Starting In-Person Study

Due to travel restrictions, U.S. embassy closures, and COVID-19, Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 admitted international students may have taken one of these academic actions:

  1. Deferred admission to a later term
  2. Started enrollment online or through an approved Study Away program from their home country

Fall 2021 Enrollment Requirements

You must enroll full-time if you study inside the U.S.

  • Full-time study for undergraduates is defined as 12 credits.
  • Full-time study for graduate students is defined as 9 credits.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program has issued this guidance regarding online enrollment for Fall 2021:

  • Students who held and have maintained active F-1 or J-1 status since March 9, 2020 are eligible to enroll in a fully online schedule for Fall 2021 and maintain legal status.
  • Students who have started or resumed active F-1 or J-1 status after March 9, 2020 are required to enroll in at least one or more in-person courses in Fall 2021 in order to achieve or maintain legal status.

Courses coded as in-person or hybrid may meet the in-person requirement depending on their primary mode of instruction. ISSS defines coursework as meeting the in-person requirement of regulations when the course meets partially (at least 50% of the time) or fully (100%) in person. Courses that meet primarily online (60% or more) do not meet the in-person requirement.

Students are encouraged to check with ISSS or academic advising if their hybrid coursework is sufficiently in-person. This information is not available to students in the Course List.

Note on Summer Enrollment and I-20 Issuance

Most summer coursework offered at Miami University in Summer 2021 will be online. Because of U.S. government policy, ISSS cannot issue I-20s for online study. If you wish to enroll in summer courses, we encourage you to enroll and complete coursework online from your home country.

Important Deadlines

There are a number of steps that must be completed in order to successfully arrive for in person study in Fall 2021. Because document issuance and visa applications take time, it is important to start the return process as early as possible. Miami University's fall semester will start on August 23, 2021. ISSS will work with students to assess if there is sufficient time to complete all required steps. All students must be able to arrive on time for the start of classes.

In order to apply for a visa or enter the U.S. for in person study in Fall 2021, students require an updated I-20 with an August start date. Important:

  • If you are an undergraduate or ACE student who deferred admission and now plan to study in person for fall semester, the Office of Admission will assist you with receiving your visa document. You should have received their reminder to complete the online Deferral Form. After you have completed that form for Fall 2021 you will receive an updated online admission decision and an updated I-20. Please contact the Office of Admission at if you have questions about completing the Deferral Form and receiving your I-20.
  • If you are an ELC student who deferred admission and now plan to study in person for fall semester, please contact the English Language Center to request an updated I-20.
  • If you are a graduate student who deferred admission and now plan to study in person for fall semester:
    • After your Fall 2021 admission offer has been issued, you must log into your application portal to formally accept the updated offer. From there, the Graduate School will provide updated student information and you will be able to request your I-20 or DS-2019. For questions about accepting the Fall 2021 admission offer you should contact the Graduate School at
    • After confirming our admission offer, please follow the directions on the Graduate Admission page. ISSS will issue your visa document.
  • If you started studies in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 in online coursework or a study away program, please complete the I-20 Request steps below. ISSS will issue your visa document.

I-20 Request Steps

Stage 1: Submit Required forms and Enroll in Coursework

  1. Submit Fall 2021 I-20 request

    Log in to InterLink to submit your Fall 2021 I-20 e-form request to ISSS.

    1. You will be required to upload documentation, including your passport and recently issued proof of funding. Refer to the Expense Chart for guidance on estimated tuition, fees, living expenses, and other costs.
    2. You will need to provide contact information for your divisional academic advisor. After you submit your request, it will be reviewed by your academic advisor.
    3. After your academic advisor comments on your request to return, ISSS will review your request and follow up with additional instructions regarding registration holds and enrollment.
  1. Resolve Registration Holds

    Check your BannerWeb account for any registration holds that prevent your enrollment. Review a comprehensive list on all registration holds at Miami for additional guidance. Common registration holds may be from these offices:

    To resolve a hold, contact the necessary office for instructions. ISSS will also provide communication regarding holds you must resolve if you have difficulty.

    NOTE: The TB Test hold does not prevent registration. That hold will be lifted after you receive the TB test at the Health Services Center on campus.

  1. Enroll full-time in coursework

    Registration opens in April for fall semester. Most new students will have registration dates in late April or early May.

    • If you submit a complete request before your Fall 2021 time ticket, ISSS will issue your I-20 so that you may move forward with scheduling your visa appointment
    • If you submit a complete request after your Fall 2021 time ticket, you should enroll full-time in coursework to receive your I-20.

Stage 2: Visa Document Issuance

  1. Receive Visa Document

    After you have completed steps in stage 1, notify ISSS and an advisor will work on your I-20. Your visa document will be sent electronically to your Miami email.

  1. Pay Required SEVIS Fee

    After you receive your new visa document, please pay the required SEVIS fee. The fee is currently $350 for F-1 students.

  1. Apply for Visa

    Allow sufficient time. You will have to submit the I-20, documentation of your financial support, admission letter, enrollment verification (if applicable), SEVIS fee receipt, and evidence that you intend to return to your home country at the conclusion of your studies in the US (i.e. ties to your home country). Before your visa interview, you will need to pay the visa application fee and fill out Form DS-160.

Stage 3: Travel to the U.S. and Start Study

  1. Travel to U.S.

    Book your flight. You may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date on your new I-20. Check the first page of your document and review your program start date in the “program of study” section (on an I-20). Please note you must arrive in the U.S and to Miami no later than the start of classes (August 23).

  1. Check in with ISSS

    After you return to the U.S., complete "document check" with ISSS.  An eform will be available in August in InterLink. You will need to upload copies of your passport, visa, I-20, and entry and enter information about your local U.S. address and phone number. After you complete this form, an advisor will verify the documentation. If all information is accurate and complete, ISSS will be able to register your SEVIS record.

Frequently Asked Questions

My Visa appointment is very soon. How quickly can I receive my I-20?

Please submit your request and let an advisor know of the urgency of your request. ISSS will prioritize I-20 issuance for students with immediate visa appointments.

I am not sure of my enrollment plans for fall semester. What should I do?

There are several factors to consider when making your decision:

Think about these factors and please let us know your questions.  We are happy to help you determine the enrollment option that best meets your personal goals.