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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

International Student FAQ's


Financial Hardship for F1 International Student

I am an international student on an F1 visa. I don’t know if I can pay for the next term because of the coronavirus outbreak. What should I do?

If you think you might not be able to pay for your tuition because of the coronavirus outbreak, you can apply for severe economic hardship through USCIS.  Please keep in mind that USCIS may not make a formal decision about your application before the term start date.

Read more about the special situations that qualify students for severe economic hardship on the USCIS website.

How do I apply for severe economic hardship?

To apply, you must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with a copy of your Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, and any other supporting materials to USCIS.

Your Form I-20 must include the employment page completed by your Designated School Official, Jihoon Doh, certifying your eligibility for off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control.

You can contact your DSO at

What happens if my request for severe economic hardship is approved?

When you apply for severe economic hardship, you request to authorization from the government to work off-campus (if you meet certain regulatory requirements).

If your request is approved, you may be able to work off-campus in one-year intervals up to the expected date of completion of your current course of study.

What if I can’t afford the application fee?

If you are unable to pay the fee for a USCIS service or benefit, you may request a fee waiver by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.

Who do I talk to for help?

If you need help deciding whether or not to apply for severe economic hardship, contact your DSO at


Health Insurance

I am an international student. How can I get health insurance?

International students can contact one of the health insurance providers listed here. Most private insurance companies will not insure individuals with preexisting conditions. For example, if you already have COVID-19, you may not be able to get insurance.

US citizens with low or no income may be eligible to apply for Medicaid through their local hospital or online.

I am an international student. I need help understanding insurance. Who can I talk to?

Here is a link to definitions of important insurance words.

International student insurance agents will help you understand your options in simple English. Many international student insurance companies have translators and/or information available in several different languages.

For more details, contact Miranda Mueller at or Jihoon Doh at

Global Travel

What are the countries with travel alerts?

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the following destinations. Entry of foreign nationals from these destinations has been suspended.

  • China (Level 3 Travel Health Notice)
  • Iran (Level 3 Travel Health Notice)
  • Most European Countries (Level 3 Travel Health Notice)
  • The UK and Ireland (Level 3 Travel Health Notice)

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the following destinations:

  • South Korea (Level 3 Travel Health Notice)
  • Malaysia (Level 3 Travel Health Notice)

For the most up to date information, reference the CDC website.

I was planning to travel abroad during spring break, spring term or summer break, what do you advise?

MCC cannot tell students what to do in their personal time. However, MCC strongly recommends that students avoid nonessential travel outside the U.S., especially to countries with travel health notices from the CDC.

For the most up to date information on countries under travel advisory, reference the CDC website.

If traveling to other locations abroad, stay current with the latest CDC Travel Health Notices and register your trip with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive timely health and safety updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Non-US citizen may also sign up for these alerts.

Where can I find information about whether or not my international travel destination is restricting inbound travel due to COVID-19?

This is a rapidly changing issue, and it’s always wise to check with your airline in advance of and up to the moment you intend to fly, but there are also few organizations trying to track and publicize this information, such as the following:

International Association of Travel Agents – COVID-19 Inbound Travel Restrictions

International SOS – Travel Restrictions, Flight Operations and Screening