New Travel Guidance Offers Some Relief for International Students, Scholars
The White House has issued updated travel guidance, ending the country-by-country travel restrictions that have been in place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and instead implementing a vaccine requirement for all non-citizen, nonimmigrant travelers.
Students and scholars from any country, with the proper visas, may now enter the U.S. so long as they can provide proof of vaccination. Some limited exceptions to the vaccine requirement are available, including for Afghan parolees, who have separate vaccine requirements, and for individuals from countries with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability (defined as countries where less than 10 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated). Individuals from countries with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability will need to show proof that they plan to receive the vaccine within 60 days. This is in line with requests made by NACUBO and other higher education associations so that students from these countries may continue their studies in the U.S. and receive vaccinations while here.
International students, scholars, and their institutions should still be mindful of the ongoing COVID-19 backlog at many U.S. embassies and consulates. These backlogs will likely continue to impact the scheduling of many visa applicant interviews for the foreseeable future.
The new requirements laid out in this guidance will go into effect on November 8. Further information about implementation of these requirements is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.