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 as necessary.

 

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. This includes a short-stay or a layover that takes you to these countries.

National Interest Exceptions

In some cases students and academics may be exempt to the above travel restrictions. The Department of State updated their exception language to apply exceptions similarly in all locations. The May 27, 2021 exception details the process for seeking exception for academics.

Students with valid F-1 visas, who are subject to the geographic COVID-19 Presidential proclamations due to their presence in the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, can travel to the United States without seeking an individual National Interest Exception from a U.S. Embassy or consulate.

Students subject to the geographic COVID-19 Presidential proclamations due to their presence in India, China, Iran, Brazil, or South Africa, may qualify for a National Interest Exception to start and continue programs on August 1, 2021 or later. Students with valid F-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 or later  can travel to the United States without seeking an individual National Interest Exception from a U.S. Embassy or consulate.

As always, we recommend that students carry documents with them in their carry-on luggage to confirm their student or employment status. New students should travel with their admission documents. Students returning from leave of absence should travel with their reinstatement letter. Continuing students should travel with proof of continuous enrollment (enrollment verification or transcript). Alumni on Post Completion and STEM OPT should carry a job offer letter with their dates of employment and their EAD.

I am traveling 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. We recommend that students and scholars evaluate their plans carefully and have contingency plans in place in the event they are in the non-restricted country longer than anticipated, or required to return home rather than proceeding to the U.S. Country specific information gathered by the U.S. Department of State can be found here.

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

US embassies and consulates abroad continue to operate based on the conditions where they are located, and what travel restrictions are currently in place. Some locations have been offering emergency visa appointments for students and academics. Review the information about emergency appointments closely, as procedures and eligibility will vary. Links to consulate and embassy webpages 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.

Are there additional websites/offices I should check before I travel to/from Princeton?

The university is urging the university community to exercise caution when it comes to travel and abide by the current policies in place. For additional information, please visit the travel tool kit.

Students can review our travel guidance page to confirm what documents you need with you when you travel internationally. We recommend that you also confirm travel plans with your academic department or employer in case your return is delayed for any reason.

University Health Services may also have resources regarding testing prior to travel. 

 

What are the COVID-19 testing requirements before traveling to the U.S.?

The CDC announced  they will require all travelers arriving to the U.S. from abroad to obtain a negative viral test, or provide documentation of recovery before travel regardless of vaccination status. You can review the details of this requirement here. Do not hesitate to reach out to our colleagues in Global Safety and Security globalsaftey@princeton.edu for any questions about your travel plans and these requirements. 

What are Princeton's expectations for receiving COVID-19 vaccines for international students?

Princeton University will require all undergraduate and graduate students to demonstrate vaccination with an FDA-Approved or WHO EUL-Authorized vaccination. Please review the International Student COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ provided by UHS that also details which vaccines are currently being accepted by Princeton. If you have general questions about vaccinations please email covidvaccines@princeton.eduIf you will have difficulty receiving an FDA-Approved or WHO EUL-Authorized vaccine before returning to campus for Fall 2021, please email myuhs@princeton.edu to discuss your options with the Immunization Compliance Team. 

The University has decided to require faculty, staff, and others working or otherwise present on campus during the 2021-22 academic year to provide proof of having received an authorized vaccine.

 

Undergraduate Students

I am an undergraduate entering for the first time or returning from a leave of absence when can I get updated documents?

Due to the July 24, 2020 ICE and June 25, 2020 Exchange Visitor Program guidance we are not able to issue new documents for students whose programs are 100% online. Princeton is currently planning for an in-person Fall 2021. Students who already have an unexpired visa in the same category (F-1 visa for F-1 status and J-1 visa for J-1 status) will not likely need a new visa for travel. You can confirm if your visa is still valid by contacting the consulate or embassy who issued the visa.  

Class of 2024 Students and '22, '23 students who Returned from a Leave of Absence in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 Currently Studying Remotely

Students who are enrolled remotely for Spring 2021 with an initial SEVIS record can request an updated I-20/DS-2019 for Fall 2021 by going TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Student Admission” and then “Undergraduate Student Remote Starts - Request for Fall 2021 I-20/DS-2019.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit the form. Please note that you will need to provide updated funding documentation for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Students returning from a Leave of Absence in Fall 2021

Students returning from a leave of absence for Fall 2021 should go to TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Student Admissions” and then “Application for Visa Certificate Undergraduate Return from LOA.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit all forms. 

Class of 2025

Newly admitted students or students who deferred their admission to Fall 2021 should go to TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Student Admissions” and then “Application for Visa Certificate Undergraduate.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit all forms. Additional information is available on our new students website here.

Previous SEVIS Transfer Students: If you had transferred your SEVIS record to us for Fall 2021, please note that per the SEVP guidance, it has been confirmed that any students who deferred their admission will need to obtain a new SEVIS record. You must submit an updated Application for Visa Certificate and we will issue a new SEVIS record for you.

If I am not in U.S. will this impact my CPT/OPT eligibility?

Class of '21, '22, and '23 students who have remained active in SEVIS throughout the COVID-19 pandemic remain eligible for CPT and OPT. Please note for OPT USCIS requires that students are in the U.S. to apply. Students are eligible to work remotely from in the U.S. or abroad on CPT and OPT. The exact work authorizations you will need while abroad will be up to your employer to align with their work policies. 

Class of '24 will have to wait until you have been in active status for one academic year before becoming eligible for CPT/OPT.

Students returning from a leave of absence should reach out to your International Student Advisor to discuss the reason for your leave (voluntary or suspension) to determine your eligibility.

I am in the U.S. and do not have any in-person classes am I eligible to stay in the U.S.?

Students who were in active F-1 status on March 9 and who have not interrupted their status with a leave of absence are eligible for all online study. Others will need to have at least one class with significant in-person components to comply with current guidance.

I am a retuning student am I able to enter the U.S. even though my classes are all online?

Students who were in active F-1 status on March 9 and have not interrupted their status with a leave of absence are able to re-enter the U.S. with their current documents and study 100% online. Students who need a new travel signature to re-enter the U.S. should go to TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Pre-Arrival” and then “"Travel Signature Request.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit the form.

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 you last attend classes. 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.

 

Graduate Students

I am a new graduate student or returning from a leave of absence how does the current guidance effect me?

The July 24, 2020 Guidance from SEVP and June 25, 2020 Guidance from Department of State require that students starting new programs in the U.S. have some in-person component to their study. The Graduate School continues to invite students to campus to work with professors, participate in laboratory assignments, access our libraries, use our study spaces, and participate in our academic culture. We recommend that students document in what ways they are participating in the in-person components of their Princeton education when possible.

I am a returning graduate student do I need any special documents to enter the U.S.?

No, returning graduate students are eligible to return to the U.S. using their typical documents. Please review any travel restrictions noted above. Students who need a new travel signature to re-enter the U.S. should go to TigerNav(link is external). Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Pre-Arrival” and then “"Travel Signature Request.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit the form.

I am a graduate student with an approved remote start, how does this impact my documents?

The expectation from the Graduate School is that you will continue to make every effort obtain your visa and enter the U.S. to study. As such, we have developed a rolling start date process to accommodate these flexible entry dates. 

To request your new document go to TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Student Admissions” and then “Graduate Student Remote Starts - Request for I-20/DS-2019.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit the form. 

After you receive your re-enrollment reply in May 2021 please provide your updated funding information when requesting your updated documents. 

If I am not in the U.S., how will this impact my CPT/OPT eligibility?

Graduate students who have remained active in SEVIS throughout the COVID-19 pandemic remain eligible for CPT and OPT. Please note for OPT USCIS requires that students are in the U.S. to apply. Students are eligible to work remotely from in the U.S. or abroad on CPT and OPT. The exact work authorizations you will need while abroad will be up to your employer to align with their work policies. 

Students who entered during academic year 20-21 will have to wait until you have been in active status for one academic year before becoming eligible for CPT/OPT.

Students returning from a leave of absence should reach out to your International Student Advisor to discuss the reason for your leave (voluntary or suspension) to determine your eligibility.