COVID-19 Related International Faculty and Scholar FAQs

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions as well as useful resources and information about Rutgers Global International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) to help international faculty and scholars navigate these uncertain times.

We encourage international faculty and scholars to continue to monitor the Rutgers Global website for new updates and carefully review travel restrictions/requirements on the appropriate consular webpage before making any travel plans.  

International Faculty & Scholar FAQs

Travel and Visa Information

What are the current travel restrictions that I should be mindful of? +

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.

Please also refer to NAFSA's webpage for the latest vaccination requirements.

Consular services worldwide still remain limited in some countries.  We strongly recommend scheduling a visa appointment prior to departure.  If you do need to travel internationally, be sure to review the travel restrictions on the website of the appropriate consular post before planning your trip.

What local and state guidelines should I be aware of if I travel to NJ/Rutgers? +

As of May 17, 2021, New Jersey's travel advisory is no longer in effect.  All travelers are encouraged to follow travel recommendations from the CDC. International travelers must also follow federal vaccination requirements.  

For the latest New Jersey travel recommendations, please click here.

Please also review the updated Rutgers COVID-19 Protocols and Guide to Returning to Rutgers.

Do I need to get vaccinated for COVID-19 if I am traveling internationally? +

According to CDC policy, if you are a non-U.S. citizen who is a nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa), you will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before you travel by air to the United States from a foreign country.  

Review the CDC website for more information and a list of exceptions. Also check COVID-19 related rules and regulations within the country to which you are traveling.

Do I need to get tested for COVID-19 if I am traveling internationally? +

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.  Review the CDC website for latest guidance.

I am a J-1 exchange visitor. Do I need a travel signature on my DS-2019 to return to the U.S.? +

If you are a J-1 exchange visitor and must travel internationally, it is necessary to obtain a travel signature on your Form DS-2019 before departure. Contact your advisor or send an email to isss-facultyscholars@global.rutgers.edu to schedule an appointment for travel authorization.  

Can I travel within the U.S.? +

Please be sure to check local travel advisories before you go and follow CDC guidance.

Please also review the updated Rutgers COVID-19 Protocols and Guide to Returning to Rutgers.

Can I apply for a visa in a third country? +

Visa applicants are discouraged from applying in a country other than their country of origin or residence.  Issues associated with administrative processing delays, entry visa requirements, and limited period of authorized stay may complicate the application process.

Maintaining Immigration Status: Current Faculty & Scholars

How can I schedule an appointment with an International Faculty & Scholar Advisor? +

If you are a current Rutgers faculty member or scholar and would like to schedule an appointment with an International Faculty & Scholar Advisor, please visit our ISSS Faculty & Scholar Contact Information & Advising Services webpage.

You can also contact your advisor directly by email or send an email to isss-facultyscholars@global.rutgers.edu with your question. 

I plan to work or perform my research remotely from home. What do I need to do? +

If you anticipate any changes to your H-1B worksite location or J-1 location of activity, please  contact your advisor or send an email to isss-facultyscholars@global.rutgers.edu

Social Security

How do I apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) at this time? +

In-person services have now been restored at Social Security offices. After you have assembled your completed SSN application and supporting documents, contact your local SSA office to schedule an appointment.  

Driver's Licenses

I need my original Form I-797 H-1B Approval Notice to renew my driver’s license. Who should I contact? +

If you need to borrow your original Form I-797 H-1B Approval Notice, send an email to isss-facultyscholars@global.rutgers.edu to arrange a time to pick up your approval.  

I am an H-1B employee. How do I apply to renew my driver’s license? +

H-1B employees may request a NJ Driver’s License by visiting an MVC (NJ Motor Vehicles Commission) office and applying in person. The following documents are required when applying for a NJ Driver’s License:

  • “Six points” of identification*
  • Valid Passport
  • Original Form I-797
  • Most recent I-94 entry document (sometimes attached to Form I-797)
  • Social Security Number 

* More information on acceptable documents for the “six points” of identification may be found at this link. Usually, a passport (4 points) and Rutgers photo ID card (2 points) are sufficient. It is also advisable to bring proof of your US address, such as mail addressed to you at your NJ residence.

The driver’s license validity corresponds with the validity of your Form I-797 Approval Notice.  For example, if your H-1B approval will expire on 12/31/2021, your license will only be valid during that period.  An expired license may not be used to operate a motor vehicle.

If your driver’s license is about to expire and your H-1B extension is still pending, some MVC offices will renew a driver’s license during the 240 automatic extension period.  You will need the original receipt notice and a 240-Day Extension Certificate.  Please note that not all MVC officers are familiar with this provision and sometimes decline to renew a driver’s license on this basis.  

Prior to issuing any document, the Motor Vehicle Commission will use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system to verify the immigration status of all non-citizens who apply for or renew a driver’s license or non-driver ID at an agency.  It can sometimes take a few days for the system to verify your information. 

I am a J-1 Exchange Visitor. How do I apply for, or renew my driver’s license? +

Exchange Visitors may request a NJ Driver’s License by visiting an MVC (NJ Motor Vehicles Commission) office and applying in person. The following documents are required when applying for a NJ Driver’s License:

  • “Six points” of identification*
  • Valid Passport and Visa
  • Valid form DS-2019
  • Most recent I-94 entry document
  • Social Security Number (or denial letter)

* More information on acceptable documents for the “six points” of identification may be found at this link. Usually, a passport (4 points) and Rutgers photo ID card (2 points) are sufficient. It is also advisable to bring proof of your US address, such as mail addressed to you at your NJ residence.

If you are not eligible to receive a Social Security Number and your application was denied, you may use the “denial letter” issued by the Social Security Administration in place of the SSN to apply for the license.

The driver’s license validity corresponds with the program dates on form DS-2019. For example, if your J-1 program dates are 1/1/21 to 12/31/21, your license will only be valid during that period. An extension must be applied for before the expiration date on the license and you will need an updated DS-2019 with the program date extension. An expired license may not be used to operate a motor vehicle during the “grace period” as it is no longer valid. If you must drive during the grace period, you may use your International driver’s license.

Prior to issuing any document, the Motor Vehicle Commission will use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system to verify the immigration status of all non-citizens who apply for or renew a driver’s license or non-driver ID at an agency.  It can sometimes take a few days for the system to verify your information. 
 

Additional Resources

University and Government Announcements and Resources +