Skip Sub Menu

Immigration Status

More information about orientation will be sent to you by the end of May. If you have further questions about anything on this page, please contact Kendra Hossain-Morehead at

How does this affect me if I am an F-1 student?

International students are expected to return to Drake to complete their studies in person. However, USCIS guidance regarding the ability to maintain active status for continuing students while taking remote coursework is still in effect. This means if you were an F-1 student during March 2020 are taking more than one class that is being offered remotely this semester, your SEVIS record will not be impacted.

If you are unable to return to Drake due to issues with obtaining a visa or because of travel restrictions, contact ISSS immediately at

How does this affect me if I am a J-1 scholar?

If you are a J-1 scholar and are continuing to make progress on your research during this period of online coursework, you can remain in the US and continue working toward your program goal until your program end date.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and your case is severe, ISSS must report this information to the Department of State. Please contact ISSS if this is your situation.

Are new students able to apply for visas and returning students able to renew their visas?

Some consular processes have resumed at this time, while others are still suspended or not operating at full capacity. Please check your local US embassy or consulate website for more information on your specific case. If you have questions about your ability to apply for a visa at this time, please contact

Should new students be unable to secure a visa for study, I-20 or DS-2019 documentation would be deferred for a start date in a future semester, as the visa application process will be delayed. If this is your situation, please contact as soon as possible. With this change, students will receive a new I-20 or DS-2019 for the delayed visa application.

What do I do if I need a new I-20 or travel signature?

During this time, SEVP has authorized the use of digital signatures on I-20s. If you are outside the Des Moines area and require a new I-20 for any reason (CPT, travel signature, etc.), we will be sending you a scan of the signed I-20. You will need to print any scanned documents and use them as originals.

Does the U.S. still have travel restrictions?

There are currently no COVID-19 travel restrictions based on location.

Effective Nov. 8, 2021, all non-immigrant, non-citizen air travelers to the U.S. will be required to be fully-vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status before boarding an airplane to the U.S. The CDC published a document that outlines the practical application of the proclamation. This document gives more information on what type of documented proof of vaccination is accepted, a list of accepted vaccines, a full definition of what it means to be “fully-vaccinated against COVID-19”, and the full list of exemptions of individuals who do not have to present proof of being fully-vaccinated.

There are very limited exceptions for non-vaccinated individuals to still be admissible to the U.S. under this proclamation. The categories that may pertain to students here at Drake include:

  • Children under 18 years of age
  • Persons with medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Persons with valid non-immigrant visas who are citizens of a country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability (this list will be updated every 90 days and was last updated October 25, 2021)
    • This exception requires you to be a passport holder of the exempted country and does not cover individuals who live in an exempted country but is not a citizen of that country.

If you believe you fall into one of these categories, you can find more information on how to receive your exemption through that same CDC document. You may also be required to complete this Combined Passenger Disclosure and Attestation to the United States of America and present it prior to boarding your flight to the U.S. There may be additional documentation or steps you need to take to get this exemption—you can find this information through the CDC document or by contacting your U.S. Embassy in your home country.

At this time, there are no requirements for a negative COVID-19 test upon entry for those who have been fully vaccinated by a WHO-approved vaccine. Please see this CDC webpage for more information.

Your country may have also enacted COVID-related travel restrictions at this time. We encourage you to check with your government for the most up-to-date information about exit restrictions and exceptions.

What is Drake doing to help new international students?

A number of initiatives have been implemented as a result of the unknowns related to travel and COVID-19. Please know that Drake continues to invest in your curricular and co-curricular experience, even if you are unable to travel in person to campus.  We are committed to ensuring you will feel part of the Drake community. Unique programming includes:
• Moving our International Student Orientation to a hybrid format. Information about Drake, the Des Moines area, and important pieces of your experience at Drake as an international student will be given through an online pre-orientation. We will also host virtual orientations in-person orientations to follow. All new-to-Drake international students and U.S. citizens abroad have received communication about this set of orientations.
• In the instance that you cannot travel to the U.S. in time for the start of the semester due to visa and consular services in your home country being closed (or not fully operational), we ask that you inform ISSS at as soon as possible.