Dakota College is planning to hold classes face-to-face as normal. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but there are a lot of ways for you to continue meeting your goals during this difficult time.
Because international travel is changing so quickly and without warning, every student's case is unique. This page provides general advice for many diverse groups of students in F-1 visa status, including new and returning students, as well as Canadian and overseas students. Please keep in mind that these are broad guidelines written to fit the needs of large groups of students.
It is important to remember that this information may change without notice, so you will need to carefully and frequently check Dakota College's website and all college communication when making your travel plans. Pay close attention to the communications you receive from Dakota College and the COVID-19 section of Dakota College's website.
Disclaimer: Dakota College at Bottineau is able to provide you with general guidance. However, any advice provided to you by the Student Services office, as well as the information on this website, should not be construed as legal advice. Additionally, due to the fluid nature of governmental interpretation, USCIS may change its interpretation of these immigration laws/regulations and eligibility requirements for benefits, at any time. We will do our best to provide you with the most current guidance. Each case is fact-specific and it is advised that you contact an experienced immigration attorney if you have questions regarding your situation.
What Kind of classes should I enroll in?
All F-1 students must take a full load of classes, which is 12 credits for undergraduates. We are currently following normal requirements.
How many face-to-face classes do I need to take as part of my fulltime enrollment?
Undergraduate: 12 credits total (including at least 9 face-to-face credits)
The in-person classes could be fully face-to-face courses or hybrid courses that requires significant in-person instruction. You may take additional online credits once you hit the full-time threshold (for example, 9 face-to-face credits and 6 online credits would be fine).
Who can I email for help understanding these rules?
We understand that F-1 status can be hard to navigate, and we are happy to help. Please email the Student Services Clerk if you have any questions about whether you have a face-to-face requirement. She will review your campus connection and let you know if your current schedule meets the F-1 requirements.
What if I can’t attend DCB in-person?
Continuing Students: If you want to study in your home country, you can choose to forfeit your current F-1 status. You can return home to take classes without F-1 status. Then if you decide to return to Bottineau or another U.S. institution, you would need to apply for a new I-20. The only downsides are you would need to repay the SEVIS fee (currently $350), overseas students may also need a new visa for travel, and your CPT/OPT clock would restart. That means if you are interested in working in the U.S. after graduation, you would need to spend a full fall and spring semester on campus studying on the new I-20 before you would be eligible to apply for OPT. If you are not interested in OPT, then there are even fewer downsides to forfeiting your F-1 status.
New Students: If you are unable to attend Dakota College at Bottineau in person, you can request that your I-20 be deferred to another semester. Please inform the Student Services Clerk if you choose to defer, and they can provide you with requirements.
Depending on your situation, you might be eligible to take online classes from your home country. You will need to work with your Academic Advisor to identify online classes that you can take from your home country. You will be assigned an academic advisor once you have been fully accepted.
What documentation will I need to enter the United States?
You will need all of the normal travel documents, including your I-20 with a DSO signature no older than one year on page two. You also need an active visa and passport.
New Students: In order to enter the U.S. to study at Dakota College at Bottineau, you will need to travel with the following documents. Without proper documentation you may be denied entry until you have all documents present.
- Form I-20: you will need to print your name, sign and date the bottom of page one of the I-20 that was sent to you.
- Visa (Except for Canadian Citizens)
- Admission letter: Sent by Student Services with your I-20.
- I-901 SEVIS fee receipt: Instructions sent by Student Services in a letter included with I-20 with instructions on how to pay the SEVIS fee.
- Financial documentation: The same documents you sent to Student Services to prove eligibility to receive an I-20.
Continuing Students: Continuing F-1 students who leave the United States must show the following documents to re-enter the U.S.:
- Valid U.S. visa stamp (except for Canadian citizens)
- Valid I-20 with a DSO travel signature within the last calendar year.
- An I-94. If you arrived by land, you will have a physical I-94 stapled in your passport.
- A printout of your classes from campus connection to show you are enrolled in on-campus classes.
Students with pending or approved Optional Practical Training, please visit with Student Services regarding guidance and regulations currently affecting OPT.
Canadian Parents, Applicants, and Prospective Students: The U.S./Canadian border is closed to non-essential travel. F-1 visa students are considered "essential," so they will be allowed entry. However, the B-2 visitor visas utilized by family members are not considered "essential visas" by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Applicants and prospective students are also considered to be on B-2 visas are are not able to enter the U.S. prior to commencing study on an official F-1 I-20.
Please contact your Port of Entry to speak with a CBP agent for any questions about the border closure.
What travel restrictions do I need to know about?
Starting on November 8, 2021 foreign nationals entering the United States by air will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the United States, with only limited exceptions. Details can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.
Beginning in early January 2022, DHS will require that all inbound foreign national travelers, including F-1 students be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination.
Note: The CDC and other U.S. government agencies are still working to implement this new travel policy, and those details are not yet available. Information will be posted at www.travel.state.gov as it becomes available.
Before you make travel plans to Bottineau, you should carefully monitor entry restrictions into the U.S.
National Interest Exceptions for Visas
International students on F-1 visas who are subject to geographic COVID proclamations (India, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa or certain European countries) may qualify for a National Interest Exception, which allows entry into the U.S. You should check the status of visa services at your nearest embassy or consulate AND confirm that you are automatically considered for a national interest exception to travel.
Remember that this information on this tab may change without warning, so you should check the following resources frequently before your travel takes place. Carefully research the situation before purchasing a ticket to the U.S. and remember that changes may occur.
What are the rules for entering my home country?
Dakota College at Bottineau cannot advise on entry to your home country, including Canada. Please keep in mind that the rules for entry to every country are changing quickly without notice. Border restrictions can tighten and borders can close without warning. Carefully consider every possibility when deciding if travel is necessary.
Some international students have become stuck in their home countries because of COVID related restrictions. Please use caution when deciding to travel internationally.
We recommend that Canadians contact the Canadian border with questions about entry that are not covered on the Canadian government's website.
Students can get tested for Covid at by contacting the Student Health Nurse or you can view testing opportunities at the North Dakota Department of Health’s website.
Will I need to quarantine in Bottineau?
No. Automatic quarantine is not required at this time.
On September 21, 2020 the State of North Dakota revoked the 14-day quarantine order for travelers arriving in North Dakota countries outside of the U.S. To be clear: students and employees will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days when re-entering North Dakota from Canada or abroad. Please review the following information: MARIANI LIFTS STATE HEALTH OFFICER ORDER REGARDING INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL and REVOCATION OF STATE HEALTH CONFINEMENT ORDER #2020-02.3
Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Map to view the current guidelines regarding entry to the U.S. after traveling through your country and any other countries through which you transit. You will be required to follow CDC guidelines and guidance from the North Dakota Department of Health when you arrive to campus.
Will my health insurance cover COVID-19 testing and treatment?
Yes. International students* at Dakota College at Bottineau in F-1 status are required to carry the official health insurance provider for North Dakota public institutions through United Healthcare. The policy is comprehensive and provide excellent benefits. General information about the insurance policy and enrollment process can be found here: Health Insurance for International Students.
Specific information regarding COVID-19 coverage can be found here: www.uhcsr.com/faqs.
*Canadian citizens are not required to carry the North Dakota University System insurance policy through United Healthcare. You should refer to your Canadian private and provincial health insurance providers for more information about what sort of coverage you have while attending university in the United States.
*During the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important that you contact your Canadian health insurance provider to learn if testing for COVID-19 and treatment for COVID-19 related illnesses will be covered while you are in the United States. If testing and treatments for COVID-19 are not covered in the U.S., DCB strongly recommends that you purchase the North Dakota University System insurance policy.
If you are interested in purchasing the North Dakota University System insurance policy, read through the policy details on this webpage. An email will be sent by ECI Services that will allow you to opt-in to the policy at the beginning of the semester.