Frequently Asked Questions for International Students for the Fall 2020 Semester

Last updated 8/13/20 - The information presented here is changing very rapidly. Please check back for additional updates. We will update these FAQs as more information becomes available. For general information related to COVID-19 and CMU operations, please see the Coronavirus Information Center.

HyFlex Classes

What are HyFlex classes? What will this mean for my fall 2020 class schedule?

CMU announced that most classes for fall 2020 would be offered in a hybrid-flexible, or HyFlex, format. HyFlex should allow students to attend their courses in-person, online, or a combination of both. This will vary by program, department, and individual class, so we recommend checking with your advisor or course instructors on what this means for your classes. For more information on HyFlex classes, please click here.

I know that F-1 students are limited in the number of online classes they can take in a semester. Will HyFlex classes negatively impact my immigration status as an F-1 student?

The government has provided an exception to the online course restriction for continuing students for the fall 2020 semester. Therefore, the designation of classroom vs. online does not matter. This applies to continuing students only (those who were in the United States engaged in a program of study as of March 2020). Students who entered the United States in July, August, or later on an initial I-20 to begin a new program for fall 2020 do have to abide by this limitation. For these students, only one online class can be counted when determining full time enrollment. HyFlex courses in this instance are counted as classroom courses. 

Immigration, Travel, & Late Arrivals

Will I need to quarantine when I come to campus if I am flying or traveling from another country?

Students who are returning from international travel or coming to CMU from another country are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in the United States. 

Students returning from international travel who plan to live on campus will be expected to reside in quarantine spaces provided by the Office of Residence Life until the 14-day period has expired. Please contact the Office of Residence Life at 989-774-3111 for information about on-campus quarantine housing prior to your arrival. 

Will I need to quarantine when I come to campus if I am flying or traveling from another state within the U.S.?

At this time, CMU is not requiring students to quarantine upon arrival. However, we encourage students arriving from hot-spot locations to be vigilant about wearing a mask, social distancing, handwashing and avoiding crowds. We also recommend that students limit their contact with others in the days before arriving on campus, if possible. 

I am traveling from a Schengen Area country, do I need a waiver to enter the US? 

The State Department has announced that students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exemption to travel. Students from those areas who are traveling on a J-1 visa may contact the nearest embassy or consulate to begin a waiver request. 

What if I am unable to arrive to the U.S. for the fall 2020 semester? Can I take classes online? Will this negatively impact my I-20?

HyFlex and online classes may be available for you to enroll in. These options should allow you to continue your degree progress while away from campus. You should consult with your advisor or your individual course instructors to see what your course options are to continue your degree progress.

For F-1 students with a CMU I-20, we are unsure yet of how the government will want us to proceed with this. We will communicate this information once it becomes available. OGE will send out an arrival questionnaire by email later this summer for students to report whether or not they plan to be on-campus in the fall.

Can I begin HyFlex classes online from my home country and then arrive to campus part way through the fall semester.

The HyFlex delivery model should allow for this. However, this depends on what the government will allow for late arrivals. We have yet to receive guidance on this from the government. Once we do, this will be communicated.

Will on-campus housing be available if I arrive late?

The Office of Residence Life has indicated that they can still make on-campus housing arrangements in the event of a late arrival. If you have specific questions about this, please contact the Office of Residence Life.

I am a continuing student and was unable to get my I-20 signed for travel before leaving. What can I do?

You may request a reprinted copy of your I-20 on the I-20 reprint page. This should only be done if you need an updated signature. If your current I-20 was signed on page 2 within the last year of your re-entry date, you do not need an updated signature. This is for continuing students only. New students with an "initial attendance" I-20 do not need a travel signature on page 2.

When will U.S. embassies and consulates reopen for visa processing?

Embassies and consluates have announced a phased resumption of routine visa services as of July 15, 2020. Please monitor individual embassy or consulate websites for specific services and appointment availability at each location.

For International Graduate Assistants

Can I complete my GA duties away from campus if I am unable to arrive in time to start the fall semester in-person?

Faculty Personnel Services along with Payroll recently indicated that GA duties can be performed remotely so long as the GA is within the United States. The ability to do this may vary by department and individual appointment. FPS should also be made aware of this arrangement by your department. GA duties cannot be performed outside of the United States. For more information about this, please contact your department.

If I arrive to the U.S. after the start of classes, can I still keep my GA appointment?

Graduate assistants must be in the U.S. no later than August 24, 2020 to keep the GA appointment. Appointments for GAs who arrive in the U.S. after August 24, 2020 cannot be maintained. Individual departments may require an earlier arrival based on departmental need and the terms of individual GA appointments. If you intend to arrive after the start of classes, please contact your department for additional guidance.

If you have questions regarding a situation not covered here, please contact the Office of Global Engagement by phone at (989) 774-4308 or by email at