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News and Updates

Stay informed on the latest immigration, university, and program news and announcements.

December 7, 2021


Important update from the CDC for all International Air Travelers Destined for the United States.

As of December 6, all air passengers eligible for entry into the United States, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before travel to the United States with limited exceptions or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. More details on this requirement for all non-immigrant travelers are available here: on the CDC website.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Updated Requirements for Air Travelers to the U.S. due to COVID-19 and the Omicron Variant

On November 26, and at the advice of the President’s chief medical advisor and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the administration announced it will restrict travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe starting on November 29 due to concerns over the new Omicron variant. These travel restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and certain other categories of travelers. The full text of the proclamation is available on the White House website. Travel advisories for each of these countries are level 4 – do not travel – in line with CDC travel health notifications (THNs) and given flight cancellations in some countries.

Please see the CDC website for further information on the Omicron variant.

CDC Order

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order, which took effect November 8, 2021, requiring all non-immigrant, non-citizen air travelers to the United States to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States remains in effect. Travelers should monitor the CDC website on international travel for the latest guidance regarding testing requirements.

Exceptions to the CDC order requiring all air passengers to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States are extremely limited to the following groups:

  • children under 18.
  • people medically unable to receive the vaccine.
  • emergency travelers who do not have timely access to a vaccine.

Humanitarian exemptions to the CDC order are granted on an extremely limited basis.

U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who are eligible to travel but are not fully vaccinated will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test one (1) day before their flight’s departure. U.S. citizens and LPRs who are fully vaccinated will need to present airlines with proof of vaccination and of a negative COVID-19 test three (3) days before their flight.

For additional information, please visit our FAQs for answers to questions about the requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the United States.

The CDC recommends that you do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated. International travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you do travel, follow all CDC recommendations before, during, and after travel.

Regarding the U.S. Department of State's announcement on September 14, 2021, authorizing consular officers to waive in-person visa interviews for F, M, and academic J visas through the end of the year, a recent update was released on November 19 stating the following:

As worldwide restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic begin to ease, and in line with the President’s proclamation regarding the safe resumption of international travel, the Bureau of Consular Affairs will focus on reducing wait times for all consular services at our embassies and consulates overseas while also protecting health and safety of our staff and applicants. Although local conditions and restrictions at individual consular posts may continue to fluctuate, the guidance to posts for the prioritization of consular services during the pandemic issued in November 2020 has been rescinded. Embassies and consulates have broad discretion to determine how to prioritize visa appointments among the range of visa classes as safely as possible, subject to local conditions and restrictions.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Message to Winter 2022 Incoming Students

We, at ISS, are eager for our incoming students to join with us for the Winter 2022 Semester. Initial documents are now on their way to our new admits and we would like to just remind you of a few things.

Please keep in mind of travel dates as we approach the new semester. All new students must travel to campus between November 28 and December 27; This means you may not come before November 28 or after December 27. This adheres to guidelines set by the U.S. Department of State, which requires exchange visitors and international students to arrive within the 30 days before the program start date on their Certificate of Eligibility.

However, please note that the university cannot guarantee housing options prior to December 14. It is your responsibility to arrange housing if you plan to arrive prior to this date. If you cannot arrange housing prior to December 14, we advise that you consider adjusting your travel dates to ensure that you have a place to stay upon arrival.

For housing-related questions, please contact the Residential Life department. If you have questions or concerns about travel dates, please reach out to us at International Student Services.

Presidential Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On Wednesday, November 3, 2021, the U.S. Department of State issued the following message:

Dear Sponsors:

The health, safety, and welfare of exchange visitors and the American people remain among the Department’s highest priorities. The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced details of the new vaccination policy that will soon go into effect for international travelers arriving in the United States.

Beginning November 8, 2021, all J-1 exchange visitor applicants (age 18 or older at the time of travel) will be required to show proof of vaccination prior to arrival in the United States, subject to limited exceptions.1 This global vaccine requirement coincides with the rescission of the travel restrictions established under Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199, related to the suspension of entry into the United States of persons physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom: Safely Resuming Travel by Vaccine Requirement and Rescission of Travel Restrictions on Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom

For Frequently Asked Questions: Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Testing for International Travel

More information about the global vaccination requirement is available at: Non-U.S. citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States

Qualifying COVID-19 vaccinations as well as details on exceptions and on applying for humanitarian waivers to this requirement can be found at the following website: Proof of Vaccination Exceptions

Exceptions for J-1 exchange visitors include:

Please see list of countries here: List of Foreign Countries with Limited COVID-19 Vaccine Availability (current through October 25, 2021).

White House Fact Sheet: Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Releases Additional Detail for Implementing a Safer, More Stringent International Air Travel Syste

The Frequently Asked Questions section of the U.S. Department of State J1 Visa website has been updated as well. We appreciate your continued commitment to fostering meaningful educational and cultural exchanges.

Sincerely,

Office of Private Sector Exchange

Monday, October 18, 2021

Update on U.S. Travel Policy Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination

On Friday, October 15, 2021, the U.S. Department of State issued the following message:

As announced by the White House today, the new travel policy requiring foreign nationals traveling to the United States to demonstrate proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 will take effect November 8. The CDC’s website explains that, for purposes of entry into the United States, the accepted vaccines will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. (Please see Travel Policy Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination.)

The CDC and the interagency are working to develop the orders and guidance documents to implement this new travel policy, and those details -- for the airlines, for airline passengers, and for people coming to the land border -- will be available well in advance of November 8 to understand what is required to be in compliance. The Department will provide further information on Travel - Department of State as it becomes available.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Important Announcement on F, M, and Academic J Visas 

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, the U.S. Department of State issued the following message:

The Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources, under the authority delegated to him by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has authorized consular officers through the end of 2021 to expand the categories of F, M, and “academic J visa applicants” (secondary school students, college and university students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists) whose applications can be adjudicated without an in-person interview in their consular district of residence, with certain exceptions.  Consular officers may, if they so choose, and pursuant to local conditions, now waive the visa interview requirement for 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 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.


Secretary Blinken has previously found F, M, and academic J visa applicants eligible for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) under Presidential Proclamations that suspend entry of individuals present in one of the 33 countries subject to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Students and academics traveling on J-1 visas must contact the nearest embassy or consulate prior to travel to receive an NIE.

Consular resources and local government restrictions vary widely, and each consular section is continuously reviewing its capacity to adjudicate visa applications during this worldwide pandemic and as we address global issues and competing priorities. 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. Despite this temporarily expanded authority to waive interviews, not all consular sections may be able to meet the demand for F, M, and academic J visas by the start of this academic year.


For more details on eligibility please see ECA's FAQs page at Exchange Visitor Program Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Thank you

Office of Private Sector Exchange

Monday, August 23, 2021

International Student Orientation


All students admitted spring 2020, fall 2020, winter 2021, spring 2021, and fall 2021 must attend the mandatory International Student Orientation on Wednesday, August 25 in the Heber J. Grant Building (HGB).

Please RSVP immediately using the Engage page.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Check-In with ISS at CAC 157

As summer comes to a close, we are thrilled to usher in the new semester and look forward to seeing you on campus! To confirm your SEVIS status, you must check in at our office as soon as possible. Additionally, please report any changes to the following within 10 days:

  • Residential and mailing U.S. addresses
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Biodata (e.g., name change, marital status)

As an international student or specialist in our programs, you are required to report changes timely.

Stay informed and connected by accessing our communication platforms. We look forward to serving you!

For J-1 Students and Specialists: Exchange Visitor Program Update Released August 18, 2021


We are committed to your health, safety, and well-being, desiring your success in your programs as students and specialists. As we navigate through another year of the pandemic, we ask that you continue to exercise caution in your daily interactions, both in person and online. Safeguard your personal information and be discerning of calls or emails you receive. At any point, if you are unsure about communications received, please meet with your ISS advisor, who will document your concern. If you require further assistance, your ISS advisor will be able to direct you to campus or community (even state or federal, if needed) resources.

As your sponsor, we remind you to reach out to us immediately regarding all matters of concern. We ask that you always regard us as your primary contact. We should be your "first and primary contact" per guidance from the U.S. Department of State. With that said, we are always available to you: to provide support and guide you in your experience as Exchange Visitors.

August 18, 2021

Dear Sponsors:

Reminders Regarding the Health, Safety, and Welfare of Exchange Visitors

The Department of State wishes to remind sponsors of our common goal of ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of exchange visitors who travel to the United States to participate in BridgeUSA programs. As the country responds to the pandemic, we are also facing a variety of geographic-specific health and safety-related conditions. Sponsors and exchange visitors alike should pay close attention to local health and safety guidelines and warnings.

Increase in Street Crime: Crime in the United States is on the rise, including physical assaults. Sponsors should advise exchange visitors to exercise a high level of vigilance and good judgment when spending time in new places and with people they may not know well.

Telephone Scams Targeting Exchange Visitors: Increasingly, telephone scammers are impersonating sponsors, law enforcement personnel, and immigration officers to try to extort money from foreign visitors. One telephone scam involved a caller impersonating a sponsor; the caller attempted to steal the exchange visitor’s personal information and defraud the exchange visitor of more than $1,500. A second example entailed scammers stating they were from law enforcement and that warrants had been issued for the exchange visitor’s arrest. The scammers then advised the exchange visitor to pay many thousands of dollars to stop the warrant/arrest action. Scammers often encourage exchange visitors to buy large numbers of gift cards and provide the numbers to the scammer, who then cashes them. One university-based exchange visitor provided $8,000 in gift cards to someone impersonating a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agent, who threatened action if the exchange visitor failed to provide the gift cards.

Preparedness, Survival, and Reporting of Severe Weather-Related Incidents:  Regional and seasonal severe weather (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires) may cause property damage, serious injury, and loss of human life. Sponsors are urged to remind exchange visitors to be aware of the hazards that might impact them during a severe weather event, to monitor information from the local or National Weather Service Forecast Office, to pay attention to all advisories and warnings, and to have a safety plan in place. Sponsors must remain informed of exchange visitors’ safety and well-being. Prior to, during, or after a natural disaster, the Department may reach out to sponsors to request information regarding their exchange visitors who may be or have been affected by such an event.

Reporting: Although exchange visitors may be more comfortable contacting agencies in their home countries regarding matters of concern, sponsors should be the first and primary point of contact for exchange visitors when these matters arise. To this end, sponsors should maintain open lines of communication through regular monitoring and advise exchange visitors to promptly report health, safety, and welfare-related matters to them. Sponsors must report these matters in accordance with regulatory requirements [22 CFR 62.13(d) and 62.25(n)(1)] and submit an interim update before completing a full report for the Office of Private Sector Exchange Administration (OPA) at the appropriate e-mail address below (which should not be shared with exchange visitors):

Many thanks for reminding exchange visitors to exercise appropriate caution and to report matters to you so we can help ensure their continued safety and well-being.
Sincerely,

The Office of Private Sector Exchange