Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Study Abroad in the Midst of COVID-19

At UCI, students’ and faculty’s health and safety is our highest priority. 

On August 24, 2020, UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman issued an Executive Directive strongly recommending that non-essential international travel be postponed.

Essential Travel is Travel that meets all three of the following criteria:

  • Required;
  • Cannot be postponed; and
  • Necessary to preserve patient/human research subject safety or results of research activities. 

Essential student and trainee travel (clinical and non-clinical) is defined as that which cannot be postponed and is necessary to meet a graduation requirement.

This policy applies to both incoming international students and UCI students, considering studying abroad. 

UCI students interested in studying abroad may have to submit a request for an exception no earlier than 2 months before their expected travel date as a part of their application form. Please proceed with the process on our Deadlines page if you wish to submit an application and receive a request for an exception. 

While international travel is currently restricted, the Study Abroad Center continues to educate and support students and faculty to plan and engage in international activities when travel is possible.  Although the current restrictions are temporarily limiting travel for all of us, study abroad will once again be an opportunity in the future.  

We recognize that a lot of preparation goes into planning your study abroad, we want you to know that we are here to support you in achieving your dream of experiencing the world through study abroad, and we encourage you to contact us to discuss these exciting and important opportunities in the future.  

The Study Abroad Center offers virtual advising with students and faculty via zoom. Please use our online appointment system to schedule a student advising appointment. To discuss faculty-led customized programs, please contact the Director of Study Abroad Center at to schedule an appointment. 

Because of the fluid nature of the pandemic, this directive is in effect until further notice.

Application Questions

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.

All UCEAP Fall 2020 and Year 2020-2021 programs have been suspended

Your UCEAP Program Specialist/Advisor has or will be emailing you soon with more information and details. One option may be to transfer your application to Winter/Spring 2021. Please consult with them for this option.

  • If you would like to apply to a different program for Winter/Spring 2021, please refer to our deadlines page here for programs that are still accepting applications.

All relevant UCI offices have been notified so no action is necessary from you besides registering for UCI classes for Fall 2020.

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

If you still need to secure housing for the fall, please refer to the graphic below for your options

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 2020.  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 2020. 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 2020 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!  And more good news.  If you receive this scholarship and your Fall 2020 or Academic Year 2020-21 program is later suspended, you may retain the scholarship and use it for a Spring 2021 program.

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

UCEAP Winter/Spring 2021 Program Cancellation Information (Nominated/Accepted Students)

Because your program has been suspended due to COVID-19, you will not be charged any UCEAP withdrawal or UCEAP cancellation fees.

No; the UCI Study Abroad Center will notify UCI financial aid and registrar’s offices on your behalf.

In early September you will receive an email from your UCEAP program specialist with details pertaining to alternative UCEAP spring options.

If you received a UCI study abroad scholarship (Inclusive Excellence Study Abroad Scholarship, Friends of Study Abroad Scholarship, School of Engineering Travel Scholarship, School of Humanities Scholarship, German Department Travel Scholarship) please email letting us know if you plan to transfer so that we can get you more information on your options.

If you received a UCEAP scholarship, you will be notified separately regarding your options. If you have questions about transferring your UCEAP scholarship(s) to another term, please reach out to your UCEAP advisor.

If you received a non-UCEAP scholarship, please notify the organization funding that scholarship that your study abroad program has been suspended due to concerns related to COVID-19.

UCI International Students

If you are an international student and you have questions about studying abroad in your home country during Fall 2020 or Winter/Spring 2021, please reach out to your advisor. In your email, please include your full name, citizenship, current physical location, and the program you are interested in.

UCI Matters

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

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.

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. Study Abroad Center advisors can write a letter (for jobs, graduate schools, etc.) to explain why there is a delay. 

For details visit the Health Insurance While Abroad page of our website.


This page contains both On-campus and Off-campus housing information for EAP and IOP 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 an EAP 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 EAP 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.

2018-19 Academic Year: There are a limited number of on-campus housing spaces available for the current academic year. Call 949-824-6811 or e-mail for more information and application procedures.

Off-Campus Housing

Travel Logistics

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.  When you’re ready to book your travel, consider booking with STA Travel as they offer several resources including their STA Travel Airfare Deposit Program, which allows you to book now and pay later.

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 6 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.

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).


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.

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.

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

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.