Rutgers Global Alerts

The information included here is intended to provide guidance and resources to all members of the Rutgers community regarding issues related to 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.

Temporary Protected Status and Special Student Relief for Ukraine and Afghanistan, 6/28/22 +

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated both Afghanistan and Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  Individuals from Afghanistan are now eligible for TPS through Nov. 20, 2023 and individuals from Ukraine are eligible for TPS through Oct. 19, 2023.  

During the designated period, individuals who have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are not removable from the United States; can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD); and, in some cases, may be granted travel authorization.  

To be eligible for TPS, individuals from Afghanistan must have continuously resided in the United States since March 15, 2022 and individuals from Ukraine must have continuously resided in the United States since April 11, 2022.

More information on the TPS eligibility requirements and application process can be found on USCIS’ website.  Additional information can also be found on NAFSA’s website.  

Those interested in applying for TPS are encouraged to carefully review the requirements and consult with a qualified immigration attorney. Before applying for TPS, we also recommend that international students (in F-1 or J-1 status) or international scholars contact the ISSS office:

ISSS - Faculty/Scholar Advising Services

ISSS - Student Advising Services

Special Student Relief (SSR)

Special Student Relief (SSR) is the suspension of certain regulatory requirements by the secretary of The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for F‑1 students from parts of the world that are experiencing emergent circumstances. Regulatory requirements that may be suspended or altered for an F-1 student include duration of status, full course of study and off-campus employment eligibility. 

The DHS has announced SSR or the suspension of certain regulatory requirements for F-1 students from Ukraine and Afghanistan who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a result of the emergent circumstances in their country of citizenship. According to the SSR notices, F-1 students may be able to apply for employment authorization based on economic need. Please review the notices carefully to understand if and how they may apply to you.

For F-1 Students from Afghanistan: 

Please note that the notice covers students who were lawfully present in the United States as of May 20, 2022 and need accommodations as a direct result of the current situation in Afghanistan. The suspension of the regulatory requirements under the SSR notice will remain in effect until November 20, 2023.

For F-1 Students from Ukraine:

Please note that the notice covers students who were lawfully present in the United States as of April 19, 2022 and need accommodations as a result of the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine. The suspension of the regulatory requirements under the SSR notice will remain in effect until October 19, 2023. 

For more information about SSR and to apply for employment authorization based on this notice, please review the information on the ISSS Economic Hardship Employment webpage and contact an International Student Adviser.
Please note: This special student relief is NOT automatic. You must first speak with an ISSS Adviser BEFORE you are able to receive any special student relief benefits. Do not drop course registration below full time until you have been approved by USCIS for this special work authorization.

Please also note that special student relief is separate from Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Other Resources

Those who are presently located outside of the U.S. (and are, therefore, not eligible for TPS or SSR) can find more information about consular operations, humanitarian assistance, and other visa information at:

For more information about other types of relief (including Asylum, Refugee Status, and Humanitarian Parole), please refer to the following links: 

 Those interested in applying for these other forms of relief are encouraged to consult with a qualified immigration attorney.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Travel (No Geographic Travel Bans Currently in Effect), UPDATED: 6/22/2022 +

With the lifting of travel restrictions from eight countries in Southern Africa on December 28, 2021, 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 Testing Requirement for International Travel No Longer In Effect

As of June 12, 2022, the CDC is no longer requiring air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight.  Before making any travel plans, check the CDC’s website for current updates. 

COVID-19 Vaccination 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.
     
  • 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, unless able to provide documentation of COVID-19 recovery within the last 90 days.

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 Terminal?

Non-U.S. travelers entering the U.S. through a Land Port of Ferry Terminal are required to possess proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination as outlined on the CDC’s website.  Please refer to the Department of Homeland Security's Frequently Asked Questions for more information on accepted vaccines and exceptions. 

There are currently no COVID testing requirements to enter the U.S. through a Land Port of Ferry Terminal.

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

 Helpful Resources

DHS Announces Updated STEM Designated Degree Program List and CIP Code Nomination Process, 1/21/2022 +

On January 21, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Federal Register notice announcing the addition of 22 Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes to the DHS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Designated Degree Program List.

The DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List is a complete list of fields of study that DHS considers to be STEM for the purpose of the 24-month STEM optional practical training (OPT) extension. After reviewing nominations submitted by interested parties, including members of the public, DHS is adding 22 fields of study, as identified by a unique CIP code, to the list. No CIP codes or fields of study have been removed from the list as part of this update.

For additional information about the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List and fields of study that qualify for the STEM OPT extension, please refer to:

For more information visit this website.

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.