Skip to content

COVID-19 Updates, Information, & Advice


Status message

We regularly update COVID-19 information. Feel free to check back frequently.

Related Service Disruptions


Because of public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective March 20 and updated August 13, the U.S. Department of State had limited U.S. passport operations. As of June 2, passport services are beginning to resume on a phase-by-phase basis. Learn more on their COVID-19 Update page and their Frequently Asked Questions page.

Paper Official Transcripts

Because of Gov. Newsom's and Pres. Napolitano's respective directives to slow the spread of COVID-19, as of October 14 expedited and in-person pick up of paper official transcript services at UC Merced have been suspended; students may request paper transcripts via standard processing. Learn more on the Registrar's Office's Service Adjustments page. If you need official transcripts for study abroad, please see our study abroad-tailored information on transcripts.

Information for Applicants and Selectees

The COVID-19 situation remains very fluid and continues to shift rapidly. The Office of International Affairs, the UC Education Abroad Program, and other international education organizations are attempting to be as nimble and flexible as possible. It is understandable that students and their families may be anxious about upcoming study abroad terms. Some measures we are all pursuing to help students and families make more informed decisions include the following:

Special Advice for Students Preparing to Study Abroad

Withdrawal deadlines: UCEAP, in certain situations, may push back the deadline to withdraw in order to give students more time to make an informed decision about their study abroad options. If the deadline to withdraw is approaching and you have questions, please feel free to reach out to your Study Abroad advisor.

Passports: If you have not yet applied for your passport, please do so as soon as possible. The US State Department has reported significant delays in processing applications.

Financial aid: The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will receive program budgets and participant information in the two months prior to your deadline to withdraw and begin the repackaging process at that point.

Registration: OIA will advocate on behalf of students to permit them to register for UC Merced courses overlapping their scheduled UCEAP program term. This would be a pandemic-era exception to policy. At some point shortly before departure, students will likely need to decide to either drop their UCEAP participation or their UC Merced coursework.

Airfare: Students are advised to book their airfare only after being advised to do so. Students should also get fully refundable, as programs may be canceled with little notice or see program calendar disruptions. Be sure to visit the UCEAP portal for the most current information regarding your program start date. Program budgets include the cost of refundable airfare.

Health clearances: Appointments to visit your doctor may be difficult during this time. Please schedule an appointment right away and notify UCEAP if you cannot meet your deadline.

Preparing contingencies for canceled programs

It is understandable to be anxious about COVID-19 and how it might impact study abroad programs. Perhaps the greatest impact it will ever have on you is the uncertainty it creates. In preparing for potential impacts, the Office of International Affairs has some suggestions for preparing alternatives and mitigating impacts:

  1. First, evaluate what academic, career, even financial objectives you have for your time abroad. These goals might impact how you approach the next few questions, but consider what you would get out of study abroad if you followed your original study abroad plan. Try to be flexible and adaptable when and where those are appropriate but be firmer on those facets that are less negotiable.
  2. Consider alternative study abroad options:
    1. Explore extensions available. If no automatic extension is available, you can still inquire with the appropriate study abroad advisor if the deadline passed recently.
    2. Does it work to study abroad in a country less impacted by COVID-19? Some countries have greater healthcare capacity or more robust contact tracing or pandemic containment practices.
    3. Does it work to study abroad a different term altogether? If fall is not the precise window you need to go abroad, could you make the following spring work as well? Or summer after that? Or the next fall?
  3. Have a backup plan for your academics here at UC Merced in case your program is canceled suddenly.

Note: UCEAP and other study abroad providers will consider changeable flight itineraries when providing program budgets. We encourage students to pursue changeable tickets (or refundable tickets, when appropriate). Program dates have shifted to avoid possible community spread of COVID-19 and other diseases in various host countries in the past and you should be prepared to make adjustments if you pursue study abroad in affected countries.

Information for Students in Canceled Program Options

Financial Aid Updates for Affected Students:

Financial aid options and availability varies from program to program and even student to student. Please visit the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships COVID-19 page.

Arranging Airfare:

This is a difficult and urgent situation for most students. Here are some of the basic steps students should follow to arrange return airfare:

  1. Follow any advice provided by your program (e.g. CIEE gives specific advice to students in CIEE programs).
  2. Contact your airline to request the possibility of changing your return airfare without a fee in light of the COVID-19 situation.
  3. Contact the travel insurance provider for your program. For UCEAP students, this is through CHUBB's Trip Cancelation/Interruption Claim Form.
  4. Contact your program again for further guidance, if needed.
  5. Notify your Study Abroad Advisor with your return itinerary.

Academic Options:

Students who are interested in directly enrolling at a host university in a country with level 3 or 4 Travel Health Notices for the CDC or level 3 or 4 Travel Advisories for the US Department of State should know that UC Merced does not support this option.

Consequently, any student who chooses to direct enroll must do so wholly on their own by temporarily withdrawing from UC Merced. This change in status has significant financial aid, insurance, and other implications and students should contact us with any questions.

Students who were receiving financial aid for study abroad prior to a study abroad program suspension may still have financial aid available. This aid may apply to different academic options:

  1. UC Intercampus Visitor Program: Students enroll at a quarter campuses (all but Berkeley) for Spring Quarter. Because the Spring Quarter starts very soon, interested students must contact us immediately for guidance.
  2. Summer Enrollment at UC Merced or other UC campuses
  3. Potentially other academic options on a case-by-case basis

Program Cancelations & Transitions to Online

Cancelations refers to program terms or program packages that are canceled. These are not necessarily permanently closed, but they are canceled for a specific term or package only. Other program packages are transititioning to online-only.

Spring 2023 Program Cancelations

As of March 21, 2022, UCEAP has canceled the following spring 2023 program options.

  • Russia: all options beginning spring 2023 (due to general safety concerns)

Fall 2022 Program Cancelations

As of February 24, 2022, UCEAP has canceled the following fall 2022 program options.

  • Australia + Solomon Islands: Australia Pacific Island Environmental & Community Health
  • Brazil: all options beginning fall 2022
  • China: Peking Univ. (Year)
  • Italy: Linear Algebra in Rome (due to low enrollment)
  • Mexico:
    • Field Research in Mexico
    • Leadership in Social Justice and Public Policy
  • New Zealand: all options beginning fall 2022
  • Russia: all options beginning fall 2022
  • Singapore: Singapore Univ. of Technology & Design
  • Thailand:
    • Public Health, Summer
    • Summer Internship, Bangkok

Summer 2022 Program Cancelations

As of January 24, 2022, UCEAP has canceled the following summer 2022 program options.

  • Brazil: all options beginning summer 2022
  • China:
    • Chinese in Beijing
    • Global Internship, Shanghai
  • India: New Delhi Summer
  • Japan: Japanese in Tokyo
  • Norway: Oslo Summer
  • Singapore: Biodiversity
  • Thailand: International Economics Summer

Spring 2022 Program Cancelations

As of October 14, 2021, UCEAP has canceled the following spring 2022 program options.

  • Australia: all options beginning spring 2022
  • Barbados: Univ. of the West Indies
  • Canada: McGill Univ.
  • Chile: Chilean Universities
  • China:
    • Fudan Univ. (for all but Chinese citizens currently in China)
    • Peking Univ.
    • Tsinghua Univ.
  • Ghana: Univ. of Ghana
  • Mexico: National Autonomous Univ. of Mexico (UNAM)
  • New Zealand:
    • Massey Univ.
    • Univ. of Auckland
    • Univ. of Canterbury
    • Univ. of Waikato
    • Victoria Univ. of Wellington
  • Russia: all options beginning spring 2022
  • Singapore: Singapore Univ. of Technology and Design (SUTD)
  • Thailand: Thammasat Univ.

Fall 2021 Program Disruptions

As of July 30, UCEAP has announced the following program disruption(s) starting during fall 2021 (including academic year programs beginning in fall):.

  • Korea: Yonsei Univ. will start fall semester remotely

Fall 2021 Program Cancelations

As of June 29, 2021, UCEAP has canceled the following program options starting during fall 2021 (including academic year programs beginning in fall).

  • Argentina: all options beginning fall 2021
  • Australia: all options beginning fall 2021
  • Botswana: Univ. of Botswana
  • Brazil: Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Canada: McGill Univ.
  • Chile: all options beginning fall 2021
  • China:
    • Fudan Univ.
    • Peking Univ.
  • Hong Kong: all options beginning fall 2021
  • Ireland: Irish Parliament Internship
  • Italy: Mediterranean Politics, Food, & Culture
  • Japan: all options beginning fall 2021
  • Mexico: all options beginning fall 2021
  • Morocco: Arabic Language and Culture, Rabat
  • New Zealand: all options beginning fall 2021
  • Russia: all options beginning fall 2021
  • Singapore: all options beginning fall 2021
  • South Africa: Univ. of Cape Town
  • Spain: Mediterranean Politics, Food, & Culture
  • Thailand: Thammasat Univ.

Summer 2021 Program Cancelations

As of February 22, 2021, UCEAP has canceled all on-site programs for the spring 2021 term.

Virtual, Online Summer 2021 Opportunities Available

A list of virtual and online opportunities and their deadlines can be found here: 

UCEAP Virtual Summer 2021 Programs: 

Spring 2021 Program Cancelations

As of December 4, 2020, UCEAP has canceled the all programs for the spring 2021 term.

Several programs had remained running following an August 13 announcement canceling the bulk of spring 2021 programs.

2021 Transitions to Online-Only

UCEAP has announced the following 2021 program options will be held online and not in-country.

  • China: Shanghai Summer
  • Hong Kong:
    • Hong Kong Summer
    • Research in Hong Kong (summer)
  • Japan: Japanese in Tokyo (summer)
  • United Kingdom:
    • Summer at University College London
    • Summer in Oxford

All programs for summer 2020, fall 2020, and spring 2021 have been canceled. All summer 2021 programs were either transitioned to virtual or online or were canceled. All spring 2020 programs were either canceled or curtailed due to COVID-19.

Study Abroad Planning in the Time of Coronavirus