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Director of International Student Services
2 E. South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401
Updates for International Students for Winter 2021
Immigration Regulations affected by COVID-19 have not changed since the March 9 Policy and the addendum issued on March 13. Below is a summary of those FAQs that clarifies the policies as they relate to our students at Knox.
The ICE policy currently in effect is the same one that was enacted in March, when modifications were made to the immigration regulations to accommodate the effects of COVID-19. Under this policy, students are allowed to enroll in any combination of in-person, hybrid, and/or online courses—either from within or outside the U.S.—and still maintain their active status. I-20’s can be issued with electronic signatures, and the five month rule is suspended.
Knox will follow its regular 10-week academic calendar in the winter, with classes beginning remotely on January 2, 2021, with students arriving on campus the week of February 8, 2021 during the midterm break, resuming remote classes during the week of February 15th, and courses resuming with in-person/hybrid instruction beginning the week of February 22nd. Courses will be offered in a variety of formats to accommodate both in-person and remote learning. Many classes will consist of a hybrid of in-person and remote components to best serve students both on- and off-campus. For more details, see the Teaching and Learning page on the Knox Together website, where you’ll also find more information about Knox’s Plan for Winter 2021.
Peoples Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau)
Islamic Republic of Iran
Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland)
United Kingdon (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe)
There is an exemption for students to these travel restrictions. Students on F-1 visas from China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland are given National Interest Exceptions. The U.S. Department of State has the following statement on the website:
Students traveling from China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual national interest exception to travel. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for a national interest exception to travel.
At this time, international students must have the following documents in order to return to the U.S. in F1 status:
Valid 1-20 with a valid travel signature
Valid passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond your expected return to the U.S.
Valid F-1 U.S. visus stamp (Canadia citizens exempt)
Proof of funding or financial evidence (recommended)
Current quarter class schedule showing your courses (recommended)
SEVIS I-901 Fee Receipt (recommended)
No. As long as you remain in the United States, you do not need to renew your visa.
No. New international students may enter the U.S. and enroll in all online classes. Their schedule must include at least one in-person class.
If you are not able to enter the United States due to border closures, please let us know. We will work with you to ensure a Knox education is possible. If you need to defer your enrollment to a later date, your scholarship awards and financial aid will not change.
Yes. Incoming students are welcome to mail luggage or packages to Knox College prior to departure after mid-January. We will hold it for you until you arrive. Simply address your package in the following format:
2 East South Street K-Box (write your number here)
Galesburg, IL 61401
Yes, but your SEVIS record will not be activated in winter 2021, but it will be activated after your arrival in the United States and enrollment in in-person classes. New students who remain outside the U.S. but enroll while overseas will need to request a new I-20 from Alex Pia in the Office of International Student Services.
Yes, you can defer your enrollment to a later date, and we will defer your scholarship awards and financial aid as well. Your program start date can be adjusted to the next term, and we will issue you a new Form I-20. However, you must do this before you travel to the United States. You cannot defer your program start date after you have entered the United States, and you may not enter the United States more than 30 days prior to your adjusted program start date.
Yes. Continuing Knox students can take classes in various modes: in-person, hybrid, or fully remote from within the United States as long as they remain enrolled full time and have no student status violations.
Yes, continuing international students may now take a fully online course load from inside the United States.
Yes, the student may enter the U.S. and take a fully online course load for winter 2021.
Yes, you can take a fully online course load in winter 2021 from outside the United States. Your SEVIS record will remain active as long as you maintain full-time enrollment.
The five month rule is less strict under COVID-19 conditions and guidance. International students with active SEVIS records may keep their active SEVIS status as long as they enroll full-time.
OISS plans to work with students who are outside the U.S. to ensure their I-20s are valid when they return.
Students who are fully enrolled and outside the U.S. during the pandemic will have an easier time navigating this exception. Students who are not enrolled and are remaining outside the U.S. will need to request a new I-20 from OISS.
No. If your F-1 visa is still valid, you do not need to apply for a new visa regardless of your SEVIS status. If your existing visa has or will expire, you will be required to apply for a new visa before returning to the U.S. Review the Embassy or Consulate’s visa appointment information where you before you make final travel plans.
If you take in-person classes in winter 2021, you will not be affected as long as you meet the requirement of full-time study for one academic year. The application for employment is on the form I-765, which requires you to submit the application while in the United States.