Menu Side Navigation Close

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?

Students should plan to take most courses in person.

Lehigh is preparing for most undergraduate instruction to be delivered in person this fall. 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.

Additionally, SEVP has not yet issued immigration guidance for Fall 2021, which will determine how many online or remote courses an international student may take while in the U.S.

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 am unable to return to campus in the fall due to travel restrictions and/or I am not able to renew my visa to return to the United States?

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 1

How do I apply for my visa?

You can learn about getting a student visa here. OISS will also host information sessions for all new students on how to apply for your visa. Check your email for the session date and Zoom link.

Section 3

What are plans for new student orientation?

You will receive emails over the next few months regarding international orientation and new student orientations.

All new international undergraduate and graduate students are required to attend international orientation. International first-year undergraduates must also attend the First-Year Experience 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. 

Section 5

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

Students should plan to take most courses in person.

Lehigh is preparing for most undergraduate instruction to be delivered in person this fall. Chinese first-year undergraduates will have the option to enroll in Lehigh in Residence for in-person instruction in Shanghai.

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.

Additionally, SEVP has not yet issued immigration guidance for Fall 2021, which will determine how many online or remote courses an international student may take while in the U.S.

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. 

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?

Students must arrive by the 10th day of classes. However, this will depend on the quarantine policy at that time.

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.

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. Please look for information about 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. 

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, but you should print a copy of your I-20 for 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

I was admitted to Lehigh in Fall 2020/Spring 2021 but I was not able to travel to the U.S. Do you have any additional guidance on obtaining a visa?

OISS will host information sessions on how to apply for your visa for current students who are abroad. This session will be on Tuesday, March 30, at 9:00 am EST. You will receive an email with the Zoom link. 

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?

University plans are evolving as the COVID conditions evolve both in Pennsylvania and in the United States. 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 contains 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?

Lehigh is considering requiring the vaccine for students but is not at this time. Any updates will be shared by the university and posted on the website. If you are able to get the vaccine, we strongly encourage you to get it when you are eligible and able to do so.

Section 4

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

Lehigh is continuing to stay updated on the progress with the vaccine rollout. We are communicating with local health departments to understand vaccine opportunities for students, and will share this information as it is available. 

Section 5

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

The university will continue to monitor the status of COVID and any guidance or requirements by Pennsylvania or the CDC throughout the summer and will provide any vaccine, testing, and quarantine requirements as we get closer to the fall semester.