F-1 student record compliance, has revised some of its Covid-19-related guidance in the form of an updated FAQ document. The updated document can be found here: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/coronavirus/covid19faq.pdf

Two Resources Pertaining to Stimulus Checks/Unemployment Benefits & the Federal Public Charge Rule
April 17th, 2020
The laws and regulations at the intersection of visa and tax & benefits constitute a complex and grey area, but the ISSO offers up the following resources for students wondering about stimulus checks, unemployment, and other forms of aid coming directly or indirectly from the US Federal or state governments:
  1. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center (for students or scholars with questions about Economic Impact Payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act)
  2.  https://law-cornell.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2bfa541c-5057-4062-8bcf-ab9c012856a5 (a recording from Cornell University Law School titled, "Immigrants, Public Benefits, and COVID-19" for those wondering whether or not accepting benefits may lead to visa and immigration issues in the future; slides can be found here.)

Note: the ISSO urges all students to consult with an immigration attorney before applying for or accepting government benefits.


ISSO Issues a Message to UNC Charlotte Faculty Re: International Student and Scholar Concerns
April 10th, 2020
The ISSO has created an updated resource document for UNC-Charlotte faculty and staff. The document includes travel-related updates, considerations for teaching international students, and more. The resource can be viewed here: ISSO's Latest Message

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) New Resource Page
March 25th, 2020
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has created a new webpage for F-1 students and schools sponsoring F-1 students. UNC-Charlotte students on the F-1 visa program can access the new resource here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSICE/bulletins/2825873

US Department of State New Resource Page
March 23rd, 2020
The US Department of State has created a new webpage for J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Participants. UNC-Charlotte students or scholars participating in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program can access the new resource here: https://j1visa.state.gov/covid-19/

US Department of State Suspension of Visa Services in Countries with Travel Warnings
March 19th, 2020
The US Department of State has suspended routine visa services at embassies and consulates in countries with travel warnings 2-4. Read more about the suspension of services here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/suspension-of-routine-visa-services.html

The ISSO Issues a Message to Students Regarding Travel
March 17th, 2020
The ISSO issued a message to students regarding the decision to travel home or stay put in the US in light of the evolving Coronavirus situation. The message can be accessed here: https://isso.uncc.edu/sites/isso.uncc.edu/files/media/2020-03-17_UNC%20Charlotte%20Mail%20-%20Travel%20considerations.pdf

The ISSO Issues a Message to Students Regarding a Transition to Remote Operations
March 16th, 2020

The ISSO issued a message to students regarding updates to our operations to practice social distancing and follow university guidance. The message can be accessed at the following link, though students should check the ISSO mainpage for the latest Advising Hours and contact information: https://isso.uncc.edu/sites/isso.uncc.edu/files/media/2020-03-17_UNC%20Charlotte%20Mail%20-%20ISSO%20-%20phone%20advising%20option%2C%20processing%20times.pdf


The ISSO Issues a Message to Students Regarding Self Care Tips
March 16th, 2020

The ISSO issued a message to students which included tips for self-care during this unprecedented period of Coronavirus. The message included practical tips about exercise, accessing nutrituous food through the Jamil Niner Food Pantry, and more. A copy of the message can be found here: https://isso.uncc.edu/sites/isso.uncc.edu/files/media/2020-03-16_UNC%20Charlotte%20Mail%20-%20self%20care%20tips%20-%20social%20connections%2C%20exercise%2C%20food%20pantry%2C%20credible%20news.pdf


US Department of Homeland Security Updates Travel Bans to Include the United Kingdom & Ireland
March 16th, 2020 
The US Department of Homeland Security updated its previous proclamations prohibiting travel from the 26-member nation Schengen Area of Europe to include the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. More information can found here: https://isso.uncc.edu/sites/isso.uncc.edu/files/media/Coronavirus%20for%20website%203.11_0.pdf. Additionally, information can always be found at the US Department of Homeland Security's Coronavirus Fact Sheet

Read previous updates and information here, in our Archives