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Global Engagement
The University of Mississippi – Office of Global Engagement

Looking Ahead: International Admissions, Immigration, and Study Abroad

Posted on: April 9th, 2020 by blair

International Admissions and Immigration

UM continues to issue visa documents to faculty, students, staff, and scholars with their anticipated start date; however, routine visa services at US Embassies and Consulates abroad are suspended as of 3/20/20 until further notice.  We appreciate that some departments are making decisions on the admission of graduate students.  These decisions should not be based on the nationality or country of origin of the applicants.

When reinstated, the wait time for visa appointments will likely be long, perhaps into the fall semester depending on country of origin.  Of note, the Department of State has indicated that student and exchange visitor appointment wait times (J and F) should be shorter than those for other types of visas.  New international faculty, staff, and students may wish to defer their anticipated start date, and we encourage flexibility due to their inability to apply for a visa prior to their anticipated start date.

The US Department of State requested the suspension of all Student Exchange Visitor Programs (J programs) for 60 days from 3/12/20 to 5/12/20 unless extended.  The Office of International Programs contacted the two departments with invited J-1 visiting scholars during this time frame and advised a delay of the scholars’ arrivals.  If a visiting scholar’s arrival and presence at UM is essential through 5/12/20, departments should apply for a waiver from the Provost’s Office or appropriate Vice Chancellor.  If the visitor’s arrival can be delayed, UM recommends, at the earliest, a July arrival date for those scholars who may have obtained a visa prior to Embassies suspending visa services.  For new employees, Social Security offices are currently closed to the public.  Applying for a Social Security card would require a person to mail their passport as part of the application process.

While we cannot anticipate when visa services will be reopened nor how quickly applications will be processed once they are reopened, departments should realistically prepare for many new international students to defer to spring 2021 and new faculty, staff, and scholars to request delayed start dates.

For immigration questions about specific students, faculty, staff, or scholars, please email


Study Abroad Programs

The Study Abroad Office is working with partners to offer virtual international experiences during summer 2020.  We will work with departments on the specifics if and when students apply for these alternative experiences.

Students who returned home from their spring 2020 study abroad experiences due to COVID-19 are completing their semesters virtually.  The Emergency Z and P grade options have been extended to study abroad students as their semesters have been similarly disrupted.

Fall and Academic Year 2020 study abroad programs have not been canceled.  Students are advised to proceed with their applications and preparations as planned and scheduled.  While students have also been informed that the course approval form is not due at this time, departments may receive emails about approving courses.  Please copy on any course approvals so that Study Abroad can keep the email as a substitute for a signature.  We expect to be able to advise on the viability of (or any changes to) fall study abroad programs by early June.

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