Clarifications on Travel to the U.S.
November 30, 2021
On November 26, President Biden issued a presidential proclamation restricting entry to the U.S. for non-U.S. citizens who were physically present in any of the following countries in the 14 days prior to their entry: the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe. At this time, no exceptions have been announced for F-1 students traveling from any of the countries listed.
Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination and Negative Test Result Requirement for Entry to the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a new order for all air passengers traveling to the United States.
Effective November 8, 2021, all F-1 Visa students traveling to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated, provide proof of full vaccination and proof of a negative COVID-19 test 24 hours prior to boarding an airplane to the United States.
PLEASE NOTE: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed that for purposes of travel to the U.S., vaccines approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or on the World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listed (EUL) vaccines will be accepted. Click here for a list of approved vaccines.
Exceptions to this policy will be extremely limited and may apply to:
- Children under 18
- People medically unable to receive the vaccine
- Emergency travelers who do not have timely access to a vaccine
National Interest Exemptions (NIEs) will no longer be needed for noncitizens who were physically present in any of the 33 countries (identified in earlier travel restriction proclamations) during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S.
If you are a continuing student in valid F-1 status, you can re-enter the U.S.
Before traveling into the U.S., you will need the following:
- A Travel Signature for your I-20.
- A Valid F-1 Visa
- A Valid Passport
- Proof of a negative viral COVID-19 test within 24 hours before your flight to the U.S. departs.
- Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.
Please complete the I-20 Travel Request Form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org from your SMC email address to receive a new travel signature on your I-20. The International Education Center will email you a new signed I-20.
February 16, 2021
Due to an increase in COVID cases in the U.S. and abroad, it is possible that new travel restrictions for F-1 visa students seeking to re-enter the U.S. may be enacted.
We strongly advise you not to travel outside the United States if you can avoid it.
If you must travel, please be sure to check with your country’s U.S. embassy to find out if there are travel restrictions that apply to F-1 visa students traveling from your country back to the U.S. You may also inquire with the airlines to find out if there are any restrictions or requirements to re-enter the U.S.
If you must travel, be sure to request an updated travel signature for your I-20. Submit the travel signature request form to email@example.com from your SMC email account at least 2 weeks before your return to the U.S. We will email you an updated I-20 with a travel signature.
Please note, SMC and IEC are closed on the following days: (updated January 2022)
New Year's Day (observed) Monday, January 3, 2022
Martin Luther King Jr Day Monday, January 17, 2022
Lincoln's Day Friday, February 11, 2022
President's Day Monday, February 21, 2022
Cesar Chavez Day Monday, April 11, 2022
Memorial Day Monday, May 30, 2022