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COVID-19

International Student Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to your questions regarding UR's response to COVID-19 and the resumption of on-campus classes for Fall 2020.

AUGUST 28 UPDATE: Do I have to quarantine after arriving in the U.S.

The CDC is no longer requiring international travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to the U.S. unless the traveler participated in a higher risk activity. Students who had high risk exposure during travel can choose to quarantine anywhere in the United States. If students choose to quarantine in Richmond, International Education will make reservations at a local hotel, with the lodging cost covered by UR. Your contact at IE to send your flight details so that we can secure your hotel reservation is Sara Rock. The University is not able to reimburse students should they wish to quarantine elsewhere for 14 days outside of Richmond.

With certain exceptions, the United States prohibits entry for non-US citizens who have been in China, Brazil, or Iran at any time during the 14 days prior to your arrival in the United States. If you are traveling from or through one of these countries, you should factor into your plans the need for a 14-day residence elsewhere prior to entry to the United States, as well as a 14 day self-quarantine in the United States along with UR’s pre-arrival health monitoring and testing. Students coming from the Schengen area, UK, and Ireland are no longer required to quarantine outside the U.S. according to the 07/16/2020 Department of State announcement. Please consult the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/from-other-countries.html for information about quarantines. U.S. citizens who are abroad and are subject to a quarantine requirement may quarantine in the United States.

So far, some international students are making arrangements to travel to Mexico and the Dominican Republic for fourteen days on their way to Richmond, based on cost and flight availability. Patrick Schweiger in International Education can offer advice and a local alumni connection in Mexico City and Santo Domingo (pschweig@richmond.edu). The websites https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/international-travel-document-news/1580226297.htm and https://www.kayak.com/travel-restrictions may also be helpful in your planning. If you have a mandatory quarantine period en route to the United States, after your arrival on campus you can receive up to $1,500 from UR as a refund for lodging and meals during your period of quarantine. Your contact for this is Sara Rock in International Education (srock@richmond.edu). Please note that UR is not able to offer support for airfare.

JULY 21 UPDATE: What if I cannot get to campus at all because of travel complications?

If you are unable to get to campus due to travel complications, you may want to consider applying to study full-remote for the fall semester. Please see the question below “JULY 21 UPDATE: Can I take classes remotely?” for more details.

If you do not wish to take classes remotely in the fall, continuing students will need to request for a gap semester by contacting your College Dean to discuss this option.

New undergraduate students will need to contact the Admissions Office for instructions on how to defer your admission so that you can begin your on-campus courses in Spring 2021. You will be able to take a First Year Seminar (FYS) course remotely in the fall, if you wish.

Can I stay on campus when the University starts operating remotely after Thanksgiving break?

UR will continue to provide housing for international students over winter break.  As in past years, students will receive an email in the middle of the semester with more information.

What if after I get to Richmond and circumstances change, I cannot get home or UR closes? Will I have a place to stay?

International Education and the College Deans will continue to work together to address each individual circumstance.  We are committed to helping international students get home, and to finding solutions for those who cannot.

I'm confused about where to turn for assistance. When/for what topics should I contact International Education (IE) and when should I contact my College Dean? What other resources are available?

When you need guidance and a place to start, IE is here to assist you. The IE team has extensive experience helping international students with the many details associated with study in the US. Many of us have had the same questions when we have traveled to, lived in, or studied in your countries. Please contact IE for questions about your student visa, plans that may affect your student visa status, information on travel restrictions, quarantines and other matters related to international travel, campus resources, and plans for international students during the pandemic. We can also help you in finding answers from other parts of the University.

Please contact your College Dean for academic and overall personal support, guidance, and advising, questions about taking time away from the university (withdrawal and readmission), and other matters about your academic career and personal goals.  In addition, you can speak to the Deans about questions or issues regarding conduct, the Honor Code, and other concerns.

Please contact Housing and Residence Life for questions on housing, and the Office of Financial Aid for financial aid questions.  To learn about and utilize a range of resources for student support, please see https://financialaid.richmond.edu/undergrad/support/index.html.

JULY 21 UPDATE: How can I keep up on current developments related to COVID-19 and share my concerns/questions?

We encourage you to keep in touch with International Education and have the following resources available to assist you during this challenging time:

  • International Education has been Zooming with international students to hear your concerns, answer questions, and refer you to resources. Please email international@richmond.edu if you would like to have a Zoom session with one of our staff.
  • Our new UR International Student Newsletter is a source of breaking news, responses to your concerns, tips, and Richmond/campus connections tailored for international students. Please check your Richmond email for it.
  • The University Response to COVID-19 website has information about preparations for Fall 2020 and announcements to the UR community about the pandemic.
  • UR held 2 webinars on fall planning. The Incoming Students Webinar is available through the UR Admissions YouTube Channel. The Returning Students Webinar is posted to UR's COVID website
JULY 21 UPDATE: Can I take classes remotely?

All-remote options are now available to all UR students, but 1st year international students on F-1 visas must be located outside of the U.S. in order to study remotely. More details about how to apply for remote learning, please visit: https://www.richmond.edu/coronavirus/fall-2020/studying-remotely/index.html

New international students who are not able to obtain their visa and travel may begin in the fall term with an on-line First Year Seminar (FYS) course, and then arrive on campus in January 2021 for the spring term. Questions about options for first-year students should be sent to the Office of Admission at admissions@richmond.edu.

If you are a continuing international student who is unable to travel, please contact International Education starting in mid-July. The University will make every effort to ensure that you are able to continue your academic progress, but it may not be possible to offer all courses in a full-remote semester. Your course schedule may need to be adjusted. Please do not ask faculty members about a full-remote semester; instead, send any questions to us at the International inbox (international@richmond.edu).

If you are at high risk for COVID-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control, you may request an accommodation by completing the University’s request for disability accommodations.

Is there a difference in tuition between in-residence and remote classes?

UR tuition will remain the same, whether you are in residence or learning remotely.

JULY 21 UPDATE: Are there options to study abroad through UR for the fall semester?

Yes. There are new regional study abroad options for international UR students that would minimize travel challenges.  Enrollment in this program for continuing F-1 students would enable you to keep your visa status active as a study abroad student so there will be no break in your status.

Please note that these programs are limited in size and space is not guaranteed. Therefore, even if you choose to apply to participate in this program, we ask that you continue to work on securing a visa with the intent of arrival on campus by September 4. If you choose to apply for a UR Study Abroad program but are ultimately not accepted to this program, all alternate arrival possibilities for UR will still be honored.

If you are currently in China, IES Abroad is offering a UR-approved program at their Center in Shanghai called "Economy, Business and Culture." The program is available for the fall semester only to Chinese citizens currently living in China, and may appeal particularly if you think you may be unable to travel to the US for the fall semester. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Amy Bergmann or Michele Cox as soon as possible.

UR exchange partners, University of St. Andrews in Scotland and University College Dublin in Ireland, are extending the application period for their study abroad programs for the fall. These opportunities may be appealing if you think you will be unable to return to the US for your fall semester; however, students must also consider any restrictions or quarantines required in the UK and in Ireland as well as the feasibility of obtaining a student visa, when required. It is also possible these universities will go remote as some point during the semester, if necessary.  For more details about and contact Amy Bergmann.

Here are some important points to consider for all of these study abroad options:

  • Application deadlines are in mid-July but late applications will be considered on a case by case basis
  • Courses in all programs are taught in English
  • Students may earn 15-18 credits (minimum 3.5 units)
  • As with all UR-approved study abroad, students would pay UR tuition for the semester
  • Your UR Financial Aid applies to these programs, if applicable
  • Students accepted to and enrolled in these programs will receive International Education’s $1,000 scholarship
  • Program dates vary by program
Does the University Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) cover COVID-19?

Yes, SHIP covers COVID-19 testing and treatment. Please refer to the Coronavirus Information page and contact First Student with questions. If you are studying in a country outside of the U.S. on an approved University of Richmond study abroad program, you will have health insurance coverage. For more information, you can review the information on the health and safety web page https://international.richmond.edu/study-abroad/health-safety/insurance.html. For questions, please contact Keesha Trim, Director of Risk Management and Insurance.

(In-coming 1st-years) Who can I contact if I need documentation for an expedited visa appointment?

You should have received an email from the Office of  Admissions on 06/23 with documentation you can use. If you did not receive or no longer have this email, please contact intladm@richmond.edu.

JULY 21 UPDATE (In-coming 1st-years) Are any classes available remotely for first-year students?

A full remote semester is an option for first-year incoming students outside of the US, please refer to the “JULY 21 UPDATE: Can I take classes remotely?” for more details.

If you do not wish to take a full remote semester, you may begin your UR enrollment by taking one remote course, the First Year Seminar (FYS) course offered exclusively for new students unable to arrive on campus for the first semester. This course is required of all UR students and will count toward your degree requirements. The FYS course will be offered to you at no charge and hosted across time zones. First-year students participating in a UR approved program abroad may take this course in addition to their affiliate program courses. New students will register for the remote FYS class during the summer, and will register for spring classes and housing assignments in November.

A special New Spider Orientation will be held in Richmond in January for spring arrival students. Please note you will need a computer, camera, reliable internet access, and access to Zoom Video Communications to enroll in the FYS class; if this is not possible, we will work with you on an individual basis to coordinate January arrival without taking the FYS.

JULY 21 UPDATE: (In-coming 1st-years) How late can I arrive as a 1st year and still be able to take classes?

If you can arrive by the end of the second week of classes (September 4th), we will work with you so that you can start your classes in person as soon as possible. If you cannot arrive by this time, you will need to defer your enrollment to the Spring 2021 semester. Please email international@richmond.edu if you will arrive late. Please also refer to the 1st question about quarantine for international travelers.

Have additional questions?

Check back regularly for updates, or send us your questions directly.