Immigration Guidance

  • What is the current immigration guidance? 
  • On April 26, 2021, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) confirmed that they will be following the guidance originally released in March 2020 for the 2021-2022 Academic Year. SEVP will continue to use the Frequently Asked Questions document available on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website. 

Visa Application 

  • Can I schedule a visa interview right now? 
  • In general, consular officers will not issue an F-1 visa more than 120 days before the program start date listed on the I-20. However, you may request a visa interview more than 120 days before the program start date, if the visa interview will be scheduled within that window. 

    The Department of State provided a visa processing update on April 6, 2021. Individual embassies and consulates may have different reopening schedules subject to local and national health restrictions, so please do check the nearest embassy or consulate for available visa appointments and wait times

    Some embassies are offering emergency visa appointments for students who are beginning a program in the Fall. Please be sure to carefully read the embassy website to ensure that you are submitting all required documents in a timely manner. We can also provide an optional letter supporting your request for the expedited appointment. If you would like to request a copy of this letter, please contact Be sure to include your full name and your program of study with the letter request.
  • What if I’m from one of the countries that are on the travel restriction list due to COVID-19?
  • As of today, there are travel restrictions in place that limit international travel from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India. These travel restrictions require international travelers from these countries to spend a minimum of 14 days in a third country before arriving in the U.S. 

    On May 27, 2021, the U.S. Department of State announced a National Interest Exception (NIE) for F-1 students traveling from these countries: 

    The announcement permits F-1 students traveling from these countries whose program will begin on or after August 1, 2021 to automatically qualify for the NIE, meaning that they can travel directly from their country of origin to the U.S. without spending 14 days in a third country. 
  • What if my visa interview is canceled or rescheduled? 
  • If it appears that you will not be able to attend a visa interview in time to travel to the U.S. for the start of Fall Quarter, please let your program advisor know immediately. They will provide additional guidance based on the situation.
  • What if I can’t schedule a visa interview?
  • UC Davis recognizes the need for flexibility in some cases, particularly for those with health conditions and international students affected by travel restrictions. 

    On April 26, 2021, the UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May and Provost Mary Croughan issued a statement on Fall Quarter planning. In this statement, they noted that visa availability and travel restrictions could prevent some students from being able to arrive on campus for the Fall Quarter. In recognition of this, UC Davis will have limited online classes available for students who cannot arrive for Fall. That said, please note that although some online courses are planned for the Fall Quarter, the majority of classes will be taught using in-person instruction.

    If you are unable to arrive in Davis for the Fall Quarter, then you may enroll in online classes from your home country. The current immigration guidelines that are in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic permit international students to enroll in fully online classes from outside the United States. This guidance will remain in effect through the 2021-2022 academic year.
  • How late can I arrive in Davis?
  • Please inform your advisor of any delays on your visa issuance and inform them regarding your planned arrival date. Keep in mind that if you arrive more than one week after classes begin, then you may miss important course assignments. This could impact your overall academic result in the course. Although we will continue to be as flexible as possible, it is generally recommended to arrive no more than one week after classes begin.

    Your immigration record will not permit you to arrive more than 30 days after the start of your program as listed on your I-20. If you cannot arrive within the first thirty days of the program, then you may either attend your classes remotely from your home country or defer your admission to a later term. In either case, please be sure to discuss your options with your program coordinator before making a final decision.
  • What's required for my visa interview?
  • In general, the following items are required for an F-1 visa interview ( 
    •    Your current passport valid for travel to the United States. The passport should be valid for at least another 6 months beyond your planned travel to the U.S.  
    •    The Form DS-160 confirmation page
    •    One 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 inches) color photo taken within the last 6 months
    •    The signed Form I-20
    •    The Student and Exchange Visa Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee receipt
    •    Proof of financial support for tuition and living expenses for your entire program (up to one year) in the U.S. 
    You will also need to demonstrate the following during your interview. If you have documents related to these topics, then it’s recommended to bring those to the interview, as well. 
    •    The purpose of your travel. Your admission letter may be used as proof of plans to study, and you will be expected to explain how the program will contribute to your academic and career-related goals. 
    •    Your intent to depart the United States after your program. Evidence of your employment and/or family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your trip and your intent to return to your home country.

Course Registration

  • Do I have to take any in-person classes?
  • At this time, students who are arriving in the U.S. for the first time on their current F-1 visa will need to enroll in at least one in-person class during the Fall Quarter. Your program advisors will assist in making sure that you have at least one in-person class in your schedule. Please note that a majority of classes will be taught in-person this Fall. 
  • If I take only online classes from my home country, will I have to defer or end my program early?
  • No. Your immigration status and your admission status are separate from each other. You can still continue your program remotely, even if your immigration status changes.
  • What is an "in-person" course?
  • According to the current immigration regulations, an in-person course must have at least one mandatory component that requires the student to be physically present.
  • How does UC Davis decide which classes will be available online?
  • UC Davis departments are currently determining which courses should be available remotely for the Fall Quarter. This takes into consideration which students, particularly freshmen and senior students, will need the courses in order to graduate. UC Davis leadership will review the list of courses and decide which courses will be available both in-person and remotely. We expect a final list of online courses in late Summer. 

    Please keep in mind that the majority of classes will be available on campus and in-person.
  • How can I tell which classes are online?
  • The final list of courses that will be available online is not yet decided. We will let you know when we receive more information about online course offerings.
  • How many units do I have to take?
  • Students who travel to the U.S. on an F-1 visa are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 units each term. 
    If you will study remotely from your home country, then it is not necessary to apply for an F-1 visa. The F-1 visa is only required for students who will travel to the U.S. for their studies. For this reason, then then you would not be required to enroll in a minimum of 12 units. 
  • What do “asynchronous” and “synchronous” mean?
  • Online courses may be taught either asynchronously or synchronously. Asynchronous instruction is when lectures are recorded and made available for students to watch later. Synchronous instruction is when the lectures are live and students must log in to view them. Instructors may decide individually whether to teach their online courses asynchronously or synchronously.

International Travel

  • Do I have to get a COVID-19 vaccine to travel to the U.S.? 
  • At this time, international travelers to the U.S. are not required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. We are monitoring this situation, and we will keep you updated as travel guidelines are updated. 
  • What is required for international travel to the U.S.?
  • There are some travel restrictions in place, and these are continually updating. Please make sure to regularly check current guidelines before traveling. 

    A Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order went into effect on January 26. The order requires all airline passengers traveling to the U.S. to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of having recovered from COVID-19 before boarding their flight. Anyone who has been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine will still need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. 

    For a complete guide to recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated international travelers, please visit the CDC website.

    Please keep in mind that there may be different travel and COVID-related restrictions in other countries, so continue checking this website for more information.

After Arrival

  • Does UC Davis require me to get a COVID-19 vaccine before arriving? 
  • The University of California system has proposed a vaccine requirement for all students once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the vaccine. This policy is currently under review, but it is proposed to begin as early as Fall 2021. At this time, the vaccine is not required, and we will let you know if there are any changes to this rule.

    The proposed policy states that the UC will accept proof of a vaccination that has been approved either by the FDA or the World Health Organization (WHO). This is consistent with the current CDC guidance. Students with proof of a WHO-approved vaccination would not be required to get an FDA-approved vaccine, although they may be required to get booster shots at a later date. Please note that the proof of vaccination is only valid if the student has completed the entire vaccine series.

    A list of vaccines with FDA emergency approval can be found here:

    A list of vaccines with FDA emergency approval can be found here: 

    The UC system has also provided a list of Student FAQs related to the proposed policy. Please review these FAQs carefully.
  • Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine in Davis after I arrive?
  • If you would like to get the vaccine after your arrival, then anyone aged 16 and older is currently eligible for the vaccine. To learn more about the UC Davis Vaccine Program, please visit their website:
  • Am I required to quarantine after arriving in the U.S.?
  • Currently, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated travelers get a COVID-19 test and self-quarantine after international travel for a minimum of 7 days. Unvaccinated travelers who do not get tested are recommended to self-quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. 

    Travelers who have been vaccinated with an FDA- or WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine are recommended to get a COVID-19 test and self-monitor for symptoms. The CDC does not ask vaccinated travelers to self-quarantine at this time. 

    UC Davis also requires all students, staff, and faculty to wait 10 days before coming to campus after traveling internationally. 

    UC Davis has initiated a Campus Ready project, and we recommend regularly checking this website for information about campus rules and regulations regarding COVID-19. 

    If you plan to travel in the U.S. between states, please keep in mind that some states may have different COVID-19 regulations. Please make sure to check online before arranging any trips.
  • How can I get tested for COVID-19?
  • UC Davis and the City of Davis has organized a partnership called Healthy Davis Together. Through this partnership, the Davis community has access to free, rapid saliva asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at locations on campus and throughout Davis.

    UC Davis students can schedule a COVID-19 test at the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) on campus. Students, staff, and faculty who visit campus are required to have a COVID-19 test every 7 days. This testing service is only for those who are not showing COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who is showing symptoms is asked to contact the Student Health and Counseling Services for further assistance.
  • If I will be staying with a host family, will I be required to quarantine before meeting them?
  • The homestay company will determine how to manage quarantines. If you would like to know more about their policy, please contact your program coordinator or homestay representative.