Frequently Asked Questions

JMU will continue to mostly in-person course instruction for the spring semester. JMU will continue to provide a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online course instruction for the spring semester, which begins on January 18, 2022. For more information, please see the Stop the Spread website.

  • The U.S. government is requiring international travellers to show proof of fully COVID-19 vaccination status before boarding any flights to the U.S. Please read the CDC's website regarding this new requirement for further details.
  • JMU is requiring every student to provide verification (by uploading it in MyJMUChart as per the following instructions) that they have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus for Spring 2022.
  • To check whether the vaccination you received is approved by JMU/US, refer yourself to this World Health Organization’s list
  • In case you cannot get vaccinated before you arrive on campus, complete the Assumption of Risk form.
  • Students who have a first dose that is not WHO approved will need to restart their series with one of the vaccines that we have in the US. You cannot start with one manufacturer and finish with another. The University Health Center staff can discuss each individual case with each student and determine a plan for them. 
  • Once you are on campus or in Harrisonburg you will be able to get vaccinated. More information about the timing and dates will be shared with you closer to the first days of classes.

All undergraduate and ISC students may take 3 credits of online courses out of the 12 total credits in order to maintain F-1 status. Graduate students may take 3 of their 9 credits online in order to maintain F-1 status.

Always carry the following items with you during travel:

  • Passport (valid for up to 6 months beyond the date of your arrival in the US)
  • Valid F-1 (or J-1) Visa in your passport (except for Canadians, who are not required to have a visa)
    • If you need to renew your F-1 Visa, check the availability of visa appointments now!
  • Form I-20 (or DS-2019) (returning students need to have a valid Travel Signature on page 2)
  • Proof of vaccination (if you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, please contact ISSS immediately to discuss your options.)

For new students: attending orientation is required and critical to your success at JMU. Make sure you arrive in time for your orientation program at JMU!

For returning students: you must be at JMU for the start of classes on January 18.

If you are unable to arrive in time, please contact ISSS.

Yes. SEVP has communicated with the Department of State and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) about accepting electronically issued I-20 forms. This should be acceptable for applying for a student visa and entering the US. You will need to print your electronically issued I-20 form for any embassy appointments or travel to the US.

Here is the information about JMU’s Stop the Spread.

  • Most U.S. Embassies are opening up for visa processing.
  • How do I get my visa?
    • Most US Embassies are open for visa processing. We recommend that you contact the U.S. Embassy for your location to see if you can schedule your visa appointment. If you are unable to schedule your appointment, continue to check back with the U.S. Embassy daily to know when visa processing will resume.
  • My visa appointment is scheduled for after classes begin (January 18) in the spring. What can I do?
    • We encourage you to periodically check-in with the U.S. Embassy to see if there are any changes to visa interviews. Also, you may qualify for emergency appointment times as you get closer to the program start date of January 18. Check with the U.S. Embassy for your location to see if you qualify for an emergency appointment.
  • Can I take online classes from my home country?
    • In order to maintain your F-1 immigration status, you will need to return to the US for in-person study. Some programs may allow you to take certain courses online, but to maintain your F-1 status, you will need to be physically present in the US.
  • Can I take the semester off?
    • Yes, you can take the semester off, but your F-1 immigration status will be terminated. To take a leave of absence, you will need to complete the University Withdrawal form. This will ensure that you are no longer charged for tuition and fees.
    • To return to the university, you will need to complete the Intent to Enroll form and contact ISSS to create a new immigration record and I-20 Form for you.

For new/initial students who defer to the Spring 2022 semester or are taking online courses from outside the US for the Spring 2021 semester and plan to arrive on-campus for the Spring 2022 semester: ISSS will issue new I-20 forms. They will be sent electronically to your email account.

For continuing/returning students who withdrew from JMU and their I-20 form was terminated: ISSS will send a new I-20 form after the Intent to Enroll form is approved by the Registrar’s office. Please reach out to ISSS after you submit this form.

No. All students must begin the semester in-person on JMU’s campus in order to have F-1 status for the Spring 2022 term.

You need to check with your coach or program director.

Travel signatures on page 2 of your I-20 form are valid for one year. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) recommends getting a new travel signature every 6 months. Check your page 2 of your I-20 to see if you need a new one!

Yes, you can get a travel signature by stopping by our office or by emailing Marlee Meikrantz Sharp at to request a new, digital I-20 Form with a digital travel signature.

Notes from ISSS

All information on this page is based on current guidance from SEVP/ICE, CDC, and other official sources at the time this page was published (November 2021). All information is subject to change without notification.

This page was last updated May 4, 2021.

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