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COVID-19 Response & Updates

The Division of Global Engagement and its offices are fully operational.  Our offices in the Student Union Room 136 are staffed, but to ensure safety and understanding we are meeting with students remotely via Microsoft Teams. To schedule a virtual appointment, please click here. We are continuing to provide the same servieces to our students and scholars.

While you are making your plans for the for the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters, please continue communicating with us and inform us of your plans. We can help. 

The Division of Global Engagement is discouraging F-1 students and J-1 students and scholars from traveling outside of the U.S. during semester breaks due to rapidly changing immigration regulations and safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, please click here.

Please note that this situation is a fluid one and therefore, you should make sure to check the University's COVID-19 website frequently and follow the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the Division of Global Engagement, UL Lafayette Study Abroad and the Office of International Affairs on social media.

The health and safety of our students, employees, and visitors are of the utmost importance to the University. If you have questions about how the Division of Global Engagement is handling safety or operations for COVID-19, contact us via email at globalengagement@louisiana.edu or call 337-482-6819.

Quarantine Information for Students Arriving from International Travel

The Division of Global Engagement is working with Student Health Services to help ensure the safety of our students. The University requires all students arriving in the U.S. from international travel (continuing students and new students)  to complete the Quarantine & Isolation Form and to follow all of the guidelines listed here. Vaccinated students should upload their records to the SHS portal by following the directions here. It is important to note that students arriving from international travel must remain in quarantine until they receive a release from Student Health Services. Please visit Student Health Services' website for more information.

Study Abroad Information

The Study Abroad Office is making arrangements for our summer 2022 programs. Although, we are confident they will be able to go, we will continue to monitor the effects of COVID-19.  Our European programs are located in London, Paris and Florence.  We also have a program that travels to various areas of Costa Rica.  We are excited to offer an Arabic studies program in Rabat, Morocco which will have its debut in the summer of 2022.

Contact Patricia Mouille in the Study Abroad Office:

Phone: (337) 482-5438
Virtual Appointment: Click here.
 

SEVP Update for International Students and Scholars

SEVP Update: 04/26/2021

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has issued the following statement in response to COVID-19 guidance for 2021-2022 academic year.

"The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will extend the guidance originally issued in March 2020 for the 2021-22 academic year. This guidance enables schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the continuing public health concerns created by COVID-19. The March 2020 guidance applies to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, and are otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, whether from inside the United States or abroad. A summary of the March 2020 guidance is available below. Significantly, there are no changes to the original guidance, which will remain in effect during the 2021-22 academic year."
 
Summary of March 2020 Guidance for Continuing Students

"As stated in the March 2020 guidance, Active F and M students will be permitted to temporarily count online classes toward a full course of study in excess of the regulatory limits stated in 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G) and 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(m)(9)(v) for the 2021-22 academic year. The March 2020 guidance applies to continuing F and M nonimmigrant students who were in valid F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant status on March 9, 2020, including those previously enrolled in entirely online classes who are outside of the United States and seeking to re-enter the country for the 2021-22 academic year. Students actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, who subsequently took courses online while outside of the country can re-enter the United States, even if their school is engaged solely in distance learning."
 
Summary of March 2020 Guidance for Initial/New Students

"In accordance with the March 2020 guidance, new or Initial F and M students who were not previously enrolled in a program of study on March 9, 2020, will not be able to enter the United States as a nonimmigrant student for the 2021-22 academic year if their course of study is 100 percent online. A new student should be allowed to enter the United States if they are engaged in a hybrid program, with some requirement for in-person learning."
 
F-1 students who were in active SEVIS status after March 9, 2020 cannot enroll in 100% Online (OL) or Remote (RE) courses.
 

Students who have applied for graduation and need to request approval to enroll less than full-time may apply for a Reduced Course Load. Please contact oia@louisiana.edu if you have any questions.

Note that the guidance that we provide may change as SEVP releases updates. The Division of Global Engagement will continue to review any further guidance issued by SEVP to ensure that all of our students are in compliance with the federal regulations and can continue enrollment in their degree programs. We will continue to keep our students informed with any changes in federal regulations via email and by updating our COVID-19 Response and Updates page. Thank you for your patience as we provide guidance regarding this dynamic and rapidly changing pandemic. We are here for you.

Graduate Students should also read through the Graduate School’s COVID-19 Updates page to learn about deferrals of admission and graduate assistantships.

Safety Information and Quarantine Policy

The University has developed a quarantine policy for students, faculty, and staff returning from international travel that follows CDC guidelines. Click here for safety information, the University’s quarantine policy, and resources for those who experience COVID-19 symptoms. Students who do not feel well for any reason should stay home. If you stay home, please alert Dr. Margarita Perez, Dean of Students, by completing the Anticipated or Unplanned Absence form. Students who live in on-campus residence halls, should review the Office of University Housing’s COVID-19 Response and Updates page.

The DGE understands that studetns may feel fearful and anxious during this uncertain time. Your mental and physical health are of the utmost imporance to us. The UL Lafayette Counseling and Testing Center is offering remote sessions. Learn more.

Health Insurance

Insurance coverage for continuing F-1 & J-1 international students will end on May 28, 2021 for the Spring 2021 semester. Continuing students who plan to attend for the Fall 2021 semester, but who are not enrolled for the Summer 2021 semester may purchase insurance coverage for $449.00. Summer health insurance coverage is from May 29, 2021 to August 17, 2021.

If you wish to purchase health insurance coverage for the summer, please submit $449 cash, check, money order, or cashier check to the Student Cashier’s Center in the Student Union room 135. Once you have paid the fee at the Student Cashier’s Center, please send proof of payment (either a scanned copy of the receipt or a screen shot from your statement of account in ULINK) to Shelby Carriere in Student Health Service at shelby.carriere@louisiana.edu.

Students remaining in the United States over the summer who are not enrolled in classes at the University are strongly encouraged to purchase summer health insurance to avoid a lapse in coverage. A lapse in coverage means that the student would have no health insurance coverage until the Fall 2021 semester begins on August 18, 2021. Students without health insurance during the summer are responsible for paying for all healthcare costs.

The last day to purchase summer insurance is June 29, 2021. Students who are enrolled in classes for the Summer 2021 semester will automatically have insurance fees added to their statement of account.

Students who are enrolled in classes for the Summer 2021 semester who wish to waive the University’s insurance coverage can complete an online waiver on Wellfleet’s website. Students who wish to decline the University’s insurance plan, must have comparable coverage to Wellfleet. To complete the waiver, please click here. The deadline to complete the waiver to decline the University’s health insurance coverage is June 29, 2021.

International students enrolled for the Fall 2021 semester are automatically enrolled in the international student insurance plan through Wellfleet starting on August 23, 2021.  Students who wish to opt out of this coverage must complete Wellfleet's online waiver before the posted deadline. The online waiver is generally available here during the beginning of each new semester. For more information, please click here.

All Coronavirus COVID-19 testing will be covered at no cost to students enrolled in the international student insurance plan through Wellfleet. Please visit the Wellfleet Coronavirus Updates webpage for FAQ’s and updates.

Continuing International Students & Scholars

While you are making your plans for this Fall, please continue communicating with us and inform us about your plans. We can help. Contact us via oia@louisiana.edu, call 337-482-6819 or schedule a virtual appointment by clicking here.

The Division of Global Engagement is staying up-to-date with SEVP regulations regarding remote instruction and travel for international students and we will provide additional information as it is made available.

Fall 2021 Information

  • Your Physical Presence in the U.S.:  Fall 2021 classes begin on Monday, August 23. To enroll in on-campus (OC), hybrid (HB), or hyFlex (HF) classes, you must be present in the United States no later than August 27 (Graduate students) or September 10 (Undergraduates) and enroll full-time (9 credit hours for graduate students and 12 credit hours for undergraduates). Students with graduate assistantships must be in the U.S. prior to Augsut 18. If you anticipate arriving after these dates, you must contact oia@louisiana.edu. Graduate students must also contact gradschool@louisiana.edu.
  • Online & Remote Course Enrollment: SEVP extended the March temporary provisions of online enrollment for F-1 students in the U.S. for the 2021-2022 academic year. This means that F-1 international students can engage in remote coursework and remain in the U.S. while maintaining their visa status. As a reminder, F-1 students who were in ACTIVE SEVIS status after March 9, 2020, cannot enroll in 100% online (OL) or remote (RE) courses. Students who cannot enter the U.S. for the Fall 2021 semester may be able to enroll remotely from their home country depending on their academic department’s approval and course availability and if enrolled full-time, may be able to maintain an “Active” SEVIS record.You can read about the various types of course offerings here.
  • Your F-1 Visa: Your F-1 visa does not need to be renewed unless you are outside of the U.S. and the F-1 visa is expired. Students who have an expired F-1 visa and are currently in the U.S. are not required to renew their visa unless they depart the U.S. and need to reenter. For information on the visa renewal process, please click here.
  • Passport: Please remember that your passport must be valid at all times while in the U.S. It is your responsibility to keep track of your passport’s expiration date and to contact the appropriate authorities in your home country or embassy/consulate of your home country in the U.S. in order to renew your passport. Due to the pandemic, there are delays in passport renewal services around the world. Make sure to provide the DGE with proof that you have requested passport renewal before your passport expires. Please email proof that you have requested a renewal of your passport from country's embassy in the U.S. to oia@louisiana.edu.
  • Travel: Travel restrictions around the world are changing daily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Division of Global Engagement strongly discourages students who are inside the U.S. from traveling internationally due to the risk of being unable to reenter the country. SEVP policies may limit the ability of students who are outside the U.S. from continuing in their degree program. If there is an emergency that requires that you travel outside the U.S., please review the information here and complete our travel authorization request at least 8 business days before you travel.

Graduate Students

The Graduate School is providing updates regularly for current students. They can answer questions about graduate studies and graduate assistantships.Visit the Graduate School’s website for more information.

Students Currently on Post-Completion OPT, STEM OPT, or CPT

There is no substantive change for students on OPT. You are still subject to the 90 days of allowable unemployment and/or the 150 days of allowable unemployment for STEM OPT students.If your employer is requiring you to work remotely or take a leave of absence, this will not impact your OPT/CPT. Please be sure to update your employer address in the SEVP Portal. Remote work is also possible for students currently on CPT for the 2021-2022 academic year. Students on CPT or OPT should contact oia@louisiana.edu with any questions related to their work authorization or schedule a virtual appointment here and select “Work Authorization.”

J-1 Exchange Visitors

Changing global health conditions and the reactions of various governments thereto have resulted in travel restrictions (e.g., closure of borders) that make it difficult for exchange visitors from some countries to repatriate in a timely manner at the end of their exchange programs. J-1 scholars who are unable to return home at the end of their exchange program, should contact exchange@louisiana.edu for guidance. The U.S. Department of State is continuing to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the Exchange Visitor Program.  The Division of Global Engagement is receiving updates directly from the U.S. Department of State and will continue to keep our J-1 students and scholars informed.

Incoming (New) International Students & Scholars

The Division of Global Engagement is still available to meet with students virtually through Microsoft Teams. Please click here to schedule an appointment. While you are making your plans for the Fall 2021 semester, please communicate with us and inform us about your plans. We're here to support you and help you realize your dream of studying in the United States. Contact us via email at oia@louisiana.edu or call 337-482-6819.

Academic Calendars -- Click here for the University's academic calendars.

Changes to English Language Proficiency Tests -- The University has approved the temporary use of the Duolingo English Test as an alternative to IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE scores.

Prospective Graduate Students - The Graduate School is providing updates regularly for prospective students. They can answer questions about graduate studies and graduate assistantships. Please visit the Graduate School's website or email gradschool@louisiana.edu for more information.

Students who have been admitted and received an I-20 for an upcoming semester, should follow the instructions here to secure an F-1 visa in their home country. Students who are unable to apply for a visa in their home country due to U.S. embassy closures, may be eligible to apply in a third country. For instructions on applying for an F-1 visa in a third country, click here.

J-1 scholars and students (exchange visitors) who have received a DS-2019 from the University, should follow the instructions here to secure a J-1 visa in their home country. Exchange visitors who are unable to apply for a visa in thier home country due to U.S. embassy closures, may be eligible to apply in a third country. For instructions on applying for a J-1 visa in a third country, click here. Additionally, J-1 scholars and interns will need to determine if their hosting faculty or research center at UL Lafayette is able to faciliate and support their program objectives.

Processing J-1 & F-1 Visas

During the pandemic many embassies closed or restricted visa processing services resulting in backlogs of visa appointments.

If you are unable to obtain your visa in time for the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019, contact the person who issued your immigration document to request a deferral of attendance:

Please note that students are not eligible to begin a degree or exchange program on a visitor/tourist (B1/B2) visa or on the visa waiver (ESTA) program. Therefore, if you intend to enroll at UL Lafayette, you must wait to get your F-1 or J-1 visa before entering the U.S.

If you are a new international student outside the U.S. and are unable to secure the F-1 visa necessary to enter the country, you may be able to enroll remotely depending on your academic department’s approval and course availability. If you wish to enroll in online (OL) or remote (RE) courses, you will need to contact your academic advisor (listed in ULINK) to determine if these types of courses are available for the Fall 2021 semester. Please also contact oia@louisiana.edu once you have enrolled in remote classes.

New students who are unable to engage in remote enrollment from their home countries or who prefer to wait to enroll in traditional face-to-face instruction can defer their admission. Please note that as soon as you know that you are unable to attend for the Fall 2021 semester, please contact the Graduate School or the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for instructions on how to defer your admission and request a new I-20. See the FAQs below for more information.

Traveling to the United States

Before purchasing airfare to the United States, please visit the U.S. Department of Travel Advisory page to ensure that you will be able to enter the country. Students should also visit the CDC's website to determine what is required to enter the country. F-1 and J-1 students and scholars should contact oia@louisiana.edu 30 days before thier program start date to determine if they will be able to enter the country.

Fall 2021 Orientation

The Office of International Affairs within the Division of Global Engagement provides a virtual orientation through Moodle to introduce new international students to the services it provides, as well as, information about immigration compliance. New students should first complete the Orienatation Registration Form. Once the form has been completed, you will receive information about our online International Orientation accessed through Moodle and the required documents that need to be submitted through Moodle in order to register your immigration record in the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The online orientationcan be completed through Moodle at your convenience between July 1 and August 22. There is no cost for this. For more information, please click here.

New students who are inside of the U.S. and have F-1 visas should complete the DGE’s Orientation Registration Form.

  • Your Physical Presence in the U.S.:  Fall 2021 classes begin on Monday, August 23. To enroll in on-campus (OC), hybrid (HB), or hyFlex (HF) classes, you must be present in the United States no later than August 27 (Graduate students) or September 10 (Undergraduates) and enroll full-time (9 credit hours for graduate students and 12 credit hours for undergraduates). You can read about the various types of course offerings here. Students with graduate assistantships must be in the U.S. prior to August 18. If you anticipate arriving after these dates, you must contact oia@louisiana.edu. Graduate students must also contact gradschool@louisiana.edu.
  • Online & Remote Course Enrollment: SEVP extended the March temporary provisions of online enrollment for F-1 students in the U.S. for the 2021-2022 academic year. This means that F-1 international students can engage in remote coursework and remain in the U.S. while maintaining their visa status. F-1 students who were in ACTIVE SEVIS status after March 9, 2020, cannot enroll in 100% online (OL) or remote (RE) courses. Students who cannot enter the U.S. for the Fall 2021 semester may be able to enroll remotely from their home country depending on their academic department’s approval and course availability and if enrolled full-time, may be able to maintain an “Active” SEVIS record. You can read about the various types of course offerings here.
  • Passport: Please remember that your passport must be valid at all times while in the U.S. It is your responsibility to keep track of your passport’s expiration date and to contact the appropriate authorities in your home country or embassy/consulate of your home country in the U.S. in order to renew your passport. Due to the pandemic, there are delays in passport renewal services around the world. Make sure to provide the DGE with proof that you have requested passport renewal before your passport expires. Please email proof that you have requested a renewal of your passport from country's embassy in the U.S. to oia@louisiana.edu

Intensive English Program Students

Due to COVID-19, SEVP has temporarily allowed F-1 students in the U.S. to enroll in online courses. The Intensive English Program will continue to operate in a hybrid model until SEVP regulations change. Interested students can complete our online application. For more information, please contact iep@louisiana.edu.

J-1 Exchange Visitors

Changing global health conditions and the reactions of various governments thereto have resulted in travel restrictions (e.g., closure of borders) that make it difficult for exchange visitors from some countries to repatriate in a timely manner at the end of their exchange programs. J-1 scholars who are unable to return home at the end of their exchange program, should contact exchange@louisiana.edu for guidance. The U.S. Department of State is continuing to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the Exchange Visitor Program.  The Division of Global Engagement is receiving updates directly from the U.S. Department of State and will continue to keep our J-1 students and scholars informed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Continuing Students and New Students inside of the U.S.

How does UL Lafayette’s plan for instruction in Fall 2021 impact my ability to enroll as an F-1 student?

UL Lafayette has adopted a “hybrid model,” with a mixture of in-person, online, hybrid, HyFlex, and remote classes for Fall 2021.

Undergraduate and graduate students on F-1 visas must enroll full-time to remain in the U.S. This means enrolling in 12 credit hours for undergraduates or 9 credit hours for graduate students. Currently, for the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters there is no limitation on online coursework for F-1 and J-1 students remaining in the U.S., but SEVP may change this. Students are encouraged to enroll in primarily on-campus (OC), hybrid (HB), or hyFlex (HF) classes. Please note that F-1 and J-1 students are not able to be admitted to traditionally online-only programs. To clarify, you must be enrolled in a program that will revert to face-to-face instruction when the pandemic subsides.

As a reminder, F-1 students who were in active SEVIS status after March 9, 2020 cannot enroll in 100% Online (OL) or Remote (RE) courses.

If I’m graduating in Fall 2021 and only have one or two classes left to take, can I enroll less than full-time and can I take only online (OL) or remote (RE) classes?

If Fall 2021 is your graduating semester, you can apply for a Reduced Course Load. Please complete the form located here and email it to oia@louisiana.edu. Accoridng to the March 2020 SEVP policy, international students may temporarily "engage in learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the public health emergency generated by COVID-19," and therefore, there is no restriction on online coursework for students who were in ACTIVE SEVIS status on or before March 9, 2020.

I am a graduate student enrolled in only thesis or dissertation hours. What do I have to do to maintain my status?

As long as you enroll in 9 credit hours of dissertation/thesis hours, you will be maintaining your status. If Fall 2021 is your graduating semester and you wish to enroll in fewer than 9 dissertation/thesis hours, you must apply and be eligible for a Reduced Course Load.

I am required to complete an internship during the Fall 2021 semester as a part of my degree program. Does this count as face-to-face coursework?

Yes. Additionally, all students who intend to engage in CPT, must obtain CPT authorization prior to beginning off-campus employment. Please note that the deadline to apply for CPT for the Fall 2021 semester is August 26, 2021. Students who wish to engage in CPT for the Summer 2021 semester, must apply by June 8, 2021. Due to federal regulations, our office cannot accept CPT applications after this deadline. For more information, please click here.

If I am inside of the U.S. and remain in the country, do the new SEVP regulations affect my ability to apply for work authorization through Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Currently, SEVP regulations do not affect a student’s ability to apply for work authorization through Optional Practical Training (OPT) if he or she remains in the U.S. Students who are eligible for OPT should follow the guidelines on our website and complete the necessary paperwork required for OPT as normal. We advise students who are interested in participating in post-completion OPT (available after graduation or completion of coursework) to remain in the U.S. after completing their degree program. We encourage all students who are interested in pursuing Optional Practical Training, to view the OPT presentation here.

Continuing Students Outside of the U.S.

I am currently outside the U.S., but I am planning to try to reenter the country before the start of the Fall 2021 semester. Do I need a new I-20? 

No. As long as your I-20 is in 'ACTIVE' status and has a travel authorization on page 2 that is less than 1 year old, you can reenter the country using your current I-20. However, please make sure to enter before August 23 (start date of Fall 2021 classes) or August 18 (Graduate assistants) and make sure to review the CDC's guidelines for entering the U.S. and follow the University's quarantine policy.

If your I-20 does not have a travel authorization or if that authorization is over 1 year old, please complete the Travel Request Authorization at least 8 business days before you travel, so that we can reissue you an electronic I-20 and email it to you before you travel.

I am a continuing student currently outside the United States. I do not know whether I will be able to arrive at UL Lafayette to begin the Fall semester. Can I study remotely for the Fall 2021 semester?

This will depend on whether or not the courses that you need to enroll in are offered through online (OL) or remote (RE) delivery and if you can obtain approval from your academic department. The Division of Global Engagement will work with students on a case-by-case basis to determine if online/remote enrollment from their home country is a possibility. The Graduate School will also work with graduate students who are outside the U.S. Please note that graduate students cannot hold assistantships while they are outside of the U.S.

I am a continuing student currently outside the United States. I am not able to enter the U.S., but I am able to enroll full-time (12 credit hours undergraduate or 9 credit hours graduate) of remote (RE) or online (OL) classes from my country for the Fall 2021 semester. What happens to my I-20?

For the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters, students who are enrolled full-time from outside of the U.S. are able to maintain an “Active” SEVIS records and I-20s, but this could change for future terms. The Division of Global Engagement will provide updates as SEVP provides further guidance.

I am a continuing student currently outside of the United States. I am unable to enter the U.S. and I am unable to enroll remotely for the Fall 2021 semester. What are my options?

If you are a continuing student who is unable to enter the U.S. and online/remote enrollment for Fall 2021 is not an option, you will need to contact the Division of Global Engagement and request a leave of absence by completing our Withdrawal Form. Students who withdraw will need to be aware of the following:

  • Students who miss a major semester (Fall or Spring) may be required to reapply to the University as reentry students. Graduate students who request an official leave of absence through the Graduate School are not required to reapply. Undergraduate students must reapply by completing the undergraduate application for admission. Please note that you will be required to provide updated financial documents and may be required to pay application fees and provide updated immunization documents before being readmitted.
  • Students who remain outside of the country for 5 or more months will need a new I-20 (with a new SEVIS ID) to reenter the country. This I-20 will be issued by the admissions office (Office of Undergraduate Admissions or the Graduate School), after you have been admitted. You will be required to repay the $350 I-901 Fee.
  • If your F-1 visa has expired while you are outside of the U.S., you will be required to renew it before reentering the country. Click here for information on renewing your F-1 visa.
  • Please note that your passport must also be valid. In order to receive a new I-20 your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your program start date. Contact the government organization that facilitates passports in your home country to determine how to initiate the process for passport renewal.
  • Scholarships & Assistantships – Any student who is taking a leave of absence and has a scholarship, assistantship, fellowship, or fee-wavier should contact the office that handles that funding. Assistantships & Fellowships – contact your Graduate Coordinator or supervisor with your name and ULID and let them know that you will be taking a leave of absence for the Spring 2021 semester. You should also contact the Graduate School at gradschool@louisiana.edu.  Only your Graduate Coordinator and/or Assistantship/Fellowship Supervisor can determine if your funding will be available to you when you reenroll. Undergraduate Fee Waivers – contact scholarships@louisiana.edu with your name and ULID and let the office know that you will be taking a leave of absence for the Spring 2021 semester. This office will determine if your funding will be available to you when you reenroll.

If I am able to enter the U.S. after the Fall 2021 semester has begun (after August 23), should I do so?

No. Federal regulations indicate that F-1 students should not enter the country after their program start date as this can cause a number of complications for immigration and enrollment. If you anticipate that you will arrive in the U.S. after August 23, 2021 but BEFORE September 10 (Census Day), please contact oia@louisiana.edu with your name, ULID, and SEVIS ID, before you make any travel plans.  If you will arrive after August 26 (graduate students) or September 10 (undergraduates), you will need to contact oia@louisiana.edu to discuss your options.

I am graduating in Summer or Fall 2021 and I am outside of the country, am I eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Graduating students must be in the United States to qualify to apply for Optional Practical Training. Therefore, if you are unable to enter the U.S. before graduating, you will be ineligible to apply for work authorization through Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Incoming (New) Students

Can I enter the United States with my valid visitor/tourist (B1/B2) visa or on the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) to start my program in Fall 2021 and just change it my status to F-1 or J-1 later?

No. 

Students are not eligible to begin a degree or exchange program on a visitor/tourist (B1/B2) visa or on the Visa Waiver Program. If you enter the U.S. with a B1/B2 visa or through the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA), you will be allowed to remain in the U.S. legally, but you will NOT be allowed to enroll in ANY classes at UL Lafayette.

If I am able to get a visa after the Fall 2021 semester has begun (after August 23), can I enter the country once I have my visa?

No. Federal regulations indicate that F-1 students should not enter the country after their program start date as this can cause a number of complications for immigration and enrollment. If you anticipate that you will arrive in the U.S. after August 23, 2021, please contact oia@louisiana.edu with your name, ULID, and SEVIS ID, before you make any travel plans. Depending on your estimated arrival date, your admission may need to be deferred or you may require a late arrival letter. If you will arrive after August 26 (graduate students) or September 10 (undergraduates), you will need to contact the admissions office (Undergraduate Admissions or the Graduate School) to request to defer your admission.

I am currently outside the United States but have been admitted for Fall 2021. I do not know whether I will be able to arrive at UL Lafayette to begin the Fall semester. Can I begin my studies remotely while I wait to get an F-1 visa?

This will depend on whether or not the courses that you need to enroll in are offered through online (OL) or remote (RE) delivery. The Division of Global Engagement will work with students on a case-by-case basis to determine if online/remote enrollment from their home country is a possibility. The Graduate School will also work with specifically with graduate students who are outside the U.S.

If online/remote enrollment for Fall 2021 is not an option, admitted students will need to contact the admissions office that issued their I-20 to request a deferral of admission.

Undergraduate students should contact intladmissions@louisiana.edu.

Graduate students should visit the Graduate school’s COVID Update page for information about deferring admission or contact gradschool@louisiana.edu.

I am currently outside of the United States and cannot get an F-1 visa or am unable to enter the U.S. for the start of the Fall 2021 semester due to travel restrictions, can I defer my enrollment to Spring 2022?

Yes.

Students who are unable to engage in remote enrollment from their home countries or who prefer to wait to enroll in traditional face-to-face instruction can defer their admission. Please note that as soon as you know that you are unable to attend for the Fall 2021 semester, please contact the office below to defer your admission and request a new I-20.  If your new I-20 is issued before Friday, October 22 (60 days after your original program start date of August 23), you will not have repay the $350 I-901 fee and your SEVIS ID will remain the same. Please note that Summer enrollment is not often available for graduate programs.

To defer your admission:

Undergraduate students should contact intladmissions@louisiana.edu.

Graduate students should visit the Graduate school’s website for information about deferring admission. 

If I decide to defer my admission, will my assistantship, fellowship, or scholarship still be available to me?

Graduate students: Assistantship and fellowship offers are not guaranteed if you decide to defer admission or take an official leave of absence. Talk with your graduate coordinator or assistantship/fellowship supervisor to determine if funding will still be available to you in the future. Graduate students who have been awarded the Robert Elliot May Resident Graduate Tuition Fellowship may still be able to secure this funding if they defer their enrollment.

Undergraduate students: Undergraduate students with institutional out-of-state fee waivers (Fleur de Lis, Vermilion, or Cayenne) scholarships should be eligible to retain these fee waivers as long as they do not enroll at other universities for the Fall 2021 semester. Students with questions should contact intladmissions@louisiana.edu.

Student Athletes: Student athletes who have received grant-in-aid from the Athletics department, should contact  Carleigh Collins at carleigh.collins@louisiana.edu to determine if this funding will still be available if enrolled remotely.

Water Ski Team: Students who have been awarded Ragin’ Cajun Water Ski scholarships, should contact Ryan Gonzales at ryan@louisiana.edu to determine if this funding will be available if their admission is deferred.

I am currently in the United States on an F-1 visa and need to transfer my I-20. Will I be able to enroll at UL Lafayette for the Fall 2021 semester?

Yes. 

For new international graduate students who are currently in the United States and hold an F-1 student visa, valid passport and active I-20 that needs to be transferred to UL Lafayette, we anticipate no issues preventing enrollment on campus in Fall 2021. Please make sure to complete our Orientation Registration Form. Please check your louisiana.edu email for information on International Orientation. You will need to upload copies of your F-1 visa, passport, and signed I-20 to Moodle as part of the Orientation process. You will also have to complete several DGE forms available through the Moodle Orientation so that we can register your SEVIS record.

I am a graduate student and I was awarded funding to support my graduate studies at UL Lafayette but I am still outside the United States. If I am permitted to begin my graduate studies remotely in Fall 2021, will I be able to keep my assistantship or fellowship?

No. 

You will not be able to be employed, even as a graduate assistant or fellow, at UL Lafayette while living abroad. 

It is not possible to be paid a stipend for assistantship or fellowship duties at UL Lafayette performed outside of the United States.

I am a graduate student and I was awarded a Robert Elliott May Resident Graduate Tuition Fellowship, which waives non-resident fees. If I am permitted to begin/continue my graduate studies remotely in Fall 2021, will I still be eligible to pay only resident graduate tuition rates?

Yes.

Current graduate tuition and fees are available online here.

I am an undergraduate student and I was awarded funding to support my undergraduate studies at UL Lafayette but I am still outside the United States. If I am permitted to begin my studies remotely in Fall 2021, will I be able to keep my scholarship?

Undergraduate students who were awarded one of our institutional out-of-state fee waivers (Fleur de Lis, Vermilion, or Cayenne) scholarships, will be able to receive this fee waiver if they are able to enroll remotely in a minimum of 12 credit hours while outside of the U.S.

Student athletes who have additional grant-in-aid from the Athletics department, should contact Carleigh Collins at carleigh.collins@louisiana.edu to determine if this funding will still be available if enrolled remotely.

Resources

U.S. Department of State Emergency Hotline:

  • From the U.S. & Canada - 1-888-407-4747
  • From Overseas - +1 202-501-4444

UL Lafayette News and Updates Regarding COVID-19

U.S. Proclamation – Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Entry to U.S.

Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline

  • 1-800-985-5990

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Travel Advisory