I hope you and your families are healthy and well. We miss you here on The Cliff.
Federal guidelines for international students are continually evolving along with the circumstances of the global pandemic, with an update as recent as this week. We understand the circumstances and precautions of this guidance may be difficult or may impact your plans for returning to campus. As a university, we continue to advocate for each of you to inspire the very best outcome possible.
As policies currently stand, we wanted to provide you with more information pertaining to international student visas and traveling into the US this summer for Fall 2020 classes at Briar Cliff University. However, please continue to watch your Briar Cliff email for ongoing updates.
- Due to Executive Order of the President of the United States, travel from many areas of the world have been suspended/halted. Those areas include:Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, United Kingdom and the European countries of: 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. F-1 visa students who have been in these countries are unable to travel to the US for educational purposes if they have been in any of these countries for 14 days prior to entry into the US. Students traveling for education are not considered “essential” from these countries and are therefore unable to travel into the US.
- Canada and Mexico: Restrictions have been placed on air entry into the US, however land ports of entry and ferry terminals along the US Canada and US Mexico borders are open to essential travel. Essential travel for the land and ferry ports of entry include “individuals traveling to attend education institutions,” therefore, F-1 visa students should be able to enter the US from land ports of entry. We do not encourage students who are not residents of Canada or Mexico to travel to Canada and Mexico and try to enter the US through a land port. It is risky, as the student still may still be denied entry at US at the port of entry. The immigration officer at the port of entry has final say as to entry or denial of entry regardless of visa approval. Also, students can endanger themselves by staying in low cost/dangerous locations to save money. Additionally, if they spend their funds trying to get into the US which were meant for their education, it does not constitute a financial hardship according to the Federal Government and if they do not have the funds to pay for their education, their visa/I20 can be terminated. Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and US Immigration and Customs are aware students are eager to get into the US to save their visa status and receive an education and/or play sports, however, the safety and well-being of the student and stewardship of their finances is the primary concern. Since COVID-19 is a fluid situation, students could be denied at the port of entry even after spending 14 days in Canada or Mexico. Students are encouraged to check the US Embassy website in their country for updates on when travel may become available.
- Visa Services Visa Services are suspended until further notice, therefore any student who does not have a visa at this time may not be able to obtain a visa until further notice, per a statement from the US Department of State:
“In response to worldwide challenges related to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Department of State is suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. Our overseas missions will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.”
Students are encouraged to check the US Embassy website in their country for updates on when visa appointments may become available.
Guidance for Fall Term
On July 6, 2020, Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) released guidelines for the Fall 2020 semester. These include how mode of course delivery will impact nonimmigrant status.
For Fall 2020, Briar Cliff University will be reporting to SEVP that we are adopting a hybrid model to allow for the flexibility of the block scheduling, adhering to safety measures (such as physical distancing in the classroom), and the agility if a second wave does impact learning. Click here to review the update on course delivery visit.
For Fall 2020, Briar Cliff University will be issuing new I-20s to all students with this language in the remarks section for the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection to see our mode of instruction.
Guidance for Returning Students
Institution operating under Normal Operations:
If students cannot or will not return to school when in-person instruction resumes, the school’s Designated SEVIS Officer/Primary Designated SEVIS Officer (DSO/PDSO) should terminate the student’s records and I-20 in SEVIS, meaning they are no longer able to continue on their F-1 visa.
If a student cannot return during the Fall 2020 and BCU is operating under normal operations, they may continue their education as an online student in Nursing, Social Work, and Business at BCU, not as an F-1 student. Their visa will still be terminated, and they would have to reapply for a visa to come back into the US. However, they can at least continue their education and complete it online from their home country.
Guidance for New Students
Institution operating under Normal Operations:
If a new F-1 visa student has not arrived to campus at the start of normal operations for the Fall 2020 term, deferment of their I-20 to the next term is an option. New F-1 visa students may not study online and remain in F-1 visa status.
Arrival to Campus
Upon your arrival to campus, you will be required to do a medical check with the health office on campus. There will be nominal $25 charge for the health check, which will have to be paid at time of the health check. If asymptomatic, then you will be required to do daily temperature checks for the next 3 days. If you are symptomatic, you will be required to follow the policies related to COVID-19 quarantine for BCU.
If a returning student is unable to arrive for the start of the semester and they choose online/remote learning from their country. Remote/online learning will not impact your ability to meet NAIA academic progress rules for athletics eligibility. If you have previously redshirted or deferred athletics participation while being a full time student, please contact us.