Rutgers Global Alerts: COVID-19

The information included here is intended to provide guidance and resources to all members of the Rutgers community regarding issues related to the Covid-19, including travel advisories, immigration policies, and other regulatory updates that impact international students and scholars, as well as domestic students and faculty traveling abroad.

See the Rutgers Global Travel Resources page for additional information about international travel.

Visit the Rutgers Universitywide COVID-19 website for the latest updates from the University.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Travel (No Geographic Travel Bans Currently in Effect), 1/4/2022 +

With the lifting of travel restrictions from eight countries in Southern Africa on December 28th, there are currently no geographic COVID-19 entry ban proclamations in effect.

Before making any travel plans, be sure to check NAFSA’s webpage to verify that no new proclamations have been implemented.

COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Requirements for Air Travel

  • Effective November 8, 2021, non-U.S. citizens who are not immigrants to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination status before flying to the United States.
     
  • Additionally, according to CDC requirements, if you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status) before you travel by air into the United States.
    • If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than 1 day before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight.
    • If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).
       
  • Upon entering the U.S., the NJ Department of Health states that international travelers should get tested after travel and take the following precautions post-travel:
    • Fully Vaccinated: Travelers who are fully vaccinated should get tested with a PCR or antigen test 3-5 days after travel and self-monitor for symptoms.
    • Not Fully Vaccinated: Travelers who are not fully vaccinated should get tested with a PCR or antigen test 3-5 days after travel and self-quarantine for a full 7 days upon returning even with a negative test result.

Who is Covered? 

This new vaccination requirement applies to “noncitizens who are nonimmigrants” (i.e., F-1 students, J-1 exchange visitors, H-1B employees, etc.) traveling to the U.S. by air.  It does not apply to U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, or those traveling to the U.S. on an immigrant visa.  See below for more information on land/sea travel.

This Proclamation does not affect visa issuance.  Someone who is not fully vaccinated can still be issued a visa by a U.S. consulate.  However, they would need to show proof of vaccination in order to board an aircraft to the U.S.

Are There Exceptions? 

The full list of exceptions can be found on the CDC’s website.

Exceptions are available for: 

  1. Citizens of a foreign country where the availability of COVID-19 vaccination is limited [with the exception of B-1 (business) or B-2 (tourist) visa holders]
  2. Noncitizens for whom a COVID-19 vaccination is contraindicated or inappropriate
  3. Children under 18 years of age

Additional post-entry requirements apply to those who seek to enter under one of the exceptions.  These requirements are detailed on the CDC’s website.  

Which Vaccines will be Accepted for Purposes of Air Travel to the U.S.?  What Proof Must I Show? 

Accepted COVID-19 vaccines include those approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and those listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization.  A list of accepted COVID-19 vaccines (along with acceptable forms of proof) can be found on the CDC’s website.   

What are the Requirements for Entry Through a Land or Ferry Port?

According to a Press Release issued by the Department of Homeland Security, entry requirements at Land and Ferry Ports will be as follows:

  • November 8, 2021:  “First, in November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin allowing fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico or Canada to enter the United States at land and ferry POEs [Ports of Entry] for non-essential reasons.  Travelers will be required to have appropriate paperwork that provides proof of vaccination.  Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel for non-essential purposes from Canada and Mexico into the United States via land and ferry POEs.”
     
  • Early January 2022:  “Second, beginning in early January 2022, DHS will require that all inbound foreign national travelers crossing U.S. land or ferry POEs—whether for essential or non-essential reasons—be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination.  This approach will provide ample time for essential travelers such as truckers, students, and healthcare workers to get vaccinated.”

For the latest guidance on air, land, and sea travel, we recommend visiting NAFSA’s webpage

 Helpful Resources

Dept. of State Permits Waiver of In-Person Visa Interview Requirement for Certain F, M, & Academic J Visa Applicants, 9/17/21 +

The Department of State has authorized consular officers, in their discretion, to waive the visa interview requirement for certain F, M, and academic J visa applicants. This new policy will be effective through the end of 2021.

The interview waiver is only available to F, M, and academic J visa applicants who:

  • Were previously issued any type of visa, and who have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived, and who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility; or
  • Are first-time F, M, and academic J visa applicants who are citizens or nationals of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), provided they have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility.  

In order to qualify, applicants must apply in their consular district of residence (with limited exceptions).  

This new policy is discretionary. Some consular posts may still require F, M, and academic J visa applicants to appear for an in-person interview.  

Academic J visa applicants include: secondary school students, college and university students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, and specialists.  

We encourage applicants to check the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to confirm the level of services currently offered and to find guidelines for applying for a visa without an interview.  For more information visit this website.  

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Remain in Effect

Thirty three (33) countries are still subject to COVID-19 travel restrictions.  F, M, and academic J visa applicants are eligible for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs).  For more information on NIEs, please visit this website.  
 

COVID Vaccine Guidance for International Students, 7/8/21 +

A message from Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH, Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs

Rutgers previously announced that COVID-19 incidence rates were dropping rapidly in New Jersey and so, for international students who could not receive United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorized (EUA) vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Janssen-J&J) and who have been vaccinated in their country, Rutgers would accept proof of vaccination using a World Health Organization (WHO) authorized vaccine, while continuing to monitor the situation. 
            
While rates of COVID-19 remain wonderfully low in New Jersey, the Delta variant is now spreading rapidly across the world and in New Jersey. Fortunately, all the FDA EUA vaccines remain protective against the Delta variant. As such, we continue to strongly encourage people to get fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. For those vaccinated with other vaccines, we strongly suggest that you consider the same, in consultation with your health care provider. It bears noting that Canada and Germany have already moved to recommend a dose of one of the mRNA vaccines after a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.  
 
As a reminder, Rutgers currently is a vaccine administration site and offers FDA-authorized vaccines at no cost at all three of our campuses. Please register for your appointment(s) as soon as possible to facilitate your participation in campus activities. You may register for an appointment via the Rutgers Vaccination Portal
 
As always, the relevant vaccination records should be uploaded to the Rutgers Student Immunization Portal at rutgers.medicatconnect.comhttps://rutgers.medicatconnect.com
 
Additional information including timing and deadline guidance and other FAQs can be found on the University-wide COVID-19 vaccination information site, the COVID Related International Student FAQ page, and through the Rutgers Global Alerts. Please continue to check your Rutgers email for information and updates.  

Guidelines for Fall 2021 Funding Support of International Doctoral Students who are Outside the United States, 6/16/2021 +

This guidance outlines the process of providing some accommodations for supported international doctoral students who are unable to make it to Rutgers in-person in fall 2021 due to COVID-19 related disruptions.

Graduate Funding Policy for 2021-2022 (PDF)

UPDATED: Vaccination Policy Update for International Students, 06/29/2021 +

Rutgers has updated its vaccination policy as of May 28, 2021. 
 
COVID-19 incidence rates in New Jersey have markedly decreased and are likely to continue to decrease in the coming weeks.  Therefore, for international students outside of the US who cannot receive a US FDA EUA-authorized vaccine (currently Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Janssen-J&J), and who have been vaccinated in their home country, Rutgers will now accept proof of vaccination by a World Health Organization (WHO) authorized vaccine (e.g., AstraZeneca, SinoPharm BIBP). The relevant vaccination records must be uploaded to the Rutgers Immunization Portal at rutgers.medicatconnect.com.  
  
Rutgers will also continue to offer US FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines to international students upon arrival at no cost, as previously noted, for those that have not yet been vaccinated with an US FDA-authorized vaccine. International students (in F-1 and J-1 visa status) may enter the country no more than 30 days prior to the start of the fall term. To ensure that students who need to be vaccinated upon arrival are able to do so and to allow for necessary vaccination wait times and quarantine, the university is in the process of developing interim housing space in August. 
  
Rutgers continues to closely monitor both the science of COVID-19 vaccination (including the effectiveness of WHO-authorized vaccines and the safety/effectiveness of boosting with an FDA-authorized vaccine), as well as COVID-19 rates regionally and globally. This information may inform future changes or updates of the Rutgers vaccination or re-vaccination policies. 
  
The health and safety of our students and all members of the Rutgers community is the driving force behind the Rutgers vaccine policies. We encourage all eligible international students abroad to seek out and receive COVID-19 vaccines that are internationally approved, if at all possible. 

The following Q&A addresses some of the most common questions that have arisen from the University’s decision to require COVID-19 vaccinations for fall 2021 for students who will be attending Rutgers at one of our campus locations or participating in programs offered through the university.

06/29/2021 - VACCINATION REQUIREMENT UPDATE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

 

Updated: COVID Related International Student FAQs, 6/29/2021 +

COVID Related International Students FAQs Webpage (New Brunswick and RBHS)

Students enrolled in the Newark and Camden campuses, please contact the international student services office on your campus:

•    Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS) – Newark  
•    Office of International Students and Global Programs (OIS) – Camden