A Division of the International Studies Office

Message for International Students from Vice Provost Mull and Dean Groves - Arriving for Fall Semester

Dear International Student,

Greetings from Charlottesville! Whether you are in your home country or in the U.S., we hope summer is going well for you and your family.

By now you should have received President Jim Ryan’s message from earlier today reporting that the University will delay the start of in-person undergraduate classes and the opening of residence halls by two weeks because of concerns related to COVID-19.  The official start date of the fall semester for undergraduates will remain August 25, when online classes will begin.  Graduate and professional school students will begin classes on their previously announced dates.

This message aims to provide additional information of special interest to students coming from international destinations to attend the University in-person, regardless of citizenship.  We continue to guarantee online instruction for all of our international students who prefer to remain in their home countries for the fall semester.

Arrival and Quarantine: The U.S. public health regulations require all travelers from international destinations to quarantine for two weeks in the United States before any significant interactions with others, including in-person classroom instruction. (Please check here for appropriate quarantine activity). In addition, U.S. immigration expects students traveling on non-U.S. passports to arrive in the U.S. by the formal start of the semester, which in the case of UVA undergraduates is August 25.  (Graduate and professional students should arrive by the start date for their particular program, indicated on the I-20 form).

We therefore ask that all undergraduate international students who plan on in-person instruction this semester arrive in the United States by August 25, and that graduate and professional students arrive by the start date listed on the individual I-20 form.

International students arriving from outside the U.S. who will be living on-Grounds during the 2020-2021 academic year qualify for assignment to University pre-arrival quarantine housing at no additional cost, with the option for a paid meal plan.  (NOTE: this will be available for international undergraduates beginning on August 18).  Please contact us at [email protected] if you are interested in this arrangement.  Students who will live off-Grounds and need assistance to find a place for quarantine should contact the International Students and Scholars Program for more information.

It is important that you let us know your date of arrival ahead of time so we can make the arrangements and share information with you. Please share any change in travel plans with [email protected].

COVID-19 Testing: International students (like all other UVA students) should self-administer a COVID-19 test after their arrival in the United States and no more than seven days before arriving on Grounds. The test kits can be ordered free of charge from our contracted provider here.

Students quarantining in the U.S. following arrival from abroad should use the mailing address of the U.S. location where they are in quarantine even if that address is a hotel.

Students should check with hotel management or front desk staff to ensure mail delivery and pick up. Please note that the tests can only be mailed to U.S. addresses.  You can learn more details about the health protocols for returning students here.

New international students: According to current U.S. immigration rules, international students coming to the U.S. for the first time as students must plan on taking at least one course in-person during the fall semester.  A course that begins online only and transitions to in-person instruction during the semester will suffice.

Thank you so much in advance for your cooperation and support in following these procedures.  We hope that this phased return to Grounds will make for a successful fall semester and give us the best chance to safeguard the health and safety of our University community and our Charlottesville neighbors. 

This will be a semester unlike any other in our history, but please know that we remain absolutely committed to delivering you the very best education UVA has to offer.  Please let us know how we can best support you in the weeks ahead by writing us at [email protected].  Please also continue to check your email, UVA’s Return to Grounds website, and the International Students and Scholars Office website daily for updates.

We look forward to warmly welcoming each of you to the fall semester wherever you may choose to spend it! 



Stephen Mull
Vice Provost for Global Affairs

Allen Groves
University Dean of Students