Travel, Vaccine, Quarantine, and Visa updates for International Students and Scholars.

July 10, 2021

This webpage provides updates related to international travel limitations and considerations during the COVID-19 emergency for FSU students and scholars.

The CGE provides advising for current and prospective students and scholars of Florida State University in the context of their status related to FSU.


 

Quarantining After Arriving From Abroad

FSU expects you to follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for international travel.

If you are not fully vaccinated*, you should self-quarantine for 7 days after travel and get tested within 3 – 5 days or you can self-quarantine for 10 days without a test and monitor for symptoms. After completing the quarantine, you can schedule your vaccine appointment at FSU or another local site.

If you recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection within the last 3 months, follow all requirements and recommendations for fully vaccinated travelers except you do NOT need to get a test 3-5 days after travel unless you are symptomatic. People can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after diagnosis and not be infectious to others.

*Please note, you are considered fully vaccinated if:

  1. It has been two weeks since you received the second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use – Pfizer BioNtech or Moderna; or the WHO authorized EU vaccines for emergency use such as Astra Zeneca-Oxford, Sinopharm, or Sinovac. The most up-to-date WHO list can be found here.
  2. It has been two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the FDA and WHO authorized COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use – Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

FSU recognizes that you will need to take care of some essential tasks like securing an apartment, purchasing food, and getting your COVID test. You should avoid others as much as possible and should not come to campus for gatherings or classes during the quarantine period.

If you are fully vaccinated, take a viral test 3-5 days after travel and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

COVID tests are free for students and available at FSU’s Tucker Center by appointment (uhs.fsu.edu/coronavirus/testing).


Vaccination Information

If you have not yet been vaccinated at all, FSU offers students the opportunity to get the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. If you have recently arrived from international travel, do not request a vaccine until you have met the CDC-recommended quarantine guidelines. Sign up at vaccine.fsu.edu. International students may take a passport as a photo ID rather than a driver's license. Information on free alternative testing and vaccine sites is found HERE.

  • If you received one dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (e.g., COMIRNATY, Tozinameran), or Moderna, you may sign up to get the second vaccine upon arrival. FSU currently only carries the Pfizer vaccine at the FSU COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic and we do not have Moderna, but you should be able to obtain it in the community at a site that offers it. Vaccines.gov will assist students in locating a vaccination site near them and is searchable/filterable by vaccine type.
  • If the first dose of a COVID vaccine from your home country is not approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use (see the list below), then it is not recommended that you receive any COVID vaccines at FSU.
  • Current WHO Approved COVID-19 Vaccines for Emergency Use
    (in addition to Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson)
    • AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccines (e.g., Covishield, Vaxzevria)
    • Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
    • Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine
  • If you received one dose of a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine from the list above before arriving at FSU, then you are eligible to sign up for the Pfizer two-dose vaccine at FSU.

    There is a minimum interval of 28 days between the dose of the WHO-approved vaccine and the 1st dose of a Pfizer or Moderna Vaccine. In order to receive a complete FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series, students will need to provide documentation of receipt of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine (please see examples below) at the vaccine clinic appointment in order to verify the minimum 28-day interval is observed. If the student is unable to provide documentation with the date of receipt of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine, they will need to wait for 28-days from their date of arrival in order to schedule the first dose of the FDA-authorized vaccine series.


Recommendations: The CGE discourages travel abroad due to the changing nature of U.S. immigration policy and the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on global travel. Think carefully before you decide to travel this summer. If you decide to travel, be sure to check travel conditions and restrictions in your destination country and understand that travel situations are constantly changing due to the pandemic. FSU will offer in-person classes in the fall semester and you will need to be in the U.S. for your classes. If you are a student on OPT, you want to avoid being unable to return for your job.


National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for Students

Schengen area countries, the UK, and Ireland: F-1 students traveling to the U.S. from these countries do not need to quarantine for 14 days in a non-restricted country. This includes student with F-1 OPT. F-1 students can travel directly to the U.S. with no special authorization from a consular official. F-1 visa applicants (those who do not already have a visa) from these countries will be automatically considered for a National Interest Exemption (NIE) by the U.S Embassy/Consulate when applying for a visa.

China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India: New F-1 students physically present in these countries have an automatic NIE and may travel to the U.S. without quarantining for 14 days in a non-restricted country. Their program must begin August 1, 2021 or later and students must not arrive in the U.S. sooner than 30 days before the start of the academic program. Earliest entry information is on the I-20. Continuing students and those engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT) are also eligible to enter the U.S. under the automatic NIE and don’t need to quarantine in a non-restricted country. F-1 students do not need an NIE noted in their passport. Continuing F-1 students who need to apply for a visa must check the status of visa services at their nearest embassy or consulate. If they are approved for a visa they will automatically eligible to travel with an NIE.

NAFSA: Associate of International Educators provides a good summary of the visa and travel policies and communications: https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/covid-19-restrictions-us-visas-and-entry

Canada and Mexico: Students are exempt from the restrictions on travel from Canada and Mexico.


National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for J-1 Students and Scholars

Schengen area countries, the UK, and Ireland: J-1 students and scholars must request National Interest Exception (NIE) waivers from a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in order to travel to the U.S. without first quarantining for at least 14 days in a non-restricted country. J-1 visa applicants (those who do not already have a visa) from these countries will be automatically considered for an NIE by the U.S Embassy/Consulate. The NIE will be indicated on the visa stamp once it is approved. On June 29, 2021 the U.S. Department of State extended the validity of NIE waivers from 30 days to 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries, as long as the visas are used for the purpose under which they were granted. J-1 students and scholars from these areas who are trying to return to the U.S. and already have a valid visa without the NIE should contact a U.S. Embassy/Consulate to secure an NIE letter so they are not required to quarantine for 14 days in a non-restricted country before traveling to the U.S.

China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India: J-1 students and scholars must obtain a National Interest Exception (NIE) from a U.S. Consulate before traveling to the U.S. without quarantining in a non-restricted country for 14 days. J-1 students or scholars with valid visas must contact an embassy or consulate to obtain an NIE before traveling to the U.S. Continuing J exchange visitors who need to apply for a visa must check the status of visa services at their nearest embassy or consulate. If they are approved for a visa they will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel to the U.S., valid for 12 months from the date of approval.

NAFSA: Associate of International Educators provides a good summary of the visa and travel policies and communications: https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/covid-19-restrictions-us-visas-and-entry

Canada and Mexico: Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions and individuals traveling to work in the U.S. are “essential” travelers, eligible for entry to the U.S.


More Information: Here are some links to Department of State information on the travel restrictions and NIE allowances:

  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators (information and some analysis): https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/covid-19-restrictions-us-visas-and-entry

Visa Services

The availability of appointments varies by consulate. In many countries consulates will only consider emergency appointments (students are not always successful although they can be considered) and some consulates are closed. Information on visa wait times is available here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html

The CGE is not able to expedite appointments on behalf of students.


General Travel Information

For information about standard international travel procedures (e.g., what to take with you, travel signatures), you can refer to the information on our Travel webpage.

Talk to your CGE Advisor if you have questions. Remote advising is available via email, Zoom-In Hours, or by appointment. To identify your CGE F-1 Advisor, consult the information on our Advising webpage.

The CGE provides advising for current and prospective students and scholars of Florida State University in the context of their status related to FSU.


Center for Global Engagement advising office hours:

Open M-F 8:00 am – 5:00 pm for document pick up and general questions only. Zoom-In advising continues from 2:00 – 4:00 M-F.

APPOINTMENTS (if you are not available to Zoom-In or need more time):

F-1 Students:

  • Betty Jensen (family names beginning A-H):
    15 minute appointment (M-F, 2-4 pm): Book your appointment HERE
    30 minute appointment: Email Betty, bjensen@fsu.edu
  • Angélique Stevens (family names beginning I-O):
    15 minute appointment (M-F, 2-4 pm) Book your appointment HERE
    30 minute appointment: Click Here to make an appointment through Bookings
  • Jared Tirone (family names beginning P–Z):
    15 minute appointment (M-F, 2-4 pm) Book your appointment HERE
    30 minute appointment: Email Jared, jmtirone@fsu.edu

J-1 Students or Scholars:

  • Michelle Lawson (current J-1 students):
    15 minute appointment (M-F, 2-4 pm): Book your appointment HERE
    30 minute appointment: Click Here to make an appointment through Bookings
  • Angélique Stevens (current J-1 scholars):
    15 minute appointments (M-F, 2-4 pm): Book your appointment HERE
    30 minute appointment: Click Here to make an appointment through Bookings

* PLEASE REMEMBER TO CANCEL YOUR APPOINTMENT IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND. THAT WILL OPEN THE SLOT FOR ANOTHER STUDENT/SCHOLAR!!

SUBMITTING APPLICATIONS AND FORMS: Submit your applications and forms through NoleStart. Do not email them to your advisor or take them to the CGE.

The CGE provides advising only for current and prospective students and scholars of Florida State University and only in the context of their status related to FSU. Advisors are not immigration attorneys and information given during advising should not be construed as legal advice.


International Travel FAQs

What about restrictions for travel to the U.S.?

Beginning January 26, 2021, the U.S. requires a negative COVID test for all air passengers arriving to the U.S. from a foreign country, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Information and an FAQ are on the CDC website HERE

Students coming to the U.S. from a non-restricted country should not have flight plans that transit through one of the restricted countries except where there are exceptions for students.

What if I want to travel abroad and need a COVID test?

COVID tests are free for students and available at FSU’s Tucker Center by appointment (https://uhs.fsu.edu/coronavirus/testing). Vaccines are also available and are free for FSU students (https://vaccine.fsu.edu).Information on free alternative testing sites is HERE.

What if I left the U.S. and will not have a valid travel signature when I want to return?

Continuing students complete the Travel Signature Request form in NoleStart. We can send you the I-20 electronically before your return and you can print, sign, and use it, even if your advisor’s signature is electronic.

Will U.S. Embassies/Consulates and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) accept I-20s with electronic signatures?

Yes. When you receive an electronic I-20, be sure to print and sign it. You will need a paper I-20 to show at the Embassy/Consulate and to CBP.

How does the new policy affect my spouse and/or minor children?

A spouse and minor children are your “derivatives,” so their status in the U.S. depends on your being able to maintain status. Dependents continuing their F-2 or J-2 status should also have an I-20 or DS-2019 with valid signature for travel. They are subject to any travel restrictions currently in effect for you.

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