COVID-19 FAQs

General/Travel Related

How do I stay informed by Davis IC?

Check your Princeton email, Davis IC announcements, and do not hesitate to join us virtually during our scheduled walk in hours and advising appointments. We will also host information sessions throughout the summer.

 

What Restrictions are there on entry to the U.S. due to COVID-19?

Travel restrictions are often announced without much notice. Review the CDC before traveling to confirm that there are not changes to this list. Students and scholars who have been in any of the following countries during the past 14 days cannot enter the United States. This includes a short-stay or a layover that takes you to these countries.

  • China
  • Iran
  • European Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City)
  • United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Brazil

On July 16 Department of State announced National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland. Please review the announcement here and confirm procedures with your local embassy or consulate as necessary. 

I am travelling from a restricted country, but plan to spend two weeks in a non-travel restricted country. Can I enter the U.S.?

There are risks in planning to enter the U.S. this way. There will be country specific travel restrictions and health and safety protocols that you will want to be familiar with before traveling. Davis IC advisors cannot provide detailed information on other country’s travel restrictions and policies. Additionally, U.S. entry restrictions are subject to change with little or no notice. We recommend weighing these risks before traveling to the U.S. via a non-travel restricted country.

I do not have a valid visa and I am outside the U.S. when can I get a visa to travel?

On July 13 U.S. Department of State made the following announcement on twitter: "US embassies and consulates are beginning the phased resumption of routine visa services. The dates for each embassy or consulate will depend on local conditions. We are unable to provide details for each location. Please monitor the embassy or consulate website for updates." Country specific information can be found here. Please keep in mind that COVID-19 travel restrictions may remain in effect even for those holding valid U.S. visas.

New Students/Return from Leave of Absence

I am a first year undergraduate or returning from Leave of Absence undergraduate student what happens to my record now that Princeton undergraduate education is all online?

Due to the ongoing public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on 8/7/2020 Princeton University announced that the academic year 2020-2021 undergraduate program will move entirely to online study. Due to the July 24 ICE and June 25th Exchange Visitor Program guidance we are no longer able to keep your I-20/DS-2019 active for entry this Fall. We are adjusting start dates and this will cause you to become ineligible to enter the U.S. If you have not boarded a plane to the U.S. do not do so, as the documents you have received are no longer valid for entry. If you have already traveled to the U.S. the week of August 7 prior to the announcement please email puvisa@princeton.edu. Undergraduate students can continue to enroll remotely from abroad. If this is not an option for you, first year undergraduates should reach out to admissions uaoffice@princeton.edu to discuss the deferral process and return from leave of absence students should discuss extending your leave with your residential college. We will be in contact to collect updated information and provide you with new documents once you are eligible to enter the U.S. for study.

I will not be able to enter the U.S. by the start date on my I-20/DS-2019. Do I need updated documents before I travel?

Graduate Students who can start programs remotely have received the “remote start form” by email. Only students who are approved for a remote start will be offered arrival flexibility. If you will arrive in the U.S. within 15 days of the start date on your I-20/DS-2019, you do not need a new I-20/DS-2019, but you may need a late arrival letter approving your delayed arrival to carry during entry into the U.S. If you will arrive more than 15 days after the start date on your I-20/DS-2019, you will need an updated document. We are working on streamlining the processes for approved late arrivals and will share more details once these processes have been finalized.

There will be no late arrivals for undergraduates students since our program of study has moved entirely online and you are no longer eligible to enter the U.S. in F-1/J-1 student status.

 

My visa appointment was postponed or scheduled for after the start date on my I-20/DS-2019. Do I need to update my document before my appointment?

If the date of your visa appointment will not allow you to enter the U.S. within 15 days of the start date on your I-20/DS-2019, you will need an updated document. If your appointment is within a few days after the start date and it seems possible that you may be able to enter the U.S. within the 15 day period, we will not issue an updated I-20/DS-2019 unless the U.S. embassy or consulate specifically requires it. In addition, we will only provide updated documents for students with approved late arrivals. If you are approved and will arrive more than 15 days after the start date on your I-20/DS-2019, you will need an updated document. We are working on streamlining the process for this and will share more details once the process has been finalized.

If your appointment is after the start date on your I-20/DS-2019, we also recommend checking whether you can request an emergency or expedited appointment if allowed by your local embassy/consulate.

 

I plan to remain outside of the U.S. and enroll remotely or defer my admission. What happens to my SEVIS Fee and visa application?

If you choose to defer your attendance or enroll remotely and enter the U.S. later, we will defer the dates on your I-20/DS-2019, but your SEVIS ID will not change. Both the SEVIS fee and visa application fees are valid for 12 months from the date of payment. U.S. visas may only be issued up to 120-days prior to the program start date, so delay or schedule your appointment for then. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/student-visa.html

 

Will the calendar change require a new I-20/DS-2019?

Once we have confirmed the in person components of your academic plan for Fall 2020 and your planned arrival for an in-person Fall 2020 we will update your I-20/DS-2019 to reflect the new start date of classes at that time. We are working on a process for updating I-20s/DS2019s and will communicate that process to impacted students. 

I plan to remain outside of the U.S. and I do not have a valid visa. Am I eligible to enroll?

Undergraduates: Remote opportunities may be available and you should work with your academic advisor to confirm enrollments. You are eligible to enroll in remote opportunities from abroad. However, you will not be able to obtain a visa or enter the U.S. to study in an all online program for Fall 2020.

Graduates: The Graduate School is working closely with academic departments and programs to determine what may be possible. We expect that early August is the soonest we will have confirmation of graduate school possibilities. Remain in close contact with your academic advisors through the next few weeks.

I have a valid F-1/J-1 visa from a previous program. Can I travel on that visa?

If you transferred your SEVIS record and your visa has the same SEVIS ID number it is fine to use the unexpired visa to travel with your Princeton I-20/DS-2019. You should confirm the expiration date of your visa sticker and plan to travel before it expires.

If you have received a new I-20/DS-2019 with a new SEVIS ID number but still have an old unexpired visa in the same visa category (F-1 for I-20s or J-1 student for DS-2019s), we recommend checking with the US consulate and Customs and Border Protection before travel.  

If I cannot get an F-1 visa and enter the U.S. will this impact my CPT/OPT eligibility?

In almost all cases, yes, you will have to wait until you have been in the U.S. for one year before you are eligible for CPT/OPT. The only exceptions are the Master’s in Public Affairs and the Master’s in Finance-Two Year Program as CPT may be required immediately upon entering the U.S.

I am in the U.S. and do not have any in person classes at Princeton University can I stay in the U.S.?

As of July 24, students who were in active F-1 status on March 9 and who have not left the U.S. may enroll in all online study for Fall 2020 and remain in the U.S. 

What will my virtual orientation program consist of and how will I receive updates?

We are currently working on developing a virtual program that will help you connect with other international students, the staff at the Davis IC and other campus resources. We will try our best to build community virtually while also providing support to any international students who are able to join us on campus in the fall. Information regarding Undergraduate International Orientation (IO) and Graduate International Orientation (GIO) will be sent to students’ Princeton email accounts later in the summer.

Current Students

I am in the U.S. and do not have any in person classes at Princeton University can I stay in the U.S.?

As of July 14, the government has rescinded the July 6 announcement. At this time it is possible for continuing students with only online classes to remain in the U.S.

I plan to remain outside of the U.S. and I do not have a valid visa. Am I eligible to enroll remotely?

Undergraduates: Remote opportunities may be available and you should work with your academic advisor to confirm enrollments. As per the March 9 guidance and FAQs currently in place, as long as a student remains enrolled full time at Princeton University their SEVIS record can remain "active," even if they are studying outside the U.S.

Graduates: The Graduate School is working closely with academic departments and programs to determine what may be possible. We expect that early August is the soonest we will have confirmation of graduate school possibilities. Remain in close contact with your academic advisors through the next few weeks.

What is the five month rule?

The five month rule does not currently apply to students who are maintaining full time enrollment from either inside or outside the U.S. The five month rule would only impact students who need to take a Leave of Absence that is outlined in the following question. We will update students if we will no longer be able to keep students in active status and how the five month rule might apply to them. 

If I decide to take a Leave of Absence, how does that impact my status?

Because your F-1/J-1 student status is tied to your enrollment status, we will terminate your SEVIS record if you take a Leave of Absence. If you are currently in the U.S., you would need to depart the U.S. You would not be able to return to the U.S. on your F-1/J-1 visa until your leave of absence ends and enrollment resumes. If you are already outside of the U.S. and are concerned about the 5 month rule, your time outside the U.S. will begin to count from the day that Davis IC terminates your record. Students are no longer eligible for employment in the U.S. with a terminated record. For more information, please visit our Leave of Absence page.