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International Student Services

Important Enrollment & COVID Information for the 2021 - 2022 Academic Year

FALL 2021 ENROLLMENT GUIDANCE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA 

Please read through all sections. For specific instructions regarding your physical location and SEVIS record status, please navigate to the relevant section pertaining to your situation. 

International Student Services has reviewed Student Exchange and Visitor Program enrollment guidance for the 2021 – 2022 academic year. Since the University of South Carolina is returning fully to normal operations in Fall 2021 (more here), international students are required to adhere to the normal limit of only one fully online course counting towards full-time enrollment.

The University of South Carolina will resume a full face-to-face course schedule as well as normal campus operations. This means that enrolling in a normal course load should be fully possible. 

F-1 and J-1 international students will need to enroll full-time during the fall and spring semesters. More information about full-time course enrollment standards can be found on the ISS website. 

Full-time enrollment means the following: 

  • Undergraduate students must enroll for at least 12 credits during fall and spring semesters. 
  • Graduate students with an assistantship must enroll in at least 6 credit hours during fall and spring semesters. 
  • Graduate students with no assistantship must enroll in at least 9 credit hours during fall and spring semesters. 

Online Course Limits for all degree levels: We are reverting to pre-COVID guidelines for online classes. This means that one fully online course (DWEB) can count towards your full-time enrollment. All other courses must have an in-person component of some kind. 

  • You are in great shape!  
  • You are subject to the standard full-time enrollment requirements per fall and spring semester unless you qualify for an exception.

SEVIS Active Students outside the U.Swho maintained full-time enrollment (or were otherwise exempt) since March 2020: 

  1. Return to campus between by August 12, 2021 so that you can self-quarantine for 7 days prior to the start of classes.  If you are from China, India, South Africa, Brazil, or Iran, the earliest you can enter is one month before the start of the Fall 2021 semester. ISS recommends that you enter between July 20th - August 12th. For more information, see here.
  2. You will need a travel signature on your most recent I-20 that is no older than 12 months at the time of reentry. If you need an updated I-20, please request one here. *Only request a new I-20 if you truly need one.*  
  3. You will need a valid F-1 or J-1 visa to reenter the U.S. If your visa is expired, you will need to apply for a visa renewal at your closest U.S. consulate prior to reentry. 
  4. Upon your return to the U.S., you will need to upload your I-94 and I-94 Travel History before your SEVIS record can be registered.  
  5. If you are unable to return, ISS will terminate your SEVIS record for “authorized early withdrawal.” This termination will not have a negative impact on your immigration record. 
  6. Complete the immigration record update form if you will not return for Fall 2021. 
  7. When you are ready to return, you will receive a new I-20.
    • ISS does not know for sure whether you will receive a new SEVIS number. Be prepared to receive a new SEVIS number and to pay the SEVIS fee again ($350 for F-1 students, $220 for J-1 students).
  8. You will not need a new F-1 or J-1 visa unless your current visa is expired.
    • Note that the SEVIS ID/number on your I-20 only needs to match on your initial entry. So if you do receive a new SEVIS number, you shouldn't have an issue even if it doesn't match the SEVIS number on your visa.
 

SEVIS Terminated Students outside of the U.S. who did not enroll full-time since March 2020: 

  1. Apply for an immigration document using the Application for Immigration Document (you will need to provide new financials). 
  2. Submit an I-20 request form. (Select “Return to UofSC after Physical Absence Due to COVID-19” as the reason for request.)  
  3. Plan to arrive to the U.S. between July 13th - August 12th. You cannot arrive before July 13th and you should arrive by August 12th to allow for 7 days of self-isolation. 
  4. If you wish to remain abroad: 
    • Consult with your academic advisor or academic department to see if it’s possible for you to remain abroad. 
    • After you have confirmed online course availability and that your academic department will allow you to continue online enrollment, let ISS know that you wish to remain abroad by completing the Immigration Record Update Form. 
 

New International Students Admitted for Fall 2021 or Continuing Students who began their UofSC degree from abroad: 

  1. Apply for an immigration document using the Application for Immigration Document (you will need to provide financials). 
  2. Plan to arrive to the U.S. between July 13th - August 12th. You cannot arrive before July 13th and you should arrive by August 12th to allow for 7 days of self-isolation. 
  3. If you wish to remain abroad: 
    • Consult with your academic advisor or academic department to see if it’s possible for you to remain abroad. 
    • After you have confirmed online course availability and that your academic department will allow you to continue online enrollment, you will need to let ISS know. We will be in touch with you in the near future about how you can communicate this with ISS.  

 

The information in this announcement is meant for continuing international students. Please refer to the International Student Information Blackboard Course and the New Student Section of our website for more information about your situation.

FALL 2021 ENROLLMENT GUIDANCE  

If your SEVIS record is in terminated status and you have been studying from abroad, you will likely have a citizenship verification registration hold on your account. ISS will lift this hold if the following is true: 

  1. It is July 20th or later 
  2. You have submitted your passport, I-20, current F-1 visa, and I-94 to newinternational@sc.edu 

If your SEVIS record is in active status, you should not have a citizenship verification registration hold and should be able to register for classes now.  

NATIONAL INTEREST EXCEPTIONS & OTHER TRAVEL CONCERNS 

F-1 and J-1 students from China, India, Brazil, Iran, South Africa, the Schengen Region of Europe, the United Kingdom, or Ireland qualify for a national interest exception. (More here and here.) This means they are not subject to travel restrictions in effect because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, students from these places of origin must wait until thirty days before the start of the fall 2021 semester to enter. This means you should arrive to the U.S. between July 13th – August 12th 

International Student Services is aware that obtaining a student visa is still extremely difficult. We are hoping and advocating for U.S. consulates to open and to speedily issue student visas. We understand that a full in-person return might be difficult for some of you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to ISS if you have questions or concerns. 

STUDENT HEALTH SERVICES GUIDANCE: COVID-19 TESTING, SELF-QUARANTINE, AND VACCINE AVAILABILITY 

See this section of the ISS website.

Please note: COVID-19 is a rapidly developing situation. This guidance is subject to change. ISS understands that this update discusses many complicated and difficult issues for international students. Our goal is to support you to the very best of our ability during this challenging time of transition.   

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