COVID-19 FAQ & Information Page

Now that many government and civil society actors have determined the COVID-19 pandemic to have ended in the United States, and the university has returned to normal operations, the current impact of COVID-19 on issues related to visa status is far more limited than it was in 2020 and 2021. Neverthless, on this dedicated page, the ISSO has assembled the latest and most accurate information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to COVID-19 and its impacts on international students and scholars at UNC Charlotte. 

Information regarding UNC Charlotte’s broader response to Coronavirus, including information about prevention, can be accessed on the Niner Nation Cares webpage

Since UNC Charlotte has returned to normal operations, SEVP Guidance issued in April 2022 regarding the 2022-2023 school year will end after the Fall 2022 semester finishes. This means that pre-pandemic regulations will resume for the Spring 2023 semester, and we have updated the FAQs below to account for this.

COVID-19 Vaccines

Yes, you must have competed a full course of an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine to enter the U.S. if entering after November 8th, 2021. This is a U.S. government requirement, not a university policy. Additionally:

  • Your vaccine documentation should be hard copy (not on your phone) and in English 

    • It is fine to carry back up electronic copies on your phone

  • Your name on your records should match your name as listed on your passport

If you are unable to complete COVID-19 vaccination in your home country, you will not be able to enter the United States.

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

Course Registration

After the Fall 2022 semester ends and resuming for the Spring 2023 semester, studying 100% online from outside the U.S. with active F-1 status will no longer be possible. In such situations where a student wishes to study online from outside the U.S., a student will need to apply for a Leave of Absence. 

Additionally, starting in Spring 2023, all international students will need to be present in Charlotte for their studies. This is because, by Spring 2023, it will be impossible to take all of one's courses online, and therefore residence in the Charlotte region will be required.

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 with a maximum of one online course per semester, 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.

Starting Spring 2023, the following pre-pandemic regulation applies to both new and continuing international students:

  • No more than 1 class in a given semester may be online and count towards your visa enrollment minimum. 

For new and continuing students, therefore, the enrollment requirements are as follows:

  • Undergrads: no more than 3 credits of the required 12/semester may be online. In other words, at least 9 credits per semester must be in-person or hybrid.
  • Graduate students: no more than 3 credits of the required 9/semester may be online. In other words, at least 6 credits per semester must be in-person or hybrid.

Students approved for a Reduced Course Load in a given semester should be aware that, if you've been approved to take only one course, that course must be in-person or hybrid, and cannot be online. 

 

 

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 student 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. 

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

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. 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.