International Students FAQs

Have routine visa services resumed?

As of July 14th, the US Department of State will begin a phased resumption of routine visa services. Visa services will resume on a "on a post-by-post basis", so if you need to apply for a visa, you must check the website of the US embassy or consulate at which you plan to apply for further information.

Was the Fall Term ICE Guidance really rescinded? If so, what is the current guidance?

Yes, on July 14th, ICE agreed to rescind the Fall Term Guidance. According to the agreement, ICE will revert back to the previous guidance as established by the March 9, 2020 policy directive and the addendum issued on March 13, 2020.

Winter break will be very long this academic year. If I can't go home due to COVID-19 related issues, can I stay in campus housing?

International students with extenuating circumstances will be allowed to remain in campus housing over winter break. However, campus services (e.g. Dining Services, the Student Health Center, etc.) will be limited over the break.

Do I need to quarantine if I'm returning to W&L from abroad?

Yes, anyone arriving from international travel should self-quarantine for 14 days, per CDC guidelines. You can self-monitor, and should stay in your usual place of residence. Single bedrooms are preferred, with mask use and frequent cleaning/disinfection of shared bathrooms and common areas. If you are living on-campus, you do not need to enter special quarantine housing at this point in time, as long as you can follow the guidelines from CDC, unless you had known close contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. If you have questions, please contact the Student Health Center (, but note that the Student Health Center will be closed and may not be able to answer your questions from July 1 until August 3.

I’m returning to W&L from abroad. Can I fly through a country with a U.S. travel restriction?

U.S. travel restrictions are based on physical presence in an affected county within the last 14 days. Therefore, you cannot fly through any country that is on this list at the time you are traveling: If you are citizen of the E.U., China, Brazil, Ireland, or the U.K., you should be prepared to answer questions about your travel history, to prove that you have been outside of your home country for at least 14 days before attempting to enter the U.S. If you are unsure about how to prepare for these questions, or what kind of evidence you may need to provide, you can direct questions to the CBP office at your arrival airport:

I left my belongings in the Global Service House storage area last spring. How can I pick up my things?

You will need to email Laura Campbell in Public Safety to request access if you will be arriving earlier than you listed on our storage form. When accessing the storage area, you will need to wear a face covering and observe social distancing. You should also avoid using the Campus Kitchen exit. Retrieving your belongings and transporting them to your residence is your responsibility.

What happens if I take a leave of absence due to COVID-19?

International students should consider taking a leave of absence very carefully in consultation with the appropriate campus faculty and staff (your class dean, your faculty advisor, the financial aid office, etc.). With regard to your visa status, if you withdraw to take a leave of absence, your I-20 will be terminated for "authorized early withdraw" and when you are reinstated, you will receive a new I-20 for you which you will use to obtain a new F-1 visa sticker. This termination should not have a negative impact on your ability to obtain a new visa, but you may need to pay the SEVIS fee or transfer your SEVIS fee payment as you will receive a new SEVIS ID number. All associated "clocks" related to your visa status will reset once you get your new I-20. This means that you will not be eligible for CPT/OPT until you have completed a full academic year upon your return. If you plan to return to school in the fall of 2021, then you could participate in summer internships with CPT in the summer of 2022. One aspect to consider is financial aid. Before the university can create the new I-20 for you after reinstatement, we will need to verify that your financial support meets or exceeds the W&L cost of attendance, so discussing aid consideration is also related to your visa status.