COVID Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

Minot State is planning to hold classes face-to-face as normal in the fall.  There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but there are a lot of ways for you to continue meeting your goals during this difficult time. Please see the below Frequently Asked Questions about coming to Minot State this fall.

Because international travel is changing so quickly and without warning, every student's case is unique. This page provides general advice for many diverse groups of students in F-1 visa status, including new and returning students, as well as Canadian and overseas students. Please keep in mind that these are broad guidelines written to fit the needs of large groups of students.

It is important to remember that this information may change without notice, so you will need to carefully and frequently check Minot State’s website and all university communication when making your travel plans. Pay close attention to the communications you receive from Minot State and the COVID section of Minot State’s website

You will need all of the normal travel documents, including your I-20 with a DSO signature no older than one year on page two. You also need an active visa and passport. Read the full information on travel documents here.

New Students: You will need to arrive on campus on Wednesday, August 19. In order to enter the U.S. to study at Minot State University, you will need to travel with the following documents. Without proper documentation you will be denied entry until you have all documents present. Please see the full visa and entry information for new students here.

  • Form I-20: you will need to print your name, sign and date the bottom of page one of the I-20 that was sent to you.
  • Passport.
  • Visa (Except for Canadian Citizens) 
  • Admission letter: Sent by Enrollment Services with your I-20.
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt: Pay the SEVIS fee and print your receipt here. Watch the SEVIS fee tutorial, look at the Frequently Asked Questions, and contact I-901 Customer Support if you need help.
  • Financial documentation: Carry the same documents you sent to Enrollment Services to prove eligibility to receive an I-20.

Continuing Students: Continuing F-1 students who leave the United States must show the following documents to re-enter the U.S.:

  • Valid U.S. visa stamp (except for Canadian citizens)
  • Passport
  • Valid I-20 with a DSO travel signature within the last calendar year.
  • An I-94. If you arrived by land, you will have a physical I-94 stapled in your passport. 
  • Verification of enrollment or a printout of your fall 2020 classes from campus connection just to show you are enrolled in on-campus classes.

Students with pending or approved Optional Practical Training have further travel restrictions.

New students
If you are not able to get a visa in time to arrive on August 19, you will need to defer your arrival to Minot until spring 2021. Minot State does not allow late arrivals under any circumstance. Depending on your situation, you may still be eligible to take online classes during fall 2020 from your home country to keep you educational goals on track. Please inform the International Student Coordinator if you wish to do online classes from your home country in Fall 2020 and begin your F-1 status in Spring 2021.

To defer your admission to Spring 2021, you will need to complete a new online application for spring. You will not be charged the application fee again and the Admissions Specialists will use as many documents provided as possible. Please email the Admissions Specialists with any questions you have about deferring to Spring 2021.

Continuing students
If you are outside of the U.S. and you are not able to renew an expired visa, you may need to stay home for a semester, forfeit your current F-1 status and return to Minot State at a future date.

When you are ready to return to Minot State in January or August 2021, you may need to apply for readmission through the Registrar’s Office. You will also need to apply for a new I-20 and visa following the directions on our website for “Travel and Reentry” here.

There are no emergency visas for students, so you may need to wait several months before you can apply for a new visa. If you are unable to return for fall classes, you have the option of completing online classes from your home country as a back up to continue meeting your educational goals.

Before you make travel plans to Minot, you should carefully monitor entry restrictions into the U.S. Some students from (or traveling through) Brazil, China, Iran, and certain European countries are currently subject to an entry ban unless they have spent 14 days outside any of those countries. Please keep these restrictions in mind when planning your travel to the U.S. 

Remember that this information may change without warning, so you should check the following resources frequently before your travel takes place. Carefully research the situation before purchasing a ticket to the U.S. and remember that changes may occur.

At this time, travelers from countries outside of the U.S., including Canada, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, immediately upon arrival (the quarantine is required each time you enter the U.S.). This mandate has been established by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the North Dakota Department of Health and no exceptions are being allowed.

Travelers coming to North Dakota from other U.S. states are also recommended (not required) to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Minot. 

  • If you will be living on-campus, Residence Life and Dining Services are planning ways to provide special quarantine housing and meal delivery. Details about how you will be supported during quarantine will be sent by Residence Life in mid-July to students who have signed up for campus housing. Make sure to communicate with Residence Life about your arrival date and check-in time: msu.housing@minotstateu.edu.

  • If you will be living off campus, you will need to make your arrangements for groceries/other personal needs. Your self-quarantine will not be monitored by Minot State. Guidelines to perform quarantine are provided by the North Dakota Department of Health.

  • You will need to bring a thermometer from home for self-temperature checks

  • Coursework during quarantine: instructors will work with individual students who are required to quarantine during the first 2 weeks of classes to ensure that assignments and class participation can be completed remotely during that time.

Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Map to view the current guidelines regarding entry to the U.S. after traveling through your country and any other countries through which you transit. You will be required to follow CDC guidelines and guidance from the North Dakota Department of Health when you arrive to campus.

New students
  • Plan to arrive on campus on Wednesday, August 19.
  • Minot State does not allow late arrivals under any circumstance.
  • The health insurance plan for international students does not begin until August 15, so you should not arrive in the U.S. any earlier than August 15 to be safe.
  • Canadian students should check with their home health insurance plan for coverage and questions about COVID-19. If testing and treatments for COVID-19 are not covered in the U.S., Minot State strongly recommends that you purchase the North Dakota University System insurance policy.
  • Make sure to communicate with Residence Life about your arrival date and check-in time: msu.housing@minotstateu.edu.
Returning students
  • Living on-campus: move-in starts on Friday, August 21. You can start your quarantine when you arrive. Make sure to communicate with Residence Life about your arrival date and check-in time: msu.housing@minotstateu.edu.
  • Living off-campus: if you are able to move in to your apartment/house early it may be a good idea so you can finish the 14 day quarantine before classes start on Monday, August 24.
  • Instructors will work with students who are required to quarantine during the first 2 weeks of classes to ensure that assignments and class participation can be completed remotely during that time.
Athletes
  • If you have been instructed by your coach to arrive before the dates listed above, follow the dates and guidelines provided by the athletic department.
  • Early arrivals health insurance coverage: F-1 students who are required to arrive at Minot State to start athletic practices BEFORE August 15th must enroll in the United Healthcare policy using this form to start coverage on the day you arrive in the U.S. (Canadians are exempt).

Did you know that Minot State Residence Life is offering discounted single rooms for 2020-2021? Click here for more information.

Yes. International students* at Minot State University in F-1 status are required to carry the official health insurance provider for North Dakota public institutions through United Healthcare. The policy is comprehensive and provide excellent benefits. General information about the insurance policy and enrollment process can be found here: Health Insurance for International Students.

Specific information regarding COVID-19 coverage can be found here: www.uhcsr.com/faqs.
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*Canadian citizens are not required to carry the North Dakota University System insurance policy through United Healthcare. You should refer to your Canadian private and provincial health insurance providers for more information about what sort of coverage you have while attending university in the United States. 

*During the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important that you contact your Canadian health insurance provider to learn if testing for COVID-19 and treatment for COVID-19 related illnesses will be covered while you are in the United States.  If testing and treatments for COVID-19 are not covered in the U.S., Minot State strongly recommends that you purchase the North Dakota University System insurance policy.   

If you are interested in purchasing the North Dakota University System insurance policy, read through the policy details on this webpage and email the Director of International Programs to initiate your enrollment into the plan. Include your full name, MSU student ID and date of birth.

All regular F-1 regulations are in place for fall 2020. For example, F-1 students are still limited to on-campus work and you must still take a full load of face-to-face classes.

MSU is not going fully online for fall. The new ICE guidance for F-1 visas is being taken into account as the university makes further decisions for fall. 

For fall, you should enroll for a normal F-1 course load:

  • Undergraduate: 12 credits total including at least 9 face-to-face credits.
  • Graduate: 9 credits total including at least 6 face-to-face credits.

Face-to-face credits require your physical presence in the classroom with the professor.

You may take additional online credits once you hit the full-time threshold (for example, 9 face-to-face credits and 6 online credits would be fine). 

The recent ICE guidance is very new and we expect it will go through several updates before the semester starts. Please check this webpage frequently for new information as it becomes available.

If you would like to sit out a semester or take classes online from your home country, you will need to forfeit your current F-1 status. When you are ready to return to Minot State in January or August 2021, you may need to apply for readmission through the Registrar’s Office. You will also need to apply for a new I-20 and visa following the directions on our website for “Travel and Reentry” here.

Please inform the International Student Coordinator if you wish to forfeit your F-1 status to do online classes from your home country in Fall 2020.

We will continue to provide as many services as possible over email, so please use email as your first mode of communication with us. To protect the health of students and staff, we need to limit the number of walk-ins to the office. If you must visit the office physically, please wear a mask at all times. We will send materials to students through the mail rather than have them picked up in the office.

 

 

Last Updated 7 July 2020, ES

 

Disclaimer: The Office of International Programs is able to provide you with general guidance.  However, any advice provided to you by our office, as well as the information on this website, should not be construed as legal advice. Additionally, due to the fluid nature of governmental interpretation, USCIS may change its interpretation of these immigration laws/regulations and eligibility requirements for benefits, at any time.  We will do our best to provide you with the most current guidance.  Each case is fact-specific and it is advised that you contact an experienced immigration attorney if you have questions regarding your situation.