The international student advisors provide support to foreign students who are studying at NHCC on an F-1 student visa (or F-1 students, for short).  If you are a current F-1 student at NHCC and could benefit from any of advising services listed below, please contact the international student advisor at international@nhcc.edu.

The pandemic has impacted international students in many ways, and we are fully committed to supporting those who are already here and continuing our outreach to potential international students. We are diligently working to assess how we can continue to provide the best support for our students with options that will allow them to progress towards their educational goals. Our international students bring important vibrancy and perspective to our campus that adds to the diversity of thought and experience critical to fostering the type of learning environment our students need and deserve.

COVID-19 Information

  • Courses

    How will classes be taught?

    • For fall semester 2020, most courses will be offered online, with some courses having on-campus or limited on-campus instruction (hybrid, Hyflex). Details about these course types will be reflected in eServices' course schedule.
    • International students, except for new students starting in fall 2020 who are new visa holders, can take online courses (including all online courses if needed) and should work with their advisor to select courses that will fit their degree requirements, regardless of the format of the course for fall semseter 2020. Students approved for a visa for fall 2020 that are just starting as a F-1 student must take at least one on-campus or hybrid class.
    • Please consult your international student advisor for assistance planning your summer or fall course schedule.

    Course lists by format:

  • F-1 Status

    Aren’t there limits on how many online credits or classes an F-1 student can take?

    • Under normal circumstances, F-1 students can take up to 3 credits online each fall and spring semesters.
    • The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which oversees F-1 students, recognized this spring was an unprecedented time and had made an exception in March 2020 to allow current F-1 students to maintain their status while also maintaining their full course load of 12+ credits, even if all credits move to online course delivery. This guidance was also for summer, although NHCC does not require full-time enrollment for summer session.
    • For fall semester 2020, the guidance from March 2020 is still applicable! International students, except those approved for a new visa for fall 2020, may continue to take a fully online course schedule at this time during the COVID-19 crisis. New visa holders must take at least one on-campus or hybrid course.
    • Ask your international advisor to help you select a course schedule that best meets your degree requirement needs for fall semester 2020. Lists of on-campus, hybrid, Hyflex, mostly online, and online courses are in the Courses section above.
    • All students are expected to maintain a full course load of 12+ credits, regardless of the course delivery type.

    Can I remain in the U.S. during this time?

    • For fall semester 2020, you can remain in the US in status if you are taking a full course load of 12+ credits and following other regulations for your student visa.
    • If your visa has expired, you are still permitted to remain in the U.S. as long as you are maintaining your F-1 status. You are not required to leave the country.
    • If your passport has expired, you will need to contact your country's embassy for assistance renewing it. Passports must be valid at least six months into the future at all times while in the U.S.

    Can I travel home during this time?

    • SEVP is permitting students to return home while maintaining their F-1 status. You may only return home and stay in active status if you are maintaining your full course load of 12+ credits. Students who return home and do not maintain 12 credits during this time will be considered out of status and terminated accordingly. This would impact your ability to return for a future semester.
    • If you intend to travel home, please contact international@nhcc.edu to receive an updated I-20 with travel endorsement on the second page. NHCC needs to note why you are travelling outside of the U.S. As campus is currently closed to student services we would mail your I-20 to your current US address.
    • If you are departing the U.S., you must check your visa to make sure it is still valid. If it has expired or will expire when you are outside the U.S., you will need to renew it before returning for the fall semester. You must check with your embassy for their renewal guidelines and timelines. There is no guarantee your visa will be renewed to return to the U.S. For questions about your visa, please send a picture of it to international@nhcc.edu.
    • If you will be returning home for fall 2020 but will still be in active status (taking 12+ credits) you do not need to purchase the mandatory health insurance plan while outside the US. You will need to purchase it upon reentry to the US for your academic studies. Check with your international advisor for questions.

    Can I go below 12 credits or withdraw from classes?

    • SEVP still expects students to maintain a full course load of 12+ credits during this time. Withdrawing from classes will generally not be permitted. If you feel you have a circumstance that requires you to go below 12 credits, please contact your international student advisor to see what options may exist.
    • NHCC does not require international students to enroll in summer session courses.
  • Campus hours and offices

    Is NHCC still open?

    • All services are operating remotely and no offices are open to the public. Students can access CBT158 for technology needs, but must limit their visits to campus.
    • Campus hours for fall 2020 effective August 17 are: Monday-Thursday from 7:30am-10:00pm; Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm; Saturday from 8:00am-4:00pm (only for partnership classes or computer lab use in CBT)
    • Student services remote hours for fall 2020 are: Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8:00am-4:30pm; Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:00am-6:30pm

    Advising Center and meetings?

    • The Advising Center is open remotely 8:00am-4:30pm on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays; 8:00am-6:30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This means Advisors are not on campus, but are still working from their homes. Appointments will only be available via phone or Zoom. Please call us at 763-424-0703 to set up an appointment, or use Navigate to schedule a meeting. Please note schedule through Navigate will not be available in August so please call the Advising Center instead.
    • Virginia Ferlet is serving as the primary international student advisor while Carmen McGahey is on leave until mid-October. Please contact Virginia for your advising questions. If Virginia is unavailable, Sean or Candice (other DSOs) can help if you email international@nhcc.edu

    Admissions & Outreach Office and Information Center?

    • The Admissions & Outreach office staff are working remotely as well. The Information Center is closed at this time. You may call Admissions at 763-424-0724 or the Information Center at 763-424-0702 during business hours: 8:00am-4:30pm on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays; 8:00am-6:30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • Insurance

    2020-2021 Insurance Form

    What COVID-19 related items does my insurance cover?

    • If an international student is exposed to COVID-19, they need to call UHCSR (United HealthCare Student Resources), visit uhcsr.com/MyAccount, or use their UHCSR mobile app to find a network provider.
    • You do not need a referral to be tested and treated for COVID-19. COVID-19 testing is covered and copays, coinsurance, and deductibles will be waived for testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines.
    • UHCSR is also offering an emotional support helpline for students. You can access this helpline by calling their toll-free number, 866-342-6892. This line will be operated by trained mental health specialists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    How does this affect my insurance policy in general?

    • Students must maintain insurance coverage while in the U.S. The 2019-2020 policy expires in August. More information about future insurance will be given during the summer session (new plan information is typically available in late-July or early-August).
    • The deadline to renew your insurance for the 2020-2021 academic year is August 7, 2020.
    • If you departed the U.S., you have the right to request a partial refund of your insurance fee. Please contact your International Student Advisor for a refund request form. Insurance refunds are processed based on the date UHCSR receives your refund form, not when you left the U.S.
    • If your International Student Advisors determine you may withdraw from some or all of your courses, you are allowed to remain covered by the F-1 insurance policy. You will need to work with your advisor to determine if you have a situation that allows you to withdraw, as SEVP is not permitting reduced course loads based on COVID-19 changes at this time.

    What if I am unable to pay for insurance at this time due to COVID-19 impacts?

    • Please contact your international student advisor and we will work with you on an individual basis to assess options. Insurance is mandatory to purchase while attending NHCC, but alternative options regarding payment for a full year of coverage are available.

    Can I keep my insurance if I graduated from NHCC this past year?

    • Due to these unprecedented times, UHCSR has made the decision to allow our current members an opportunity to extend coverage through the Fall period, once their summer coverage expires AND if they are not returning in the fall or not meeting eligibility requirements. This extension of coverage is not meant to replace the existing enrollment procedures in place for students, but to supplement the existing enrollment procedures. Again, this is ONLY for students not returning in the fall or not meeting eligibility requirements. Students who graduated from NHCC and need insurance may purchase continued coverage through UHCSR for $711 for coverage from 8/10/2020 through 12/31/2020 if they purchase insurance by 9/9/2020. Contact your international advisor for questions.
  • What should I do if I think I have COVID-19 or test positive for it?

    If an international student suspects they have been exposed to COVID-19, they are to call UHCSR or visit uhcsr.com/MyAccount or use their UHCSR mobile app to find a network provider. You do not need a referral to be tested and treated for COVID-19 anywhere. COVID-19 testing is covered and copays, coinsurance, and deductibles will be waived for testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines.

    Please email international@nhcc.edu to update staff regarding your situation. Staff will follow up with you and advise you of your next steps.

  • Travel

    Can I travel home during this time?

    • SEVP is permitting students to return home while maintaining their F-1 status. You may only return home and keep your if you are maintaining your full course load of 12+ credits. Students who return home and do not maintain 12 credits during this time will be considered out of status and have their SEVIS record terminated.

    Do you recommend I travel home during this time?

    • Many countries are enacting travel restrictions or bans on anyone entering their borders. You will need to check travel restrictions with your home country to determine your plan. It is your decision, but be aware you may have issues traveling back to the United States if this situation stays the same or gets worse before fall semester starts. The CDC website lists current restrictions for some countries.

    How do I return to the U.S. if I choose to return home for the remainder of the semester?

    • If you intend to travel home, please contact international@nhcc.edu for an updated I-20. NHCC needs to note why you are travelling outside of the U.S. in the middle of the semester as that is generally not permitted. Please check travel restrictions with your home country to determine if returning home is a good plan for you.
    • If you are departing the U.S., you must check your visa to make sure it is still valid. If it has expired or will expire when you are outside the U.S., you will need to renew it before returning for the fall semester. You must check with your embassy for their renewal guidelines and timelines. There is no guarantee your visa will be renewed to return to the U.S. For questions about your visa, please send a picture of it to international@nhcc.edu
  • Employment

    I am graduating soon. Do you recommend I still apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

    • As of now, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not made changes that affect the post-completion OPT application process.
    • Timelines for OPT application processing still range from 3-4 months. If you are graduating in May and have not applied for OPT yet, schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor to start on your paperwork. If you have already applied for OPT, continue to check your Case Status using the receipt number issued by USCIS for upddates.
    • You must remain in the U.S. while your OPT application is processed or USCIS will consider your request abandoned.
    • If you do not want to apply for OPT, please schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor to discuss other options to maintain your status.

    How am I affected if I am already working on OPT?

    • There are minimal changes that apply for students who are currently on post-completion OPT. If your employer chooses to have you work from home instead of physically reporting to your workspace, that is OK as long as you continue to work at least 20 hours per week and your job is related to your field of study.
    • As of now, there have not been extensions to OPT unemployment time or options to work longer than your currently approved OPT period.

    Are there special circumstances that allow me to obtain off-campus work authorization?

    • As of now, no special guidance has been issued to allow for more opportunities to work off-campus.
    • If you believe you have a circumstance that meets the criteria for economic hardship (see the 'F-1 students Off-Campus' tab), please schedule an appointment with your International Student Advisor to discuss your options. 
  • Resources

International Advising Services include:

  • Special orientation activities for new students
  • Weekly time to advise students
  • Occasional workshops at all-campus events

Areas of international student advising expertise include:

  • How to maintain F-1 Status
  • How to apply for Optional Practical Training
  • How to apply for Off-Campus Employment Authorization based on Economic Hardship
  • How to satisfy the Minn State International Insurance requirement
  • How to secure on-campus work or institutional scholarships
  • How to transfer the SEVIS record from NHCC to another school
  • How to apply for a Social Security Number
  • What documents are needed to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad