Updated November 11, 2020
Planning for Spring 2021
On July 24th DHS/ICE released Clarifying Questions which will apply to the Spring 2021 semester until we have further information from DHS.
Given the many different programs within Yale, specific questions about enrollment options for the spring semester are best answered by directly communicating with your school.
Please know that both Yale and OISS are committed to supporting you through this difficult period and ensuring that you are able to participate in your academic program this spring, should you choose to do so.
- My I-20
- Visa Appointment Questions
- Travel and Arrival in New Haven
- Deferring the Start of Your Program
- SEVIS Transfer Students
- Enrolling in Class if my Travel is Delayed
- Change of Status Students
- Getting Help from OISS
Your OISS adviser will have recently provided you with a new I-20, sent electronically per DHS guidance (page 5, question 8), that notes the new start date of your semester. Please make sure the start date of your most recent I-20 matches the start date of your academic program. OISS has also included a remark on your I-20 in an abundance of caution to clarify that Yale will have in-person courses available to students this Spring 2021. If you have any questions about your I-20, please contact your OISS adviser. Please also print this letter and have it ready with you when you go for a visa interview (if applicable) or enter the U.S.
Since the Department of State first announced a phased-in resumption of visa services, OISS has had reports of students obtaining visa appointments for their F-1 or J-1 visas. If you have not done so yet, please pursue securing a visa appointment as soon as possible. If your visa appointment date is after the start of classes, please let your OISS adviser know. Keep in mind that some country specific travel bans may make it difficult or impossible to secure an appointment. Please review all of the Current Travel Restrictions page for additional information. Please also print this letter and have it ready with you when you go for a visa interview (if applicable) or when you enter the U.S.
Some embassies and consulates offer expedited appointment requests, but the protocols might vary at each location. You should first secure a visa appointment for any date (even if it is after the start of classes), and then request an expedited appointment. Normal visa wait times are available on the U.S. Department of State’s visa appointment page, and you should contact your local embassy or consulate for details on requesting an expedites appointment. Please note that some U.S. Embassy/Consulates allow you to request an expedited appointment only once, so make sure you understand the process before you submit a request. The reason for the expedite would be that you need to travel to the U.S. to study and there are no regular visa appointments available before your start date. However, please note that if the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is not ready to resume limited services, it is not unusual for your expedite request to be denied, so you might want to wait until you know that they are resuming visa services for students. In some cases, your program at Yale may be willing to write a statement on your behalf. Please also download and print this OISS letter which addresses the Spring 2021 semester.
Yes, the Department of State announced exemptions in mid-July. We recommend that you print and carry the linked announcement with you when you travel, since not all airline personnel or security staff at your departure, transit, or arrival points might be aware of this exception. OISS is aware that the procedures to request a national interest exemption for J-1 visa holders differ slightly depending on the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. Please check with your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate for details.
If you have a valid F-1 or J-1 visa, you may use that visa to enter the U.S. with your Yale I-20 or DS-2019 (see below for important start date reminders). However, you still need to consider existing travel bans and evolving travel restrictions. When making travel plans, please review your flight itinerary and remember that even if you start from a non-travel ban country, a layover in a country that is covered by a travel ban will likely prevent you from being admitted to the U.S. However, please review the section about certain exemptions covering the Schengen area, Ireland, and the UK above.
Regulations require that F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors arrive in the U.S. on or before their “program start date” listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. If you will not arrive by the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019, please notify your OISS adviser.
You may want to research this option, but given the constantly changing dynamics, please understand that there are risks involved. If you are considering this option, please notify your OISS adviser.
If you decide to defer your enrollment, please let both your school's admissions office and OISS know so we can be informed of your enrollment plans. Depending on the length of your deferral, OISS will either issue an I-20 for the new date (August 2021), or cancel your current SEVIS record and issue you a new I-20 for the Fall 2021.
We hope to be able to issue you a new I-20 with the correct Spring 2021 semester start date, which will require your OISS to cooridnate with the SEVIS Help Desk. Please notify your OISS adviser in a timely fashion when you have concrete travel plans.
New students in F-1 Initial status who cannot arrive in the U.S. on time may enroll remotely for the spring semester so long as your school permits it. Please note that this may impact your eligibilty for CPT (should your school have this option), so please be sure to reach out to your OISS adviser if you have questions. If you think there is a chance that you will arrive to the U.S. by the deadline set by your school during the Spring 2021 semester, please be sure to select at least one course that you will start remotely and will have an in-person component upon your arrival in the U.S., which is required for you to maintain your F-1 status.
A pending Change of Status request can sometimes permit enrollment in classes, but it is crucial that you are able to maintain your underlying (most recent) status until the request is approved. If a change of status to B1/B2 is approved but your student status is not, you are unable to enroll while in a tourist status. As the Spring semester begins you should contact your OISS adviser for more detailed instructions.
You may contact your OISS adviser. We know that this is a stressful time for you and that you are eager for answers. We are working as fast as we can to answer your emails and will get back to you as soon as we can. Please keep checking this page for updates.