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This page includes information for new and continuing international students about summer and fall 2021.

Travel Advisory

OISS advises that continuing international students avoid any non-essential international travel over the summer in light of the ongoing pandemic and related travel restrictions and effects on visa processing at U.S. consulates overseas. If your visa has expired and you travel overseas, your risk of not being able to return is high due to U.S. consulate closures and the backlog of visa applications.

Please be aware of the COVID-19 related travel restrictions and protocols established by the CDC as well as Lehigh's COVID-19 policy. It is recommended that you review the guidance prior to arranging travel to Lehigh.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact us at intnl@lehigh.edu.

For Continuing International Students

Section 1

Can I continue to take fully remote courses in Fall 2021?

Lehigh will return to in-person instruction for the fall semester. Accommodations for fully remote learning will be permitted only in very rare cases, such as for students who cannot get visas or students with approved medical accommodations. 

The graduate programs are determining their own plans for instruction and which courses will be available remotely learning. Please check with your department to determine the availability of the courses that you need.

Please keep in mind that Lehigh is not able to pay students for GA/TA/RA positions if they are outside of the U.S. 

Section 2

What if I cannot return to campus this fall due to visa issues?

While Lehigh will be mostly in-person for the Fall 2021 semester, we know that some students will still need to take remote courses. If this is the case for you, please contact an advisor in OISS and your college as soon as possible to make individual arrangements.

For New International Students

Section 3

What are plans for new student orientation?

Undergraduate international orientation will be August 15-August 18. This orientation is mandatory for all new international students. The arrival date for students who are fully vaccinated is August 15. Students requiring quarantine should plan to arrive in the U.S. by August 7 to allow enough time to quarantine before arriving on campus for in-person orientation. Additionally, all first-year students are required to participate in Lehigh’s first-year orientation, August 19-22.

Graduate international student orientation will be August 11-August 13. This orientation is mandatory for all new international students. Continuing graduate students can also attend the orientation. A fee of $80 will be charged to your Bursar account to cover costs. The arrival date for students who are fully vaccinated is August 11. Students requiring quarantine should plan to arrive in the U.S. by August 2 to allow enough time to quarantine before arriving on campus for in-person orientation.

Section 4

Will there be a Lehigh in Residence in Shanghai program for first-year undergraduates in Fall 2021?

Yes, this will be an option for Fall 2021 for our incoming first-year undergraduate students in China. This option is only open to students with Chinese citizenship per Chinese government regulations. Eligible students will receive more information soon. Learn more about Lehigh in Residence in this video on preparing for the 2021-2022 academic year (Lehigh log in required).

Section 5

Can I take all my courses online remotely instead of coming to campus in Fall 2021 ?

Lehigh will return to in-person instruction for the fall semester. Accommodations for fully remote learning are permitted only in very rare cases, such as students who cannot get visas or students with approved medical accommodations. If this is the case for you, please contact an advisor in OISS and your college as soon as possible to make individual arrangements.

The graduate programs are determining their own plans for instruction and which courses will be available for remote learning. Please check with your department to determine the availability of the courses that you need.

Please keep in mind that Lehigh is not able to pay students for GA/TA/RA positions if they are outside of the U.S.

Section 6

What is the latest that I can arrive on campus if I cannot get a visa this summer?

Undergraduate international students must arrive by the 10th day of classes. Keep in mind that students who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 must quarantine for seven days before coming to campus. 

Graduate students who are unable to arrive by the 10th day of the Fall 2021 semester due to delays with immigration documents should contact OISS. Late arrivals must be accommodated in conjunction with OISS and your department.

Remember the students who are not fully vaccinated will need to quarantine for seven days after arriving in the United States, even if they have a negative COVID test. Please see the section on COVID-19 Vaccine and Quarantine Information for more details.

Section 7

What is the first-year composition test and is it still required during the new student orientation?

The placement essay test will not be given this year. However, you may have English testing during international orientation. 

Summer Course Options

Section 1

What are plans for summer school? Will there be in-person instruction?

Most classes offered this summer will still be remote courses with very limited in-person course options. If you are a new student and have never been to the United States, immigration guidance still requires that you attend at least one in-person course.

You can find more information about summer registration here. For rising sophomores, Lehigh is offering ESLP4 “Advanced Academic Speaking,” through which students will earn one credit and satisfy requirements for an in-person course. Learn more about summer school and this course, which will provide students an opportunity to learn more about Lehigh, Bethlehem, and the Lehigh Valley.

Section 2

Will on-campus housing be available this summer?

If you are a current student on campus, you will receive more information soon regarding options for summer housing from the housing office. New students who participate in Lehigh’s special summer programs will also have an option to live on campus, and information will be available when students sign up. Remember that students who are not fully vaccinated will need to quarantine for seven days after arriving in the United States, even if they have a negative COVID test.

Immigration and Visa Information

Section 1

If I am applying for a new visa or my first visa, do I need a new I-20?

You will need your SEVIS ID and Lehigh’s school code PHI214F00005000 to complete the DS-160 form. If you forgot your SEVIS ID, contact intnl@lehigh.edu.

You can list OISS (school official) as your contact information in the United States on the DS-160.

Melanie Contreras
mec320@lehigh.edu
32 Sayre Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18015
610-758-4859

Once you have successfully booked your visa appointment, please notify intnl@lehigh.edu, and we will send your I-20 electronically in time for your appointment. You should print and sign the I-20 on the first page. For moreinformation, visit our Getting A Visa page.

Section 2

Do I need my I-20 in paper form to apply for my visa?

We will share your I-20 electronically, and you will need to print a copy to bring to your visa appointment.

Section 3

If I already have a visa, what documents do I need to receive from OISS? How do I receive them?

If you already have a valid visa and you are coming to the U.S. for the first time, you will only need an updated I-20 from OISS with a new program start date. You can email Anna Park at jep419@lehigh.edu.

If you already have a valid visa and you are returning to the U.S., you will need a travel signature on your I-20 from OISS that is not more than one year old. You can request one by emailing intnl@lehigh.edu.

Section 4

Do I need to pay the SEVIS fee again?

Your SEVIS I-901 fee is valid for one year. However, fee transfers are available for students who already paid the fee if you reapply for a visa within 12 months from the date of your initial SEVIS fee payment. To check the status of your SEVIS fee, print your payment confirmation, or transfer your fee, visit this page. You can also check the SEVIS I-901 fee FAQ page for more information.

We recommend that you pay the SEVIS I-901 fee only if you are certain that your visa appointment will take place. You can pay for it up to the day before your appointment so long as you take the payment receipt with you to your interview.

If OISS handled your SEVIS I-901 fee and you need assistance, contact intnl@lehigh.edu.

Section 5

If I transferred to Lehigh from a U.S. high school or university, do I have the same SEVIS ID?

If you transferred from a U.S. high school/university, you have the option to keep the same SEVIS ID or to obtain a new one. To keep the same SEVIS ID, you will have to notify OISS when you are ready to return to campus. OISS will then submit a correction request to SEVP regarding your SEVIS record. Once the correction has been approved, we will issue your I-20 with your existing SEVIS ID and share it with you electronically. Please keep in mind that this process may change depending on updated SEVP guidance.

If a visa appointment is a priority and you do not want to wait for your I-20 correction to be processed, we can issue you a new I-20 with a brand new SEVIS ID. You would, however, have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again.

Section 6

Am I supposed to receive any documents in the mail from OISS to apply for my visa?

No. We are not mailing I-20s at this time. We will issue your I-20 electronically to your Lehigh email address using a secure document sharing platform called LU File Sender.

Section 7

Do I need to do anything in iHome?

You should make sure that the New Student Checklist is up to date. You may need to complete some e-forms again. Closer to your arrival date, you should complete the Pre-Arrival and Orientation sections.

Section 8

I’ve already completed the New Student Checklist for Fall 2020/Spring 2021, do I need to submit any new documents to OISS?

In order to receive your updated I-20 for Fall 2021, you will need to provide a recent bank statement within six months. The amount should cover the projected cost of attendance for the upcoming academic year. If your source of funding has changed since last year, you will also need to complete an updated Certification of Finances form (pdf). Please note that the bank account holder on the statement should match the name on the COF form.

If you are a graduate student who deferred to Fall 2021, you will also need to provide an updated admissions letter with funding details.

Section 9

Do I need to tell OISS my visa appointment date?

Yes, please tell us your visa appointment date. If the appointment is cancelled, let us know as well. If you are able to successfully obtain your visa, please upload a copy of your visa stamp to iHome in the New Student Checklist.

 

Section 10

Are there currently travel restrictions in place that prevent me from traveling directly to the United States?

The Department of State has lifted travel restrictions for students with a valid F-1 or M-1 visa to study in the U.S. Students coming from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, or Ireland can travel to the U.S. without seeking an individual National Interest Exception (NIE) from a U.S. Embassy or consulate. Students coming from India, China, Iran, Brazil, or South Africa can travel to the U.S. without seeking an individual National Interest Exception if their academic program begins August 1, 2021, or later.

Students who are applying for an F-1 visa will be considered for the National Interest Exception at the time of their visa interview. No additional application needs to be made for the NIE.

Learn more about the National Interest Exception.

COVID-19 Information for Fall 2021

Section 1

What does Lehigh plan to do for Fall 2021?

Read the university’s 2.22.21: Fall 2021 Update for Students and Families. As we move closer to the fall semester, the university will keep students updated with information through emails and information that you can find on the website here

Section 2

What COVID-19 restrictions and measures will be in place?

Lehigh will require all undergraduate and graduate students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of their required immunizations. For more information on this requirement, see the April 21 message, Fall 2021 Plans and COVID Vaccines.

Some policies will be changing as more people are vaccinated. Currently, students, faculty and staff who have been fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine or be tested if they have been identified as a close contact of a person with COVID-19, as long as they remain asymptomatic. Additionally, based on current guidance, we are eliminating mandatory surveillance testing for students who are fully vaccinated. Individuals with symptoms, even those fully vaccinated, must still complete diagnostic testing. We may also modify requirements for face coverings for vaccinated individuals.

Lehigh continues to review national and state guidance in order to make plans for the fall semester. If you would like to stay updated on Lehigh’s COVID information, please visit the Lehigh COVID-19 Information Center. The Lehigh COVID Dashboard provides a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions as well as information about the current campus status. Additionally, you can find information about Pennsylvania’s current infection and vaccination rates here.

Section 3

Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to live on campus and attend in-person classes in the fall?

Yes. Lehigh will require all undergraduate and graduate students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of their required immunizations. For more information on this requirement, see the April 21 message, Fall 2021 Plans and COVID Vaccines.

Students must receive one of the vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or by the World Health Organization-Emergency Use Listing or request an exemption for medical or religious reasons. Note that the WHO recently added the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to its emergency-use list. The list of approved vaccines may evolve and the current list will apply.

Students who have received an authorized vaccine should upload documentation to the Health and Wellness Center health portal, including a copy of their vaccination documentation with their full name, name of vaccine received, and the administration date for both doses. These students should get tested three to five days after arrival and do not need to quarantine upon arrival.

Students who have not yet been vaccinated will be able to access an authorized vaccine when they arrive on campus. We will provide more information about how we will assist students with getting the vaccine as we get closer to the start of the fall semester.

Students who are not fully vaccinated must get tested one to three days before they travel, and then again three to five days after they arrive. They will also need to quarantine for seven days after arriving in the United States, even if they have a negative COVID test. Students requiring quarantine should work independently to identify accommodations where they can complete quarantine before arriving on campus. OISS staff will be available as a resource to provide recommendations for hotels or local accommodations, if needed, and we are providing notice now to allow you as much time as possible to make arrangements.

Section 4

Can international students receive the vaccine in the U.S.?

Yes. At this time, all people in the U.S. aged 12 and above are eligible to be vaccinated, regardless of their immigration status. 

If you are currently in the Bethlehem area, read the 4.13.21: Student Vaccination Eligibility Update to learn how to access the vaccine locally.

If you arrive in the fall before being fully vaccinated, the Health and Wellness Center will connect you to resources to get vaccinated.

Section 5

If I am arriving at Lehigh from abroad in the fall, will I be required to quarantine and take COVID tests?

Students who have received an authorized vaccine do not need to quarantine upon arrival. Fully vaccinated students should get tested three to five days after arrival.

Students who are not fully vaccinated must get tested one to three days before they travel, and then again three to five days after they arrive. They will also need to quarantine for seven days after arriving in the United States, even if they have a negative COVID test. Students requiring quarantine should work independently to identify accommodations where they can complete quarantine before arriving on campus. OISS staff will be available as a resource to provide recommendations for hotels or local accommodations, if needed, and we are providing notice now to allow you as much time as possible to make arrangements.

Section 6

I still have questions about the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. Whom should I ask?

Students with individual questions about their personal situation should send the Health and Wellness Center a secure message through the Health Center Portal. This is the best way to get a quick response.

Other Health Information

Section 1

I am a new student. What if I cannot meet all of the (non COVID-19 related) immunization requirements prior to coming to campus?

We understand that all vaccinations (non COVID-19 related) may not be available prior to your arrival. If you are unable to receive ALL required vaccinations, please email the Health and Wellness Center through the Health Center Portal to notify the staff of which vaccinations you will require upon your arrival to campus.

Section 2

How can I enroll in Lehigh’s health insurance? Can I waive it?

In the Fall semester, after you register for at least 1 credit, you will be auto-enrolled in Lehigh's health insurance and you will be automatically billed to your Student Bursar Account.

If you believe that you qualify for a waiver, you must request a health insurance waiver by emailing intnl@lehigh.edu for approval. OISS will work with the Bursar's Office and there is nothing you need to do further. You can learn more about health insurance enrollment here.