Frequently Asked Questions for International Students Fall 2021

The Department of Homeland Security has  issued updated guidance for the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters, and the information on this page represents our best understanding of these requirements.  If new or different information is received, this page will be updated as soon as possible, and an email sent to students with the updated information.

Page last updated 09/14/2021 02:48 PM

Continuing students may choose to take a fully online course load, regardless of their physical location.  

If you are a new student, arriving in the U.S. for the first time, you’ll be required to take at least one face-to-face or hybrid course, but the rest may be taken online. 

You do not need to maintain health insurance if you are studying outside of the U.S.

To request a health insurance waiver, for fall 2021 please email [email protected] . 

We look forward to welcoming you to New York! When you are ready to begin study in the U.S., you must obtain an F-1/J-1 student visa prior to entry. Visas are issued by the U.S. Department of State, and unfortunately, there is never a guarantee that a visa will be issued; the decision lies entirely with federal officials.

Continuing students must continue to take classes full-time online from home in order to maintain their visa status. If you are in your final semester and you do not require a full-time course load to complete degree requirements, you can enroll part-time and maintain status.

Students who are new to St. John’s and do not already have an F-1 visa (from attending another U.S. school, for example) cannot apply for or receive an F-1 visa if they remain at home and study online during the fall semester.

Continuing students who remain enrolled full-time and are in Active status in SEVIS will continue to  accumulate credit towards OPT eligibility, regardless of their physical location.

Unfortunately, F-1 regulations require you to be physically in the U.S. at the time you submit your OPT application. For more information on submitting your OPT application, please visit our page on our Optional Practical Training page.

All unvaccinated international travelers must quarantine upon arrival to the United States.

Students who are not living in St. John's housing must:

  • Quarantine for 7 days after arrival to the United States. For full details of appropriate quarantine, visit New York’s Isolation and Quarantine Procedures website
  • Take a COVID-19 test after you complete the quarantine, which will be at least 7 days after your arrival to the United States. COVID-19 test locations are available across New York City. Be sure to check with the testing site in advance for appointment availability. Once you receive a negative COVID-19 test result, upload it to Medicat, following these instructions
  • Present proof of a 7-day quarantine and negative COVID-19 test to St. John’s when you first arrive to campus.

To present your proof of quarantine and negative COVID-19 test, please bring the documentation listed below to the Office of International Education in Marillac Hall, Room 210, beginning on Monday August 16. The Office of International Education is open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • A plane ticket, boarding pass, or passport showing entry stamp indicating arrival to the United States at least 7 days prior to your first time on campus.
  • Results of a negative COVID-19 test taken after you complete the quarantine, which will be at least 7 days after your arrival to the United States.

Students living in St. John's housing will complete the 7-day quarantine in the residence halls. You are required to arrive on Monday, August 16 between 10:00am and 2:00pm to begin quarantine. Resident students in quarantine will receive a voucher for complimentary meal delivery to their suite. To schedule a move-in appointment, please contact Residence Life Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30am to 4:30pm ET, either by phone at 1-718-990-2417 or by email at [email protected]. St. John's will provide COVID testing as well as the Pfizer vaccine on campus and free of charge for students arriving from outside the U.S. 

Law Studentsshould contact Sarah Jean Kelly at [email protected] to discuss your options for arrival.

St. John’s will require all students to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, and to provide proof of vaccination before coming to campus for the fall semester.

If you have the opportunity to receive the COVID vaccine outside of the US, we encourage you to do so.  All vaccines on the WHO approved list will be recognized.  Please be sure to have a picture/copy of your vaccine record that includes your name, the vaccine name, and date of administration. 

Individuals who received vaccines not approved by either the FDA or the WHO will need to receive an FDA-approved vaccine upon arrival in the U.S. Click here for information about WHO-approved vaccines.

If necessary, you will be able to receive another vaccine when you arrive.  If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 you will be eligible for a vaccine.

If necessary, while you are not fully vaccinated and awaiting your second dose your Storm Card will be active, and you will will be permitted to move into your residence hall as well as attend classes. During this time, we ask that you abide by CDC and New York State guidelines that require those who are not fully vaccinated to wear a face mask.

Vaccination will not be required for those students who will not come to campus for any reason. However, if a student is on campus for any reason including visiting friends, using the fitness center, or participating in any University-recognized activity, etc. vaccination will be required.  If in a future semester, a student takes in-person classes, vaccination will be required. 

For more information, please visit this page.

While we have not yet received updated guidance for fall 2021, we believe students can have “on campus” employment from abroad, whether this is a continuation of a previous job or a new job. This includes graduate assistantships; however, you must speak with your academic department about your plans.

Merit-based scholarships will be honored, regardless of physical location or mode of instruction.

Ozanam and Catholic Scholars will be accommodated if they need to participate remotely and should be in touch directly with their programs about this.

In addition, athletes should be in touch directly with their coaches for specific guidance.

While we have not yet received updated guidance for fall 2021, we believe continuing students studying full-time outside the U.S. in fall 2021 will remain in Active status in SEVIS, and therefore the 5-month rule will not apply.

The Department of State has updated national interest exceptions for certain travelers from the Schengen Area, the U.K., Ireland, Brazil, China, Iran, South Africa and India. Students traveling from these regions and countries with valid F-1 visas may be able to enter the U.S. We urge you to contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate for confirmation. 

You need to report a change of your U.S. residential address in UIS (under the “personal information” tab) so we can update your SEVIS record as required by the Department of Homeland Security.

We encourage you to contact the International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSSO) at [email protected] for more information or schedule an appointment for individual advising. Please note that appointments will take place online.