International Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated October 1, 2020
Please check the Yale University Travel Restrictions page for additional information.
Earlier this summer the State Department announced a phased resumption of routine visa services “on a post-by-post basis.” So far, the U.S. consulates in China have still not resumed normal operations. International students and scholars should check with their local U.S. embassy to see if they have resumed issuing visa appointments. On August 25th the State Department announced that consulates can waive the interview requirement for those who have a visa that has been expired by 24 months or less. This provision is set to expire on 12/31/2020.
Below you can find details about the Presidential Proclamations that still remain active, although some now allow exemptions. For a detailed list of travel bans or restrictions in place now please go the NAFSA: Association of International Educators website.
Preparing to Return to the U.S. and Yale
- Read and follow the Yale COVID-19 guidance
- Check with your host department or school administration to review all protocols
- In some cases it may help if you have a letter from your host department or school administration explaining that you are expected to be on campus
- Some students and scholars have reported that they were able to return to the U.S. from a travel restricted country if they stayed in a non-travel restricted country for 14 days immediately prior to entering the U.S. There are risks in making such plans as many policies change regularly. Before making any travel plans, you should confirm that there are no travel restrictions in any of the transit countries that could affect your itinerary. In addition, check with your airline to make certain you have the rights status to transit in a third country.
Suspends entry into the United States by certain H-1B Temporary Workers. While the proclamation mentions J visas it does not affect the common J visa categories used by universities. On October 1st a federal judge ruled to suspend the H-1B travel ban, but only for private companies included in the court case.
Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China. The proclamation, now in effect, blocks certain Chinese nationals associated with entities in China that implement or support China's “military-civil fusion strategy” from using F or J visas to enter the U.S. The proclamation does not apply to undergraduate students or to U.S. permanent residents.
Currently the proclamation does not apply for individuals in the U.S. in F or J status, however, it states the Secretary of State will review and determine if current visa holders subject to the proclamation should have their visas revoked.
Affects all visas, including F, J and H for those residing in Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.
Suspends entry of certain new immigrants (green card applicants.) The proclamation does not currently impact applicants for adjustment of status or nonimmigrants such as students, H-1B workers, visitors for business or pleasure, etc.
June 16, 2020: Canada-Mexico “Essential Travel” Restrictions
Affects all visas, including F, J and H for those residing in Mexico or Canada during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced an extension of the March 2020 travel restriction on entry to the United States through land ports of entry along the U.S.-Canada and U.S. Mexico borders for “essential travel” only. It is important to also review the Mexican and Canadian government guidance about COVID-19 and travel.
Affects several visas, including J and H for those residing in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland who were physically present during the 14-day period preceding their entry to the U.S. F-1 students are exempt. On October 1st the U.S. State Department announced exemptions to the Presidential Proclamations affecting travel from the Schengen region, Ireland and the U.K. including travel using ESTA.
Affects several visas, including J and H for those residing in the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry to the U.S. F-1 students are exempt. On October 1st the U.S. State Department announced exemptions to the Presidential Proclamations affecting travel from the Schengen region, Ireland and the U.K. including travel using ESTA.
Affects all visas, including F, J and H for those residing in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry to the U.S.
Affects all visas, including F, J and H for those residing in the People's Republic of China, excluding the Special Autonomous Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry to the U.S.