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Frequently Asked Questions Related to International Students and the COVID-19 Pandemic

On May 29, the US President issued a proclamation titled Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China that limits the entry of some Chinese graduate students and visiting scholars starting June 1, 2020. The impact for the University of Tennessee at this time is limited.  We will continue to process immigration documents as normal for all students and visiting scholars from China. Please visit this page for more information and a list of frequently asked questions related to this proclamation.

Are international students going to be able to study at UT next year?

Yes. There are options for students based on their circumstances:

  • For students enrolled in spring 2020, the US government has given special permission for these students to continue their enrollment online or in-person until further notice.
  • For newly admitted students who are currently in the US and hold a student visa, it is likely that they will be able to attend UT in summer or fall 2020. These students should immediately contact the International Students and Scholars team to ensure their visa status allows them to study at UT.
  • For newly admitted graduate students who are currently outside the US and do not hold a US visa, it unlikely that they will be able to obtain a visa in order to start on-campus classes in fall 2020, but online classes are an option. The embassies that issue visas for students to enter the US for on-campus study are currently closed for visa interviews. Newly admitted students (summer or fall 2020)  can take online courses from outside the US without a visa.

Can international students who were enrolled at UT and left the US return to study at UT?

  • The federal government has guidelines restricting travel from certain countries. The most up-to-date information on travel restrictions can be found here.
  • If a student returns to Knoxville from a foreign country, they are required to self-isolate for 14 days per CDC guidelines.

Can currently enrolled international students enroll for upcoming semesters?

  • International students who were enrolled at UT in spring 2020 and hold a visa to allow continued study will be allowed to continue enrollment in summer or fall 2020.

Can international students travel inside and/or outside of the US?

  • The Center for Global Engagement strongly discourages non-essential travel both within and outside the United States. If students travel outside the US, they may not be able to return in time for the Fall semester. The student should discuss any essential travel with an International Student Advisor in the Center for Global Engagement prior to making plans and commencing travel.

What options does a newly admitted international graduate student have if obtaining a visa by fall 2020 is impossible?

  • Students can take classes online if available.
  • Students can request to have their admission updated (delayed) to a later semester. This requires updating the admissions application through the Office of Graduate Admissions and the delay in admission MUST be approved by the department/program.

If I have questions related to international students, who do I talk to?

  • Students can speak with an International Student Advisor Monday to Friday from 1 pm to 4 pm. Students can speak to an advisor either by skype or by telephone. Students add themselves to the virtual waiting room at Front Desk Check-In form, enter their student ID number, and contact preference. Once their turn arrives, an advisor will contact them by Skype or by telephone. More information is available here.
  • Faculty and Staff should contact the International Students and Scholars team by email the appropriate email below. Please note that this email inbox is being monitored daily and a team member will respond to your question.

Incoming Students:

Current Students: