International Students

Spring 2023 Updates

Notice about Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Guidance:

Information is subject to change. Updates are based on guidance released from ICE and SEVP on April 18, 2022. Please continue to monitor your Ohio State email and this page for updates.


Ohio State's plans for campus

While information surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, please know that the university’s highest priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.

Ohio State will offer in-person classes. All decisions will be made in partnership with and approval of local, state and federal health authorities. You may print the Spring 2023 Ohio State Instructional Plans letter and carry it with you to your visa appointment and when you are traveling in case there are any questions about Ohio State’s status for spring semester.

It is important to frequently monitor your Ohio State email, OIA’s website and Safe and Healthy Buckeyes for updates and important information regarding spring semester.

Updates and frequently asked questions


As of August 24, 2021, Ohio State is requiring every student, faculty and staff member to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with an FDA-approved vaccine. The university will also accept a vaccine that has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA or Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the World Health Organization (WHO) to fulfill this requirement.

Students should visit Safe and Healthy Buckeyes to learn more about how to get vaccinated on the Columbus campus and around Ohio.

Students should log in to their MyChart account to schedule their COVID-19 test through Ohio State. View the step-by-step guide. If you are a new student and have not signed up for a MyChart account, you will receive instructions about this via email on a date yet to be announced. If you are moving in before this, you will be able to use an alternative testing method at Jesse Owens North. If you run into any issues, contact the MyChart email address that will be included in the message or call 1-614-366-6975.

Q. Will I have to quarantine when I arrive on campus?
A. The university will follow CDC guidelines, and students should follow their recommendations. If you test positive upon arriving on campus, you will need to complete an isolation period of at least five days. Isolation is required regardless of your vaccination status. The Case Investigation and Contact Tracing and Student Support teams at Ohio State will be in contact to assist with next steps, which will include determining the best place to isolate, either on-campus in dedicated housing or at an alternate location.

Please visit Safe and Healthy Buckeyes for more information on the university's testing and isolation requirements.

Q. As an international student, can I get the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States? Is there a cost?
A. If you have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, you are eligible to receive it once you arrive in the United States. Students should log in to their MyChart account to schedule their vaccination through Ohio State. View the step-by-step guide.

The vaccine used at your appointment is based on availability on the day you receive it. Ohio State is currently administering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The government is providing the vaccine free of charge, and health plans are required to cover the cost of administration. Patients who receive a vaccination will not be asked to pay anything out of pocket.

Q. Will I be required to be vaccinated?
A. Yes. The university requires all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Students should visit Safe and Healthy Buckeyes to learn more about how to get vaccinated on Ohio State's Columbus campus and around Ohio.

Q. What if I have received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not currently authorized in the United States? Should I be concerned about getting vaccinated again?
A. The university will accept international vaccines based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, which recognizes vaccines authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).

All students are encouraged to share their vaccination information with the university because WHO is constantly updating its list of approved vaccines (check your BuckMD account for instructions). As of May 13, 2021, those vaccines include the three approved for use in the United States — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — as well as:
  • Astra-Zeneca
  • CoviShield
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac

If you are uncertain about the status of a particular vaccine, please contact Student Health Services at 614-292-4321 or shs@osu.edu.

If you have medical-related questions about mixing vaccines, students are encouraged to submit non-urgent medical questions through BuckMD.

Students will be considered to be fully vaccinated 14 days after their final dose in a vaccination series.
  • If your vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by the WHO, you will not need any additional doses with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
  • If your vaccine has not been authorized for emergency use by WHO, you should schedule a vaccine appointment once you arrive in the United States in order to be considered as “fully vaccinated” by the university and public health officials.

Q. Will I be required to be vaccinated and report my vaccination status if I am studying remotely?
A. If you will not be on campus at all and/or cannot get a WHO-approved vaccine before the deadline because of location, you can complete the exemption process, which would allow you to stay in compliance with the requirement. The university encourages and expects students to receive the vaccine when/if they arrive on campus.


Please visit the CDC website and monitor Safe and Healthy Buckeyes for the most current information regarding the university’s guidance on health measures.

Q. Do I need to have a COVID-19 test before traveling to the United States?
A. As of June 12, 2022, the CDC no longer requires passengers traveling to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight.

Passengers traveling from outside the United States are still required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a flight.

Please take the Travel Assessment on this page to see if you meet the requirements to board a flight to the United States.

Q. If spring is my first semester and I am not able to enter the United States to start my program at Ohio State, will I be able to defer my admission?
A. If you are an undergraduate student, please contact International Undergraduate Admissions (int.undergrad@osu.edu). Graduate students should contact their department who will work with Graduate Admissions (gradadmissions@osu.edu) to defer to a future term.

Q. What does it mean to defer my academic program? What does it mean to defer my immigration record?
A. If you do not plan to take any classes at all for the next semester or year, you will need to defer your admission/academic program. Once you notify the appropriate admissions office, a new I-20 or DS-2019 will be processed for you with a future start date when you plan to enter the United States.

If you plan to take full-time or part-time online classes and remain in your home country, you will need to defer your immigration start date to a future term. Once you notify the appropriate admissions office, a new I-20 or DS-2019 will be processed for you with a future start date when you plan to enter the United States.


Q. What should I do if I need an accommodation due to COVID-19?
A. Ohio State students from any campus may submit a COVID-related accommodation request. Students registered with Student Life Disability Services (SLDS) can work directly with their assigned Access Specialist to modify their accommodations or make additional accommodation requests based on COVID-19. If an accommodation is required, the ADA coordinator’s office will facilitate an interactive process that includes SLDS, the instructor and the department/college.

Q. What should I do if I test positive and cannot attend class?
A. If you have been advised to quarantine or isolate by a physician, testing center, or at-home test kit outside the university system, then you can work with SLDS to request a statement of support for short-term academic flexibility. Please visit COVID-Related Accommodation Requests on the SLDS website to learn more.


Ohio State will offer a mix of in-person, online and blended courses. You can view available courses through buckeyelink.osu.edu.

View the university registrars’ definition of courses online. Below is how they will be determined for maintaining a legal immigration status:
  • Distance Learning (considered online)
  • Distance Enhanced (considered online)
  • Hybrid Delivery is (considered in-person)
  • In-Person
New students who remain outside the United States are encouraged to explore registering for Ohio State courses offered through distance technologies. It will be the student’s responsibility to ensure access to university support services via their technology and in accordance with their location’s regulations. Students should contact their advisor to address any academic questions, the university’s help desk (servicedesk@osu.edu) for technical questions and immigration coordinators at the Office of International Affairs (iss@osu.edu) with immigration-related concerns.

Students who experience course access issues relating to time zone differences, content accessibility, textbook availability, etc., should contact their professor/instructor and the appropriate college or department to determine whether any alternative options or support may be available.

Students located in certain countries and/or are affected by sanctions imposed by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control may not be eligible to take distance learning courses. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury and use the search tool to input your location abroad to see if the country is on the list affected by sanctions.

Q. Can I enter the United States to take a completely online course load?
A. No. You may not take a fully online course schedule in the United States.

Q. If I do not plan to enter the United States for spring semester, can I enroll full-time online in my home country?
A. Federal guidelines allow international students to take full-time or part-time online classes in their home country. Ohio State students in certain countries and academic programs may enroll in distance learning, however, students should be aware that it is their responsibility to ensure access to university support services via their technology and in accordance with their location’s regulations.

If you live in a country where distance learning is available and you intend to enroll in online courses, you will need to defer your immigration start date to a future term. Once you notify the appropriate admissions office, a new I-20 or DS-2019 will be processed for you with a future start date when you plan to enter the United States.

Q. I plan on taking Ohio State online courses outside of the United States, but I am not sure which courses to take.
A. Students who will take online courses outside of the United States should work with their academic advisor to identify courses being offered through distance technologies to continue making progress toward their degree.

Q. What should I do if I have access and technology concerns about taking online courses outside of the United States?
A. Ohio State students in certain countries and academic programs may find that online pathways for distance learning are not currently available in every country as a result of technology, accessibility or regulatory issues. Students with access issues relating to time zone differences, content accessibility, textbook availability, etc., should contact their professor/instructor and the appropriate college or department to determine whether any alternative options or support may be available. If students experience technical issues, contact the university’s IT Service Desk, which offers 24-hour support:

For more information about tech support for online courses, visit online.osu.edu/tech-support.

Q. If I enroll full-time online in my home country, do I need to schedule an immigration check-in appointment?
A. No. You will only complete an immigration check-in appointment once you enter the United States.

Q. If I do not plan to enter the United States for spring semester, do I need to complete online orientation?
A. Yes. If you are enrolling online from your home country when you begin your program, you must complete the online orientation modules.

Q. If I plan to enter the United States to take in-person or hybrid courses, do I need a new I-20?
A. No. The guidance that required students to have new immigration documents with comments specifically stating that the school is not operating entirely online has been rescinded. If you are asked to show proof that you are not enrolled entirely online, you should print the Spring 2023 Ohio State Instructional Plans letter and carry it with you to your visa appointment as well as when you are traveling in case there are any questions about Ohio State’s status for the upcoming semesters. You can also provide a copy of your class schedule from Buckeyelink that states the mode of instruction.

Q. Can I arrive in the United States after the first day of class?
A. Typically, we allow undergraduate students to arrive one week after the semester starts and graduate students up to two weeks after the semester starts, with department permission. Given these extraordinary circumstances, please contact both your department and the Office of International Affairs to discuss your travel plans if you want to arrive after the semester start date.


In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of State temporarily suspended routine visa services at most U.S. embassies and consulates. As resources allow, overseas consulates and embassies have resumed routine visa services on a post-by-post basis. Please check travel.state.gov for the most current wait times. Please beware that students may face issues securing visa appointments as U.S. consulates work through significant backlogs.

Q. I’m unable to secure a visa appointment. What should I do?
A. If you do not have a confirmed visa appointment by January 9, you should defer to a future term.

Q. What if I need to travel outside of the United States to change my status to F-1 for spring?
A. Due to uncertainty surrounding visa appointments and availability of international flights, Ohio State recommends that students defer their admission to a future term.

Q. What documents will I need for my visa appointment?
A. To prepare the correct documentation for your visa appointment, visit travel.state.gov. Keep in mind that a consular officer will interview you to determine your qualifications for a student visa, and may request additional documents, such as evidence of:
  • Your academic preparation, such as:
    • Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended; and
    • Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school;
  • Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
  • How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs.

Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply.


Students will be able to pick up documents at 140 Enarson Classroom Building. Students must schedule an appointment in advance.

Students can also utilize the OIA Drop-Off Box located by the office's front doors to drop off documents without scheduling an appointment. Students will be notified when documents are ready for pick-up.


Appointments for I-20/DS-2019 pick-up are available. You must schedule an appointment online.

If you need to request a travel signature, please complete the e-form first:
For all other documents, an immigration coordinator will confirm how you would like to receive them once they have been processed.

Once the document has been processed, you will receive an email from an immigration coordinator with the instructions on how to schedule a pick up appointment. DO NOT SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT UNTIL YOU HAVE HEARD FROM AN IMMIGRATION COORDINATOR THAT YOUR DOCUMENTS ARE READY FOR PICK UP AT OIA.


Students can use the OIA Drop-Off Box by the office's front doors to drop off documents without scheduling an appointment. Students will be notified when documents are ready for pick-up.

Please continue to email all other paper forms to iss@osu.edu.

All immigration advising, workshops and programs will continue to be virtual throughout the semester. You may schedule an appointment with an immigration coordinator at go.osu.edu/OIAAdvising.