COVID-19 Information for International Students

Updated June 3, 2021

Kalamazoo College intends to offer classes fully in-person for Fall 2021 and COVID-19 vaccines will be required for all students. 

For general questions and concerns, visit the Kalamazoo College COVID-19 Information page. If you have any other questions or concerns as an international student, please email ISA@kzoo.edu.  

NEW F-1 and J-1 STUDENT FAQS

The CIP has developed the following FAQs to answer some questions about what the College’s intention for Fall 2021 means for new F-1 and J-1students.  

Q: I would like enter the U.S. for the Fall 2021 term, what should I do?

A: F-1 students, we recommend submitting your I-20 documents on your Status page as soon as possible so you they can be reviewed to issue you an I-20.   

F-1 and J-1 students, once you have your I-20/DS-2019, please schedule the first available visa appointment at the embassy nearest you.  If visa appointments are all booked or otherwise unavailable, please communicate that to ISA@kzoo.edu as soon possible for further advice. 

Q: When should I plan to arrive in Kalamazoo for the Fall 2021 term?

A: Please plan to arrive to Kalamazoo on Thursday, September 2, which is the day that residence halls open for incoming international students.  If you arrive earlier than September 2, please plan to make accommodations at local hotel and we will pick you up on September 2 and transport you to campus. 

Q: How early can I arrive in the US? 

A: You are allowed to enter no more than 30 days before the start date of classes, which means no earlier than August 14. 

Q: If I am traveling from or through a restricted country (listed below), do I need to apply for a National Interest Exemption (NIE) before coming?

A: Restricted countries: 

  • Brazil
  • China
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland) 
  • South Africa
  • India

F-1 students traveling from or through the restricted countries will be granted a National Interest Exemption automatically as long as they enter no more than 30 days before the start of classes, they will not need to apply. 

J-1 students will most likely need to apply for a National Interest Exemption if from, or traveling through, any of the countries listed above. NIE’s should be applied for at the same embassy or consulate that issued your visa, but you cannot apply for an NIE more than 30 days before travel. Each embassy or consulate will have specific instructions on applying for an NIE, so please be sure to check their site. If you have questions about the NIE, please contact ISA@kzoo.edu  

Q: Will I have to quarantine upon arrival to the US?

A: No, the U.S. is not requiring quarantine of any incoming travelers. 

Q: Will I have to quarantine upon arrival to campus? 

A: Upon arrival, international students who have not been vaccinated will need to undergo a COVID-19 test. Students should plan to remain isolated until they have received the results of the test.  

Q: Is the college requiring a specific vaccine? 

A: The Health Center recommends that you get a vaccine that has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), however, we know that those are not available in all countries, so we encourage you to get whatever vaccine you are most comfortable getting and have access to.  Please know that if it is not a WHO approved vaccine, you may be required to obtain another once you arrive. 

Q: How do I report my vaccine status? 

A: Follow the instructions for the immunizations in your admissions My Status Page. 

Q: What if I am unable to obtain a visa to arrive to Kalamazoo by September 2? 

Please keep us updated about your visa progress by emailing ISA@kzoo.edu and we assess the situation and determine what your options are.  Depending on the circumstances, you may need to defer enrollment. 

Q: Is it possible that the College would change its intention for the Fall 2021 term? 

It is not impossible, but it is highly unlikely. 

Q: Will the college health insurance cover COVID testing and treatment? 

A: Wellfleet, the College health insurance provider, has updated the below coverage:   

Wellfleet will cover all member costs for COVID-19 testing, including emergency room, urgent care, and office visits.  

Wellfleet will cover treatment based on the members specific plan benefits.    

More updates from Wellfleet about COVID-19 can be found here. Information about specific plan benefits can be found here.   

Q: Will residence halls be at full capacity? 

A:  Yes.

Q: Will masks be required? 

A: As of right now, yes, but this could change. It would be best to plan for them and pack them. 

Please watch for additional communications from the CIP, and please do not hesitate to reach out to us at ISA@kzoo.edu with any questions as you prepare for the Fall 2021 term. 

Continuing F-1 Student FAQs

The CIP has developed the following FAQs to answer some questions about what the College’s intention for Fall 2021 means for continuing F-1 students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors).   

Q: What does the College’s recent announcement mean for my I-20 or my status in SEVIS as an F-1? 

A: You will need to make arrangements to return to Kalamazoo for the Fall. If you are currently outside the U.S., please ensure that you have a valid passport, visa and an I-20 with a travel signature that is dated no more than 12 months before your scheduled arrival.   

  • If you need an updated travel signature, please contact Alayna.  If you only need a signature, we can send a scanned copy of your I-20 with an updated signature for you to enter. 
  • If you need to apply for a new visa, please contact Alayna so she can get your mailing info to send you an original I-20 for you to take when you apply for your visa.  Please do not delay since we have heard that there are long wait times for processing visas in some countries. 
Q: How early can I arrive in the US? 

A: This depends on which country you are arriving from. If you are traveling from or through one of the following countries: 

  • Brazil 
  • China 
  • Iran 
  • Ireland 
  • Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland) 
  • South Africa 
  • India 

for which the US currently has travel restrictions, you will be granted a National Interest Exemption as long as you arrive no more than thirty days before classes begin (no sooner than August 14). 

If you are not traveling from or through from any of the countries listed above, you should be able to return whenever you wish as long as you have the standard travel documents. 

Q: If I am traveling from or through a restricted country, do I need to apply for a National Interest Exemption before coming? 

F-1 students traveling from or through the restricted countries will be granted a National Interest Exemption automatically as long as they enter no more than 30 days before the start of classes, they will not need to apply. 

Q: Is the college requiring a specific vaccine? 

The Health Center recommends that you get a vaccine that has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), however, we know that those are not available in all countries, so we encourage you to get whatever vaccine you are most comfortable getting and have access to.  Please know that if it is not a WHO approved vaccine, you may be required to obtain another once you arrive. 

Q: How do I report my vaccine status? 

A: Continuing students should go to here and follow all instructions to complete the vaccine report. 

Q: Is it possible that the College can change its intention for the Fall 2021 term? 

It is not impossible, but it is highly unlikely. 

Q: Will the college health insurance cover COVID testing and treatment? 

A: Wellfleet, the College health insurance provider, has updated the below coverage:  Wellfleet will cover all member costs for COVID-19 testing, including emergency room, urgent care, and office visits.  

Wellfleet will cover treatment based on the members specific plan benefits.    

More updates from Wellfleet about COVID-19 can be found here. Information about specific plan benefits can be found here.   

Q: Will residence halls at full capacity? 

A:  Residence Life plans to fill the dormitories to capacity but the Living Learning Houses will be reserved for quarantine and isolation spaces.  You can find more info on housing here.

Q: Will masks be required? 

A: As of right now, yes, but this could change.  It would be best to plan for them and pack them. 

Q: What happens to my SEVIS status if I choose to withdraw from the College for the Fall 2021 term? 

A: Depending on how long F-1 students are outside of the U.S, they may be able to request to have their original SEVIS record reactivated and obtain an I-20 for re-entry, or they may have to apply for a new I-20 by completing a new Resource Verification form and providing financial documentation that they can afford to return and complete their program. 

Outside the country less than 5 months: 
Can request to reactivate SEVIS record. 

Outside the country more than 5 months: 
Requires application for new SEVIS record (Resource Verification Form, financial documents, new SEVIS fee, new visa ONLY if visa is expired). 

We can advocate with Information Services so you may maintain your K email address to keep connected and up-to-date with campus information. 

Q: What if I am unable to obtain a visa to arrive back to Kalamazoo by the start of classes? 

A:  Please communicate this as soon as possible to ISA@kzoo.edu and we will advise you on the recommended course of action.  Please know that if you are unable to arrive by the end of Week 1 we may recommend or the college may require that you withdraw for the quarter, as all classes will be offered in-person. 

Q: I plan to take courses from a distance. What resources are available to help me with books or other course supplies?

A: The CIP can investigate and attempt to mitigate some of the cost of shipping any books or materials you need for class. At the moment, there are numerous issues with international shipping and customs officials will still inspect books and materials. We cannot promise we can solve every issue around accessing materials, but we will do what we can to mitigate the additional costs. Please reach out to us if you find you need assistance with this.

Housing

Q:  Will there be any rooms available in the residence halls for juniors or seniors?  

A: If space permits.  Please see Residence Life FAQ here

Q:  What resources are available to international students searching for off-campus housing? 

A: We have an Off-Campus Housing Guide on our Moodle Page and you can also reach out to other international students about finding housing together on the International Student Facebook Group or fellow K students on the K Student Body group.