COVID-19 Office of International Education Updates

Office of International Education (OIE) COVID-19 resource page with important updates, we encourage you to check it frequently.
In this Section

COVID-19 has significantly disrupted inbound and outbound student, faculty, and staff mobility at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.  This page is intended to be a resource with important updates.  

Students, faculty or staff, with questions or concerns about past, current, or future programs, both at UW-Stout and away, are encouraged to check their official UW-Stout email account regularly for important announcements from OIE staff.  Please direct immediate questions and concerns regarding study away to studyabroad@uwstout.edu and study at UW-Stout (for international students and scholars) to globaled@uwstout.edu.

We wish everyone good health and look forward to resuming high-impact programming soon!

Study Away (Abroad and Domestic)

Due to continued health and safety concerns, all study away in-person programming has been suspended through summer 2021.  UW-Stout is tentatively planning to resume study away programming during the fall 2021 semester on a destination-by-destination/program-by-program basis. Consult with OIE study abroad advisors for more information. Virtual education abroad experiences and our National Student Exchange programs remain available for interested students.  Note that we continue to develop new faculty-led, semester and year-long opportunities. Up-to-date offerings can be viewed online here.

We encourage all students to begin/continue their search today!  OIE study abroad advisors are available for virtual appointments every weekday.  We look forward to connecting and exploring study away options with our students.  Appointments may be booked here.

Note: students interested in study away programs are encouraged to obtain a Covid-19 vaccine series and a passport, and submit complete applications.  If a program is cancelled due to COVID-19, application fees will be refunded.  OIE does NOT recommend paying non-refundable deposits and purchasing airfare until programs have been officially approved by UW-Stout's leadership as these costs are not reimbursable by the University.

Regarding DHS policy concerning full-time status and Covid-19

The University of Wisconsin-Stout welcomes and embraces diversity and is proud to have international students both on our campus and in our community.  The Office of International Education is pleased to share that continued flexibility has been announced by the Department of Homeland Security, providing our international students the opportunity to fulfill their educational objectives in the United States without debilitating restrictions.

On April 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that March 2020 guidance will apply throughout the 2021-2022 academic year (fall 2021 & spring 2022 terms).   Additional clarification has been provided via an ICE Frequently Asked Question (FAQ).

How does DHS policy impact UW-Stout international students?

UW-Stout will begin the fall 2021 term with a majority of courses offered in face-to-face delivery, as well as hybrid and remote learning modalities. New international students (and continuing students who started fall 2020 or later) are required to meet the physical presence rule, meaning they must take at least one course that has in-person components.  Continuing international students who began at Stout prior to the pandemic may take courses in any combination of delivery methods; however, OIE recommends that they take as many in-person/hybrid courses as possible.  

Note that the continued flexibility does not impact our international students' ability to maintain active F-1 status.  We continue to submit our institutional plan to Department of Homeland Security, and remain in compliance with Federal Regulations.

Will I need special documentation traveling to the U.S.?

Although not required, the Office of International Education has issued Form I-20s contain remarks defining instructional methods on the UW-Stout campus during the fall 2021 term.  (Note that electronic Form I-20s are permitted during the pandemic.)  After receiving the Form I-20 electronically, students should print and sign page one. 

The new remark may be helpful for students when obtaining/renewing visas and/or entering the U.S. Port of Entry.  If a student is overseas, plans to travel to the U.S., and has not received this document, he/she should contact the OIE at globaled@uwstout.edu to receive the updated document.

 
Can I take all courses online?

During the fall 2021 term, new students are not be able to obtain a visa and begin studying at UW-Stout on campus if they are enrolled entirely (full-time) online. (Full-time enrollment is defined as 12 credits or more for undergraduates, and 9 credits or more for graduates.)  New students may take a full course of study online from their home country, in which case they will not need to obtain a visa until they are ready to begin classes in-person on the UW-Stout campus.  Note that UW-Stout has no authority over visa issuance; therefore, taking all courses online carries risk as there is no guarantee that students will later successfully obtain visas.

Continuing students who began at Stout prior to spring 2020 may take any number of courses online as part of DHS' increased flexibility, but if they are in the U.S. they are advised to do so only when they are unable to enroll in in-person/hybrid courses. (Continuing students who are currently overseas may take a full course of study online to maintain active F-1 status.)  Students who began during the pandemic (fall 2020 and spring 2021) are required to maintain physical presence, meaning at least one course must have a required in-person component.

Access Stout has been updated to reflect course delivery (in-person, hybrid or online).  The Office of International Education recommends that international students in the U.S. review their full-time course schedule and register for as many in-person/hybrid courses as their programs allow.  Note that any combination of in-person, hybrid, and online courses enrollment is permitted per continued flexibility provided by DHS.

Newly Admitted International Students

UW-Stout is excited to welcome new students to campus.  Due to health and safety concerns around COVID-19, new students and their families likely have many questions about the fall 2021 semester.  UW-Stout is fully operational and has implemented significant measures to protect the health and safety of our academic community during the fall term. UW-Stout welcomed a limited number of new international students during the spring 2021 and is excited to welcome more international students in late August for the fall 2021 term.

We ask that all newly admitted international students notify the Office of International Education by email at globaled@uwstout.edu of their plans as soon as possible. 

Have questions? Join one of our upcoming Covid Call-in virtual meetings.  Check your UW-Stout email for detailed information and links to access the meetings.

I plan to begin during the fall 2021 term. What do I do?
  1. Secure a visa appointment with a U.S. Consulate as soon as possible.  Consulates are currently not fully operational, but operations are starting to resume.  Students should check their respective consulates here.
  2. OIE will mail/email students their Forms I-20s, which references our operational plan for the fall 2021 term.  This document will need to be presented at the U.S. Consulate and at the border (port of entry) upon arrival in the Untied States.
  3. Plan to arrive on August 30 or 31, 2021.  Additional details regarding any applicable mandatory quarantine period and our comprehensive new student orientation will be forthcoming.
How do I obtain my F-1 non-immigrant student visa?

New students in need of F-1 student visas should note that U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions are currently operating under limited or suspended visa services. The U.S. State Department announced on April 26, 2021 that additional countries have been added to the National Interest Exemptions for travel.  Students from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland are now permitted to enter the U.S. under the student visa program.  Students are encouraged to contact their respective Embassy/Consulate to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.  Wait times can be accessed here.

When should I arrive on campus?

All students traveling to Menomonie via international or domestic air travel may be required to quarantine in a designated self-quarantine location on campus, after which they will be allowed to move to their permanent on-campus housing assignment. If planning to arrive by air, new students should prepare to arrive on August 30 or 31, 2021.  If quarantine is needed, UW-Stout's Office of International Education will be providing a comprehensive virtual new student orientation program during the self-quarantine period.  More information will be forthcoming.

Will I have difficulty traveling to the U.S.?

In addition to concerns about visas and quarantines, there are complexities involving air travel.  There might be last-minute changes or cancellations, and several layovers upon entering the U.S.  Additionally, with limited availability, flights may be quite expensive.  Per the April 26, 2021 State Department notification, students who have traveled to China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and/or Ireland who plan to enter the U.S. on or after August 1, 2021 to begin or continue an academic program will no longer need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek a National Interest Exemption to previous Presidential Proclamations.  

Please contact the Office of International Education with any questions or concerns related to travel. 

How can I stay informed?

We realize that the situation remains fluid with many more questions than answers for new students at this time, and encourage new students to visit this site frequently as well as to check their Stout email at least once a week to ensure important updates are not missed. Students with questions or concerns regarding their unique circumstances may call the International Office at 715-232-2132 or email globaled@uwstout.edu to connect with an advisor.

Continuing International Students

Depending on student circumstances, there are a variety of items to consider when planning to return to UW-Stout.  

  1. Note that students returning to Menomonie by air are required to complete a mandatory one-week quarantine period before they can attend classes.
  2. If your visa is expired and you are currently outside the U.S., you will need to renew your visa prior to your return.  
  3. Finalize your flight plans to return to campus.  Be sure to purchase travel insurance and note that flights may be limited and/or disrupted.
  4. Check your UW-Stout email for detailed information.

If you have any questions or concerns about your return, please contact the OIE by phone at 715-232-2132 or via email at globaled@uwstout.edu.

I’m returning by air. What date should I return to campus?

All students traveling to Menomonie via international or domestic air travel may be required to quarantine in a designated self-quarantine location, after which they will be allowed to move to their permanent on-campus housing assignment. If planning to arrive by air, continuing students should prepare to arrive on August 30 or 31, 2021.  More information will be forthcoming.

When can I get my visa renewed?

U.S. Embassies, Consulates and Diplomatic Missions across the world are slowly starting to resume non-immigrant services. If you are outside of the U.S. and need to renew your visa before returning, you can view the current Embassy/Consulate wait time information here. Please contact the Office of International Education to let us know the progress of your visa renewal.

Will I experience difficulty traveling back to the U.S.?

In addition to concerns about visas and quarantines, there are complexities involving air travel.  There might be last-minute changes or cancellations, and several layovers upon entering the U.S.  Per the April 26, 2021 State Department notification, students who have traveled to China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and/or Ireland who plan to enter the U.S. on or after August 1, 2021 to begin or continue an academic program will no longer need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek a National Interest Exemption to previous Presidential Proclamations.  

Please contact the Office of International Education with any questions or concerns related to travel. 

I am still confused. What should I do?

In addition to checking their Stout email accounts at least once a week for updates, we encourage continuing students to revisit this page frequently. Students may also attend one of our upcoming COVID Call, or email the Office of International Education at globaled@uwstout.edu to connect with an advisor.