Q&A for Faculty and Staff

Q&A Regarding International Students
for Faculty and Staff

Are international students still receiving I-20s?

Yes! We will continue to process I-20s (Certificate for Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) and send them to students via Air Concepts express mail.  When the I-20 is sent, students will receive tracking information from Air Concepts.  There may be some delays in deliveries due to lockdown situations (especially in India), but Air Concepts will contact the student directly if there are any delays with the I-20 delivery.

Can new international students obtain a Visa to study in the US for Fall?

In March 2020 the U.S. Department of State temporarily suspended all routine visa services at all U.S. Consulates and Embassies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  No official announcement has been made about reopening of consular services.  However, we understand that some Consulates and Embassies reopening slowly.  Students should check with their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate for any updates or to schedule a visa appointment.

If the US. Consulates and Embassies do not reopen in time for an international student to obtain a visa, what are their options?

If international students are unable to apply for a student visa in time to begin school in August, students have the opportunity to defer their admission.  The student should contact International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) in the Global Engagement Office (GEO) (globalengagement@creighton.edu) to defer their I-20 start date to the following semester.  A new I-20 will be provided at no cost to the student.  

It may also be possible for a student to begin their program online from their home country, depending on the program of study at Creighton and the program?s online options available for Fall semester. 

If a new international student obtains a visa, but their program of study will be online only, can they still come to the U.S. in the Fall?

International students were permitted to study online during Spring and Summer 2020 as an exception due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 6, 2020, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced a new temporary rule for Fall 2020 indicating that nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.

However, on July 14, 2020 the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency rescinded the July 6, 2020 SEVP guidance.

Therefore, during Fall 2020 international students who are in the U.S. must be enrolled full-time, and that full-time status can be accomplished with a minimum of one in-person course and a combination of hybrid or online courses.  This new guidance also indicates that if a university were to move to solely online instruction at a later point during Fall 2020, international students will be able to continue their studies and remain in the U.S.

If a returning student is in the U.S. and their program for Fall is online only, will they be able to continue their studies in the U.S.?

For the Summer semester, this was possible. Recent guidance (July 14, 2020) form government agencies is that students will be able to continue their studies online if the University decides to move all programs to online delivery at some point in the Fall 2020 semester.

Currently Creighton University is planning to hold most classes in person or in a hybrid format during Fall 2020.Students must take at least one in-person course during Fall 2020 and, therefor,e must be in Omaha for that course.

Should a student not be able to come to the US to continue their studies during Fall 2020, they may continue their coursework online from abroad.  Students should contact Tami Renner (TamiRenner@creighton.edu or Lucy Hancock (LucyHancock@creighton.edu) in the Global Engagement Office for assistance in coordinating the needed supports to complete their courses (i.e. arrange proctoring, etc.).

If a returning international student is currently outside the U.S., will they be able to return to the U.S. to study in the Fall?

International students are advised to review travel and visa restrictions and check with their air carriers to determine whether travel will be permitted.  We recommend that they monitor the travel health notices from the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  It is impossible to predict whether further travel restrictions will be put in place by the U.S. government for travelers returning from abroad or if international travel will be restriction due to the situation within the U.S.  Students should reach out to the GEO at globalengagement@creighton.edu with any questions or concerns regarding a return to the U.S..

Will International Students Returning from Abroad need to Self-Quarantine?

YES.  According to current guidance, they will.  However, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has not indicated when this requirement will expire.

On May 29, 2020 the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services published Directed Health Measure Order 2020--SCHD-002. Item I.7 indicates that every individual who enters the State of Nebraska as the final destination from any international point of origin, and individuals who reside or resided with an individual who enters the State of Nebraska as the final destination form any international point of origin, shall home quarantine (per Quarantine and Isolation Directions), for a period of no less than fourteen (14) days from time of entry into Nebraska or the duration of the individual's presence in Nebraska, whichever is shorter.  This restriction does not apply to individuals traveling in connection with military service or in connection with employment at a health care facility.

International students who have a contract with Student Housing will be able to self-quarantine on campus for an additional fee if they arrive on or before July 27, 2020.  Students should be directed to contact Lucy Hancock at LucyHancock@creighton.edu for details and instructions.  International students who live off-campus are advised to complete the self-quarantine before the semester begins as federal visa regulations require them to attend lasses at the beginning of the semester.

How many credits must an international student take to be considered full time and in valid F-1 status?

Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours to maintain F-1 status.  Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 8 credit hours to maintain this status.  It is important to note that Federal Regulations temporarily will allow an international student on an F-1 visa to take only one in-person course per semester and all other courses in hybrid or online format.

Can students still apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

Yes.  At this time, students may apply for either based on their situation and if they meet the requirements related to OPT and/or CPT.  Students interested in apply for OPT or CPT should email globalengagement@creighton.edu for more information on the process.  ISSS will update students on any regulatory changes that may arise within the next few months, but at this time, no changes have been made to either employment authorization opportunity.

Does Creighton's Student Health Insurance plan cover COVID-19 related illness and issues?

Any questions regarding the health insurance policy for students should be addressed with the Student Health and Compliance Office.  Details on health insurance coverage can also be found on their site.

What should a student do if s/he is being treated unfairly or is experiencing harassment or discrimination due to concerns about COVID-19?

Students are encouraged to report any form of harassment to the Office of Equity and Inclusion.  All faculty and all staff with supervisory or leadership responsibilities or responsibilities related to student welfare are considered Mandatory Reporters and required to report acts or allegations of harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, relationship misconduct, crimes, and concerning and/or disruptive student behaviors.

Faculty and staff who have knowledge of an incident of harassment, discrimination, sexual, and/or relationship misconduct are required to report that information to the Office of Equity and Inclusion.