Dear UVA International Students:
With the rapidly approaching end of an academic year unlike any other in the University of Virginia’s long history, I would like to brief you on our plans for the fall semester, which will begin in August. The COVID-19 pandemic may have posed extraordinary challenges to our entire UVA community, but one thing has remained unchanged throughout: our international student community is essential and important to our identity as a global University. As we prepare for the fall, I assure you that we remain absolutely committed to supporting you in managing the special challenges you may face as international students and providing you a high-quality UVA education, regardless of the challenges.
As an increasingly higher percentage of our community is vaccinated, the continuously improving public health climate here on Grounds should allow us to return to largely normal operations in the fall semester. Classes will be in-person, first year students will be living on Grounds, and University services like dining, recreation, and many others will return to regular operations, after a full year of significant limitations. While I very much hope you will be with us to celebrate this return to normal university life, I am aware that international students who are not already in the United States still face some challenges. Visa operations have not fully resumed at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, and border restrictions remain in place for travelers from Brazil, China, Iran, and South Africa. (Travelers from Europe’s Schengen Zone, the United Kingdom, and Ireland are also restricted, but full-time students traveling from those locations have been granted a blanket exemption).
I expect that at least some of these challenges will diminish through the summer with the resumption of visa processing at U.S. consular posts, and we have joined with other Universities in urging the U.S. Department of State to resume these services as soon as possible. Nevertheless, if you are unable to obtain a visa and enter the U.S. in time for the beginning of the fall semester in August, I assure you that the University will work with you to accommodate your educational needs. This accommodation could include providing you instruction remotely, as well as opportunities to make up course work in the coming year after you are able to arrive in Charlottesville. We are also prepared to consider requests for enrollment deferrals until it is possible to obtain a visa and travel to the United States.
UVA’s International Studies Office will contact you in May to ask if you expect to arrive in Charlottesville in time for the fall semester and, if necessary, will work with your school of enrollment at UVA throughout the summer to develop an accommodation plan that meets your particular educational needs.
If you are able to travel from abroad to Charlottesville in time for fall semester, please remember that the United States requires all travelers to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to departure for the United States, or evidence of recovery from COVID-19, as indicated in this guidance. As of now, neither the United States nor UVA requires a COVID-19 vaccination for admission. If these policies should change between now and August, the University will notify you. In any case, we expect that all students, including international students, will be able to obtain a vaccination after arrival in Charlottesville.
I very much hope we will be able to welcome as many of you as possible to UVA in person this August. For those who will not be able to arrive on time, we will work tirelessly to provide all appropriate accommodations until you are able to join us
With warm regards,
M. Elizabeth Magill
Provost and Executive Vice President
University of Virginia