Spring 2021 Semester Information

Spring 2021 Semester Information

As you prepare to enroll in Spring 2021, we would like to provide information to assist you in making decisions regarding which courses would work best for you as an international student. We understand the continued uncertainty you are facing, and we want to help you however we can. You are a valued and important member of our Huskers community.

You recently received a message from the university titled “Get Ready to Register for Spring Courses” regarding enrolling in courses for Spring 2021, as well as an additional email from our office. The University has also announced a modified Spring 2021 calendar.

We recommend all students review the different course delivery options available and how to choose your courses here. Please be sure to contact your academic advisor if you have any questions about course availability to meet your needs.

Please note the recommendations below are different than the options provided for Fall 2020.

Travel guidelines for all international students: On January 12, 2021 the CDC released a new order requiring all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. This Order will go into effect on January 26, 2021. More information and other immigration updates can be found here.

Spring 2021 Mandatory Testing Information

To create the safest possible environment for in-person classes and activities in the Spring Semester at Nebraska, UNL will be using minimally invasive, saliva-based testing for COVID-19, and pairing it with a new app called Safer Community. Re-entry testing begins Jan. 19. 

Learn more and download the app.

New International Students 

At this time, the university plans to proceed with in-person instruction for the Spring 2021 semester. Classes begin Monday, January 25. If the university’s plans for Spring change, you will be notified via email.

For now, here’s what students need to know about campus arrival and orientation:

  • Campus Arrival: Students must arrive to Lincoln no later than Thursday, January 21. New Student Enrollment (NSE) recommends that students arrive on January 19, 20, or 21. NSE discourages new students from arriving before January 19.
  • Orientation: International Orientation has two parts, online modules and synchronous virtual sessions. Both parts are required. Students who have paid the enrollment deposit will receive access instructions and more details in November for the online modules. Virtual orientation will be January 22 and 23. Full information about Arrival and Orientation can be found here.
  • Welcome Packet: Our Global Peer Assistant team has created an in-depth informational packet to help you navigate UNL. 

Current International Students

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security still requires you to be enrolled full-time during the fall and spring semester.  

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s SEVP spokesperson has confirmed that the SEVP COVID-19 Guidance for the Fall 2020 Term has been extended through the Spring 2021 Term. 

This means that, provided that there are no additional updates, international students who are currently in the U.S. and were in the U.S. in the F-1 immigration status as of March 9, 2020 will have the additional flexibility to enroll in any combination of in person, web conferencing or on-line courses and maintain their valid immigration status as long as they are enrolled full-time for Spring 2021.

Students who were not in the F-1 immigration status as of March 9, 2020 need to take at least one in person course for Spring 2021.

This information, based on the USDHS spokesperson statement last week that the Fall 2020 guidance will continue, updates the previous recommendation that students maintain enrollment based on the immigration regulation requirements that allow for only one online course to count towards full-time enrollment.

Additional information about this guidance can be found at: 

Any questions about this guidance can be directed to isso@unl.edu.

The December and January 3-Week Mini Sessions are optional, and not required for you to maintain your F-1 immigration status. However, optional enrollment in the December Mini-Session will count towards the full-time enrollment requirement for the Fall 2020 semester and enrollment in the January Mini-Session will count towards the full-time enrollment requirement for the Spring 2021 semester.

  • Students living IN the U.S.: Students that have been in the F-1 status as of March 09, 2020 will have the additional flexibility to enroll in any combination of in person, web conferencing or on-line courses and maintain their valid immigration status as long as they are enrolled full-time for Spring 2021.
  • New students arriving to the U.S. after March 09, 2020Students who were not in the F-1 immigration status as of March 9, 2020 need to take at least one in person course for Spring 2021. This means if you arrived in the F-1 status for either the Summer or Fall 2020 semesters, you will need to take at least on in-person course for Spring 2021.
  • Students living OUTSIDE the U.S.: We recommend students enroll in either Online courses or Web-Conferencing courses. If selecting Web Conferencing, check the course attributes for the required meetings that will take place via Zoom to be sure the course will work for your schedule once adjusted for your time zone. 

Semester Break Travel: If you are planning to travel outside of the U.S. between November 26, 2020 and January 24, 2021, make sure to review these important considerations before making your travel plans.

If you have any questions about your specific circumstances, we recommend signing up for an advising appointment with an ISS Specialist, or you can email internationalnavigators@unl.edu