Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Study Abroad in the Midst of COVID-19

Safety is the #1 priority for the UCI Study Abroad Center. Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond, the Study Abroad Center provides study abroad advising, orientation sessions, as well as 1:1 and group sessions to work with UCI students to help make your experience abroad a success.

Study abroad programs have begun to resume for Fall 2021 and beyond. We will continue to monitor the situation abroad as we prepare for the future of study abroad. We have a dedicated Global Risk Manager. We have pre-departure orientations to help you prepare. We do encourage students to apply and we are recruiting for programs for the next academic year.

UCI students should have completed the UCI COVID-19 Vaccine Policy process before studying abroad

The Study Abroad Center is closely monitoring responses to the new COVID-19 Omicron variant. We are in close communications with the UC Office of the President, UCEAP and colleagues throughout the UC system, as well as government and local contacts. Thank you for monitoring your email for further updates from UCI and your host institutions.

COVID-19 cases were already rising in countries going into winter season, resulting in travel restrictions, mask mandates, and lockdowns. Add to this the uncertainty of Omicron and all this means hospitals may be crowded, protests against restrictions may break out, and you may find it more difficult to travel. We appreciate your flexibility and encourage you to consider contingency plans in this ever-changing environment.

While much is still unknown about Omicron, here are some tips for responding to the changing situation while you are abroad:

  1. Continue to follow CDC prevention strategies, and local guidance in your host country, which may include a booster vaccination. UCI requires vaccination or exemption, and vaccines remain an important measure of protection.
  2. Double check your travel plans. If you were planning to travel outside your host country, we advise that you reconsider those plans in light of rapidly changing entry requirements or travel restrictions. The UC Travel Insurance provides some support for travelers who are required to isolate or quarantine due to a positive test. Stay in touch with friends and family, who may be concerned about your whereabouts and well-being.
  3. Finally, as protest events against government mandates continue, we encourage you to avoid such large gatherings. We also remind you to be vigilant for yourself and your companions to the potential for identity-based violence and xenophobia. In the event you or someone you know is the victim of violence, please reach out to someone responsible for your program or at UCI for assistance.

In June 2021, the University of California Office of the President authorized University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) to resume operating select study abroad programs according to its risk management plan beginning with fall 2021 and 2021-22 terms. Select UCEAP programs are expected to proceed for Academic Year 2021-22 and beyond. UCEAP is continuously updating their website’s Coronavirus Notice with up-to-date information on program cancellations and alternative offerings.

Other options to study abroad?

Independent Programs are offered at the purview of the study abroad provider or the host university. Please inquire directly with the provider about the availability of the program.

Independent International Activities

All UCI students seeking to travel abroad independently with UCI sponsorship or funding must receive advanced approval and risk review per UCI Student International Activities Policy & Procedure approved in January 2020. To begin this process, visit the Independent International Activities page.

UCI International Travel Policy

All UC travel suspensions related to COVID-19 were rescinded in April 2021; UCI student travel reverted back to the UCI policy on Student International Activities of January 2020.

We want to thank you again for your conscientious work in helping to safeguard the health and safety of the UCI community and our partners around the world during the UC systemwide travel suspension.

UCEAP Fall 2021 & Spring 2022 Program Information (Nominated Students)

Fall 2021: UCEAP began announcing Fall 2021 programs in June, 2021.

Spring 2022: UCEAP is currently announcing programs that will not operate in Spring 2022. It is expected that by November 2021, all cancellations will be finalized by UCEAP.

  1. Please wait to purchase your airline ticket until after your program is confirmed to run.
  2. Purchase a changeable/refundable airline ticket so you can make adjustments should you there be any date changes. Accommodation will not be offered if you arrive earlier than your program start dates. The airfare listed in your UCEAP budget reflects the cost of a changeable/refundable airline ticket.

If you do not yet have a valid passport or other travel documents, apply for one immediately. Visit UCI Passport Services for information on how to apply.

Undocumented students can book an appointment with the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center staff attorney Lucero Chavez Bastillo for guidance on traveling abroad.

Preparing to Study Abroad

UCEAP has launched a new application system. As with many new systems, you might encounter issues. Click here for answers to the issues we are aware of and what to do about them.

To prepare in case your UCEAP Fall 2021 program is suspended, we recommend the following:

  • Consider securing housing at UCI for Fall 2021. We have listed several backup housing options that you can apply to now here. Please contact the housing community directly for any questions.
  • We encourage you to enroll in UCI courses for fall 2021 as a back-up option. If your program does not end up being suspended, be sure to drop your UCI courses and do not pay UCI fall tuition.

If you wish to withdraw due to COVID-19 concerns, we can help you plan to study abroad in a later term. Contact the Study Abroad Center for assistance, as needed.

Connect with your UCEAP Program Contacts for specific questions related to your program.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us.

UCEAP and the UCI Financial Aid Office have provided resources to help lead you and answer your questions regarding UCEAP 2021 finances abroad. Click below to find the presentation slides relevant to your concerns.

  • UCEAP programs do not have an application fee and program fees are due several months after applying.
  • Other UC Programs and Independent Programs vary. Some have non-refundable application fees. Check the program page for information.

We understand the hard work you are putting in to prepare for your study abroad experience.  We also know that you may have concerns regarding the possibility of your program being suspended for Fall 2021.  Below is information that we hope will help.

Please communicate with your independent program provider for updates on whether your program will continue or will be suspended. If your program is not suspended, carefully read all emails coming from them and pay careful attention to information regarding withdrawal policies, related financial implications and any other logistics.

To prepare in case your Independent program is suspended, we recommend the following:

  • Consider securing housing at UCI for Fall 2021. We have listed several backup housing options that you can apply to now here. Please contact the housing community directly for any questions.
  • We encourage you to enroll in UCI courses for fall 2021 as a back-up option.  If your program does not end up being suspended, be sure to drop your UCI courses and do not pay UCI fall tuition.

If  you wish to withdraw due to COVID-19 concerns, we can help you plan to study abroad in a later term.  Contact the Study Abroad Center for assistance, as needed.

Finally, some good news!  We are pleased to announce the new Study Abroad Inclusive Excellence Scholarship.  We strongly encourage you to apply!

We are here to help you as you continue to prepare to study abroad in the upcoming term or a future term.

Airline Ticket

After you have been accepted by your program and know your official start and end dates, confirm with your program to determine if you should buy your airline tickets independently or if they will be assisting you with this.

Applying for a Passport

All Students:

  • A valid passport is required for all participants. If you do not currently have a passport that is valid until at least six months after the end of your program, apply for one immediately.
  • The name on your passport should be the same name that appears on your study abroad program information. Ideally, it should also be the same as your name on your UCI records. You should not officially change your name in the middle of applying for or participating in your study abroad program.

U.S. Citizens:

  • Routine processing for a U.S. passport can take up to 14 weeks. You may visit the UCI Passport Office web site for more information on obtaining a passport.

Non-U.S. Citizens:

  • Non-U.S. citizens must obtain a passport from the embassy of your country of citizenship.

Applying for a Visa

U.S. Citizens:

  • If required, information on how to obtain a Student Visa for U.S. citizens should be provided to you by your study abroad program. If you are uncertain as to whether or not you need a visa, ask your study abroad program.

Non-U.S. Citizens:

  • Non-U.S. citizens should contact the consulate of your host country immediately to inquire as to the paperwork necessary to obtain a visa. Processing can take up to 6 months.


If any of your study abroad participation forms require your signature in the presence of a Notary Public, see: Notary Information (PDF).


If any of your study abroad forms or instructions require photos of you, you can obtain them at the UCI Passport Office or the following suggested places: U.S. Post Office at UTC (appointment required), local drugstores like CVS or RiteAid, or Costco (membership required).

If you would like to meet with an advisor prior to withdrawing to see if there is any way we can assist you, call 949-824-6343 to schedule an appointment.

If you are confident that you would like to withdraw, you can email your advisor with your program name and reason for withdrawal prior to your program’s withdrawal deadline.  Note: After the withdrawal deadline for your program, you will be liable for withdrawal fees.

If you would like to meet with an Advisor prior to withdrawing to see if there is any way we can assist you, call 949-824-6343 to schedule an appointment.

If you are confident that you can no longer participate on your program, inform both the Study Abroad Center and your provider (Independent Program or Other UC Program) directly so we can update our records.

UCI Matters

For details on how to get credit and fulfill degree requirements (major, minor and/or GE) while abroad, visit our Academics page.

Physics Series Abroad: There are 2 UCEAP summer programs that have been approved to fulfill the full, lower division physics series and labs. Click here for details if you wish to fulfill physics while abroad.

For details on financial aid and scholarships for study abroad, visit our Finances page.

Do NOT enroll in any classes at UCI for any quarter you will be abroad. Note for UCEAP participants: Each quart prior to the fee payment deadline the Study Abroad Center will enroll you in a 16-unit UCEAP placeholder course. This ensures that you retain your status at UCI, continue to be eligible to receive financial aid, and receive credit for your completed coursework upon return from UCEAP. The classes you actually take abroad will replace the UCEAP placeholder course once your UCEAP classes are reported to the UCI Registrar.  Final units and grades received while abroad on UCEAP will be posted to your UCI transcript within 90 days of your official program end date.

Do NOT pay registration fees to UCI for any quarter you will be abroad.

Do NOT apply to graduate for a term that is before the conclusion of your study abroad program.

DO pay any unpaid bills at UCI (library fines, lab fees, housing fees, USHIP Fee, etc). Check your Zot Account online before you go abroad to make sure you do not owe any money to UCI. Pay any outstanding fees to UCI, including USHIP if you do not typically waive out, before the fee payment deadline.

DO enroll in classes for the quarter you plan to return to UCI from abroad. You will need to access the Schedule of Classes (SOC) and enroll in classes via the UCI web site. You can view the SOC and find out when your enrollment window opens beginning 7th week, and registration begins 8th week of the preceding quarter. See the Registrar’s Course Enrollment web page for more details. Look at the Calendar to see when your enrollment window opens.

DO pay your fees to UCI for the quarter you plan to return to UCI by the fee payment deadline.

Note: When you participate on an Independent Program, you take a leave of absence from UCI so that you do not pay UCI tuition. This also means you cannot enroll on both the Independent Program and take UCI courses at the same time.

If you have questions about enrolling in a study abroad program and UCI courses at the same time, please see the table below.

Study Abroad Program Option

Dual Enrollment Policy



(in-person and virtual)
It is possible to enroll in one course at UCI if it is absolutely necessary to meet your graduation requirements. Please contact your study abroad advisor for more information.


While we do not recommend dual enrolling, please reach out to your study abroad advisor for information on dual enrollment during summer 2021 if you would still like further information.
Other UC Programs

(in-person and virtual)

Other UC Programs

(in-person and virtual)
While we do not recommend dual enrolling, please reach out to your Other UC program contacts for information on dual enrollment policies if you would still like further information.
Independent Programs Study

(in-person and virtual)

Independent Programs Study


(in-person and virtual)

Independent Programs Non-Study
(in-person and virtual)
Students going on Independent Programs will not be permitted to dual enroll in their program and coursework at UCI.

Please reach out to if you have any questions about dual enrollment.

The UCI Residence Requirement states that students must take 36 of their final 45 units of work immediately preceding graduation in residence at UCI (See the UCI Catalog for details). The following is how the university residence requirement applies to students studying abroad. Note that this is distinct from any residency requirements your major or minor may have (see your Academic Counselor in the School of your Major for these details).


  • Students studying abroad on UCEAP are considered “in-residence”.
  • If you plan to study abroad the summer immediately following your senior year, you must postpone your official graduation date until the end of summer. Contact an Academic Counselor in the School of your major to see if it is still possible to participate in commencement ceremony prior to studying abroad.

Other UC Programs & Independent Programs Study Option:

  • Please keep in mind that grades can take 2-3 months to post after the program end date. Hence your transcripts will not be updated until then. The Study Abroad Center advisors can write a letter (for jobs, graduate schools, etc.) to explain why there is a delay. 


  • If you are a senior planning to graduate immediately after your time abroad, please be aware that your participation in the commencement ceremony will depend on your program end dates. Please check your program end dates to make sure they do not conflict.


This page contains both On-campus and Off-campus housing information for study-abroad students returning to UCI. The off-campus housing information is also useful for students who need to find someone to take their space in their UCI housing while they will be abroad.

On-Campus Housing

Information about on-campus housing – including descriptions, costs, and application procedures – can be found on the UCI Student Housing website.

NOTE: If a student has signed a contract for Arroyo Vista, Campus Village, Mesa Court, or Middle Earth and subsequently learns that he or she has been accepted for a UCEAP program, the student can cancel the contract without being subject to the contract cancellation fee as long as he or she has not yet moved in.  The student will need to show his/her UCEAP acceptance notification as proof. Students living in Vista del Campo, Vista del Campo Norte, Camino del Sol, or Puerta del Sol can sublease their room for the quarter they are away. Contact the housing office and ask to be put on their sublet list, and see the off-campus housing links below for additional ways to find someone to sublease.

Off-Campus Housing

Engage in an online seminar with UCI students studying abroad all over the world! Participating in this seminar will allow you to share and compare the experiences you are having abroad with others. See more information here.

Safety Abroad & Connecting

Your safety while abroad is very important. Please see our Safety Abroad page for details.

We encourage you to think about your identity(ies) at home and how those might be perceived, challenged and/or strengthened while abroad. See our Diversity and Access page for details.

Access the Study Abroad Center Returnee List to connect with UCI students who have studied abroad, and international students studying at UCI, to ask them questions about your country/program.