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Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

Last updated 08/17/21- The information presented here may change 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.

Receiving a visa and making travel plans

Are U.S. embassies and consulates accepting visa appointments? 

Yes, though there may be delays in processing due to backlogs. Please check your local consulate or embassy’s website for information on scheduling a visa appointment.

My visa appointment is scheduled after the start of classes, what can I do?

Within 60 days of your program start date, please email to discuss what the process would look like to request an expedited/emergency visa appointment. Expedited/emergency visa appointment requests are not always approved, so be sure to keep your scheduled appointment slot in case that is the only one available.

Once I have my student visa, when can I enter the US?

Current regulations allow new students to enter the US no earlier than 30 days prior to the program start date. Recent executive orders may also limit returning students to this 30-day arrival period as well. See below about waivers to enter the United States.

Will I need a waiver to enter the U.S.?

Please visit the following links to learn more about waiver requirements and exceptions:

  • COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Exceptions
  • National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

Arrival to the United States and campus

Will airport pickups be available? 

The Office of Global Engagement is unable to offer airport pickups during the fall semester arrival period. 

What public transportation may be available for arrival to campus? 

The Michigan Flyer bus service operates from Detroit Metro airport to East Lansing, MI. From East Lansing a connection to the Indian Trails bus to Mt. Pleasant can be made. While the Michigan Flyer has several daily runs, the Indian Trails bus departs East Lansing only once daily. Please check the schedule for current arrival/departure information to ensure a timely connection.  

Does the university require students to be vaccinated against Covid-19? 

Central Michigan University is not currently requiring students be vaccinated. All members of the CMU community are strongly encouraged to receive a vaccination when are able to do so. 

Will I be required to quarantine when I arrive on campus? 

Upon arriving in the United States, CMU asks that you: Get tested with a viral test (e.g., PCR or antigen) 3-5 days after travel whether you are vaccinated or not. If you have recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection within the last three months, you do not need to be tested after travel unless you are symptomatic.

Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if symptoms develop.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you should stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, you should stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days. If you do not get tested, you should stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel. Regardless of testing, you should avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 7 days. 

If you become symptomatic and/or test positive for COVID-19, the local health department should treat the case as a suspected variant of concern and perform the enhanced follow-up recommendations. Faculty, staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 must report their test result to the CMU COVID Tracking Team using either the CMU Healthscreen app or by emailing

Students arriving to campus after international travel should report their arrival to They should include the following information:  

  • Full Name
  • Local Contact information 
  • Student ID information 
  • Date of Arrival to the US
  • Physical Location the 14 days prior to arrival
  • Vaccine Status (optional)
Please see the following CDC website for more information: SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern
For more information on CMU recommendations and requirements, please visit the university's Information for Students and Families webpage. 

Students impacted by this who live on campus or plan to live on campus and are expected to reside in quarantine spaces provided by the Office of Residence Life until the quarantine period has expired. Please contact the Office of Residence Life for information about on-campus quarantine housing prior to your return/arrival.

Late arrivals to campus

If my visa process is late, can I arrive late to campus?

Each program handles late arrivals differently. Please email to determine what options may be available to you.

I have a Graduate Assistantship, what if I have a visa delay? Can I arrive late?

As Graduate Assistantships (GA) are governed by contractual matters, certain deadlines may be in place determining required start dates. If you will experience an arrival delay due to a visa matter, please reach out to the department that awarded your GA for information on late arrival. Please let the department know as soon as possible. The department will then reach out to Faculty Personnel Services to determine whether an alternate start date can be allowed.

May I begin classes from my home country if I do not receive a visa prior to the start of classes? 

HyFlex and online classes may be available for you to enroll in. These options may allow students to begin their degree prior to arriving to campus. They should consult with their advisor prior to enrollment. For F-1 students with a CMU I-20, we can address the situation on a case-by-case basis. Please reach out to for individualized advice. 

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

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

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 New-arriving students to campus can email