FAQs

COVID-19 Vaccines

If you are unable to complete COVID-19 vaccination in your home country, you will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shortly after your arrival in Charlotte. After arrival, use the Student Health Center's "Vaccine Locator" tool to find a vaccination center or drive near you. 

People who have not received all the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine listed for emergency use by WHO may be offered a complete FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series. Check with the Student Health Center or a medical professional to see whether you can or should receive a different complete vaccine series.

People who have received all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that has been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) do not need any additional doses with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

Course Registration

It depends. Continuing students with 100% online courses can exit the U.S. mid-semester to finish their courses from abroad or from a different part of the U.S. -- with the permission of professors. If you are a continuing student and have decided to study full-time online while outside the U.S. for a semester before classes have begun for that semester, please complete our form indicating you will study online outside the U.S. We will add a note to your SEVIS record confirming that you are outside the U.S. for the relevant semester. A new I-20 is not needed for continuing students to study 100% online outside the U.S. Continuing students studying fully online from other parts of the U.S. should keep their SEVIS-Local address up-to-date in Banner.


Newly admitted students (students completing their first semester) may choose to study 100% online for their first semester, but to do so, they must remain outside the U.S. In this situation, the ISSO will not activate the new student's SEVIS record since they will not be physically present in the U.S. The new student will need a new I-20 with a start date for the first semester that they will be physically present in the U.S. Semesters spent studying outside the U.S. before we activate your SEVIS record do not count toward F-1 employment benefit eligibility, such as for CPT/OPT. New students studying online outside the U.S. are not eligible for GASP tuition funding or TA/RA assistantships. Additionally, the University is unable to offer remotely-delivered educational services to any international students who are currently or normally resident in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Crimea (a region of Ukraine occupied by Russia) due to export control regulations.

In most cases, no. International students are expected to enroll on a full-time basis unless they qualify and are approved for a Reduced Course Load. However, if you are approved for a Reduced Course Load, you may enroll less than full-time and all of your courses may be online; no in-person course will be required. This allowance for all online courses with an RCL is an exception to the normal rule, and only applies up until the end of Spring 2022. This is true regardless of the type of RCL you may be approved for (medical, final semester, academic difficulty, etc.). 

A continuing student (a student who has already completed their first semester) in the U.S. may take all online courses for Fall 2021 & Spring 2022 and still maintain F-1 nonimmigrant status. No in-person course will be required to maintain your F-1 nonimmigrant status if you are a continuing student. 

Yes. Admitted students (students who are completing their first semester) planning to take classes from the U.S. and who can physically travel to the U.S. to do so, must be registered full time (with at least 1 in-person or hybrid class) by the first day of class of their first semester.  New, admitted students who have entered the U.S. cannot be enrolled entirely in online courses during their first semester --they must take at least one in-person course.

You are responsible for dropping your classes if you do not intend to study at UNC Charlotte for the semester that you've been admitted to. 

If you enroll in classes for the semester you've been admitted for, but do not plan to attend and do not drop your courses by the end of the semester's Add/Drop Deadline (found here), you will be responsible for paying that semester's tuition and health insurance, even if you never enter the U.S., attend a different university etc.  

These are complex and stressful times. If you are a continuing student who, for personal reasons, cannot or chooses not to enroll full-time in 100% online classes from outside the U.S., and you will not be studying inside the U.S. on a full course of study, you will need to apply for a Leave of Absence. See our Leave of Absence webpage for more information, including how this can affect CPT and OPT time.

Employment Issues

It's technically possible, but extremely unlikely that you'll be able to undertake on-campus employment from outside the U.S. 

Here's the practical reason why:

Hiring departments at UNC Charlotte may need to pay additional administrative costs associated with paying employees who reside outside the U.S. to a third party Human Resources manager. These additional costs can run in the thousands of dollars. Does it make sense for a hiring unit to have to pay an additional $20,000 in administrative costs, for example, to hire a student to work a part-time summer job from outside the U.S.? -- probably not. 

Therefore, if you are wondering if you can be outside the U.S. and still work as an on-campus studentt employee, you must receive approval from your hiring department before working while outside the U.S. as the additional administrative costs would need to be absorbed by the hiring department. Hiring departments at UNC Charlotte must review the Provost’s Physical Location of Workforce webpage to evaluate the costs involved in paying employees who reside outside the U.S. 

Yes, the COVID-19 adaptations to the F-1 visa regulations have altered the CPT work location requirements that are normally in effect. To see how the CPT work location requirements have been relaxed in certain situations, click and read more here, under "CPT Location Requirements". 

The latest guidance does not fundamentally impact CPT/OPT regulations for students who are within the U.S. Students who are in the U.S. can learn about CPT here, and about OPT here. Even though the basic regulations remain the same, some aspects of the application processes for CPT/OPT might be diferent from previous years due to Covid-19. For example, e-signed CPT/OPT I-20s will be issued electronically and the ISSO will offer CPT/OPT workshops and OPT Reviews virtually -- these and other ISSO operating adaptations are designed to keep everyone safe. 

Continuing students taking a full-time courseload for Fall 2021, whether inside the U.S. or outside, will accrue one semester towards CPT/OPT eligibility. 

Lastly, continuing students who are outside the U.S. and who are completing their final semester will face a complex situation when it comes to applying for OPT in particular. Namely, current USCIS guidance does not allow students to apply for OPT from outside the U.S. Because of this, a student who plans to graduate and apply for OPT  would need to enter the U.S. mid-semester in order to apply. This type of mid-semester entry is riskier than a normal re-entry, and is up to the discretion of CBP.

If your employer allows you to work remotely due to Covid-19, there is no impact on your OPT.  Students should never enter a Work From Home Address as an Employer Address in the SEVP Portal or on an I-983; instead, students who are working from home on OPT should enter their employer's usual site of business or headquarters address. 

Travel

No, you do not need to take any action to secure a National Interest Exception (NIE) for entry or re-entry into the U.S. using a valid F-1 visa. All nonimmigrants who request entry into the U.S. using an F-1 visa are automatically granted an NIE. No action from the F-1 visa holder is necessary to secure this benefit.

Travel signatures for currently enrolled students are valid for one year from the date of the last signature. If you are on OPT your signature is only valid for six months. If this signature will expire prior to your anticipated return, visit the ISSO Travel page to request a new travel signature. For the time being, you will not have to submit your original I-20/DS-2019 document to be signed, instead it will be reprinted and uploaded into the same portal you will use to submit the travel endorsement request.

For your visa interview (if applicable -- continuing students may already have a valid F-1 visa) and for entry at the U.S. border, you must be prepared to show UNC Charlotte's instructional methods, and, if you are a newly admitted student, provide evidence that you are registered for at least one class with an in-person or hybrid instructional method (See NinerCentral instructions - viewing instructional methods). All students entering must have the previously issued I-20 and other required entry documents, which can be reviewed here.

Though UNC Charlotte is not requiring a mandatory quarantine for students coming to campus, certain students may need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus. Students can learn more about this effort here.  

SSN

The social security number is used for international students who are employed in the US and need to file for taxes.  Students in F1 or J1 status who have been offered employment are required to obtain a social security number and must apply through the Social Security Office.   

Since all US citizens have social security numbers it’s common that people may assume that you have one and ask you what it is.  You will have to remind (or teach) them that you are an international student and don’t have one yet.  Most of the time they are trying to verify identify and so your passport will serve this purpose.  More details will be provided by the ISSO at the International Student Orientation Program or you can read more at ISSO Employment page.

 

Public Transportation

Charlotte is traditionally a “car city” although recent efforts are underway to make it more pedestrian-friendly. In the meantime some tips for getting around include:

  • share a ride with friends
  • take the bus (bus service is available at the university but frequency varies depending on the area of the city you want to travel to). For more info, visit the Auxiliary Services website
  • buy your own vehicle (you can search for second-hand cars online or with the dealers once you arrive)
  • take the on-campus shuttle (no payment needed) for travel around campus
  • take the light rail (student ID card is your ticket to ride). For more info, visit https://lightrail.uncc.edu/

Registration & Academic Advising

Students are notified of their faculty contact/advisor at the time of admission. This faculty contact is assigned by the department itself, based in part on a student’s academic program/research interests. It is possible that faculty-contact is the same person as the Graduate Program  coordinator/Director; or it may be a different faculty member in the department. Regardless of who the student’s faculty-contact within the department is, most administrative matters of academic nature need clearance/signature also from the Graduate Program Coordinator/Director and the Graduate School.
 

At the Undergraduate level

You may find assistance at Advising.

At the Graduate level

This information is provided in your 49er Express account (follow the steps below)

  1. Log into 49er Express
  2. Click on “Banner Self-Service”
  3. Click on “Student Services/Financial Aid/Student Accounts”
  4. Click on “Student Records”; “General Student Record” is 1st link

If there is no name is listed, then you may contact your major department and request an advisor.  If you have not yet declared a major, you may contact the University Advising Center.
 

  1. Undergraduate students in F1 status must enroll in at least 12 credit hours per semester.  More may be possible but you should talk with your academic advisor first.
  2. Graduate students in F1 status must enroll in at least 9 credit hours.  Ph.D.’s on Graduate Assistantship and G.A.S.P. are required to take 9 credits. Any additional credits per semester must be authorized by the Graduate Program Director and the Graduate School.
  1. Graduate students can register for courses once they activate their 49er account. You will need your student ID# to get started.  It will come in your admission letter or email.
  2. Log-in into your 49er account and click on Banner Self Service and then click on Student and Financial Aid and then follow the instructions. 
  3. Undergraduate students can register only after attending SOAR (Student Orientation Advising and Registration) once you arrive on-campus.
  4. Exchange students can register for classes once they arrive on-campus.  The International Student/Scholar Office (ISSO) staff will pre-register you for certain courses that have been requested.

Research Opportunities

This depends on the specific academic department.  You can start by looking at their website and then contact information for professors will be available so you can send an email if necessary.

Security

UNC Charlotte has its own police department and they work to help keep all students safe.  There are emergency phones located all over campus and police are always available to assist students in trouble. 

To view the statistics of crime rates at UNC Charlotte, go to UNC Charlotte's Police website.  For off-campus security statistics (in Charlotte) click on CMPD statistics.

Payment of Tuition & Fees

The tuition and fees schedule is posted at here.

However, the exact figure will depend on what courses you register for and if there are any additional fees administered.

You can pay by credit card, traveler’s check, bank check or Demand Draft. You can find some more helpful information at here.

For Information on payment deadline at click here.

UNC Charlotte wire transfers

In addition to the tuition and fees, you might consider bringing about $2000 in traveler’s checks plus an additional $200 in U.S currency (small bills and coins) to make phone calls at the airport and other immediate purposes. Bring enough money to get settled-in and remember that on-campus work may or may not be available immediately.

 

A demand draft payable to University of North Carolina at Charlotte is preferable. You do not need to worry if there are a couple of dollars difference between the total to be paid and the total in the DD, the difference will be credited on your student account. If you overpaid, a refund will be issued.

 

Student Organizations

There are many student organizations at UNC Charlotte and hopefully you’ll find at least one which looks interesting to you!  They are listed at Student Activities and at  Grad Life Leadership Activities.

Things to get bring from my home country

You may want to ask your professor or Graduate Coordinator/Academic Advisor about the text book requirements for your courses.  If you know who they are you can look-up their email address at UNC Charlotte Directory Search.  Remember to get the right edition!

  • Most of the things can be purchased here but it might be a little expensive.
  • Make sure you bring in the daily requirements like toiletries to last you at least for a few weeks.
  • Make sure to get the medicines that you might require because you don’t get medicines without a prescription here. So get enough of them to last you for a while.
  • Bring a nice jacket to keep you warm during the chilly winter here, and also carry a sweater along with you (keeping one extra sweater is advisable).  Clothes can also be bought here once you arrive.
  • You might prefer to buy your course text books and bring them along with you.
  • A good scientific calculator.
  • Adapter.
  • Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws.

VISA & SEVIS

More information is also available on the USCIS website visa application.

 

This information is available at SEVIS fee.

 

Pick up at Airport and Temporary Accommodation

Temporary accommodation with area host-families may be possible for new international students with on-campus housing assignments.  However the International Student/Scholar Office cannot provide this accommodation for students who arrive any earlier than a few days before the residence halls opening.

 

New international students with on-campus housing assignments can be picked-up at the airport and taken to their residence hall if they plan their arrival accordingly and return the “Arrival Information Form” to the International Student/Scholar Office in a timely manner.

Just before leaving for U.S./Port of Entry

  • Make sure you are at the airport on time for the security check (you do not want to miss your flight)
  • Never leave your baggage alone (take along your baggage also into the restrooms) for fear of theft or mishandling by strangers.
  • Do not interact too much with the strangers.
  • If you need to take a connecting flight, just stay calm and follow the instructions at the airport or contact the help desk provided by your airlines.

 

Port of entry is the city and state in the U.S where you step-in first (the first place where you step on the U.S soil after entering the U.S)

For port of entry procedures (immigration and customs):

U.S. Customs and Border Protection website

Off-Campus Housing

Usually the rent depends on the area you are choosing to live-in. It is advisable you live close by so that you don’t have to travel too much for class everyday.  Rent for an apartment close by usually costs around $800 to 850 per month and the apartment can be shared by up to four people.

There are several apartment complexes close-by, where many international and U.S. students reside. You can search for them at the Off Campus Housing website. Once you enter the home page, you must "Sign Up". Complete the student registration page and login.  Then you can browse for various housing options.

Best Time for Arrival in the U.S.

If you will be living off-campus and want time to get adjusted to your new environment you might want to plan your arrival one to two weeks prior to the start of the semester.  Students in F-1 or J-1 status may enter the U.S. only up to 30 days prior to the start date on the I-20 or DS-2019.

Climate in Charlotte

Climate is mild in Charlotte as compared to many other places in the U.S, with temperatures averaging about 85 F in the summer (30 C) and about 40 F (4 C) in the winter. Some winter days are below freezing and there is occasional snow. The summer is humid with some days having temperatures above 90 F.

Financial Assistance/Employment

  1. Graduate students are eligible for Graduate Assistantships but they are not always available and it often depends upon the funds available within your academic department.  Many departments do not have any funding for assistantships while others have significant funds.
    1. Some assistantships have tuition waivers (student pays no tuition) or differentials (student pays the “in-state” tuition rate).  Again these are sometimes possible but not always.
  2. Financial assistance for undergraduate students is usually limited to athletic scholarships.  Unfortunately, international students do not qualify for U.S. government-sourced funding.
  3. On-campus work is sometimes available.  Once you arrive at UNC Charlotte you may ask within the various non-academic departments on campus or within your own academic department if there are any current vacancies.  Also, please understand that the application process varies from department to department so some may take resumes while others may ask you to complete an application.  You will need to be patient and allow some time for the potential employer to contact you if there is a vacancy available.  If not, don’t lose hope as some vacancies may open-up throughout the academic year.  You can always check back at a later time.

Immunizations

This information is available at the Student Health Center website immunization requirements.